MBA vs MSF

Bil26's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

I'm currently 2 and a half years out of undergrad and I'm trying to figure out if an MBA or MSF would be a better choice to transition into investment/asset management or the hedge fund industry.

A little bit about me:

I graduated in 2016 from a small unknown state school with a 2.3 GPA in Economics. Now I work at a F500 insurance company and have spent 1 year in sales (wholesaling annuities) and 1.5 years in corporate finance doing financial reporting. This past summer I passed level 3 of the CFA but it hasn't helped me move into AM/HF.

I took the GMAT and scored a 710 last week. Now I'm trying to figure out whether to pursue an MBA or MSF to help make the move.

I only want to pursue an MBA at a top 25 school but I feel like this might not be possible now with my undergrad gpa and work experience.

I had the idea to get my MSF now part time (my company will pay for it), use it to get a better job and then apply to part time/executive T25 MBAs (Since they have lower GPAs and GMAT scores on average) a few years later.

Thoughts?

Comments (3)

Jan 26, 2019

Apply to both. See what sticks. Come back with your admits and you'll get more useful information.

Most Helpful
Jan 26, 2019

EDIT: I see I got some MS thrown at me, so wanted to provide some evidence that I know this area well. I have worked on both the sell-side and buy-side of investing. I got my MBA at a school with an MSF program and was a peer coach for the MSF students.

I'll be pretty straightforward: I don't think that either option is great for you. I'd advise hustling to network with people in the industry to see where roles might open up. You've likely explored this, but most big insurance companies have investment groups - I'd advise trying to break in there over getting an MBA or MSF. I'd also not recommend just applying to both as the above post says - there are real costs in doing so (particularly in gathering recommendations) and your applications won't be as thoughtful with the "seeing what sticks" approach.

In any case, I'd do some more research on the particular MSF program and what sort of career services they offer. At a high level, you're a bit more experienced than most MSF candidates and a bit less experienced than most strong MBA candidates. Some of the other posters can verify, but I think you'd have a hard time getting admitted to either given your UG GPA. Your GMAT is strong, but I'd see if you can get it up higher (730+) to offset the GPA (this would help with recruiting too). Additionally, the CFA is not viewed as highly by admissions committees as you might think.

Now, the other question: would either option get you what you want? The investment industry is tough to break into, as I'm sure you're aware. Even strong candidates at top MSF and MBA programs struggle to get investment roles (let alone HFs - those are only realistic for the very top students at top programs). I'd advise being very wary of the silver bullet approach - either degree needs to provide a very clear benefit for you to spend the time/money. I've seen a good number of MBA and MSF students from my school be frustrated with their recruiting results.

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Jan 26, 2019
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