MSF Question and Answer

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Mod Note (Andy) - as the year comes to an end we're reposting the top discussions from 2015. This one was originally posted 6/30/2015.

I get a ton of emails and answer a ton of posts asking similar questions so I thought I would answer the most common ones I get here and allow others to post their questions so everyone can see them and the subsequent answers. Hope this helps.

Summer Analyst Eligibility

* The SA position is really structured for undergraduate students. The whole reason undergraduates go for a SA position is because they aren't ready to work full time. If you are in a one year masters program is really doesn't make much sense to try for an SA spot when you are eligible for FT analyst recruiting.

Now if you feel that you need internship experience in order to be more competitive then your best bet is to look for an unpaid internship or something off cycle. This will give you FO finance type experience, increase your knowledge and something you can do during the school year thereby not making you ineligible for full time positions.

Does this mean you can't apply for a SA gig? No.

Smaller banks might be more open to this and through networking you might be able to go over HRs head, but if you can go for full time recruiting I would advise you do so.

Admissions advice

* I get this question at least 10 times a week. MSF programs are very different than MBA programs when it comes to admissions. You need to have the quantitative ability to succeed in the program and you also don't really get points for having diverse experience like you do in an MBA program. It is a specialized degree after all.

Low GPA (3.0 and below)

* Not a deal breaker. You need a strong GMAT (650 or higher). You need some finance internships and/or work experience. You need to explain when your GPA was low. You need to have a polish application. I've helped and know people with sub 3.0 GPA's get into all the main programs that everyone asks about.

Low GMAT (600-ish)

* Once again, not a complete deal breaker. You need to have a higher GPA, work experience, something to offset you. Lower GMAT will lower your shot at some MSF programs that tend to really focus on gmat scores, but it isn't a deal breaker like it would be in the MBA world. You just need to really be able to sell the fact that you can handle the rigor of the program and get a job.

No work experience

* This won't hurt your application, but it could hurt your recruiting. You really want to have some type of work/internship experience on your resume. There are so many things you pick up from having to show up to work and work with other people that can't be replicated in school. Get some experience, somehow.

What program should I attend?

* The million dollar question. You need to ask yourself where you want to work, do you need an internship, what type of career you are looking to get into, do you like the campus/surrounding area/program, etc. This isn't a math equation. Villanova is very different than Ohio State. WUSTL is very different from Claremont McKenna. Dukes MMS program is very different than UT Austin. MSF's are very regional and place as such.

Different programs also provide different internship opportunities throughout the school year. They are also set up differently. Some have a cohort where everyone takes the same classes together. Some have a hybrid program. Some have students take MBA level finance classes.

And why do I say you need to decide this yourself? Because if you can't figure out where you are most comfortable and what you want to do once you graduate you are going to have trouble regardless of where you go. Indecision is probably the biggest thing working against MSF students because of the tight timeline everyone is working under.

You need to know what you want to do and how you are going to go about doing it before Day 1 of class. And this includes knowing basic questions about yourself and career which easily narrow down which school you want to attend.

MSF Rankings

* There are none. A lot of stuff is ad hoc and puts MSF programs into tiers or whatever, but the degree and schools offering the degree haven't reached the level of the MBA degree. Even within the MBA you can't just look at pure rankings without factoring in career aspirations and local. Best thing you can do is look at placements and program locations and choose accordingly.

MMS vs. MSF

* MMS is a great degree and has some overlap with the MSF so it is often seen as a competitor. The main thing to consider is that the MMS is basically an MBA for students without the required work experience. It is ideal for those students who have liberal arts undergraduate degrees and are looking for a general, business overview. While it can place you into a financial role, I think too many people pursue it simply because of brand value which I feel can be a risky bet.

CFA vs. MSF

*CFA is great, but is a poor comparison. Many MSF graduates get their CFA and many students who have L1-L2 completed pursue an MSF. Both are great, have value and should be considered independently.

MSF vs. MBA

* Same advice as above. MSF is more of a mini reset button, allowing students another year in college to pursue their goals. MBA is for experienced individuals looking to rebrand, change careers or advance in their current industry.

Comments (239)

Jan 6, 2013

Any other questions post here and I will answer them as they come.

Jan 6, 2013

Are companies still confused what exactly a MSF is and why it different from other degrees? I ask because I always used to hear that people had to spend a considerable amount of time in each interview explaining to the recruiters what degree they are actually getting, let alone why it is valuable.

Jan 6, 2013
cakepie:

Are companies still confused what exactly a MSF is and why it different from other degrees? I ask because I always used to hear that people had to spend a considerable amount of time in each interview explaining to the recruiters what degree they are actually getting, let alone why it is valuable.

More people are starting to know about the degree, but it is still not as well known as other degrees. Have a 10 second elevator speech to describe it.

"One year, specialized graduate degree focused entirely on finance." Something along those lines.

Jan 6, 2013

Anthony, great post. When interviewed for FT, I am sure the question of "Why MSF?" will come up. How can you defend your choice when you pursued an MSF for another shot at FT recruiting?

Jan 6, 2013
KKS:

Anthony, great post. When interviewed for FT, I am sure the question of "Why MSF?" will come up. How can you defend your choice when you pursued an MSF for another shot at FT recruiting?

You wanted to study finance more in depth. You tried your best, but couldn't secure a FT position and wanted to learn more while having another shot at recruiting. You wanted to do banking and tried, but realized that you needed to beef up your resume so you did a masters, interned and XYZ.

Jan 6, 2013

Anthony, do you know how easy/difficult it might be to get a summer internship at a bank or boutique? Not necessarily an SA position per se, but just showing up and helping out/learning the environment. Also, to what extent would someone who does this be disadvantaged in comparison to other MSF students who have done SA positions before??

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Jan 6, 2013
HowardRoark:

Anthony, do you know how easy/difficult it might be to get a summer internship at a bank or boutique? Not necessarily an SA position per se, but just showing up and helping out/learning the environment. Also, to what extent would someone who does this be disadvantaged in comparison to other MSF students who have done SA positions before??

Send out emails and call up boutiques in the area. This is why I mention in my original post that you need to know what you want to do and what you need to do to achieve this. If you feel like you need an internship you are better off picking an MSF program located near an urban area with potential internships. If you already have an SA or two you can decide on the program without thinking about the need to intern.

Are you at a disadvantage? Yeah, I would say so. You can make up for this with a good GPA in your masters, an unpaid internship, superior networking skills, etc.

Jan 7, 2013
TNA:
HowardRoark:

Anthony, do you know how easy/difficult it might be to get a summer internship at a bank or boutique? Not necessarily an SA position per se, but just showing up and helping out/learning the environment. Also, to what extent would someone who does this be disadvantaged in comparison to other MSF students who have done SA positions before??

Send out emails and call up boutiques in the area. This is why I mention in my original post that you need to know what you want to do and what you need to do to achieve this. If you feel like you need an internship you are better off picking an MSF program located near an urban area with potential internships. If you already have an SA or two you can decide on the program without thinking about the need to intern.

Are you at a disadvantage? Yeah, I would say so. You can make up for this with a good GPA in your masters, an unpaid internship, superior networking skills, etc.

As far as I know, MSF is 10 or 12 months straight program. How do you do internship while your full time at school? Would that even be possible?

Jul 7, 2015

Personally, I went to a low tier MSF-style program. After about 50 applications I ended up getting a SA internship at a bank that is in the top 15-20 by trading volume. After about 70 more applications and tons of networking, I had FT interviews at some top 10 banks. To summarize, it's definitely possible, and if you're at a school with a better rep than mine, you could do well with SA recruiting.

Jan 6, 2013

Great post ANT, this needs to make the front page.

Jan 7, 2013

Thanks for this ANT, I did have a few questions about this, some which you answered in your initial post.

I live in and was hoping to stay in LA, so looks like I need to target Claremont initially.

How well does a MSF(or even a MAcc) help in rebranding if you come from a total non-target with a poor GPA(2.8-3.1 area).

Does the MSF place ok into Consulting at all or mainly banking?

Top MFin programs(MIT, UCB, CMU etc.), poor GPA but killer GMAT, still a chance?

Do these programs consider age heavily?

Again, thanks for doing this.

Jan 7, 2013
twinb:

Thanks for this ANT, I did have a few questions about this, some which you answered in your initial post.

I live in and was hoping to stay in LA, so looks like I need to target Claremont initially.

How well does a MSF(or even a MAcc) help in rebranding if you come from a total non-target with a poor GPA(2.8-3.1 area).

Does the MSF place ok into Consulting at all or mainly banking?

Top MFin programs(MIT, UCB, CMU etc.), poor GPA but killer GMAT, still a chance?

Do these programs consider age heavily?

Again, thanks for doing this.

Claremont is the best West Coast MSF and one of the best in the country. They are also very, very selective. You might run into issues with a GPA in the range. You are going to need a very, very good GMAT also (think 720+).

MSF's can and do place into consulting, but it is usually somehow related to the financial industry. Depending on how you spin it you can go into other areas I suppose.

Two of the top "MSF" programs you listed are MFE programs. They are also some of the best programs and will probably have high GPA and GMAT requirements. Once again, not saying no possibility, but I would have some other schools as back ups.

Age is generally not focused on, but if you are more of an MBA candidate you should be prepared to answer the "Why an MSF and not an MBA" question.

Jan 7, 2013
TNA:

Age is generally not focused on, but if you are more of an MBA candidate you should be prepared to answer the "Why an MSF and not an MBA" question.

Thanks. I'm actually returning to school late. Left school my first time around, so if I do go MSF it'll be straight out of undergrad. I'll be 31. I'm sure that'll be another set of questions I need to answer.

I might have to buy some credits to SB you. Really appreciate your help.

Jan 7, 2013

thanks ant, will put this up on the homepage

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Jan 7, 2013

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Jan 7, 2013

ANT,

At what point (amount of work experience) does the MSF start to lose value? For instance, would it still be valuable for someone with say three years of less than ideal work experience (i.e. brokerage followed by boutique ER)? Less valuable for that person than a person still in undergrad?

Thanks.

Jan 7, 2013
nebben2k10:

ANT,

At what point (amount of work experience) does the MSF start to lose value? For instance, would it still be valuable for someone with say three years of less than ideal work experience (i.e. brokerage followed by boutique ER)? Less valuable for that person than a person still in undergrad?

Thanks.

This issue is really with recruiters. If you have more than say two years work experience you sort of look like an MBA-ish candidate. What I mean is HR/recruiters start thinking of you as someone not really well suited for a analyst position, which is what you are really qualified for. You are also not suited for an associate role since you don't have the experience or the MBA.

Now if you have good experience and an MSF you could come in as an associate, but it is the exception, not the rule.

MSF placements are primarily at the analyst level for FO finance because people with experience in FO finance go the MBA route. As more top schools offer the degree and the MBA value levels off you might see more people with banking/trading/PE experience doing a 1 year masters and going right back to work. As of right now it isn't the norm.

Outside of FO type finance, you can use the MSF as an MBA alternative. F500 generally doesn't care as I have seen recruiters lump MSF students in with MBA students.

In general though, once you start having 2-3 years work experience you want to think about the MBA if you are aiming for FO type finance jobs.

Jan 7, 2013

I find it kind of hilarious that TNA has changed his name a few times and everyone still knows his as the loveable curmudgeon that is Anthony.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Jan 7, 2013
happypantsmcgee:

I find it kind of hilarious that TNA has changed his name a few times and everyone still knows his as the loveable curmudgeon that is Anthony.

Been around a long time I suppose haha

Jan 7, 2013

Great Stuff

Jan 7, 2013

MsF at non-target and pursueing CFA... just trying to make a name for myself in this jungle!

Jan 7, 2013

ANT,

First off, this is my first post on here but I have read a lot of your posts and they are extremely informative and thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us.

I am from the Philadelphia area so the Villanova MSF is very attractive, but not exactly sure of my career goals. Would you recommend a master of management (Duke MMS) or Master of Commerce (UVA) or similar programs over an MSF for someone more interested in consulting or simply someone who is not sure they are interested in more 'pure' finance jobs?

Jan 7, 2013
csb5255:

ANT,

First off, this is my first post on here but I have read a lot of your posts and they are extremely informative and thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us.

I am from the Philadelphia area so the Villanova MSF is very attractive, but not exactly sure of my career goals. Would you recommend a master of management (Duke MMS) or Master of Commerce (UVA) or similar programs over an MSF for someone more interested in consulting or simply someone who is not sure they are interested in more 'pure' finance jobs?

Do you have a finance/business UG? If so UVA is going to ding you. With that said, if you are unsure of your direction and want to apply to non finance jobs as well as finance jobs, the less specialized degree might be better. But realize that there are pros and cons to that approach.

Without knowing more about your background and stuff like that I can't really say one way or another though.

Jan 7, 2013

+1 great post Ant.

Hit me up in early summer so I can give you an interview/program review/etc.

Jan 7, 2013

How do you feel about European MSF's for a US student? Programs like Bocconi, Stockholm School of Economics, HEC Paris, St. Gallen, Oxford/Cambridge/LSE?

If you only speak English, by attending a Euro school would you be pigeonholing yourself to IB positions in England (a country which, from what I've read, is very stingy on granting workers permits for foreigners)?

Jan 7, 2013
IB_hopeful:

How do you feel about European MSF's for a US student? Programs like Bocconi, Stockholm School of Economics, HEC Paris, St. Gallen, Oxford/Cambridge/LSE?

If you only speak English, by attending a Euro school would you be pigeonholing yourself to IB positions in England (a country which, from what I've read, is very stingy on granting workers permits for foreigners)?

I think some European programs are worth it, but it is tough getting a job in London as a foreigner right now. I am not super close to these programs, but I have heard about the employment issues. I'd imagine Oxford/Cambridge and LSE would translate fairly well back in the states though.

Jan 7, 2013
TNA:
IB_hopeful:

How do you feel about European MSF's for a US student? Programs like Bocconi, Stockholm School of Economics, HEC Paris, St. Gallen, Oxford/Cambridge/LSE?

If you only speak English, by attending a Euro school would you be pigeonholing yourself to IB positions in England (a country which, from what I've read, is very stingy on granting workers permits for foreigners)?

I think some European programs are worth it, but it is tough getting a job in London as a foreigner right now. I am not super close to these programs, but I have heard about the employment issues. I'd imagine Oxford/Cambridge and LSE would translate fairly well back in the states though.

I think if you are from the States and plan on working in the States after the MSF or you feel your chances of getting a permit in Europe are low (most likely they are) then you are better off pursuing US MSF programs because if you went to Europe you would lose out on two of the most valuable aspects of an MSF: 1) Regional placements/OCR and 2) alumni network that will be able to help to you out in the job search (sure there are TONS of LSE grads working in finance in Europe but if you can't get a permit then it really doesn't mean shit to you).

Ant - Is this a fair assessment?

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Jan 7, 2013

Does it make sense for a Canadian like me to pursue a top MSF in the States if I'm looking to work in the States? How hard is it for me to get a work permit?

Jan 7, 2013
JYFresh:

Does it make sense for a Canadian like me to pursue a top MSF in the States if I'm looking to work in the States? How hard is it for me to get a work permit?

I think Canadians have it a little easier, but sponsorship still has a cost. I'd email HR at some banks and take a temperature of the market. If English is your first language it will help for sure.

Jan 7, 2013

Hi, I am based in the UK where there are several specialist Master's programmes such as MSc in Finance and Private Equity (LSE), MSc in Investment Management (Cass/City), MSc in Financial Economics (Oxford), MSc in Risk Management (Imperial). If you were coming from a non-finance background, eg. a pure liberal arts grad, would studying for one of these degrees at a target university increase your chance of getting a FT job in the financial services (in a chosen area)? In the US, target universities don't offer these Master's programmes, do they?

I am just wondering what benefits these specialist Master's degrees bring to your CV. These Master's programmes are expensive, costing $30,000 - 40,000. The HR normally chooses not to see the Master's qualifications in your CV. Instead they insist on GPA3.5 or something like that?

Jan 7, 2013
clungeandman:

Hi, I am based in the UK where there are several specialist Master's programmes such as MSc in Finance and Private Equity (LSE), MSc in Investment Management (Cass/City), MSc in Financial Economics (Oxford), MSc in Risk Management (Imperial). If you were coming from a non-finance background, eg. a pure liberal arts grad, would studying for one of these degrees at a target university increase your chance of getting a FT job in the financial services (in a chosen area)? In the US, target universities don't offer these Master's programmes, do they?

I am just wondering what benefits these specialist Master's degrees bring to your CV. These Master's programmes are expensive, costing $30,000 - 40,000. The HR normally chooses not to see the Master's qualifications in your CV. Instead they insist on GPA3.5 or something like that?

I think you need to remember that unlike in the USA, the specialized masters is essentially the defacto terminal degree. So getting an MSc is the equivalent to getting an MBA in the USA.

And I think you would see a boost in your ability to get into a financial position supposing you went to a lesser known school.

Jan 7, 2013

Can you elaborate on the terminal-ness of these European degrees? For some reason, you don't need work experience, not the kind where you manage a club or lead a team in a trading competition, proper work experience to study for these specialised degrees. How can they be terminal? You end up applying for an entry-level position with a specialised Master's, the position you could have obtained without the expensive degree? Do these Master's degrees actually add any value to your CV?

Jan 7, 2013

Is a low GMAT score (650-700) a problem during recruiting, will banks ask for my score knowing I am in an MSF/MMS and had to take it to gain acceptance?

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 7, 2013
BepBep12:

Is a low GMAT score (650-700) a problem during recruiting, will banks ask for my score knowing I am in an MSF/MMS and had to take it to gain acceptance?

Don't put your GMAT down. I'll never understand why people put it on their resume. It isn't a gauge of intelligence, just your ability to spend time and money to get a score on an otherwise arbitrary test.

Get a good GPA in your MSF program and that should be all you need to put down.

Jan 8, 2013
BepBep12:

Is a low GMAT score (650-700) a problem during recruiting, will banks ask for my score knowing I am in an MSF/MMS and had to take it to gain acceptance?

I had the same concern going into recruiting this fall and my GMAT was even lower than that ... I obviously left it off my resume and it literally never came up in 10+ on campus interviews and 3 super days I went through so don't worry about it too much. If you're going for analyst positions (which I was) then GPA is the statistic interviewers care about because your undergrad competition have not taken the GMAT.

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Jan 9, 2013
The Kid:
BepBep12:

Is a low GMAT score (650-700) a problem during recruiting, will banks ask for my score knowing I am in an MSF/MMS and had to take it to gain acceptance?

I had the same concern going into recruiting this fall and my GMAT was even lower than that ... I obviously left it off my resume and it literally never came up in 10+ on campus interviews and 3 super days I went through so don't worry about it too much. If you're going for analyst positions (which I was) then GPA is the statistic interviewers care about because your undergrad competition have not taken the GMAT.

That is awesome to hear... this exam has been a monkey on my back for a few months now.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 7, 2013

Great information. Thanks. I did have some question and wanted to ask for your advice. I graduated 2012 winter with finance degree, a couple months ago. I applied for MSF programs starting at 2013 fall and I am still waiting for the offers. I was thinking I should try gain some related experience or take the CFA level 1 test at June 2013. It is hard to get an intern because most interns are for undergrads like you said. Do you have any suggestions for me on using the half year time wisely before school? Thank you.

Jan 7, 2013
hewenxun376:

Great information. Thanks. I did have some question and wanted to ask for your advice. I graduated 2012 winter with finance degree, a couple months ago. I applied for MSF programs starting at 2013 fall and I am still waiting for the offers. I was thinking I should try gain some related experience or take the CFA level 1 test at June 2013. It is hard to get an intern because most interns are for undergrads like you said. Do you have any suggestions for me on using the half year time wisely before school? Thank you.

I'd just start emailing smaller, local firms. That is the thing about unpaid, off cycle internships. Really depends on your location and what you can get.

As for the CFA, sure, wouldn't hurt. CFA and MSF are complimentary. Having L1 will set you apart some from other students and make your time in the program easier.

Jan 7, 2013

would you recommend an MSF for someone like me from a complete non target state school, who is having a hard time breaking into IB/consulting, straight out of undergrad? Or should i work a couple of years with some finance related work and try for an MBA?

Jan 8, 2013
CKIB91:

would you recommend an MSF for someone like me from a complete non target state school, who is having a hard time breaking into IB/consulting, straight out of undergrad? Or should i work a couple of years with some finance related work and try for an MBA?

If you want to work in FO finance you are going to need a top MBA. Getting into a top MBA is a function of UG reputation, UG GPA, work experience (quality, quantity and responsibility), etc.

So right off the bat you have a non target school, hopefully a good GPA and now you need the work experience. But since work experience is a function many times of the school you went to, you now have probably two hurdles to overcome in order to get into that top MBA.

Would I recommend it? If you can't land a job at a reputable company with decent experience, sure, it might be a good idea. But make sure you have some internship/work experience so your resume has some depth to it. And if you do an MSF, try and go to a school with a decent brand/ranking. It will help bolster your MBA app chance and make getting a job upon graduation much easier.

Jan 7, 2013

I'm a senior at a non target state school. I have worked nearly 1 year as an unpaid intern in a regional boutique. The firm is essentially a startup, and while we have a couple deals under our belt, I don't see much in terms of career growth. Do you think it would benefit me to pursue an MSF, or would my time be better spent taking a corp fin job and networking?

Best Response
Jan 8, 2013
watdo:

I'm a senior at a non target state school. I have worked nearly 1 year as an unpaid intern in a regional boutique. The firm is essentially a startup, and while we have a couple deals under our belt, I don't see much in terms of career growth. Do you think it would benefit me to pursue an MSF, or would my time be better spent taking a corp fin job and networking?

Depends on what you want to do. You could go do an MSF, keep your relationship with this firm and hope something opens up as a fall back, while networking and interviewing at larger banks. Or you could do F500 and be happy. Really depends on your career goals, desires, etc. Only you can answer those.

Jan 7, 2013

Is the GRE not valued as highly as the GMAT for MSF programs? Can a high GRE help offset a low GPA?

And what do you think of the MSF program at SMU (in terms of job placement)?

Thanks for your informative posts.

Jan 8, 2013
aurelius:

Is the GRE not valued as highly as the GMAT for MSF programs? Can a high GRE help offset a low GPA?

And what do you think of the MSF program at SMU (in terms of job placement)?

Thanks for your informative posts.

I've heard GRE is a little easier than the GMAT, but have no first hand experience. A high GRE/GMAT can help offset a low GPA.

SMU will place well in Dallas and the Texas area. It will be second to UT Austin's program and also compete with Tulane. Keep that in mind.

Jan 8, 2013

Silver Banana to Anthony for another informative MSF Post...

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Jan 8, 2013

This might not apply to everyone, but I guess people that are bringing in FT work experience to an MSF and looking for a leg up during IBD recruiting. Is it necessary to have another internship experience related to banking if you are currently working in finance? For example, I'm an FP&A analyst at an F500 firm and I did a PE internship at the UG level. Would you recommend someone with this type of background quit his or her FT job to pursue a more closely related internship?

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 8, 2013

I am in the EC major, and wondering if a business minor will help me to be more competitive for the MSF admission? or the program will not care about the minor at all?
do you know which programs tend to focus on GMAT scores?
once again, thanks a lot for the information!

Jan 8, 2013
appyz:

I am in the EC major, and wondering if a business minor will help me to be more competitive for the MSF admission? or the program will not care about the minor at all?
do you know which programs tend to focus on GMAT scores?
once again, thanks a lot for the information!

At the risk of pissing of ANT since its his thread - all of the top programs care about the GMAT score as they require it for admission. You should look at the average / median GMAT scores that the schools you are interested in are reporting and target that number. Additionally, your Q/V sub-scores tend to matter more than the composite score i.e. 700/710... as low Q-scores w/ relatively high V-scores still produce 'good' overall scores, but are slightly handicapped.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 9, 2013
BepBep12:
appyz:

I am in the EC major, and wondering if a business minor will help me to be more competitive for the MSF admission? or the program will not care about the minor at all?
do you know which programs tend to focus on GMAT scores?
once again, thanks a lot for the information!

At the risk of pissing of ANT since its his thread - all of the top programs care about the GMAT score as they require it for admission. You should look at the average / median GMAT scores that the schools you are interested in are reporting and target that number. Additionally, your Q/V sub-scores tend to matter more than the composite score i.e. 700/710... as low Q-scores w/ relatively high V-scores still produce 'good' overall scores, but are slightly handicapped.

No worries, I rarely get pissed.

All schools care about GMAT as it is a required piece of your admissions package and something that measure you by. But not all schools care about it equally. Claremont McKenna, MIT, they really care about it. WUSTL a little also. The other MSF programs consider it, but other things can offset a lower GMAT.

The MSF isn't at the point where top MBA's are where you need to have almost a bullet proof application throughout. You can have weaknesses offset by strengths and still get in.

Jan 8, 2013

i am applying to MS Finance at Deisunburg school of finance in Netherlands. anyone have some good info on it?

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." ~George Moore

Jan 8, 2013

Great info and helpful!

Jan 9, 2013

Agree with above. This is not a condemnation on the GMAT as it is obviously something to take very seriously, but it doesn't mean much when it comes to recruiting, especially for the MSF. Schools like people who can be employed and if you show them that, along with being able to handle the material, your GMAT score will weigh very little.

Remember, GMAT scores only really matter with regards to rankings. Until the MSF is ranked there will be flexibility.

Jan 9, 2013

Hey Ant,

Is Claremont at the point now where it can be grouped with MIT? Just going off some of the comments in this thread.

Jan 9, 2013
bigblue3908:

Hey Ant,

Is Claremont at the point now where it can be grouped with MIT? Just going off some of the comments in this thread.

I think MIT is still the best, simply because of the brand, but Claremont is one of the best programs and arguably the ideal one if you want to work on the East Coast. Their GMAT averages are amazing, very selective and well thought out program.

Jan 9, 2013

Great post. Any comparison of MFEs vs MS Statistics? I have two years of work experience in a front office job at a BB - just that it's in a IBD/Structured Finance kind of role and not in the markets. I have an Econ degree which was fairly quantitative - linear algebra, probability theory, calc III, a bunch of econometric courses, financing engineering etc. However I don't feel 100% comfortable solving ODEs and PDEs - I'd much rather build a black litterman model in R. They're both heavily quantitative but for some reason I can't do pure math (or at least don't enjoy it).

Therefore I was looking at a MS Statistics program at the top schools. My only concern is the placement. I'm sure the program doesn't have dedicated placement or OCR, but I feel if I go to a top school they regular recruiting presents enough top notch opportunities in trading/quant.

Let me know if you guys have any input.

Jan 9, 2013
oliver13:

Great post. Any comparison of MFEs vs MS Statistics? I have two years of work experience in a front office job at a BB - just that it's in a IBD/Structured Finance kind of role and not in the markets. I have an Econ degree which was fairly quantitative - linear algebra, probability theory, calc III, a bunch of econometric courses, financing engineering etc. However I don't feel 100% comfortable solving ODEs and PDEs - I'd much rather build a black litterman model in R. They're both heavily quantitative but for some reason I can't do pure math (or at least don't enjoy it).

Therefore I was looking at a MS Statistics program at the top schools. My only concern is the placement. I'm sure the program doesn't have dedicated placement or OCR, but I feel if I go to a top school they regular recruiting presents enough top notch opportunities in trading/quant.

Let me know if you guys have any input.

Go look at Princeton or MIT. Princeton is going to be more MFin-ish, but still not pure quant finance type program. MIT allows for some customization so you could most likely dial up the quant if you wanted.

With your work experience you will be enticing to both.

Jan 9, 2013
TNA:
oliver13:

Great post. Any comparison of MFEs vs MS Statistics? I have two years of work experience in a front office job at a BB - just that it's in a IBD/Structured Finance kind of role and not in the markets. I have an Econ degree which was fairly quantitative - linear algebra, probability theory, calc III, a bunch of econometric courses, financing engineering etc. However I don't feel 100% comfortable solving ODEs and PDEs - I'd much rather build a black litterman model in R. They're both heavily quantitative but for some reason I can't do pure math (or at least don't enjoy it).

Therefore I was looking at a MS Statistics program at the top schools. My only concern is the placement. I'm sure the program doesn't have dedicated placement or OCR, but I feel if I go to a top school they regular recruiting presents enough top notch opportunities in trading/quant.

Let me know if you guys have any input.

Go look at Princeton or MIT. Princeton is going to be more MFin-ish, but still not pure quant finance type program. MIT allows for some customization so you could most likely dial up the quant if you wanted.

With your work experience you will be enticing to both.

Thanks, that makes sense. Funnily enough I got into MITs program before starting work but turned it down cos FT work seemed more enticing. So you'd say MIT MFin would still be better than let's say a Harvard MS Statistics?

Jan 9, 2013

What schools should I look into?

Education
Non-target state school, pure math major
Cumulative GPA 3.7
Math GPA 3.3
Econ/finance GPA 3.8
1 gap year due to personal issues (well documented and approved by school committee/ hearing)
also 2 semesters dropped for a total of 10 Ws due to the same personal problem.
Graduate in 5 years

Work exp
7 internships total, breakdown as follows:
2 IB summer analyst roles
2 ER winter intern roles (1 with semi-known canadian MM bank)
3 PE internships with the same firm - firm is high caliber, best/famous in it's strategy focus, and regularly attracts GS/JPM analysts

Reccs
1 from econ professor who is former MD at a BB
1 from MD at PE fund I interned at. MD is ex-CEO for one of the largest biotech IPOs

GMAT
none taken yet

reason for MSF
-need strong OCR to help with recruiting
-I didn't have the chance to study finance because personal problems meant I had to speed through my upperclassmen years and focus on graduation requirements

Jan 10, 2013
couchy:

What schools should I look into?

Education
Non-target state school, pure math major
Cumulative GPA 3.7
Math GPA 3.3
Econ/finance GPA 3.8
1 gap year due to personal issues (well documented and approved by school committee/ hearing)
also 2 semesters dropped for a total of 10 Ws due to the same personal problem.
Graduate in 5 years

Work exp
7 internships total, breakdown as follows:
2 IB summer analyst roles
2 ER winter intern roles (1 with semi-known canadian MM bank)
3 PE internships with the same firm - firm is high caliber, best/famous in it's strategy focus, and regularly attracts GS/JPM analysts

Reccs
1 from econ professor who is former MD at a BB
1 from MD at PE fund I interned at. MD is ex-CEO for one of the largest biotech IPOs

GMAT
none taken yet

reason for MSF
-need strong OCR to help with recruiting
-I didn't have the chance to study finance because personal problems meant I had to speed through my upperclassmen years and focus on graduation requirements

I'd crush the GMAT and I could see you being competitive for MIT. You get a 650-700 on your GMAT and you will give in at just about all MSF programs, with money from a handful.

Good GPA, math major which is nice, solid internships, good recs. You will be fine. Just focus on the GMAT.

Jan 9, 2013

Would you happen to have any insight in Canadian MSF/MFin?

Most seem to be 2 years (ie. UofT and Laurier) while Queen's new(er) MFin is only 1 year part time.

Queens seems to have a great brand (especially on a global level) yet their MFin program doesn't seem to be placing candidates well into significant positions (ie. no IBD that I've research). In addition they seem to be attracting international talent that have only international work experience and doesn't seem to be able to find anything worthwhile locally. The few who have decent positions (that I can find on linkedin) seemed to have gotten where they have without the MFin to begin with.

In addition I was curious if you'd be able to list off a few "common" areas that MSF/MFin grads tend to get hired for, ie. S&T, research, etc. I'm looking to rebrand a non finance undergrad and MFin seems to be a great potential given its cost, and time vs MBA, but it seems that while the MFin is less of a "risk" the "rewards" are also capped vs what an MBA rebranding might allow for.

Any insight to the mental rant about would be great!

Jan 10, 2013
nubsauce:

Would you happen to have any insight in Canadian MSF/MFin?

Most seem to be 2 years (ie. UofT and Laurier) while Queen's new(er) MFin is only 1 year part time.

Queens seems to have a great brand (especially on a global level) yet their MFin program doesn't seem to be placing candidates well into significant positions (ie. no IBD that I've research). In addition they seem to be attracting international talent that have only international work experience and doesn't seem to be able to find anything worthwhile locally. The few who have decent positions (that I can find on linkedin) seemed to have gotten where they have without the MFin to begin with.

In addition I was curious if you'd be able to list off a few "common" areas that MSF/MFin grads tend to get hired for, ie. S&T, research, etc. I'm looking to rebrand a non finance undergrad and MFin seems to be a great potential given its cost, and time vs MBA, but it seems that while the MFin is less of a "risk" the "rewards" are also capped vs what an MBA rebranding might allow for.

Any insight to the mental rant about would be great!

Yeah, Canada is a small MSF player. HEC Montreal is another one to look at I suppose. Weird they do the 2 year thing since UK and Europe all do 1 year and you'd think they would mirror them. Who knows.

MSF grads place into banking, F500, Credit Analysis, RE, etc. S&T and Capital Markets are within reach, I just don't know too many people personally from there. Basically anything within the financial field, with some consulting here and there. People also do PhD's if that interests you.

Jan 10, 2013

Great thread and topic.. I know this is going to be long but this way maybe others who share at least some of these details could apply it to them as well, but if you could what's your take on this situation: Currently a senior set to graduate in May from a non-target, one of the higher ranked UG business schools and has been getting more looks from BB recently but not at full target status for FT analysts, strong finance program but still overshadowed by accounting which is a farm for Big 4 each year...I'm a double in finance and economics, and an engineering minor, with several leadership positions in EC's and potential of another this semester for the student investment management group. Also, thanks to special offerings through the fin department, I became certified for BT (equity, FI, FX, commodity), CQG charting/tech analysis, and ThomOne.

Started off with a strong 1st year and coming in a semester ahead on credits was guided and influenced to declare acct by an UG adviser because of the school's rep for it etc. but not knowing much about the type of work & exit opps available, so did that and got greedy working my physical job from HS during the summer instead of beginning to network with a basic intern offered through contacts. All fault on me here for bombing 2nd year by getting distracted/unmotivated and not knowing & valuing the importance of a strong GPA vs. a decent one, again passed up a basic intern the summer between 2nd-3rd years in order to load up credits to meet the 150 CPA requirement (again, pressured to do so, this time by my acct major adviser). Wanted to study abroad and also realized I didn't want to go the route of Big 4 (or acct as a major in general) early into my 3rd year after an annual conference for acct majors at my school, switched into fin and econ (which were the only intro classes I enjoyed & did well in my 2nd year), did the bare minimum to just pass an upper level acct course I no longer needed but couldn't drop in order to stay above the FT student credit minimum so I decided in taking it Pass/Fail (acct office mishandled my request because "no one ever took this class P/F before because everyone taking this class only does because they have to for their major" but never informed me of it, found out when it was too late to do anything) and my GPA took a big hit from this barely passing grade. Studied abroad in Spain for a semester with an unpaid intern doing corp fin work for a large airline, then SA in Canada at a growing service co. in the oil/petro industry doing financial & cost accounting modeling/analysis. Going into the final semester my cumulative GPA is at 3.2, major GPA a 3.7, and a 3rd/4th year GPA of 3.6 (after factoring out the very low grade in that acct course had the P/F been done correctly, cumulative GPA would be about 3.3 which still isn't great, and 3rd/4th year GPA would be in the 3.7 range, shame on me for not following up on such matters, that lesson was learned the hard way and won't be forgotten easily). Realistically, knowing my courseload and other factors, I can expect to graduate with a cumulative overall of 3.3, major of 3.8, and 3rd/4th year of 3.8 also.

I hadn't applied to many jobs this past semester, mainly because I wanted to see how the semester went and until I got the grades back, in order to better understand where I was at in applying with realistic expectations, keeping in mind my sub-par GPA from a non target in order to get into ER/IBD/PE. I recently applied to several firms gathering and reviewing resumes for FT analysts. It also is worth mentioning that I realize I don't have a significant network of connections that can make a significant impact as far as HR/recruiting goes on the street (most direct contacts are fairly recent alums or older siblings of friends working at BB/MM and very few in PE/MF, and finance professors with whom I don't feel the need just yet to go to with the plea of "please help me find a job") Hypothetically speaking, if a FT offer is not received by graduation, or more pressingly in the next weeks to 2 months, do you think it would it be advisable to do any of the following:

1) Deffer graduating, try for a more traditional SA role at a boutique or other firm that still might take on someone in my position, use the fall semester for another internship opportunity, the benefits of which would be the potential of a FT offer and another opportunity at the FT recruiting process, and retake any number of classes to replace the low grades and boost my overall GPA either part-time during the summer/fall/spring, and graduate either Dec 2013/May 2014?

or 2) Finally making the connection to this thread, graduate in May & go for the MSAF or MSEcon at my school, or prepare to sit for GRE/GMAT and apply to some of the MSF programs named earlier (MIT, Princton) probably get a really late start to a career, and just about all of the other points already discussed by earlier posts...

Thanks in advance for any advice, really sorry if someone took the time to read that.

Jan 10, 2013
plu732:

Great thread and topic.. I know this is going to be long but this way maybe others who share at least some of these details could apply it to them as well, but if you could what's your take on this situation: Currently a senior set to graduate in May from a non-target, one of the higher ranked UG business schools and has been getting more looks from BB recently but not at full target status for FT analysts, strong finance program but still overshadowed by accounting which is a farm for Big 4 each year...I'm a double in finance and economics, and an engineering minor, with several leadership positions in EC's and potential of another this semester for the student investment management group. Also, thanks to special offerings through the fin department, I became certified for BT (equity, FI, FX, commodity), CQG charting/tech analysis, and ThomOne.

Started off with a strong 1st year and coming in a semester ahead on credits was guided and influenced to declare acct by an UG adviser because of the school's rep for it etc. but not knowing much about the type of work & exit opps available, so did that and got greedy working my physical job from HS during the summer instead of beginning to network with a basic intern offered through contacts. All fault on me here for bombing 2nd year by getting distracted/unmotivated and not knowing & valuing the importance of a strong GPA vs. a decent one, again passed up a basic intern the summer between 2nd-3rd years in order to load up credits to meet the 150 CPA requirement (again, pressured to do so, this time by my acct major adviser). Wanted to study abroad and also realized I didn't want to go the route of Big 4 (or acct as a major in general) early into my 3rd year after an annual conference for acct majors at my school, switched into fin and econ (which were the only intro classes I enjoyed & did well in my 2nd year), did the bare minimum to just pass an upper level acct course I no longer needed but couldn't drop in order to stay above the FT student credit minimum so I decided in taking it Pass/Fail (acct office mishandled my request because "no one ever took this class P/F before because everyone taking this class only does because they have to for their major" but never informed me of it, found out when it was too late to do anything) and my GPA took a big hit from this barely passing grade. Studied abroad in Spain for a semester with an unpaid intern doing corp fin work for a large airline, then SA in Canada at a growing service co. in the oil/petro industry doing financial & cost accounting modeling/analysis. Going into the final semester my cumulative GPA is at 3.2, major GPA a 3.7, and a 3rd/4th year GPA of 3.6 (after factoring out the very low grade in that acct course had the P/F been done correctly, cumulative GPA would be about 3.3 which still isn't great, and 3rd/4th year GPA would be in the 3.7 range, shame on me for not following up on such matters, that lesson was learned the hard way and won't be forgotten easily). Realistically, knowing my courseload and other factors, I can expect to graduate with a cumulative overall of 3.3, major of 3.8, and 3rd/4th year of 3.8 also.

I hadn't applied to many jobs this past semester, mainly because I wanted to see how the semester went and until I got the grades back, in order to better understand where I was at in applying with realistic expectations, keeping in mind my sub-par GPA from a non target in order to get into ER/IBD/PE. I recently applied to several firms gathering and reviewing resumes for FT analysts. It also is worth mentioning that I realize I don't have a significant network of connections that can make a significant impact as far as HR/recruiting goes on the street (most direct contacts are fairly recent alums or older siblings of friends working at BB/MM and very few in PE/MF, and finance professors with whom I don't feel the need just yet to go to with the plea of "please help me find a job") Hypothetically speaking, if a FT offer is not received by graduation, or more pressingly in the next weeks to 2 months, do you think it would it be advisable to do any of the following:

1) Deffer graduating, try for a more traditional SA role at a boutique or other firm that still might take on someone in my position, use the fall semester for another internship opportunity, the benefits of which would be the potential of a FT offer and another opportunity at the FT recruiting process, and retake any number of classes to replace the low grades and boost my overall GPA either part-time during the summer/fall/spring, and graduate either Dec 2013/May 2014?

or 2) Finally making the connection to this thread, graduate in May & go for the MSAF or MSEcon at my school, or prepare to sit for GRE/GMAT and apply to some of the MSF programs named earlier (MIT, Princton) probably get a really late start to a career, and just about all of the other points already discussed by earlier posts...

Thanks in advance for any advice, really sorry if someone took the time to read that.

I'd probably delay graduation and have an easy extra semester so you can intern and juice the GPA. This is assuming you can land a FT SA gig. Your UG is good and well regarded. Start networking now and build that up. I'd reach out to those finance professors also. No shame in asking them.

Frankly, I think you have too many positive options right now to be considering an MSF. You're in a decent position right now and most likely won't need to worry about a masters if you play your cards right.

Jan 10, 2013

TNA, thanks for this post. Very timely. I'm currently applying to several MSF programs in the DC area and online. I have 2 previous UG science degrees, both high GPAs, and 10+ years of computer science/engineering WE. I want to use my CS experience to migrate into the finance field, specifically HF doing automated to semi-automated trading. I know I have stepping stones to get there, but this is the goal. Since I want to remain technically oriented with a finance focus, I see this more as a career refocus than a new beginning. But based on some of the comments in this thread, I wonder if an MBA might be a better option, since I do have the WE and am a bit older than most (mid-30s) in this position. I thought about the CQF or MFE, but wanted to not get so deeply mathematically oriented to leave myself more options in the future, so settled on the MSF. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time.

Jan 10, 2013
52x15:

TNA, thanks for this post. Very timely. I'm currently applying to several MSF programs in the DC area and online. I have 2 previous UG science degrees, both high GPAs, and 10+ years of computer science/engineering WE. I want to use my CS experience to migrate into the finance field, specifically HF doing automated to semi-automated trading. I know I have stepping stones to get there, but this is the goal. Since I want to remain technically oriented with a finance focus, I see this more as a career refocus than a new beginning. But based on some of the comments in this thread, I wonder if an MBA might be a better option, since I do have the WE and am a bit older than most (mid-30s) in this position. I thought about the CQF or MFE, but wanted to not get so deeply mathematically oriented to leave myself more options in the future, so settled on the MSF. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time.

I'd get an MFE or top MBA. You have the science/math background and a good GPA. Plenty of WE for an MBA also. I don't think an MSF, in the area you are looking, would do much for you right now.

Jan 10, 2013
TNA:
52x15:

TNA, thanks for this post. Very timely. I'm currently applying to several MSF programs in the DC area and online. I have 2 previous UG science degrees, both high GPAs, and 10+ years of computer science/engineering WE. I want to use my CS experience to migrate into the finance field, specifically HF doing automated to semi-automated trading. I know I have stepping stones to get there, but this is the goal. Since I want to remain technically oriented with a finance focus, I see this more as a career refocus than a new beginning. But based on some of the comments in this thread, I wonder if an MBA might be a better option, since I do have the WE and am a bit older than most (mid-30s) in this position. I thought about the CQF or MFE, but wanted to not get so deeply mathematically oriented to leave myself more options in the future, so settled on the MSF. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time.

I'd get an MFE or top MBA. You have the science/math background and a good GPA. Plenty of WE for an MBA also. I don't think an MSF, in the area you are looking, would do much for you right now.

Can you expand on that last part (wouldn't do much for me right now) a bit? Most of the hedge fund trading job posts I see ask for a background or WE or both in finance. My understanding of the MFE curriculum is that it, simply stated, would center on math for financial models and the MBA would be more general business and less centered on finance. Not challenging you, just trying to understand what you mean. Thanks.

Jan 11, 2013

ANT,

Are you still eligibile to gain acceptance into analyst programs upon graduating from an MSF program?? I spoke with a IBD MD at bb firm and he said that I wasn't eligible for the next analyst class because I graduated in last May and not Dec. 12 or May 13. So, WTF? anyone who couldn't land a gig upon graduating or prior to graduating last year is stuck in limbo? The whole point of me planning to go for an MSF this spring/next fall is 1)to give myself another shot at OCR and 2) definitely to further my knowledge of finance and strengthen my technical skills.

Jan 11, 2013
glory_glory_MANU:

ANT,

Are you still eligibile to gain acceptance into analyst programs upon graduating from an MSF program?? I spoke with a IBD MD at bb firm and he said that I wasn't eligible for the next analyst class because I graduated in last May and not Dec. 12 or May 13. So, WTF? anyone who couldn't land a gig upon graduating or prior to graduating last year is stuck in limbo? The whole point of me planning to go for an MSF this spring/next fall is 1)to give myself another shot at OCR and 2) definitely to further my knowledge of finance and strengthen my technical skills.

Did you not read anything in this thread?

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 11, 2013
glory_glory_MANU:

ANT,

Are you still eligibile to gain acceptance into analyst programs upon graduating from an MSF program?? I spoke with a IBD MD at bb firm and he said that I wasn't eligible for the next analyst class because I graduated in last May and not Dec. 12 or May 13. So, WTF? anyone who couldn't land a gig upon graduating or prior to graduating last year is stuck in limbo? The whole point of me planning to go for an MSF this spring/next fall is 1)to give myself another shot at OCR and 2) definitely to further my knowledge of finance and strengthen my technical skills.

I understand your frustration since I have the similar experience. BBs recruiting process is pretty structured. You can't even apply for their summer internship, since you are no longer at school. Having internship might be useful to break into the industry

Jan 11, 2013
Ichan:
glory_glory_MANU:

ANT,

Are you still eligibile to gain acceptance into analyst programs upon graduating from an MSF program?? I spoke with a IBD MD at bb firm and he said that I wasn't eligible for the next analyst class because I graduated in last May and not Dec. 12 or May 13. So, WTF? anyone who couldn't land a gig upon graduating or prior to graduating last year is stuck in limbo? The whole point of me planning to go for an MSF this spring/next fall is 1)to give myself another shot at OCR and 2) definitely to further my knowledge of finance and strengthen my technical skills.

I understand your frustration since I have the similar experience. BBs recruiting process is pretty structured. You can't even apply for their summer internship, since you are no longer at school. Having internship might be useful to break into the industry

1. MSFs don't place you - the thought that attending an MSF is enough to land a banking gig is a castle in the clouds, you've still got to hustle.

2. Landing an IBD 'gig out of an MSF is a function of several elements that include, but are not limited to:
a. Be realistic & evaluating yourself / capabilities and reasons why you didn't place the first time
b.Viable game plan/recruiting strategy prior to recruiting
c. Execution of that strategy prior to attendance i.e. networking / interviewing preparing / developing confidence with technicals, story, etc.
d. Upon arrival - crush your classes and maintain high GPA
e. Use OCR / network 'in-season'
d. Execute in interviews
f. EARN your FT offer

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 12, 2013
glory_glory_MANU:

ANT,

Are you still eligibile to gain acceptance into analyst programs upon graduating from an MSF program?? I spoke with a IBD MD at bb firm and he said that I wasn't eligible for the next analyst class because I graduated in last May and not Dec. 12 or May 13. So, WTF? anyone who couldn't land a gig upon graduating or prior to graduating last year is stuck in limbo? The whole point of me planning to go for an MSF this spring/next fall is 1)to give myself another shot at OCR and 2) definitely to further my knowledge of finance and strengthen my technical skills.

MSF graduates are typically hired as analysts. Not sure what he means since MSF students interview in the fall for gigs that start after graduation.

Jan 11, 2013

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

Jan 11, 2013
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

No offense- If you are genuinely interested in finance, why would you want to waster your money and 1yr of your life? Why don't you study on your own (eg:CFA)? I am just curious to know your answer.

Jan 12, 2013
Ichan:
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

No offense- If you are genuinely interested in finance, why would you want to waster your money and 1yr of your life? Why don't you study on your own (eg:CFA)? I am just curious to know your answer.

I don't, honestly. I read the "myths about MSF" thread but then I come hear and (even though its subtle) it just seems to disprove that thread. MSF is going to go from being somewhat obscure to being a well-known joke if it simply becomes a second chance for people. At least an MBA is rebranding rather than "I fucked up the first time." At least. But where are the kids who killed it in undergrad that decide to get an MSF? It seems like they're not there, and that an MSF doesn't add value for those kids, and until it does, the people who make hiring decisions won't see it as value added and won't respect it.

Jan 12, 2013
Ichan:
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

No offense- If you are genuinely interested in finance, why would you want to waster your money and 1yr of your life? Why don't you study on your own (eg:CFA)? I am just curious to know your answer.

CFA isn't exactly cheap when you add in all the costs. Probably nearly $10K when all is said and done. It also takes 3-4 years, assuming you don't fail a level which many people do. You then need appropriate work experience to get the charter which is another hurdle to get through.

Some people do better in a classroom environment. The MSF also provides OCR, school alumni, networking trips, a variety of classes and experiences (vs. the ER focus of the CFA). It also allows you the chance to relocate, study and intern.

And MSF's also take the CFA. So while there are similarities, they are also very different and make sense for different people and different reasons.

Jan 12, 2013
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

Depends on the program - Princeton, MIT would place well into anything you want to be placed into. As for learning 'depths of finance', you wouldn't particularly get that at a typical MFin (Villanova, Vanderbilt, JHU etc). The truth is that modern finance is based on heavy math, statistics and econometrics. You can't really go into the depths of modern finance without really learning stuff like continuous time finance, equilibrium models, probability theory. Anything less, you're just learning stuff that was invented 30 years ago. To learn latest findings in Finance, you have to be well versed in its language - math and stats.

That is not to say you can't be a great practitioner - but they're two totally different things.

Jan 12, 2013
oliver13:
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

Depends on the program - Princeton, MIT would place well into anything you want to be placed into. As for learning 'depths of finance', you wouldn't particularly get that at a typical MFin (Villanova, Vanderbilt, JHU etc). The truth is that modern finance is based on heavy math, statistics and econometrics. You can't really go into the depths of modern finance without really learning stuff like continuous time finance, equilibrium models, probability theory. Anything less, you're just learning stuff that was invented 30 years ago. To learn latest findings in Finance, you have to be well versed in its language - math and stats.

That is not to say you can't be a great practitioner - but they're two totally different things.

You make a good point which is certainly true, although I do believe that much of it isn't very helpful or misses the point. Econometrics gets to be pretty quantitative, but the assumptions it's built on are frequently ridiculous, which doesn't really get you anywhere. It seems that if finance were to ever get more quantitative than it already is, it will be in the field of complexity theory rather than shitty assumptions hidden behind graduate level calculus.

Jan 12, 2013
oliver13:
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

Depends on the program - Princeton, MIT would place well into anything you want to be placed into. As for learning 'depths of finance', you wouldn't particularly get that at a typical MFin (Villanova, Vanderbilt, JHU etc). The truth is that modern finance is based on heavy math, statistics and econometrics. You can't really go into the depths of modern finance without really learning stuff like continuous time finance, equilibrium models, probability theory. Anything less, you're just learning stuff that was invented 30 years ago. To learn latest findings in Finance, you have to be well versed in its language - math and stats.

That is not to say you can't be a great practitioner - but they're two totally different things.

I disagree. If you want to learn "the depths of finance" you get a PhD. The finance you learn at any masters program will be much more in depth than at the undergrad level, but not encompass everything.

The idea of a masters, any masters, is to provide a deeper look into a subject. It is a bridge between undergrad and a PhD. MSF's tend to focus on corporate finance whereas MFE/MFIN programs tend to be more math focused/computer programming.

Jan 12, 2013
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

Usefulness for trading in the sense that it will help you get a job. I am not sure how much one needs a masters in finance to be a successful trader. MFE programs are probably more directly useful, but you will be focusing on more complex products or doing quant work vs. regular trading.

IMO, the most useful thing to get into trading is playing LAX at an Ivy League school.

The MSF is what you make it. And it depends on which school and how they structure the program. I was a finance undergrad, constantly read finance books and was studying for CFA L1. I found the MSF curriculum to be pretty in depth and challenging. But I can only speak for Villanova which has a cohort program and only MSF's are allowed in MSF classes (some schools have MSF students take MBA finance classes which are more broad because of the diverse backgrounds MBA students have).

MSF students go on to all kids of fields which utilize the higher level financial knowledge. They also go onto PhD programs. You absolutely learn a lot more than during UG or in an MBA (outside of say a T10 MBA). Do you need to know this stuff for banking? No. But you don't have to go into banking. You could do a lot of things. People get MD's and go into banking or PE. Are they "using" their education? Depends on how you define using.

The MSF is sometimes used as another shot, but sometimes people find out they are interested in finance later on in their college career. Sometimes they choose their UG for a reason that made sense at 18 and then their reasoning changed and they needed a brand boost or better OCR. Before the MSF became popular you had people going into MBA programs right out of UG which isn't ideal.

May 26, 2013
Tupac:

Is an MSF useful for those trying to go into trading?

Is an MSF useful for those actually wanting to get an extremely in-depth finance education, or is this just a "second-chance" for the kids that fucked up? It sounds like, from this thread, that it's all the kids with excuses (no offense - just mean that everybody has some reason why they weren't normal, some good, some bad - where are the top finance students?) and I am genuinely interested in learning a lot more about finance. I don't need to justify or explain or need a second chance with anything at all, is an MSF still for me?

Yes. It can be depending on what school you go to and what job you want to have.

Jan 12, 2013

Even I am an undergrad, thanks a lot for this posting.

Memory since 1999.

Jan 12, 2013

Anthony, do you have any Vanderbilt placement statistics handy? Vanderbilt claims the MSF is tough to track the placements of and therefore they have none (their words, not mine).

Jan 12, 2013
KKS:

Anthony, do you have any Vanderbilt placement statistics handy? Vanderbilt claims the MSF is tough to track the placements of and therefore they have none (their words, not mine).

Nothing recent. If they aren't giving them out or tracking them I think that should be something you should ask more about or factor into your decision. I track all of the Villanova placements and subsequent job moves. Pretty easy to do. Not sure why it isn't being done everywhere.

Jun 6, 2013
TNA:
KKS:

Anthony, do you have any Vanderbilt placement statistics handy? Vanderbilt claims the MSF is tough to track the placements of and therefore they have none (their words, not mine).

Nothing recent. If they aren't giving them out or tracking them I think that should be something you should ask more about or factor into your decision. I track all of the Villanova placements and subsequent job moves. Pretty easy to do. Not sure why it isn't being done everywhere.

Do you have the most recent Villanova placements/results? The placements on the website are a few years old.

Jan 14, 2013

Alright its over, we're clogging up a great thread. My fault, I'll have to take care of the shit over PMs, was being a little selfish when I wanted to call someone out in ANTs thread. Carry on.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 14, 2013

The issue is someones definition of what "top student is". No, you don't Wharton, 3.8 GPA undergrads doing an MSF. So if that is your definition of top student, you are correct. But there are plenty of kids with great scores and great GMAT's that didn't have recruiting or networking opportunities at their school. Plenty of kids with great scores who realized too late they wanted to get into finance.

Every year at Villanova, the school I can speak about the closest, you have people go on to do PhD's, receive fellowships and get great positions. I'd be hesitant to deride any of these students. And yes, you have others who are looking for a second chance at whatever, but does that mean there is no value in the degree? These kids get another shot at recruiting AND learn much more than during their undergraduate experience.

Every program, whether it been an MSF or an MBA will have some people who stand far above others. And every program will have people there for different reasons. Some use the MSF as a 5th year and to be frank, those tend to be the least successful students. Others come looking to learn more about a subject they love and enjoy. Some just want a job. But everyone leaves with a great education and an increased knowledge base.

Jan 14, 2013

Just an example. I know some programs with like 400-500 applicants, but largely US applicants and some with well over 1,000 but largely international. What I do know is that applications are increasing across the board every year as the programs get more popular and more well known.

Jan 15, 2013

How does getting an MSF degree affect MBA admissions?

Say I do a MSF program from age 23-24 will that affect how MBA programs look at me say perhaps at age 28-29? Will they think it's overkill or will it be a positive perhaps?

Jan 15, 2013
vike27:

How does getting an MSF degree affect MBA admissions?

Say I do a MSF program from age 23-24 will that affect how MBA programs look at me say perhaps at age 28-29? Will they think it's overkill or will it be a positive perhaps?

Many MBA students have other specialized masters degrees. It won't impact you in the slightest.

Jan 15, 2013
TNA:
vike27:

How does getting an MSF degree affect MBA admissions?

Say I do a MSF program from age 23-24 will that affect how MBA programs look at me say perhaps at age 28-29? Will they think it's overkill or will it be a positive perhaps?

Many MBA students have other specialized masters degrees. It won't impact you in the slightest.

Interesting. I would've thought a specialized masters, esp something that's useful in finance (economics, stats, math, CS etc), would be a positive for admissions. Wasn't a 100% sure though.

Jan 15, 2013

Hello TNA,
New monkey here so please excuse the noob question.
Interested in MSF programs for next summer/fall. I currently have a 2.9 GPA (I know), and a 670 GMAT (q44 v38)
In terms of experience I don't have much, other than two internships (one in corporate finance at a large tech firm, and another in finance at a large manufacturing firm). ECs are not that impressive, membership in various clubs, but no leadership roles. I am not hoping to break into IBD or PE, my ideal job would be consulting at a mid-tier firm, or private banking. What are my chances for the following programs: Tulane MSF, OSU MSF, Purdue MSF, UT-Dallas MSF, Syracuse MSF and Rochester MSF. Thank you in advance.

Jan 15, 2013
gatorneedshisgat:

Hello TNA,
New monkey here so please excuse the noob question.
Interested in MSF programs for next summer/fall. I currently have a 2.9 GPA (I know), and a 670 GMAT (q44 v38)
In terms of experience I don't have much, other than two internships (one in corporate finance at a large tech firm, and another in finance at a large manufacturing firm). ECs are not that impressive, membership in various clubs, but no leadership roles. I am not hoping to break into IBD or PE, my ideal job would be consulting at a mid-tier firm, or private banking. What are my chances for the following programs: Tulane MSF, OSU MSF, Purdue MSF, UT-Dallas MSF, Syracuse MSF and Rochester MSF. Thank you in advance.

Are you international or US?

You'd get in at just about all of those schools. I wouldn't bother with UTD, Syracuse or Purdue unless you have a specific reason for applying.

Jan 16, 2013
gatorneedshisgat:

Hello TNA,
New monkey here so please excuse the noob question.
Interested in MSF programs for next summer/fall. I currently have a 2.9 GPA (I know), and a 670 GMAT (q44 v38)
In terms of experience I don't have much, other than two internships (one in corporate finance at a large tech firm, and another in finance at a large manufacturing firm). ECs are not that impressive, membership in various clubs, but no leadership roles. I am not hoping to break into IBD or PE, my ideal job would be consulting at a mid-tier firm, or private banking. What are my chances for the following programs: Tulane MSF, OSU MSF, Purdue MSF, UT-Dallas MSF, Syracuse MSF and Rochester MSF. Thank you in advance.

Of the programs listed, with your stats, you would be competitive at Villanova, OSU, Tulane, Rochester. Probably in at Duke. WUSTL would be a stretch. Maybe Vandy.

Jan 16, 2013

Thank you TNA,
I am a US student. Why do you say don't bother with UTD, Syracuse, and Purdue?

Jan 16, 2013
gatorneedshisgat:

Thank you TNA,
I am a US student. Why do you say don't bother with UTD, Syracuse, and Purdue?

Because they aren't really going to help you. Your stats are fine and you can get into better programs with better brands and OCR. Purdue is a fine school, but their MSF isn't as developed as say Vanderbilt, Villanova, Tulane, UT Austin, Ohio State, etc.

If you really want a Dallas MSF look at SMU. Id go to UIUC instead of Purdue (better regional play). Syracuse's MSF isn't really built up yet, don't bother.

Jan 16, 2013

Based on my stats, which programs do you believe I could get into?

Jan 16, 2013

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Jan 23, 2013

Hey Ant, this is all much appreciated. I was reading some programs like Vandy or Duke offer some exposure to internships in the summer before you enroll. I imagine this will become more prevalent but was wondering if you knew anything about these internships like how many were available or how competitive they were. I ask because I am looking at going in without any practical finance experience and wondered if a summer internship or even the possibility to get an internship while at BC would bump up that program's value to someone without experience.

Jan 24, 2013
sporthenry:

Hey Ant, this is all much appreciated. I was reading some programs like Vandy or Duke offer some exposure to internships in the summer before you enroll. I imagine this will become more prevalent but was wondering if you knew anything about these internships like how many were available or how competitive they were. I ask because I am looking at going in without any practical finance experience and wondered if a summer internship or even the possibility to get an internship while at BC would bump up that program's value to someone without experience.

Interested in this as well. I'm coming from a pure liberal arts/social science background as of now with no real exposure to finance internships. I'm certainly not BB IBD or bust, but I'd at least like to get a solid F500 position or some other corp finance job.

Jan 24, 2013

I think because of their later start it allows for you to intern if you can find something. None of those programs set you up with one though.

Jan 24, 2013
TNA:

I think because of their later start it allows for you to intern if you can find something. None of those programs set you up with one though.

That is pretty much what I assumed. The big thing will be getting prospective employers to actually take a look at my resume.

Jan 24, 2013

Here is something for all of you to consider. While a later start is nice because it allows you to get a potential summer internship, it also leaves you with only your undergraduate GPA to go on. Programs that have a summer semester give you a chance to have a 4.0 and go into OCR with that GPA on your resume.

IMO, if you have no internships the odds of you getting one during this summer are slim. Focus on the GPA and do OCR. Then work on an off cycle internship.

Jan 24, 2013

ANT, thanks for the tips it does help quite a bit. I have an application in for an internship right now, but it is with a US Congressman, which is obviously not a finance gig. I do have some full-time WE, but it involves working for the family business putting together job bids for commercial construction projects (costs ranging from 200k to 1 million) going to meetings, and working with sub-contractors.

Jan 24, 2013

Yeah, I mean Congress is a solid internship. You have some small business experience. The later start some programs have really aren't a big factor for you, IMO. Just focus on the program you like and where you want to work.

Jan 26, 2013

ANT,

Which one of these positions (pre-MSF), would help more in terms of post-MSF IBD placement?

1. Financial Analyst - F100 Defense Contractor
2. Treasury Analyst- F100 Insurance
3. Financial Analyst- Credit Startup

Thanks again.

Jan 27, 2013
lasampdoria:

ANT,

Which one of these positions (pre-MSF), would help more in terms of post-MSF IBD placement?

1. Financial Analyst - F100 Defense Contractor
2. Treasury Analyst- F100 Insurance
3. Financial Analyst- Credit Startup

Thanks again.

If you elaborate on groups I think that'd help. For example, if its FP&A for the Defense Contractor and Product Development with the F100 Insurance, then I'd recommend FP&A due to the responsibilities and the fact that insurance products are relatively specific type of finance. FP&A would give you a taste of 'plain vanilla finance' whereas Product Development would be a very focused and specific for obvious reasons, it's a product line/track. This again, is all in the context of positioning yourself for an IBD placement post-MSF.

Do you have these offers? Timeline might be a tricky thing here... you'll accept and then only work a few months; might look weird - not sure though.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jan 27, 2013
BepBep12:
lasampdoria:

ANT,

Which one of these positions (pre-MSF), would help more in terms of post-MSF IBD placement?

1. Financial Analyst - F100 Defense Contractor
2. Treasury Analyst- F100 Insurance
3. Financial Analyst- Credit Startup

Thanks again.

If you elaborate on groups I think that'd help. For example, if its FP&A for the Defense Contractor and Product Development with the F100 Insurance, then I'd recommend FP&A due to the responsibilities and the fact that insurance products are relatively specific type of finance. FP&A would give you a taste of 'plain vanilla finance' whereas Product Development would be a very focused and specific for obvious reasons, it's a product line/track. This again, is all in the context of positioning yourself for an IBD placement post-MSF.

Do you have these offers? Timeline might be a tricky thing here... you'll accept and then only work a few months; might look weird - not sure though.

My ideal plan is to get accepted into a top-MSF to start this summer. If this doesn't happen, then I would need to take a job for the year, then re-try for the MSF. So I want to know which one would help most post-MSF to land an IBD job.

I have soft offers for both the defense and insurance positions.

The defense position is finance product development, overseeing the finance aspect of various builds. Not too psyched about this one.

The insurance job is in treasury. It would consist 50% of analyzing various topics when it comes to cash management, etc. For example, I would analyze customer payment trends in order to correctly allocate cash throughout various entities. 25% of it would involve actively managing a small (~$100m) cash portfolio. I have been told I would be an AM/S&T type thing. The last 25% is a forward-facing, vendor relations role. It would involve interaction with various finance vendors (mostly IBs, primary DCM. Also treasury sales people, securities lending and credit). It would be going out every week, without having to pay.

I am leaning toward the insurance gig (surprise, I know), but I want to know if it would help post MSF.

Thanks ANT.

Jan 27, 2013

I know CMC is by far the top west coast MSF but what are the other programs that place well in LA? I saw USC has one starting up, but there is no information about it yet

    • 1
Jan 28, 2013

@ANT Is there anyone reason someone would take CMC over MIT?

Just curious what the argument for (and against) this choice would be.

Jan 28, 2013
CREDO:

@ANT Is there anyone reason someone would take CMC over MIT?

Just curious what the argument for (and against) this choice would be.

I mean if you were absolutely West Coast focused, liked a small class size, hated the cold and went to something like UCLA for undergrad so you don't need a massive brand boost.

Jan 29, 2013

Thanks for the info! it was great.

I'm a 3rd year at McGill doing an econ degree with minors in math and management.
I wish to pursue banking in Asia (namely HK and Korea), but well for one, McGill name isn't
well recognized (which is apparently a huge issue here), and I have sub 3.0 GPA due to
terrible 1st year. (I have close to 4.0 GPA in my major though)

I have an internship at a Korean conglomerate and another internship at PwC.
Nether of which are remotely close to banking.

I have Certificate of Securities Investment Advisor, and Certificate of Derivatives Investment Advisor
both issued by a Korean government organization.

I am looking in to MSF programs in either UK or in HK.

Any recommendations you could give?

Yes, I am looking to do an MSF degree for a soft reset of GPA and brand name.

hello.

Jan 29, 2013

Thanks for the info! it was great.

I'm a 3rd year at McGill doing an econ degree with minors in math and management.
I wish to pursue banking in Asia (namely HK and Korea), but well for one, McGill name isn't
well recognized (which is apparently a huge issue here), and I have sub 3.0 GPA due to
terrible 1st year. (I have close to 4.0 GPA in my major though)

I have an internship at a Korean conglomerate and another internship at PwC.
Nether of which are remotely close to banking.

I have Certificate of Securities Investment Advisor, and Certificate of Derivatives Investment Advisor
both issued by a Korean government organization.

I am looking in to MSF programs in either UK or in HK.

Any recommendations you could give?

Yes, I am looking to do an MSF degree for a soft reset of GPA and brand name.

hello.

Jan 29, 2013
hbear:

Thanks for the info! it was great.

I'm a 3rd year at McGill doing an econ degree with minors in math and management.
I wish to pursue banking in Asia (namely HK and Korea), but well for one, McGill name isn't
well recognized (which is apparently a huge issue here), and I have sub 3.0 GPA due to
terrible 1st year. (I have close to 4.0 GPA in my major though)

I have an internship at a Korean conglomerate and another internship at PwC.
Nether of which are remotely close to banking.

I have Certificate of Securities Investment Advisor, and Certificate of Derivatives Investment Advisor
both issued by a Korean government organization.

I am looking in to MSF programs in either UK or in HK.

Any recommendations you could give?

Yes, I am looking to do an MSF degree for a soft reset of GPA and brand name.

LSE, LBS & Cambridge ( may required few yrs of work experience), Imperial, Oxford, and etc.

In Singapore: NUS, NTU

Jan 29, 2013

Thank you for such a fast response.
Would I have a shot at LSE/LBS & Oxbridge or NUS given such low GPA?

hello.

Jan 30, 2013

I replied to the previous post. You might be competitive at a LSE with a strong GMAT, but you could also apply to Imperial, ULondon, etc. Plenty of really good MSF programs in the UK and City of London.

Jan 30, 2013

Anthony, do you have any more information on programs in Europe, particularly LBS MiM and LSE MSc Finance?

Jan 31, 2013

I'm graduating in May and dying to get into the Masters in Commerce at UVA for their Marketing and Management track. Graduating from UNC Chapel Hill with a 3.1 GPA and a major in Hispanic Linguistics. I scored a 680 on the GMAT. I have a fairly solid resume, with relevant internship experience. I have also completed a bit of relevant coursework in general management, marketing, accounting, and statistics, and have a 3.3 GPA in those classes. I am bilingual as well, obviously with my degree. I was wondering what your thoughts were about my chances on admission to this program, as well as Wake Forest where I have an interview next week. I was also wondering if, in your opinion, I have a shot at getting into Duke and should throw out an application there. Thanks so much.

Jan 31, 2013

You will be competitive at UVA, but their profile is pretty solid. You will get into Duke, don't bother with Wake.

Feb 3, 2013

Hi @TNA...ws just wondering if you have any info on DSF, Netherlands...I have an interview with them in a week's time..from what i could make sense of, they have a strong n solid industry tie ups and excellent teaching n thier grads usually end up in good Fin profiles within 3 months...

2) can you also recommend some other good MSF programs which i can apply now...i have 2 years BO work ex with a NY hedge fund and a 640 on GMAT with pretty solid extra curicullars

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." ~George Moore

May 23, 2013

How much does UG GPA matter during FT recruiting? Say i have a 3.1 UG but get a 3.6 MSF GPA, will employers look more at UG or MSF grades, i realize it probably depends but in your experience was this a hurdle a lot of MSF kids had trouble with?

May 23, 2013

Honestly, in my experience and what I have had friends tell me (other MSF kids), the most recent GPA is what is important. Grad school is harder than UG so if you do better in the MSF program it should carry more weight.

May 23, 2013

show me the number......what is the ballpark comps for top tier MSF program graduates? It is a waste of time and money if you cant get into the top program.

May 23, 2013
eliteculture:

show me the number......what is the ballpark comps for top tier MSF program graduates? It is a waste of time and money if you cant get into the top program.

Whatever BB or MM IBD comp would be.

Each person is different. Many people who go into MSF programs come from UG programs that don't even have Big 4 or F500 OCR. Spending $30-40K for a masters and then getting a good paying job makes sense to a lot of people. This is why it is hard to say whether a masters is a waste or not.

May 23, 2013

Probably the most informative thread/discussion about MSF on the internet. Thank you, good sir. Helped me out with my decision.

    • 1
May 24, 2013
jjjjl241:

Probably the most informative thread/discussion about MSF on the internet. Thank you, good sir. Helped me out with my decision.

Glad it could be of service. Love helping potential applicants out with this important decision in their lives!

May 28, 2013

TNA,

I am considering going back to get a MSF if I am unable to make the switch in the next year or so....in public accounting hoping to switch to business valuation, corporate finance consulting, or boutique IB.

My Background:
*Non-Target (Top 50 UG B-School): Accounting Major, GPA 3.3
*2 years public accounting with a Top 15 firm
*Completed CPA exams
*Currently working on completing a Corporate Finance Certificate from UC Berkeley to get the credits I need for my CPA license. I am around 1/3 done (GPA 4.0) with the classes and will hopefully finish by this time next year.

By the time I start applying I will have around 3 years of experience. How will my background (3 years WE, CPA, & Certificate) be viewed by MSF admissions? Would I have a chance at a Villanova, WUSTL, or Vandy? Disregarding the GMAT for now, even though I know that will be a huge factor.

Thanks

May 28, 2013
Accrual King:

TNA,

I am considering going back to get a MSF if I am unable to make the switch in the next year or so....in public accounting hoping to switch to business valuation, corporate finance consulting, or boutique IB.

My Background:
*Non-Target (Top 50 UG B-School): Accounting Major, GPA 3.3
*2 years public accounting with a Top 15 firm
*Completed CPA exams
*Currently working on completing a Corporate Finance Certificate from UC Berkeley to get the credits I need for my CPA license. I am around 1/3 done (GPA 4.0) with the classes and will hopefully finish by this time next year.

By the time I start applying I will have around 3 years of experience. How will my background (3 years WE, CPA, & Certificate) be viewed by MSF admissions? Would I have a chance at a Villanova, WUSTL, or Vandy? Disregarding the GMAT for now, even though I know that will be a huge factor.

Thanks

I don't think the work experience will hurt you come application time, but I do think you will have trouble going into IB with three years of real work experience. I'd advise you to try and go back to Big 4, but in valuation. Your experience would probably translate and with the masters you could come in as a more senior role.

Not saying you couldn't sell a recruiter on IBD, but you are about 1-2 years away from being MBA qualified. Why not try and get promoted internally and just apply to T15 MBA programs in another couple of years.

May 28, 2013
TNA:
Accrual King:

TNA,
I am considering going back to get a MSF if I am unable to make the switch in the next year or so....in public accounting hoping to switch to business valuation, corporate finance consulting, or boutique IB.
My Background:
*Non-Target (Top 50 UG B-School): Accounting Major, GPA 3.3
*2 years public accounting with a Top 15 firm
*Completed CPA exams
*Currently working on completing a Corporate Finance Certificate from UC Berkeley to get the credits I need for my CPA license. I am around 1/3 done (GPA 4.0) with the classes and will hopefully finish by this time next year.
By the time I start applying I will have around 3 years of experience. How will my background (3 years WE, CPA, & Certificate) be viewed by MSF admissions? Would I have a chance at a Villanova, WUSTL, or Vandy? Disregarding the GMAT for now, even though I know that will be a huge factor.
Thanks

I don't think the work experience will hurt you come application time, but I do think you will have trouble going into IB with three years of real work experience. I'd advise you to try and go back to Big 4, but in valuation. Your experience would probably translate and with the masters you could come in as a more senior role.

Not saying you couldn't sell a recruiter on IBD, but you are about 1-2 years away from being MBA qualified. Why not try and get promoted internally and just apply to T15 MBA programs in another couple of years.

Thanks for the quick reply. Are you referring to going into IB now or after a MSF? I would jump on the opportunity to get a Big 4 TAS or Valuation role but they mostly promote internally and would want me to do audit for another year or two before being able to transfer (very against this).

I rather complete a one-year MSF at a top program than two-year MBA because assuming I can't escape audit, it will be very difficult to get into a Top 15 MBA.

May 28, 2013

I am saying with 3 years of audit and a masters some places might have difficulty interviewing you as an analyst when you are nearly MBA Associate level, but without the MBA.

If you do an MSF I would do it at a program with a 1+1 and work in the area. Vandy and WUSTL have good MBA programs. You could get two degrees and use the MSF as your initial springboard into valuation.

Anymore than 3 years and you should do an MBA. If you do an MSF realize that you should probably not focus on IB and look at F500 since many firms consider a masters to be a masters (MSF=MBA).

May 28, 2013
TNA:

Hey ANT, you mentioned how you were going to speak with SMUs people last week. Do you have any info to share?

May 28, 2013

Hi

Is MS-Finance course good for someone who has 4-5 years work experience ?

Background:

Indian
BTech/BS (IIT)
completed CFA Level 3
MBA from a very reputed institute in India recently
Age :28+
Have 3.5 years experience in software development in financial services sector
Currently working in a small investment bank in India

Purpose is to get a decent job in US after completing MS-Finance.

Will this course be useful?

How easy or difficult it is for international applicants to get a job in US ?

May 28, 2013

Personally, I would just finish the CFA and try and get an MBA or something. I suppose if you want to use the MSF to get an education visa then you could do that.

May 28, 2013
TNA:

Personally, I would just finish the CFA and try and get an MBA or something. I suppose if you want to use the MSF to get an education visa then you could do that.

Thanks TNA

I have already completed CFA and hoping to get CFA charter in February 2014.
I have completed MBA also from a very good institute in India recently.

Now do you think MS-Finance is a good option ?

As I said, main purpose is to get a decent finance job in US.

May 29, 2013

I mean realistically it is going to be tough. You already have all this education and your goal is to use the MSF to get a job in the states. My worry is that you'd go into a program and not have enough time to interview or network your way into a job. Plus, you have a lot of education and experience already. The economy is tough in the US and I always advise international students to cast a wide net when looking for jobs because of sponsorship. Thing is I don't know if you'd be OK with just any job since you have so much education.

You might be able to accomplish what you want through an MSF. I just don't know if I would want to recommend it to you. Not saying no, not saying yes, just be cautious.

May 29, 2013

TNA,
I apologize in advance for the long winded post. Thanks for this post, it has been really informative and has helped me a lot with deciding to pursue an MSF. I really enjoyed my corporate finance class and I am looking to break into a F500 company.
I just finished my junior year at a non-target state school, majoring in Econ and minoring in Finance. I have a 3.5 GPA and hope to bring it up to a 3.6 or so in my last year. I plan on taking the GMAT later this summer as well. I don't have any finance experience, but I help my father with his landscaping business over the summers, both with labor and helping with payroll and other things similar to that. I play on the schools rugby team (very highly ranked, if that helps), part of the Finance and Econ club and served a service mission for my church. I am originally from the Washington DC area, but went to school out west because they offered me a great scholarship that I couldn't refuse. I want to go back to DC to work and that leads to my question...
I read earlier that MSF's are pretty regional in placement. Therefore, would you suggest applying to Johns Hopkins or U of Maryland over say a Villinova or U of Texas for placement in DC? Any other schools you would suggest that I apply to? Also, do you know the average amount of math classes taken for applicants? Is calc 1 and 2 enough or should I try to take calc 3/linear algebra as well, when I have other quantitative based courses (econometrics, Math for finance/econ, etc.)

May 29, 2013
will_b:

TNA,
I apologize in advance for the long winded post. Thanks for this post, it has been really informative and has helped me a lot with deciding to pursue an MSF. I really enjoyed my corporate finance class and I am looking to break into a F500 company.
I just finished my junior year at a non-target state school, majoring in Econ and minoring in Finance. I have a 3.5 GPA and hope to bring it up to a 3.6 or so in my last year. I plan on taking the GMAT later this summer as well. I don't have any finance experience, but I help my father with his landscaping business over the summers, both with labor and helping with payroll and other things similar to that. I play on the schools rugby team (very highly ranked, if that helps), part of the Finance and Econ club and served a service mission for my church. I am originally from the Washington DC area, but went to school out west because they offered me a great scholarship that I couldn't refuse. I want to go back to DC to work and that leads to my question...
I read earlier that MSF's are pretty regional in placement. Therefore, would you suggest applying to Johns Hopkins or U of Maryland over say a Villinova or U of Texas for placement in DC? Any other schools you would suggest that I apply to? Also, do you know the average amount of math classes taken for applicants? Is calc 1 and 2 enough or should I try to take calc 3/linear algebra as well, when I have other quantitative based courses (econometrics, Math for finance/econ, etc.)

GPA is fine. Score a 650+ on your GMAT and you'll be competitive at many schools on paper. I'd suggest trying to get at least a PWM internship in order to give your resume a finance feel. School sports is a good things. Calc 1 is enough. Econometrics is a benefit.

As for which school, I think it depends on what you want to do. If you are 100% set on DC, I would probably look to go to school there. If you are open to the East Coast, I would look at Nova and Vandy as both will place on the coast, with Nova more PA and above and Vandy the southern half.

It also depends on what you want to do. If you want to do banking then I would suggest you look at Vandy or Villanova. If you are more looking to do F500 or government work (Treasury, OCC, Fed) then Johns Hopkins would be a good fit.

May 29, 2013
TNA:
will_b:

TNA,
I apologize in advance for the long winded post. Thanks for this post, it has been really informative and has helped me a lot with deciding to pursue an MSF. I really enjoyed my corporate finance class and I am looking to break into a F500 company.
I just finished my junior year at a non-target state school, majoring in Econ and minoring in Finance. I have a 3.5 GPA and hope to bring it up to a 3.6 or so in my last year. I plan on taking the GMAT later this summer as well. I don't have any finance experience, but I help my father with his landscaping business over the summers, both with labor and helping with payroll and other things similar to that. I play on the schools rugby team (very highly ranked, if that helps), part of the Finance and Econ club and served a service mission for my church. I am originally from the Washington DC area, but went to school out west because they offered me a great scholarship that I couldn't refuse. I want to go back to DC to work and that leads to my question...
I read earlier that MSF's are pretty regional in placement. Therefore, would you suggest applying to Johns Hopkins or U of Maryland over say a Villinova or U of Texas for placement in DC? Any other schools you would suggest that I apply to? Also, do you know the average amount of math classes taken for applicants? Is calc 1 and 2 enough or should I try to take calc 3/linear algebra as well, when I have other quantitative based courses (econometrics, Math for finance/econ, etc.)

GPA is fine. Score a 650+ on your GMAT and you'll be competitive at many schools on paper. I'd suggest trying to get at least a PWM internship in order to give your resume a finance feel. School sports is a good things. Calc 1 is enough. Econometrics is a benefit.

As for which school, I think it depends on what you want to do. If you are 100% set on DC, I would probably look to go to school there. If you are open to the East Coast, I would look at Nova and Vandy as both will place on the coast, with Nova more PA and above and Vandy the southern half.

It also depends on what you want to do. If you want to do banking then I would suggest you look at Vandy or Villanova. If you are more looking to do F500 or government work (Treasury, OCC, Fed) then Johns Hopkins would be a good fit.

Thanks for your help!

May 29, 2013

Hi Anthony,

My profile: Incoming senior at a Canadian non-target, currently interning in the US for a F1000 firm doing a myriad of internal projects including sales/marketing & budgeting. 3.5 GPA, taking GMAT in September, founded a small non-profit.

With the state of the US Economy and the reluctance on employer's part to sponsor international students, what kind of FT gigs are the international students getting at Villanova? Nova's program is really at the top of my list , so maybe you could shed some light about your alma mater? Besides IB/PE/HF/AM, I'm open to F500 positions that would allow me to learn and grow so that I could go for a good MBA and try for associate positions then. How do F500 firms currently view the MSF? In an earlier post you alluded to the perception that MSF=MBA for F500 recruiting, could you please elaborate on that?

Thank you so much for the info you've provided over the past few years on your site and here. Looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

May 29, 2013
JYFresh:

Hi Anthony,

My profile: Incoming senior at a Canadian non-target, currently interning in the US for a F1000 firm doing a myriad of internal projects including sales/marketing & budgeting. 3.5 GPA, taking GMAT in September, founded a small non-profit.

With the state of the US Economy and the reluctance on employer's part to sponsor international students, what kind of FT gigs are the international students getting at Villanova? Nova's program is really at the top of my list , so maybe you could shed some light about your alma mater? Besides IB/PE/HF/AM, I'm open to F500 positions that would allow me to learn and grow so that I could go for a good MBA and try for associate positions then. How do F500 firms currently view the MSF? In an earlier post you alluded to the perception that MSF=MBA for F500 recruiting, could you please elaborate on that?

Thank you so much for the info you've provided over the past few years on your site and here. Looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

I know of a couple Chinese kids getting MO jobs at a BB bank from the program. They pay pretty well so it isn't horrible money for where they work and what they do. I know of a couple international students working for Bloomberg with a really good base salary. Nova does a good job of limiting the number of international students that are accepted so there is enough OCR to go around. I would suggest, as I mention above, to being open to a variety of careers. The US economy is still tough and sponsoring students is an added cost. Not all places will do it. Many will, you just need to find them.

May 29, 2013

You're welcome. And just a note. I've sent SMU a couple emails, waiting on a response. The adcom was away on a China trip so that might be why there has been a delay in responding.

Keep the questions coming!

May 30, 2013

Thanks for doing this Ant. I assuming I could get into one of the target programs, how difficult would it be to get IB interviews through OCR without any actual finance experience? My internships throughout UG have been varied (took way too long to decide on finance), including retail banking (lending), tax accounting and sport management.

May 30, 2013
ksh206:

Thanks for doing this Ant. I assuming I could get into one of the target programs, how difficult would it be to get IB interviews through OCR without any actual finance experience? My internships throughout UG have been varied (took way too long to decide on finance), including retail banking (lending), tax accounting and sport management.

IB usually likes to see some type of finance internship. If you do extremely well in the program and know your shit then it might not be a huge issue. OCR is largely dependent on how well your GPA is and stuff like that. I would strongly advise trying to find a boutique IB shop or something to have some relevant experience. Non IB jobs don't care as much about internships.

I could see you spinning your retail and tax internships as something banking. Lending is credit analysis and tax is good accounting experience. All how you sell it.

May 31, 2013

Thanks ant. You may have answered this before but what do you think about Rochester's MS in Finance in NYC program?

May 30, 2013

Ant, Do you believe that two F500 finance internships (one in Treasury), in conjunction with a 3.7+ summer GPA, can be successfully spun for a MM FT gig?

May 30, 2013
lasampdoria:

Ant, Do you believe that two F500 finance internships (one in Treasury), in conjunction with a 3.7+ summer GPA, can be successfully spun for a MM FT gig?

Still no reply back from SMU btw.

Yeah, I think you could spin it. Treasury helps since it usually has some cap markets interaction (or something involving debt, M&A, whatever). Good GPA is key.

May 30, 2013

Thanks for reaching out to SMU.

I have an IB contact, a DCM MD at a MM, I gained through my Treasury internship. How can I properly develop the relationship without asking for too much up-front?

May 30, 2013

Anthony, have you ever seen any MSF students apply to HBS 2+2 or any other deferred MBA program during their MSF studies?

May 30, 2013
KKS:

Anthony, have you ever seen any MSF students apply to HBS 2+2 or any other deferred MBA program during their MSF studies?

There is a student in the UTA program that did this. Might be others that I am not sure of.

Jul 2, 2014

Hey ANT -

I am looking into the MIT MFin program and wanted to get an opinion on my chances of being accepted. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Profile:
Graduating from semi-target undergrad in May 2015 majoring in Finance
GPA: 3.4, will be between 3.5-3.6 by graduation
GMAT: 670 on practice test without prep. Will work on bringing that up. Think I should be able to bring this up to at least a 720.
Extracurriculars: Strong leadership presence on campus
Internships (in chronological order): Small startup, FoF at a global AM firm, Big 4 Valuation (received FT offer), local IB boutique. Adds up to 10 and 12 months in FT and PT internships, respectively.
Additional course background: Couple of classes in programming and basic math requirements (Calc I & Statistics). Will take additional math courses to complete the suggested background work.

Jul 2, 2014
BullMarket23:

Hey ANT -

I am looking into the MIT MFin program and wanted to get an opinion on my chances of being accepted. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Profile:

Graduating from semi-target undergrad in May 2015 majoring in Finance

GPA: 3.4, will be between 3.5-3.6 by graduation

GMAT: 670 on practice test without prep. Will work on bringing that up. Think I should be able to bring this up to at least a 720.

Extracurriculars: Strong leadership presence on campus

Internships (in chronological order): Small startup, FoF at a global AM firm, Big 4 Valuation (received FT offer), local IB boutique. Adds up to 10 and 12 months in FT and PT internships, respectively.

Additional course background: Couple of classes in programming and basic math requirements (Calc I & Statistics). Will take additional math courses to complete the suggested background work.

Assuming you get your GMAT in that 690-700+ range you will be competitive. I'd make sure you get solid recs and really articulate why MIT. Bonus points if you're domestic.

Jul 2, 2014

Thanks.

Also, wanted to mention that my goal is to get an equity research gig after the degree, preferably at a BB. In case I don't get into MIT, I'm considering an alternate scenario:
Take the FT offer for Big 4 Valuation while taking the CFA I and doing a part-time MSF at Boston College (think I should be able to get in). Do you think I have a good shot at equity research with valuation work experience and MSF degree? My main concern is that BC isn't as strong a brand and won't help me much towards breaking into equity research.

Jul 2, 2014

I think BC and CFA would be a good way to do it also. I mean you could accept the job, move to Boston and apply to MIT. You get in, quit. If not go the BC route.

Apr 11, 2015

Hi TNA,

Thanks for making this thread, it has been very useful. I was wondering if you could give me some advice.

I'm currently about to finish my junior year at a non-target school, and have a financial services internship lined up for this summer. I only recently began interested in investment banking, after I had accepted the offer for this internship, and was wondering if I should try for a FT offer after graduation, delay graduation and try to get an IB internship, or apply for a masters in finance program and try to get some IB experience from a regional boutique bank.

I have a 3.5 GPA and should graduate with around a 3.6, this will be my only internship, and I am a member of our finance club but have not held any leadership positions. I am trying to enter IB as an analyst, so which route would most likely get me there?
Thanks again

Apr 11, 2015
jhubba7:

Hi TNA,

Thanks for making this thread, it has been very useful. I was wondering if you could give me some advice.

I'm currently about to finish my junior year at a non-target school, and have a financial services internship lined up for this summer. I only recently began interested in investment banking, after I had accepted the offer for this internship, and was wondering if I should try for a FT offer after graduation, delay graduation and try to get an IB internship, or apply for a masters in finance program and try to get some IB experience from a regional boutique bank.

I have a 3.5 GPA and should graduate with around a 3.6, this will be my only internship, and I am a member of our finance club but have not held any leadership positions. I am trying to enter IB as an analyst, so which route would most likely get me there?

Thanks again

I always advise trying to get a job before you consider a masters. Credit analyst, Middle office, Big 4 valuation, anything close to banking you can get. If all else fails then sure, look at a msf program. You might want to start prepping for your GMAT now just in case.

Apr 11, 2015
TNA:
jhubba7 wrote:

Hi TNA,

Thanks for making this thread, it has been very useful. I was wondering if you could give me some advice.

I'm currently about to finish my junior year at a non-target school, and have a financial services internship lined up for this summer. I only recently began interested in investment banking, after I had accepted the offer for this internship, and was wondering if I should try for a FT offer after graduation, delay graduation and try to get an IB internship, or apply for a masters in finance program and try to get some IB experience from a regional boutique bank.

I have a 3.5 GPA and should graduate with around a 3.6, this will be my only internship, and I am a member of our finance club but have not held any leadership positions. I am trying to enter IB as an analyst, so which route would most likely get me there?

Thanks again

I always advise trying to get a job before you consider a masters. Credit analyst, Middle office, Big 4 valuation, anything close to banking you can get. If all else fails then sure, look at a msf program. You might want to start prepping for your GMAT now just in case.

Big 4 valuation almost never accepts people right out of undergrad. Every single person in my group has an advanced business degree of some sort. Most of the interns are specialized masters students.

Apr 12, 2015

I think the common (incorrect) thinking among my MSF class going in was that they should just apply to grad school first without looking for a job first. Most of them could have gotten the jobs they wanted out of undergrad with a little bit of effort, so I would almost certainly try to find something decent first. As TNA said, I would take a job that you think might get you closer to banking first - better to spend a year working then lateral rather than an MSF.

Apr 12, 2015

Just a comment---I always have a light feeling for MMS as career limiters rather than career jumpstarts--if they're similar to MBA courses, how could anyone apply to MBA? (applying the rule that second MBA is usually hard to get)

with MSF I argue that it wouldnt hurt with MBA apps too much; especially if one's goals will not let one take MSF courses again--it should have minimal impact for MBa in my opinion.

Apr 15, 2015

@Esuric I thought you were doing corp dev? or F500 something? Did you flip to BVal?

Will echo that those groups are pretty much all masters degrees (Not sure why as they don't know/do anything). It is seriously just plugging numbers into a DCF template and writing massive reports where you try saying as little as possible to avoid "making an opinion". Do a ctrl + f on one of those reports for "reasonable" and you will lose your shit.

Also.. Curious where Nova gets their placement stats as I remember putting "decline to comment" or something comparable on my placement survey..And yet I see my old job on there. Also curious how 27% of the class got IB, when I know of only 1 kid who had ACTUAL IB within 3 months of graduation.

    • 1
Apr 15, 2015
calikid3820:

@Esuric I thought you were doing corp dev? or F500 something? Did you flip to BVal?

Will echo that those groups are pretty much all masters degrees (Not sure why as they don't know/do anything). It is seriously just plugging numbers into a DCF template and writing massive reports where you try saying as little as possible to avoid "making an opinion". Do a ctrl + f on one of those reports for "reasonable" and you will lose your shit.

Also.. Curious where Nova gets their placement stats as I remember putting "decline to comment" or something comparable on my placement survey..And yet I see my old job on there. Also curious how 27% of the class got IB, when I know of only 1 kid who had ACTUAL IB within 3 months of graduation.

Transitioned from AM to bval/strategy consulting at big4. Also, your description of big4 bval is inconsistent with my own experience. There's a lot of face time/discussions with the clients, presentations, interviews and some of the modeling (especially in my group - biotech/pharma) can get pretty sophisticated.

Apr 15, 2015

I know a couple guys who have contacted me from valuation related groups at the Big 4. On the whole I think the technical skill set isnt the same. From my understanding in talking to them you guys dont do iterative 3 statement models.

That said several people at my bank have valuation backgrounds, albeit through HLHZ FAS

Apr 16, 2015

Hahahahaha. Dudeeeeeee props to owning your role and being excited.

But, the intangibles you are mentioning only apply to PPAs which is an accounting/tax exercise.

The I worked in Big 4 valuation and can say that you do no "real" valuation. Numbers come from clients and you take a textbook approach because any assumptions you make have to be 100% supported. You dont sensitize projections or do upside cases because that results in an "opinion" on forecasts and is out of scope.

Big 4 take projections from management and plug them into a dcf. The revenue build may change depending on how the company presents its info. 90% of questions with clients are for documentation purposes so that you can put in the report that it is a management assumption and is reasonable.

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May 10, 2015
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