Help choosing an MSF program?

So I've decided to do a MSF program and apply in January. I've just started studying for the GMAT today.

Here's my background:

Non-target, but decent school (roughly 80th ranked national undergrad business program, top 50 public school)
3.3 GPA, hoping to get it closer to 3.4 before app

Member of school's consulting club
Founder/Leadership role at school's investment club

Junior year summer: summer analyst in capital markets at a major mortgage firm
Junior year: interned at a major brokerage
Sophomore summer: internship in financial department of NHL team

Any suggestions on which MSF programs I should aim for? I'm hoping a good gmat score and my work experience will balance out my poor GPA. Location is a non-factor really, I just want to go wherever will give me the best chance at landing interviews.

Thanks guys!

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Comments (6)

Sep 19, 2014 - 6:51pm

depending on your strength, you can also take GRE. GMAT is more for MBA programs.
also what industry do you want to work in? IB? consulting? if you want to use MSF program to get interviews at big firms, you have to aim for top 10 programs. you may apply for lower tier programs, but you still may have troubles to land interviews for work. some MSF is more quan like princetons program.
from what i heard, if you can get 750 on GMAT, you may have a shot at tier 2 MSF programs.

Sep 19, 2014 - 7:41pm

Thanks for the response. I'd like to do IB but wouldn't mind being at a smaller/regional firm. I wouldn't mind doing equity research either. I chose finance for the variety of exit ops that come with most jobs and the ability to work in very different environments, so I would take just about any position that allowed me interesting work.

Sep 26, 2014 - 10:43pm

I think you have a decent shot at most of the MSF programs. Your work experience is solid for a college graduate and if you can do relatively well on the GMAT, say 700+, you'll have a good shot at most places with a chance for some scholarship. If location is not a preference, then I'd say apply to the top programs across the US. Most MSFs tend to place regionally - especially for investment banking, so remember that as you apply.

If you want to work in the Northeast, I'd take a look at Villanova and Boston College. Duke's MMS program is also good. Georgetown also has a new MSF program that should probably trade well on brand name. If you didn't do Finance in undergrad, UVA Masters in Commerce is a great program as well.

If you want more Midwest or South, take a look at Vanderbilt or WUSTL MSF and Notre Dame's new management program. UT Austin is also a great program, especially if you want to work in the South.

If you want the West, I'd shoot for USC or Claremont McKenna. USC is a relatively new program but has good name brand and Claremont is second only to MIT in terms of placement opportunities.

These programs are the top amongst MSF programs, so I would also make sure to apply to tier 2 schools as well. Schools like Ohio State, SMU, GWU or Tulane.

Sep 29, 2014 - 8:19pm

I really appreciate the response, I'm glad I'm not wasting my time studying for the GMAT. Many of those schools are my aim (Particularly UT Austin, Boston College, and WUSTL), and I'm glad to hear that my work experience would help me. I was hoping they factor that in fairly heavily.

Sep 29, 2014 - 8:28pm

It all really comes down to the GMAT/GRE. A 3.4 is good enough and you have good work experience and EC's. Assuming you score decently enough on your test and have good essays/rec's I think you'll be competitive at most mainstream programs.

When do you have the test scheduled for? Leave time for a redo. I can't tell you how many people do well on the practice test and get lower than expected on the real thing.

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