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Comments (41)

Jan 20, 2009 - 7:01pm

It depends on your background. If you have a finance, math, or economics background, an MSF could be a great addition. I would also look into Virginia's MS in Commerce program, especially if you have a liberal arts background (unless you're older or your background is finance - it's a 5th year program for liberal arts majors). When deciding upon a program, however, make sure to go to a school with good recruiting. Vanderbilt has a good MSF program, but its reputation is somewhat more regional than a school like Virginia when it comes to finance. I looked at Vandy, Boston College, Virginia, and Florida. I chose Virginia, and I had multiple offers at investment banks this past fall. There are also good programs at Princeton and Berkeley, but they are financial engineering programs.

Jan 20, 2009 - 9:44pm

I have a Finance background and have been looking into BC's MSF program. How is that looked upon in the AM or research field? I'm sure they have connections to all the mutual funds in Boston but I'm from NY and would prefer working in NY.

Jan 20, 2009 - 11:09pm

Most of the programs coincide fairly well with the CFA designation program. I think the CFA designaton is well respected in the research field - not sure about AM. A lot of MSF students will prepare for the level 1 test while doing their coursework. It would probably be easier to stay in NY coming from BC than from the other programs that are out there. The professors in that program seem to be well connected in the finance world.

Jan 21, 2009 - 6:52pm

BC has a fantastic MSF program. Someone I am very close with is going through the program right now and believes the professors are very well connected / work in the industry. The program is geared towards the CFA, as thefountainhead mentioned, so you should be in a strong position to obtain a solid finance position coming out of it.



Jan 21, 2009 - 11:15pm

Do you have work experience? Are you looking at quantitative finance programs as well? Carnegie Mellon's MS Computational Finance program has a very impressive placement record (including research and AM):……

You can also choose to enroll in their satellite NYC campus.

I would say if you have work experience, look at an top MBA or quant finance program because the most 'prestigious' positions in finance (including research and AM) tend to recruit at these programs, if only because non-quant MSF programs are usually offered at less-targeted schools...

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Feb 18, 2009 - 2:36pm

I was looking into the BC MSF program as well and it seems pretty solid. A lot of the people, however didn't go into IB after graduation though (or so it seems from the website).

Feb 23, 2009 - 6:03pm
I was looking into the BC MSF program as well and it seems pretty solid. A lot of the people, however didn't go into IB after graduation though (or so it seems from the website).

The website barely gives an info regarding job placement. It says salaries range from $54,000 to $102,000. That's a pretty big range. From what previous posters have said, job placement isn't bad you just gotta network and work hard.

Feb 18, 2009 - 5:20pm

Is it a huge disadvantage applying for Berkeley-Haas' Financial Engineering program straight out of undergrad, compared to several years of work experience? Or any MSc in Finance or Financial Engineering for that matter...

Feb 23, 2009 - 3:04pm

What's ur opinion about an MSc. in Financial Economics at Oxford? Do you think it's a good choice or should I throw my weight behind top American Schools?
What schools do you know offer the best MSc. in Finance/Finance-related courses in America.

Feb 23, 2009 - 3:33pm

Msc. Financial Economics at Oxford seems like a sound course. Some other good programs in the UK are Cambridge, LSE, Warwick and LBS. They also have really good placements according to date on their website. The best schools that offer MSC in Finance in the US are;


Some other good ones you could consider are;

Johns Hopkins
Washington University in St. Louis

The average GMAT for the MFE at Oxford is 730 by the way. It's higher than the average GMAT at some of the top MBA schools in the US including Harvard.

If you're willing to masters in financial engineering, you have a lot more options;

stanford, cmu, uchicago, nyu, berkeley, cornell and umich. Baruch has a very good program too but it's discounted heavily because the placements are not as top notch.

Feb 24, 2009 - 2:53am

RE: MSF versus MFE. I was struggling with this myself for a while. Short profile: math major at an Ivy, solid internship at an AM division of a BB, ended up with no offer. Applied to grad school and now have offers from Columbia, Cornell, NYU (MFE/FinMath) and Princeton (MFin).

Right now, I'm quite sure I'll take Princeton's offer. It's not even the name, but just the flexibility afforded by a finance degree vs. something as specialized as financial math. Traditional structuring jobs will be out for a while, so that's something I kept in mind. To OP's point about job placement, Princeton's record has been historically phenomenal. Not sure if this will be the year that sees their 100% placement record end..

Regarding salary range: keep in mind that students at these programs came from diverse backgrounds. Someone who had 4-5 years working experience will find it easier to place himself into a higher position after completing their degree, whereas someone who entered the program directly from undergraduate (like me) might have to settle for a more junior position. The salary differential then follows these placements; I'd take the salary range given with a grain of salt.

@zyphNOR: Haas' MFE program is top-notch, but is also known to put a premium on prior work experience. The average age of the entering class is somewhere around 25-27.. not sure. Kids straight out of undergrad are definitely in the minority.

@drexelalum11: MSc. in Finance & Economics at LSE is very highly regarded, and places its graduates well into IB positions in the City. However, its Financial Mathematics program is rather new to my knowledge.. not sure how well they place their graduates.

@indian-banker: just a quick sidenote, MSc. in Finance at MIT will probably start by admitting exclusively MIT undergrads. I had conversation with their admission officer, and it seems unlikely that they'll open up for outside applicants in the near future (not to mention, they'd have crazy internal demand).

Feb 26, 2009 - 10:54am

Most likely I'd work for about 3-4 yrs then hopefully go to BC or another program for an MSF. So I'd prob be about 27. Would be hired as an associate? Like I said before I'm looking to get into research or IM.

Feb 27, 2009 - 1:10pm

I want to start my career as an Investment Banker. What do you advice- an MSc. in Finance, Financial Engineering or Financial Mathematics.
I'm very confused right now. I like Financial Engineering because it sounds exotic, Financial Economics because it sounds professional.What do you guys think?

Mar 5, 2009 - 6:51pm

from Wilmott (on the math finance masters at Imperial):

Depends on whether you like maths or not, you'll either love or hate this program.

If you have never done any measure theory before, it's not the program for you. You'll suffer a lot in the first term. In particular, if you did badly in stochastic processes (say, you didn't pass, which there are always a handful out there), you may not get a chance to do your project in the industry.

Very honestly, the course is unimaginably competitive. Unless you were top few in your class in one of the top uni's in the UK/you were from France, you would feel that the world is not yours when you are here. The course is "MATHEMATICS" and then finance, and so if you don't have a rigorous maths background, try other courses such as MSc Finance in TBS, MSc Econ & Finance in LSE or MPhil in Finance in Cambridge.

Regarding the projects, not much too say...

So, conclusion: if you want a job in trading/structuring, a econ/finance degree with significant mathematics is preferred. If you like solving SDEs and doing programming, MathFin (not just Imperial) sounds like a good choice.

Jul 4, 2010 - 7:04am

I am a computer engineer with pretty average academic record. I am currently working as a technical writer with an IT company (non-finance work experience). I have 3 queries:
1) Does a CFA level 1 certification add to your resume when applying for masters in finance in the US?
2) does the job placement in this program depend on th location of your university?
3) does this program have a very high programming (coding) quotient? As in, i am more interested in the mathematical part of the same.
Thanks in advance.

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:01pm

Does clearing CFA Level 1 help with admissions into a MSF program that is partnered with CFA Institute?

There are only 2 paths to happiness in life. Stupidity or exceptional wealth.
Jun 21, 2013 - 5:06pm

To put it simply, yes. Just make sure first that it's not a 'you' problem that an MSF won't fix.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
Jun 21, 2013 - 5:07pm

To put it simply, yes. Just make sure first that it's not a 'you' problem that an MSF won't fix.

Also make sure you can get into a school that has significantly better recruiting than Emory. I'm sure Emory has solid OCR for the SE so your options are probably limited to the places you mentioned (Duke, UVA which aren't MSFs) and MIT (which is 75K and I'm sure most the placements are in the NE) and possibly Florida and Vandy (both true MSF programs) ... but you will have to put in A LOT of work with networking and interview prep to ensure that you don't end up with similar offers but with a lost year and an extra ~50K spent on tuition.

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:09pm

Masters degree worth it? (Originally Posted: 01/31/2009)

Hi All,

I was thinking that if i don't find a job by this coming May/June i would just give up and enroll for a masters degree in economics or accounting. Is this a good idea in terms of job opportunities afterwards? I graduated with a 3.0 and say if i a get a 3.5+for my masters would this enable me to <span><a href="/finance-dictionary/what-is-the-front-office-fo">get a <abbr title="front office">FO</abbr></a></span> after my masters degree? Thanks for you advice
Jun 21, 2013 - 5:10pm

First things first, i hope you realize that with no work experience (internships don't count enough to give you more money), you'll still start as an analyst, entry-level job..

I'm finishing up a Masters in Finance now, and this is what I've experienced...

In terms of placements, sometimes it makes you more competitive relative to other finance undergrads, especially coming from a non-target for wallstreet, banking/trading/research type jobs

And I've also had friends from my programs that were turned down for Big 4/Corp Fin Rotational type jobs because they were overqualified. So then you're stuck, you have this graduate degree which makes you overqualified but you don't have any work experience, which makes you underqualified.

If you do decide on a graduate program, make sure to research their placements inside and out and ask firms that you're interested in now, if they hire students with graduate degrees for the analysts jobs?

If no grad degree and also no job lined up, make sure to do something productive (research in Africa, Teach for America,,, etc...) because employers are going to want to know what you did/learned/skills developed on your "year off"

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:11pm

Is doing a master worth it? (Originally Posted: 01/13/2009)

I am contemplating on doing a master because a lot quant shops only consider those with a master or better. I am currently a senior at a target studying engineering. I only need another half a year to get a master if I study the same major as my undergrad's because of the course overlaps between the master and the undergrad program. For those working in the industry, do you think this is worth? I want a career in trading/investing.

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:13pm

My concern is that the quant space is getting more and more crowded. And considering the current market condition and the fact that there is a swath of people looking for the same type of jobs, a masters probably won't make me more competitive than I am now. Intellectually, since the master overlaps greatly with my major, I already did all the core classes so I will be end up taking mostly electives. The value of the extra education is minimum at best.

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:14pm

with the job market the way it is, your chief concern should be doing something (anything) constructive until things recover - a masters is an excellent choice.

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:16pm

I just completed a Masters from an ivy league. My feeling is that if you want to get a job in a quant shop where programming in c/c++ is involved then a Masters does help over a Bachelors degree.

However I noticed that if you are applying for trading positions(non quant) / IB / IM positions the advantage you have over a bachelor degree holder is NIL assuming that everything else on your resume is identical.

Given the recession it might be a decent option the advantages being:

1) More learning of course

2) Improve programming skills ( Lot of firms want good programming skills nowdays...with the recession they have the option to pick and choose)

3) And it will help to get into quantitative positions

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:19pm

Masters in Finance helpful?? (Originally Posted: 05/30/2012)

I'm in quite a dilemma right now. I come from a Biology back ground with a minor in business (which is useless in my opinion). I am currently interning at a boutique investment bank where I am getting an "exposure" to everything. However, I feel like my finance knowledge is lacking quite a lot. I can pick up on a lot of things but there are so many small things that I am not familiar with. I do not feel that I will be ready at all for a full time position after this internship.

I will be graduating in December with a bachelors in Biology and minor in Business. Here is my problem, I am in a large amount of student debt due to me changing career paths, (originally planning on medical school). I was thinking about doing a 1 year masters in finance just to get that knowledge and hopefully get my self a job. Whether its equity research or investment banking. I am not going to be picky at this point.

I can get instate tuition in Florida and was looking at FSU's 1 year MSF program. I believe it is only around 20k for the entire year including housing. Would this be worth is my situation? Everyone tells me a MSF is not worth is but I feel like everyone is coming from a finance background. My main problem is my student loans but if this will help me get in somewhere I am willing to do it.

I am getting worried that I won't be able to get anything when I graduate in December which is why I figured I can get the MSF.

What do you guys think about this idea??
Thanks, I really appreciate the help.

Jun 21, 2013 - 5:20pm
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