Masters in Finance To Help with MBA Application?

SMDRNB's picture
Rank: Monkey | 58

Hello all,

I posted a discussion earlier this year regarding some questions I had about attaining an MBA and the feedback was great. So now I am wondering if attaining a masters in finance helps getting into a better MBA program. As always, thank you for the input.

Comments (37)

Nov 16, 2014

I hope that a MSF/MMS will help with my MBA app down the road. My undergrad GPA is more than shitty and I really hope my MSF's GPA would somewhat compensate that.

Nov 16, 2014

I am not sure whether or how an MSF helps with an MBA program.

OP has a pretty good career going at a boutique, reading his old thread. I'd stay focused on that for now, unless it's tough to stay there.

OP does need to score well on the GMATs to cancel out his undergrad GPA, and he needs to come in with solid recs. THAT's what I would focus on.

Nov 16, 2014

Why are you looking for an MBA after a MSF? Im not sure I see the point of having 2 graduate business degrees, and if anything I think having an MSF would hurt your chances because you have to explain to admissions why you would need yet another graduate degree and avoid being typecasted as a degree collector.

As somebody that has a MSF, I would be interested to know what others see as the upside to an MBA in this situation.

Nov 17, 2014

Damn son, how much money are you willing to put down on your education?

Nov 17, 2014

@"jss09" From your experience, have you felt that someone with a similar background as you but with an MBA has a leg up when it comes to moving up the corporate ladder?

I might be wrong but I feel if you need to progress in your career, MBA is crucial. MSF might help you get the job you desire but I doubt if it can act as a replacement for MBA in the long run.

Nov 17, 2014

Well this really depends. In continental Europe it would be very normal do have an MSc degree before pursuing an MBA but in the UK and US it would be quite unusual. It would probably never hurt your chances although it's a little weird to go get your MSc Finance after you already started working and then later get an MBA.

Nov 18, 2014

Curious about this as well.. I've been thinking the more the MSF becomes known, finance organizations may prefer the degree to a MBA, especially someone with prior experience a banking role.

Nov 26, 2014
Withoutapaddle:

Curious about this as well.. I've been thinking the more the MSF becomes known, finance organizations may prefer the degree to a MBA, especially someone with prior experience a banking role.

??? The MSF is for people who need extra recruiting time and/or don't have financial experience. The level is not equivalent in the least; MSF students usually recruit for roles that BA/BS students also recruit for. No work experience needed for MSF vs. several years needed to MBA. The latter is actually an advanced degree. The former is more like a second bachelors.

Withoutapaddle:

If you can get Associate positions with a Master of FInance, it would be a much shorter/cheaper alternative to an MBA. I thought the whole purpose of the MBA was for OCI.

Well that's the issue. You *can't* get Associate positions with MSF. They'll stick you in as an Analyst. Maybe a "Senior Analyst" depending on the firm. Maybe you'll get promoted to Associate in 1.5 years instead of 2 or 3. But most people (unless they for some reason have prior finance experience before their MSF) can't get into Associate from MSF.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

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Nov 18, 2014

MBA programs are a function of GPA, work brand, school brand, work experience, ECs and GMAT. An MSF can help you with school brand and GPA and it can help you get into a good firm or into finance. And the upside is you might not need an MBA with the Masters.

Nov 18, 2014

I have the name brand and finance experience, along with great EC's and GMAT. The thing that is most hindurance to my application is the undergraduate prestige and GPA. I think I'm going to do the MSF at Tulane, Villanova, or Vandy, study my ass off and work for two years hopefully in investment banking. Then apply to Europe 1 year MBA programs (Oxbridge, LBS). The 1 year MSF and 1 year MBA would cost about the same as a 2 year MBA in the USA as is.

Nov 20, 2014

@TNA, why didn't you stop at the MSF? Btw, what are you up to at the moment?

Nov 18, 2014

How difficult is it to get into Tulane's MSF program?

Nov 19, 2014

Average GMAT: 676
GMAT Range: 590 -740
GPA range: 2.9-3.7

I think having work experience is crucial for the Master of Finance. I don't think employers take people seriously with a Masters and no work experience. Also, Tulane places well in Texas. Not so much in the northeast. Nova would be a better option if you want to work in the North.

Nov 26, 2014
Withoutapaddle:

Average GMAT: 676

GMAT Range: 590 -740

GPA range: 2.9-3.7

I think having work experience is crucial for the Master of Finance. I don't think employers take people seriously with a Masters and no work experience. Also, Tulane places well in Texas. Not so much in the northeast. Nova would be a better option if you want to work in the North.

I had absolutely no relevant work experience (or even FT experience) when I went into my MSF and I wasn't the only one. The point of an MSF is to rebrand yourself and regain the opportunity to intern, i.e., to get relevant work experience. I ended up with a big-4 consulting/valuation associate position.

Nov 20, 2014

@"TNA" where did you go for your MSF and MBA? Sorry if this has been answered before, I'm new to the site.

Nov 20, 2014

TNA went to Villanova for his MSF and MBA.

Nov 20, 2014

Personally, I do not see why you would get an MBA after completing an MSF..MSF is far more specialized in Finance and I do not see the added value of the MBA

Nov 20, 2014

Don't you need the MBA for Associate roles?

Nov 20, 2014

I think it's too repetitive. Work experience, extracurricular activities etc... add a lot more value to your application...

Nov 20, 2014

If you can get Associate positions with a Master of FInance, it would be a much shorter/cheaper alternative to an MBA. I thought the whole purpose of the MBA was for OCI.

Nov 21, 2014

Indeed, I think an MSF plus work experience and in some situations, just work experience alone at some point makes the MBA not necessary.

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Nov 26, 2014

I don't have my MBA, surely wouldn't get it from Nova. MSF students recruit for analyst positions because the vast majority of students don't have experience. If you have experience that is relevant you can come in as an associate. It happens rarely, but it's because most people don't have the experience necessary.

Nov 26, 2014

OP, reading from your other thread it seems like you are trying to make up for a low GPA. You already have decent experience, so since it looks like your end goal (in this case) is an MBA, I would highly advise against a MSF. It will be a waste of money for you. Instead, take some quant courses at your local community college, MOOCs, or Berkeley's extension school. These will show adcoms that your 2.9 GPA is not a true representative of your ability.

You also mentioned that you went to a top 25 undergrad b-school, so unless your MSF will be at Princeton or MIT, you won't get extra name brand recognition for your school. Don't waste your money my friend.

Nov 26, 2014

Indeed. Don't waste your money. Just focus on working. It's not worth wasting money.

Nov 26, 2014

You get an MSF in Europe because no one takes you seriously without a Masters degree. In the UK some people do just get a BA/BS, but some banks will make a difference in recruiting - hire you as a second year analyst with a Master, and just first year with a BA.

In the US an MSF is a bs degree to make money for the University. They saw that they had undergrad and MBA classes and without adding any resources they could squeeze money from students by introducing a masters degree. In other words it's pretty useless, unless you want to work in risk and you get a quant based degree like the Berkeley one. I can't think of many respectable uni with a good MSF - sure some students will get a job, they are so driven that they will hunt people to get them a job - but you don't need an MSF to do that. We had people with no undergraduate background on the floor at all...

Doing an MSF after having worked a few years is just silly, go and do an MBA - if you can't get in an MBA then it sucks to be you, but don't waste money.

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Nov 26, 2014
Disjoint:

You get an MSF in Europe because no one takes you seriously without a Masters degree. In the UK some people do just get a BA/BS, but some banks will make a difference in recruiting - hire you as a second year analyst with a Master, and just first year with a BA.

In the US an MSF is a bs degree to make money for the University. They saw that they had undergrad and MBA classes and without adding any resources they could squeeze money from students by introducing a masters degree. In other words it's pretty useless, unless you want to work in risk and you get a quant based degree like the Berkeley one. I can't think of many respectable uni with a good MSF - sure some students will get a job, they are so driven that they will hunt people to get them a job - but you don't need an MSF to do that. We had people with no undergraduate background on the floor at all...

Doing an MSF after having worked a few years is just silly, go and do an MBA - if you can't get in an MBA then it sucks to be you, but don't waste money.

Yeah, a lot wrong with this.

Nov 26, 2014
TNA:
Disjoint:

You get an MSF in Europe because no one takes you seriously without a Masters degree. In the UK some people do just get a BA/BS, but some banks will make a difference in recruiting - hire you as a second year analyst with a Master, and just first year with a BA.

In the US an MSF is a bs degree to make money for the University. They saw that they had undergrad and MBA classes and without adding any resources they could squeeze money from students by introducing a masters degree. In other words it's pretty useless, unless you want to work in risk and you get a quant based degree like the Berkeley one. I can't think of many respectable uni with a good MSF - sure some students will get a job, they are so driven that they will hunt people to get them a job - but you don't need an MSF to do that. We had people with no undergraduate background on the floor at all...

Doing an MSF after having worked a few years is just silly, go and do an MBA - if you can't get in an MBA then it sucks to be you, but don't waste money.

Yeah, a lot wrong with this.

Agreed, anyone who gives you advice that includes "well then it sucks to be you" isn't thinking of doing the best by you. If you can't get in the first time you apply and you're determined to go, take a year and rebrand yourself and apply again.

Nov 26, 2014
Disjoint:

You get an MSF in Europe because no one takes you seriously without a Masters degree. In the UK some people do just get a BA/BS, but some banks will make a difference in recruiting - hire you as a second year analyst with a Master, and just first year with a BA.

In the US an MSF is a bs degree to make money for the University. They saw that they had undergrad and MBA classes and without adding any resources they could squeeze money from students by introducing a masters degree. In other words it's pretty useless, unless you want to work in risk and you get a quant based degree like the Berkeley one. I can't think of many respectable uni with a good MSF - sure some students will get a job, they are so driven that they will hunt people to get them a job - but you don't need an MSF to do that. We had people with no undergraduate background on the floor at all...

Doing an MSF after having worked a few years is just silly, go and do an MBA - if you can't get in an MBA then it sucks to be you, but don't waste money.

Yeah..3 paragraphs of text.. not a single useful piece of information outside of "don't waste money" but I think most people are born with this rationale.

Nov 26, 2014

Ok, I was traveling so I had to be brief.

1) MSF is much more common in Europe. Has nothing to do with being taken seriously. The specialized masters is to Europe what the MBA is to the USA. This is changing as more top schools offer MBA's (LBS, Bocconi, etc) and more US schools offer MSF degrees.

2) MSF's are taught in a variety of ways, but the top programs are not MBA bolt-on money makers. The good programs usually offer all or a number of classes for MSF only students. They also provide career services, specialized admissions, etc.

3) Plenty of "respectable" universities, whatever that means. MIT and Princeton (although Princeton is more of a math MSF). Vanderbilt, USC, UT Austin. Villanova, BC, Ohio State, UIUC, Florida. All good schools with good recruiting. Then you have UVA (MS Commerce), Duke/ND/Mich (MS Management) as well as PT MSF programs.

4) Plenty of people coming from these programs go into investment banking, credit, Asset Management, etc. Front office roles at well know BB and MM banks. So no, an MSF isn't a risk only degree.

The MSF is great in many ways. The education is great. This isn't a bunch of joke classes. This is a specialized and focused masters degree. It gives you another shot at recruiting if you are junior or it gives you a graduate degree and a year off if you are more senior. If you have finance experience, but want to shift from say risk to IBD, the MSF would be a good option for career changing within finance. It gives students a chance to rebrand or redo their GPA if needed. It gives students a finance education if they didn't study it during UG. It can also provide a great college experience for those who worked or commuted for school.

An MSF isn't right for everyone, just like an MBA, but to wholesale discount it highlights a lack of understanding instead of actual reality.

Nov 26, 2014

@TNA, will you ever do an MBA?

Nov 26, 2014

Maybe. I mean I love education so it is a end in itself. I've looked at a masters in applied econ at Gtown. I'd do an international MBA (LBS maybe). Depends. I don't really believe in the normal path or whatever.

Nov 26, 2014

More degrees is never the solution, unless you are currently unemployable. The end.

Nov 27, 2014

At the end of the day, it will come down to hustle and heart. Like a guy (who studied martial arts) told me once, a guy can learn the disciplines and progress to a black belt or whatever, but if he doesn't have the killer instinct inside, when confronted on the street he'll get his ass whipped. All the degrees in the world ain't gonna teach you how or give you the balls to seize what you want in this world.

All that said I too am weighing the MSF and the MBA. I think comes down to whether you want to learn how to think as a well rounded leader and grow a business versus develop a focused discipline in a particular area. Be a CEO of a diverse company or technically savvy (and hopefully equally paid) product specialist? I was told the MBA is better to be well rounded but the MSF may be ok if you plan to stay in financial services. The MSF won't include skill sets for managing and leading people or building focused marketing plans or building efficiencies across the organization. What you don't learn in formal education you'll have to gain through experience. However, it seems the differences may not matter in the beginning, but could make a distinction later down the road.

Nov 27, 2014

IMO, in the next 5 - 10 years I think you'll see a shift in the graduate school education space. The specialized masters is all the rage, partly because schools want another revenue stream, but also because people want more options than just an MBA. Plus, the MBA is getting so over saturated. Suppose you work in F500 and want to get a graduate education so you can hit the next rung. Why do some T50 MBA PT while going to work when you could do a T50 MSF (or better) part time in half the time. Especially since most big companies have exec training and tons of colleges offer cert programs. You can basically do an MSF and in 3-5 years when you start getting leadership roles you can do a cert program or take some extra classes to fill in the blanks.

Obviously, nothing is going to replace a Wharton or Harvard education, but we should all realize that that is the minority situation. Most people are just looking to move up within their company and are stuck taking a PT program at a normal university. Having a MSF or MS in Analytics (or whatever) provides more flexibility.

Nov 27, 2014

The Executive Certificate program angle is a good one. Plus one can gain good experience and network with leaders by joining committees and groups at the company.

To answer the original question, I couldn't see myself doing both. I guess it depends on how much time and money you feel you have.

Nov 27, 2014
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Nov 27, 2014