Harvard 4th Year Master's Program?

Harvard offers it's students an option to graduate in four years with both a bachelor's and a Master's degree in specific fields such as:

Applied Mathematics
Mathematics
Statistics

I will be concentrating in Economics, possibly with some type of math minor.

What would you suggest as the best option for IB: doing a Master's or just graduating with a A.B. in Economics? (Both would take 4 years)
Would a Master's be an edge or would it exceed marginal cost?
If getting the Master's is preferable, then which one would be best?

Thanks for the help.

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Comments (5)

Jul 15, 2007 - 11:34am

As a graduate looking back, I would definitely vote to push yourself and get the Master's degree assuming you would like to pursue a profession that it would actually add value to. If you want it just to have another plaque on your wall, maybe it won't be worth it (although I think degrees are nice and it can't hurt you to have more so I would probably do it for that reason alone).

For IB: As a Harvard student all you really need to do is perform well in your major. While a math masters is nice, it probably won't increase your odds of getting hired too much.

CompBanker

Jul 15, 2007 - 8:01pm
CompBanker:
As a graduate looking back, I would definitely vote to push yourself and get the Master's degree assuming you would like to pursue a profession that it would actually add value to. If you want it just to have another plaque on your wall, maybe it won't be worth it (although I think degrees are nice and it can't hurt you to have more so I would probably do it for that reason alone).

For IB: As a Harvard student all you really need to do is perform well in your major. While a math masters is nice, it probably won't increase your odds of getting hired too much.

i thought you went to H (your post implied it), but
apparently not. so i'm a little curious as to how you know all this w/r to harvard undergrads? dong, read my post above.

Jul 15, 2007 - 3:56pm

are you about to start your first year? my experience is that harvard freshmen sometimes overestimate their ability. =) not to discourage you, but out of the 7 or 8 people this year that graduated w/ stats masters, i know that at least 5 were USAMO-level in high school, and the rest were close enough. i don't know about math/apmth but i suspect its similar. harvard/Y/P,etc quant classes are tough, and it's not just about working hard. at a certain level you either have the intellectual horsepower or you don't. it's not like the bullshit state school math classes you probably dual enrolled in at HS, but on the other hand, i think that's why the master's or any quant. concentration at an ivy is still an excellent cred.

that said, a master's in any of those fields is overkill for investment banking for H. corpfin is based on accounting, and you would be better off taking financial statement courses at MIT through cross-registration.

what a master's in these fields would do is give you the pass on math skills (relative to your econ UG degree) for the places that need those - research or trading in quant. HF's, the more quant S&T shops (i.e. exotics or quant positions). but you still need decent grades for these jobs.

if you're just interested in an IB-job, then the easiest path is to just pick something easy and get a high GPA. i'd personally avoid psych or other bullshit concentrations, but i think they'll still do the trick.

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