MSF suggestions? decent GPA from non-target, finc. services

Hi, I'm looking for suggestions for pursuing a MSF to mask a 3.2 from Tulane (3.5 Major GPA) and get out from the financial services industry. My ultimate is to break into IB, whether directly into BB or a second-tier firm. I understand my chances are very low at the moment, having very little applicable experience and academic metrics that pale vs. some other candidates, but I believe that an MSF can really help my chances. Can anyone shed some light on this?

I'm wondering if an MSF or MCF is a good idea, and if so, what schools do I have a reasonable shot at getting into? I'd like to stay in the states, but I certainly would welcome a chance at LSE or SSE- though I'm not sure how well those schools recruit in the US. My top choices include Vandy's, Carnegie Mellon, Wash U, and Berkley. Any comments about my chances?

I also have not taken the GMAT yet, but lets assume that I score along a similar % as I did on the SAT. 1440 SAT, 720 GMAT.

Resume: http://www.razume.com/documents/14822

ETA: I actually was accepted into Tulane's MSF directly after graduation, but declined because I wanted to have the experience at another university.

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Comments (22)

May 9, 2010 - 8:31pm

I would only look at programs within schools that are already targets and semitargets of BBs and the companies you aspire to break into. This way you'll have direct access to these companies come fall on campus recruiting. Otherwise you'll be suck doing open to anyone job hunting online and you know HR doesn't look at those submissions.

May 9, 2010 - 10:04pm

Keep this in mind, a MSF degree is far from easy. You run the risk of struggling with a masters and wasting a year of you're time.

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Best Response
May 10, 2010 - 2:01am

If you get around a 720 range on GMAT, assuming you have a decent math background, and with your work ex (compared to newbies) , you should be able to make up for your relatively low GPA and will have a decent shot at top European programs such as LSE (accounting and finance), SSE, Bocconi, and HEC. Oxford, Cambridge and LSE Finance will probably be a bit of a reach though. I don't think Carnegie Melon has a general finance program. if you're talking about the Financial engineering program, that seems like a very competitive program. Out of the generalist finance programs in the US, barring MIT and Princeton, Vanderbilt is probably the top 2nd tier program. Although I haven't really heard about any BB or IBs recruiting there, it does seem to have a decent job scope for its students. I would probably try to find current or former students in that program to get a better perspective. But if you don't mind working in Europe, the school I mentioned above are all good for IB as you will surely have good opportunities to break in at those schools.

May 10, 2010 - 3:56am
tentop:
If you get around a 720 range on GMAT, assuming you have a decent math background, and with your work ex (compared to newbies) , you should be able to make up for your relatively low GPA and will have a decent shot at top European programs such as LSE (accounting and finance), SSE, Bocconi, and HEC. Oxford, Cambridge and LSE Finance will probably be a bit of a reach though. I don't think Carnegie Melon has a general finance program. if you're talking about the Financial engineering program, that seems like a very competitive program. Out of the generalist finance programs in the US, barring MIT and Princeton, Vanderbilt is probably the top 2nd tier program. Although I haven't really heard about any BB or IBs recruiting there, it does seem to have a decent job scope for its students. I would probably try to find current or former students in that program to get a better perspective. But if you don't mind working in Europe, the school I mentioned above are all good for IB as you will surely have good opportunities to break in at those schools.

Would it seriously only take a 720 and a 3.2 to have a shot at LSE and HEC type programs!?

Either you're under shooting or I've been over sold.

"If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." - J. Paul Getty
  • 2
May 10, 2010 - 9:25am
San Franciscan:
tentop:
If you get around a 720 range on GMAT, assuming you have a decent math background, and with your work ex (compared to newbies) , you should be able to make up for your relatively low GPA and will have a decent shot at top European programs such as LSE (accounting and finance), SSE, Bocconi, and HEC. Oxford, Cambridge and LSE Finance will probably be a bit of a reach though. I don't think Carnegie Melon has a general finance program. if you're talking about the Financial engineering program, that seems like a very competitive program. Out of the generalist finance programs in the US, barring MIT and Princeton, Vanderbilt is probably the top 2nd tier program. Although I haven't really heard about any BB or IBs recruiting there, it does seem to have a decent job scope for its students. I would probably try to find current or former students in that program to get a better perspective. But if you don't mind working in Europe, the school I mentioned above are all good for IB as you will surely have good opportunities to break in at those schools.

Would it seriously only take a 720 and a 3.2 to have a shot at LSE and HEC type programs!?

Either you're under shooting or I've been over sold.

you need at least a 3.5 ugrad GPA (preferably the equivalent of a UK 1st ~ 3.75+ GPA) for admission into LSE/Oxbridge. GMAT isn't as important for LSE (680+ is fine) as it is for Oxford, which has an average GMAT of 730. Schools like HEC and Bocconi are a little less stringent, especially with the GMAT, but a 3.2 GPA is still a little on the low side. (Work experience and good GMAT will compensate for this but don't expect scholarship awards from these programs). While HEC and Bocconi are of comparable quality and job prospects, HEC admissions team likes to pretend they are Oxbridge and routinely rejects 3.5 GPAs and 700+ GMATs (especially if you are American) But who wants to study with faggy french folk anyways, right?

I'd say you have a shot at following quality MSc Fins:

Warwick, RSM (Holland), Bocconi, St. Gallen, SSE

Be careful of St. Gallen, as it places predominantly in the German speaking-world, so if you don't speak German, don't go there.
SSE is very cheap and thus very sought after- I would think by now there are no spots left
Warwick is good but not of the same quality as its undergrad, placement for banking is spotty.
RSM is good but even though the Dutch speak English, most finance jobs in Holland require fluency in Dutch
Bocconi is good for London and Milan IB, you obviously won't work in Milan without high proficiency in Italian language. Program is also expensive unless you can snag a scholarship.

May 10, 2010 - 4:15am

hmm, good news, thanks.

"If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." - J. Paul Getty
May 10, 2010 - 9:34am

^^^^^^

Affirmative, you seem knowledgeable enough to ask: What do you need for Imperial college's MSF program?

"If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." - J. Paul Getty
May 10, 2010 - 9:41am
San Franciscan:
^^^^^^

Affirmative, you seem knowledgeable enough to ask: What do you need for Imperial college's MSF program?

Imperial is more maths/trading oriented than other programs (it's basically a masters in financial mathematics), so admissions wants to see a quant undergrad degree. GPA-wise, less stringent than Oxbridge/LSE, probably need a 2:1 UK~ 3.3 USA GPA. They will expect you to have performed well in your math classes though.

May 10, 2010 - 9:58am

Getting into HEC is by no means a joke. I think in the op's case; LSE, Oxford and HEC are out of question. Warwick and Bocconi should be in your range. As affirmative mentioned; GPA is a big deal. Also LSE loves students who apply from top schools in the US. HEC somewhat emulates LSE's recruiting too. They prefer students who went to top undergrad unis in the US.

May 10, 2010 - 10:13am

Go to student room UK so you can hear first hand experiences from former/current students about these programs. HEC is comparable to Bocconi, along with SSE and St. Gallen. HEC does have a strong bias for high GMAT scores though (avg Gmat = 720). However, Oxbridge, Cambridge, and LSE (Finance) programs are on another level in terms of competition. And yes all good programs prefer top students at top schools, with top GMAT scores, if you didn't know this general fact.

May 10, 2010 - 9:32pm

Thanks for all your invaluable advice on the Euro schools. Its painfully evident I'm going to have to own my GMAT to have a shot at Ox/Bridge and I intend on doing just that-wish me luck!

Any comment on any US MSF/MCF I might have a good shot at?

For practical purposes, assume I will be starting the Fall of 2011, will be working in Finance until then, and will score a 720 on my GMATs. Lots of if's but I think that's a fair gauge to evaluate my prospects.

May 13, 2010 - 11:27pm

Thoughts on LSE's accounting & finance program? Seems like its just a refresher on an undergrad education; reminds me quite a bit of Tulane's MSF courseload. I'm having trouble seeing their placements, as they lump Finc Services together as one. Seems easier to get into as well; any chance to transfer between programs? I'd love to shoot for the MS Finance program, but I'm afraid I might fall a bit short GPA-wise.

Any thoughts on the MS program in Economics from LSE? Seems more competitive than even finance.

May 14, 2010 - 12:16am

Accounting and Finance a lot easier to get into and people tend to usually get in with fairly average profiles. The program curriculum isn't too great. But it still has the LSE brand, so I would assume one would have some opportunities at IBs if one has decent profile. The MS Finance on the other hand is extremely difficult to get into (acceptance rate about 5%). I know someone who had a 3.5 GPA from public ivy uni, 740 GMAT, and decent intern experience that didn't make it. And from what I've heard that's a fairly recurring theme. Can't comment on the Ms program in Economics, but i do know that the MS Econ & Finance is considered the top business related program for LSE.

May 14, 2010 - 2:08pm

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May 14, 2010 - 6:09pm

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