M.Sc Finance Bocconi, thoughts?

Looking for a masters in finance in Europe.
Profile: 22,
Undergrad in Econ from non-target, 3.7 G.P.A. Post grad diploma in Advanced Econ and Finance from a semi-target, 9.7/10 C.G.P.A
GRE: 330/340.
CFA L3 cleared(90th+ percentile, if that matters)
Work ex- (Big 4, M&A analyst for 1 year)
Strong extra currics: President of 2 clubs, blogger, Marathon runner, TEDX speaker etc
Languages: English, Hindi, French, Spanish
(con- dont have a major brand University tag, Indian, messed up High school grades: 85/100)

Looking to apply in 2021 at a target Uni to get network and brand backing,
suggestions and comments?

Comments (20)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jun 9, 2020 - 7:47am

You definitely have a strong profile, remember to apply early to have the highest chance to get a scholarship.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jun 10, 2020 - 10:42am

I suggest you check out the European Masters Ranking thread for 2020. It's probably the most informative thread on this topic and it has a very comprehensive list of top masters in finance programs. Personally I would suggest applying to the usual suspects - Oxford MFE, LBS MFA, LSE MIF or MIF and PE, HEC MIF, Bocconi MIF.

If you're keen on a program that is longer than one year then SSE MIF is also a two year program. HEC MIF is practically a 1,5 year program (classes for 1 year and then another half year for writing a thesis). MFA at LBS could be extended for another semester (for a hefty fee), which would make it a 1,5 year program. Masters in Finance and Banking at St Gallen is a 1,5 year program as well.

Jun 9, 2020 - 12:34pm

What industry are you aiming to get into? What countries are you looking at living in?

If you want to recruit for IB / M&A in London then LSE tops any other programme out there. It has the strongest industry ties and its graduates place consistently well.

Bocconi has very strong industry ties in Italy. However since you don't speak Italian I assume you don't want to live there. Bocconi's brand will still help you internationally, but the environment and focus of the school is very Italian.

Also why would you choose a 2 year programme over a 1 year? I don't see why you would want to take longer to get the same degree, unless you have visa requirements.

I suggest going for the top schools in the country you want to settle in. You have a solid profile and stand good chances at any European target.

  • Prospect in Other
Jun 9, 2020 - 12:47pm

Well I want to be settle in London or maybe Paris (not sure). My only concern is paying shit load of tuition and coming back to India (I hope not). The reason I wanted to go for a 2 year program is to get customary with the place and have a few internships in firms I want to be at. My goal is to work at a sustainable finance PE/VC fund, so prefer to start at an IB or PE shop. What unis would you suggest I go for? (I really liked Said MFE for its curriculum, not sure of LSE)

Jun 13, 2020 - 1:07pm

Okay now I understand why you're looking at 2 year programs.

The scene in London for sustainable finance is way better than France, so I would suggest studying in the UK to get exposed to it and maybe break in straight away.

Oxford MS Financial Econ is a great program - I was looking at it too.

LSE's MSc Finance / Finance and Econ / Finance and PE are solid programmes too. They also give you the possibility of graduating in 1.5 years instead of 1 by integrating a summer internship.

Don't know much about MSc programmes in France, but I know for sure it's a less international environment than the UK.

  • Intern in Consulting
Jun 13, 2020 - 5:04pm

Hi, I'm currently enrolled in this program so I can shed some light on the matter.

The main point I would stress is the following: whereas you have a great shot at securing a spot, IMO you'd be better off studying in the UK (or HEC).

Bocconi is unrivaled when it comes to the italian job market, but that won't matter to you since I can assure you that finding a job in Italy without being a native speaker is going to be tough: when I interned in banking in Milan this was a prerequisite for a resume to be looked at. Even if you manage to find an internship, please remember that things work differently here: the internship -> FT offer story you're so familiar with is rarely applicable to Italian firms. Internships are often 6-months long and have no built-in conversion mechanism.

Naturally, the program places relatively well in London, but you'll be at a disadvantage vs students coming from Oxbridge, LSE or Imperial (although it's easier if you're female). It's no fun being the only guy from continental Europe in superdays, I can tell you that much. Networking in class will be more difficult too, and I wouldn't expect there to be many alumni with your background. Oh, and there's also the fact that your alma matter is generally more important than the specific MSc. In fact, even for IB we are often competing with IntMgmt and ESS folks, to our dismay. ;)

As far as scholarships are concerned, I'm not sure how it works exactly for international applicants. For Italians they mainly look at GPA and test scores; this isn't the anglosphere, no "extracurriculars" shenanigans here.

On an unrelated note, there is a big plus to the fact that the program is 2 years long: you get 2 (arguably even 3) shots at SA recruiting in London. Many people secure a spot in their final year.

If you have further questions, ask away.

  • Prospect in Other
Jun 13, 2020 - 5:34pm

Really appreciate your thoughts.
Not a female, dont speak Italian, Dont come a recognised alma mater. Which means really difficult according to your comment. Got interested in Bocconi after doing a course in PE by Bocconi on coursera but now it seems, getting a job is a moon shot.
1) Independent of the recruiting process, for all the targets across Europe, what would you say of the curriculum as that is what matters most. (I have completed my CFA L3 and did a pg diploma with minors in finance, so I am already thorough with a lot of it.)
2) most importantly how is ones social life at Bocconi?, if the people are good and work culture is accepting of International students, I dont mind staying and working in Italy for a few years. What kind of exit opps are there at IB in Italy since I also plan on doing an MBA from an Ivy (fingers crossed) in my late 20's....
3) Bocconi on its program website says that they do involve two international languages, have you enrolled with it and If so how effective are they?

Most Helpful
  • Intern in Consulting
Jun 13, 2020 - 6:33pm

Happy to help. If you move this thread to the IB forum I'm sure you'll get more replies.

1) Look, I think that's a naive perspective. I can't speak for all targets across europe, but the curriculum is certainly not what matters most for high finance or consulting. Hell, I'm not sure if it matters at all, especially in London, which is a point I tried to convey by saying that MSc Fin students are competing with IntMgmt and ESS ones for the same jobs. The big boys in the market hire from a diverse pool of candidates from all majors, and it doesn't matter if you can recite Ito's lemma or perform a principal components analysis in your sleep, nobody cares. You thinks IB starts at bachelor level in the US because of their theoretical financial acumen?

What matters is how you look at a first glance: polish, corporate attitude, top GPA (who cares if it's in English Literature), top alma mater, network. They are looking for people to put in front of clients (eventually) and you have to play the part appropriately. Bocconi can help you out here, and it certainly did for me, but it won't be about the curriculum. I came from a non-target BSc and the resume boost I got from the Bocconi brand was huge, but I swear that every time I had to interview alongside a business or management student I questioned my life choices. Could have spent 2 years partying and blazing instead of studying stochastic integrals.
Paradoxically, competence is more important for obscure, low profile, less prestigious jobs. The credit risk boutique that pays EUR 1.5k, if you get the picture. Not recommended.

If you must know, the first year of the program is common and you can choose your "major" (i.e. 4 exams) or a free track in your second year. The curriculum is fairly technical and heavy in econometrics and quant finance. CF and IB classes will cover valuation and m&a, but are considered easy by comparison. Professors play a big role and unfortunately their english can be very lacking, they're almost all Italians. There are some stellar ones tho, so there's a silver lining. You did the CFA, it's fair to say you will not find it unmanageable.

2) Tough question. It will vary person by person. Students are mostly very open minded, but on average it will be tough for a non-european. You will also find some hardos in MSc Fin that are better avoided. Outside of uni, it's much worse for non-established internationals.

For IB in Italy, many firms have an office in Milan. Most BBs and some EBs are present, but satellite offices of american/british firms are sometimes very small (we're talking 1-3 analysts) and competition is heavy. They also tend to work with local clients so being a native speaker is a huge plus. The big italian banks and asset managers have huge offices and more openings, but tend to favor italians as I mentioned previously. Italian firms also offer less upward mobility and long term prospects: you don't become an Associate after 3 years, you have to wait for a senior to leave. Their interns are closer to cheap labor than long-term investments (I know people who are at their 4th consecutive internship), but you can learn a great deal and my stint for a bank has served me well.
On the continent we don't care about MBAs. You clearly want to live in the UK or US, so the sooner you get there, the better.

3) I'm not sure what you mean by efficiency here. Everyone has to take 2 language exams, and for internationals one of those will be Italian. Wouldn't worry about this at all, they will be at the bottom of your priority list.

It's not about what you know, It's about how you present yourself. If you're articulate and intelligent, you'll be fine as hard skills can be learned and nobody expects you to know how to do the job from day 1. If you do brilliantly in uni, but are not well behaved and appear limited in your worldview, you'll struggle.

  • Intern in Consulting
Jun 13, 2020 - 6:40pm

Whoops, I meant to hit reply but posted a new comment instead. Can't edit either so it's staying as is, sorry 'bout that. :)

  • Prospect in Other
Jun 13, 2020 - 6:55pm

This was really insightful. I am sorry but IB in India is quite the opposite. Only the smartest of the smartest can get in with a lot of technical knowledge get in and so perceived IB in Europe to be the same. But thanks for your suggestions, I will focus on UK targets.

  • Intern in Consulting
Jun 13, 2020 - 7:09pm

I see. Well for what it's worth, I didn't mean to suggest that intelligence is not valued here, it goes without saying that firms prefer to hire smart people. What I tried to stress is that technicals are more of a box to tick than a metric on which to rank candidates. Firms have various ways to assess intelligence that are generally not focused on financial minutiae. Training programs take care of what you need to know to do the work.

Best of luck to you!

Jun 14, 2020 - 11:16am

also just want to highlight that the LSE masters in finance program has a part time option so you could work for a BB in london while going to school. Very difficult to do that at oxford and some of the other schools you mentioned.

Feb 17, 2021 - 5:36am


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