MSF Programs: USC Marshall vs. Boston College Carroll vs. UT Austin McCombs

I am an international student with MSF offers from UT Austin, USC, and John's Hopkins. I am currently still waiting on Boston College and Vanderbilt for MSF, and Columbia for applied analytics. Looking for some suggestions in how I should rank my options, and where might be the best place to go if my further interest is to go into consulting.

My bid was with UT Austin given their career services, business school reputation, their prior placements into consulting, and their being a big target in the Texas area. However I have been hearing a lot of advocation for USC given their better location in regards to more finance focused opportunities along the west coast. Also people are saying that UT's career services might not definitely top USC given they are pretty lateral in their program quality. I actually haven't heard much about Boston College's MSF, so if anyone could contribute it would be greatly appreciated!

Currently my pros and cons are as follows:
UT Austin:
pro: tuition; career services; target in Texas
con: location? questionable whether will be STEM designated (heard still in process)

USC:
pro: LA/location for finance
con: tuition; dunno whether career services will be as good as UT (maybe they are the same)

BC:
pro: location; higher general ranking for school
con: dunno about job placements

Vanderbilt:
I think pretty much Vandy will top everything else if I get in? I heard their placements has been the best among the above mentioned schools.

I also applied for Vanderbilt, currently waiting on results. If anyone could input on that too it would mean a lot!!

My Background:
University of Toronto Economics Undergrad
Tsinghua University Masters in Management
(I am a Chinese Canadian who wish to maybe move back to China for further prospects, hence my going back for a degree)
Has consulting internship experience at Tier 2 firm

Thank you so much for any information!

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (18)

Mar 19, 2018 - 9:22am

thanks so much for your reply! sorry about the lack of clarity regarding wanting to move back to China. It is that currently Chinese employers really value experiences abroad, and that is also why I want to pursue a further finance masters and possibly gain some working experience in north america before considering options back in China.

Mar 19, 2018 - 10:38am
Jennifer-Li:

thanks so much for your reply! sorry about the lack of clarity regarding wanting to move back to China. It is that currently Chinese employers really value experiences abroad, and that is also why I want to pursue a further finance masters and possibly gain some working experience in north america before considering options back in China.

have you not had enough? USC or UT aren't ivy/top LAC equivalents, and Tsinghua is a feeder for all US top MBAs already. It'd be stupid to stay another year unless you can't find a job this year. Same argument for the U.S., because you already have a degree at Toronto, very well respected place.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Mar 19, 2018 - 11:28pm

That's a really good question, honestly I have been asking myself that question also, but maybe a little late. Honestly, I feel a huge part of my reason for application was because when I had applied to Tsinghua, it was a double degree with one year in Tsinghua and another masters at Columbia MSOR. Halfway through and after internships, I came to the realization that I wasn't right for data analytics. I wanted to pursue something else. So I decided to not go pursue the MSOR degree and apply to finance instead. So in some way I felt compelled to complete my original plan of studying in both China and the States. But I completely agree it is a very valid point that working and then maybe in a couple years apply to MBA may be a better path, and frankly it is something that I am currently considering as well. I really appreciate the question, it is very valid and true. Yet just since I already have these offers, I would also like to kinda you know rank them in order as well, just to keep my options open. I hope that clarifies and thanks for the reply.

Mar 20, 2018 - 4:18am

Probably will get shit on for this but I don't see why you can't just do corporate finance or something less competitive and then wait for the MBA. MSF program utility is less for internationals, gives a short window of opportunity, and doesn't have the breadth of employers compared to a top 20 MBA program. For example, bulge bracket NYC IBD is extremely rare from each of the MSF programs you mentioned. MAYBE 1 or 2 kids per class gets that kind of position. There is a shit ton of luck involved in doing such since most msf programs are at a semi-target, don't have a good internship experience, banks have limited and brief FT recruiting, and some firms assume MSF kids aren't good enough.

Since you have management consulting experience I don't see why not wait for the mba.

Mar 22, 2018 - 12:19am

Thanks for the advice, I think it makes a lot of sense. If I choose to wait for the MBA, would working experience in China be valued as much as say in north america? I feel the only value I see in pursuing another masters right now is the opportunity to find work in the US, because I assume if I want to achieve my ultimate goals I will have to do an mba regardless in the future again which makes me question life cause its really been a lot of school. Anyhow, if I stay in China and work for a couple years, what are my chances of pursuing a top MBA in the US eventually?

Mar 23, 2018 - 10:40pm

Could I please have some advice one how to choose between my current two options below:
1. go to one of the MSF programs in the US now
2. stay in china and work for a couple years then apply to MBA in the states (the states because given where I wanna work in the future US, Canada, China, or honestly wherever a degree in the US will be mostly recognized.)

I was just wondering which of these two options would be the better choice? Will kinda of chances will I have in getting into a relatively well MBA program in the US with working experience in China?

Thanks greatly! Really appreciate any suggestions, advice, and comments!

Oct 9, 2018 - 6:47pm

Hey Jennifer !

I was recently having the same problem deciding which path to take up. Since you're an international student trying to gain quality experience in the States (like me), I think you should consider a MSFs which are strictly STEM.

I narrowed down on this because:
1) STEM gives you upto 3 year opt after graduation to cover up costs and gain experience so you stick around longer and can then play the H1B lottery.
2) cheaper and shorter than an MBA which is usually 2 years and top tier MBAS require a load of experience and really expensive, you could use those 2 years to go work exp wise.
3) MBAs don't have a long opt before playing the H1B lottery so it gets risky to cover costs and get quality work ex given the whole trump administration and suff.

I am looking to get in as 2019 admit, so If you've done any more research that could enlighten me, please do share !

I hope this was helpful !

Oct 24, 2018 - 4:38am

I don't see why your work experience in China would not be valued by US MBA adcoms. Successful applicants to M7 MBA stem from Asia, India, China, and have work experience exclusively in their home countries.

If I may, I'd humbly advise you to consider the fact that if you do pursue a US MSF - which will be at a semi-target as only semi-targets do offer such programs - you will be perceived by MBA adcoms, upon applying years later, as having gone to a not-so-stellar school, from an academic standpoint. You will be placed in the bucket of applicants from US schools that aren't top schools/that aren't Ivy schools.

Whereas if you don't pursue the MSF path and focus on gaining work experience right now, given your already accumulated degrees, you'd be seen as a top applicant from a top chinese school (for Masters) and from the #1 Canadian University (for UG). You'd then be placed into a much more solid & prestigious bucket.

Are you able to see my point here?

For instance, I've seen a number of international graduates of top European pre-experience Master Programs (HEC Paris, top french school, London Business School). 3-to-5 years later, they ended up matriculating at H/S/W.

So now, I am seriously wondering if they would have been able to do it, had they attended the Vandy or USC MSF.

Your call.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

July 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (36) $363
  • Associates (210) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (121) $152
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $146
  • Intern/Summer Associate (102) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (449) $132
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (358) $82