ranking of top 1-year, pre experience, finance graduate programs

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I've looked for a good list on several forums and could not find anything! Does anyone have a top 5/10 list that fits the description?

Cambridge, Oxford, LSE, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, NYU, Berkley are just a few that I am aware of, can anyone put these in order and/or add to the list?

A top 5 list would be much appreciated.

Also, almost none of them offer the same program (although they are all 1-year, pre-experience), some of them have an MFin, MPhil in finance, MSc. in financial economics, MS of Mathematics in Finance, other are MFEs, etc... Are they all equivalent, some are better? I'm a bit lost...

Thanks!

Comments (55)

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 11:55am

Princeton has a 1-year option on their MFin program. By some measures, it is the best, with a 5% admission rate and 100% placement, ~85% of that front-office. Of course, there are much smarter people than me at all of the schools you listed, and they are all good programs.)

MFEs and MFins like MIT and Princeton typically require a STEM undergrad or at least a fair amount of post-calculus coursework.

Andy Nguyen on QuantNet and ANT here on the forums can give you some more color on this. But the best Master in Finance programs will require a fairly strong quantitative background. Aim for an 800 on the GRE.Qs; aim for an A in DiffyQs and calculus-based probability.

For Princeton, it never hurts to get into the front office BEFORE you apply, and you should try to have the personals of a strong HBS or Stanford applicant. Winning a few national competitions, leading a large organization, or having something really unique isn't quite a requirement, but a lot of admits will have a few things like that. You basically need to be the quant that could have gone to HBS if that is what he really wanted to do. It will probably be similar for MIT, but they will place a little more emphasis on academics and less on career and personals.

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 3:37pm

nontarget kid:
I looked at the resume book for Princeton MFin and noticed that most of the people were from undergrad target schools. Do non-targets even have a chance at a place like Princeton?

Yes...
1. Do well in school in a quantitative major
2. Crush your GMAT, 50 Q-Score
3. Get engaged on campus in leadership positions
4. Get solid work experience at a top firm
5. Apply

Although if you do all of those things aside from an interest in academics why would you go back to school?

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
 
Sep 16, 2012 - 3:42pm

BepBep12:
nontarget kid:
I looked at the resume book for Princeton MFin and noticed that most of the people were from undergrad target schools. Do non-targets even have a chance at a place like Princeton?

Yes...
1. Do well in school in a quantitative major
2. Crush your GMAT, 50 Q-Score
3. Get engaged on campus in leadership positions
4. Get solid work experience at a top firm
5. Apply

Although if you do all of those things aside from an interest in academics why would you go back to school?

I was actually planning on taking the GRE. Would the GMAT be better?

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 4:01pm

nontarget kid:
I looked at the resume book for Princeton MFin and noticed that most of the people were from undergrad target schools. Do non-targets even have a chance at a place like Princeton?

This year we've got a lot of kids from the UC system, a Math PhD from UT Austin who spent a few years as a professor, and a lot of students from public universities in Europe and Asia.

The one thing I think most people have in common is that they either did an internship or a full-time job in the front office. The other thing is that there are no weak quantitative links in the program. I am probably the weakest on math, and I've done the engineering math sequence and spent two years as an options strat.

But there are a lot of counterexamples this year to the idea that non-targets do not get accepted.

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 4:09pm

IlliniProgrammer:
nontarget kid:
I looked at the resume book for Princeton MFin and noticed that most of the people were from undergrad target schools. Do non-targets even have a chance at a place like Princeton?

This year we've got a lot of kids from the UC system, a Math PhD from UT Austin who spent a few years as a professor, and a lot of students from public universities in Europe and Asia.

The one thing I think most people have in common is that they either did an internship or a full-time job in the front office. The other thing is that there are no weak quantitative links in the program. I am probably the weakest on math, and I've done the engineering math sequence and spent two years as an options strat.

But there are a lot of counterexamples this year to the idea that non-targets do not get accepted.

Just to clarify, are you currently in the program? I'm hoping that these programs look past my pedigree and evaluate my application based on merit and work experience. I've done one internship in the front office so far and am currently working on getting another one for my junior-senior summer.

Also, I've pondered this question a few times: is it harder to get into a S&T SA program at a top five bank or a top five MSF/MSFE program?

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 3:47pm

I've heard some stuff about the GRE's quant section being slightly easier, but I think the standard for business schools is the GMAT. Although most accept either, just check on the school's website.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
 
Sep 16, 2012 - 5:40pm

It sounds like Princeton admits only the current top quants into the program. I think you'll really enjoy it there. Have you met any students coming straight from undergrad? I'm pretty sure if there are any students straight from undergrad, they have had very solid internships and are top of their class in a STEM major.

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 8:24pm

nontarget kid:
It sounds like Princeton admits only the current top quants into the program.

I don't think most of us would see ourselves that way. Perhaps the true cream of the crop would be busy working rather than spending a few years in school. We'd just tell you that everyone in the program has a very interesting background and a lot of great stories to tell. They would probably be at least as much fun at a dinner party as someone from an M7 MBA program. (Of course many folks who hail from nontargets and never go to grad school will be just as interesting, possibly moreso.)

Have you met any students coming straight from undergrad? I'm pretty sure if there are any students straight from undergrad, they have had very solid internships and are top of their class in a STEM major.

Yes. I believe there is a lady who did astrophysics at UCLA in addition to an engineer from Duke. I don't know everyone's backgrounds off the top of my head, but I think we have a number that are straight out of undergrad and others from other masters programs but with only internships.

The rocket scientist and math genius were probably shoo-ins, but my point is that the bar seems to be a little bit higher for those without full-time work experience.

 
Sep 16, 2012 - 9:34pm

IlliniProgrammer:
nontarget kid:
It sounds like Princeton admits only the current top quants into the program.

I don't think most of us would see ourselves that way. Perhaps the true cream of the crop would be busy working rather than spending a few years in school. We'd just tell you that everyone in the program has a very interesting background and a lot of great stories to tell. They would probably be at least as much fun at a dinner party as someone from an M7 MBA program. (Of course many folks who hail from nontargets and never go to grad school will be just as interesting, possibly moreso.)

Have you met any students coming straight from undergrad? I'm pretty sure if there are any students straight from undergrad, they have had very solid internships and are top of their class in a STEM major.

Yes. I believe there is a lady who did astrophysics at UCLA in addition to an engineer from Duke. I don't know everyone's backgrounds off the top of my head, but I think we have a number that are straight out of undergrad and others from other masters programs but with only internships.

The rocket scientist and math genius were probably shoo-ins, but my point is that the bar seems to be a little bit higher for those without full-time work experience.

M7 kids are pretty damm fun and interesting.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 5:34pm

Would you at least admit that (most) students attend top-tier MBA programs for the recruiting/networking opportunities they provide?

That's part of the reason I didn't have much interest in an MBA. I'm willing to spend $40K on an education and $20K on networking, but not $160K on just networking.

Pointless to get into an argument over this, but almost everyone at haas got rejected from an M7 school. This does not mean that they are any less intelligent of course, but they didn't quite meet the bar of achievement and leadership that the M7 is looking for.

Statistically speaking, there will be someone more successful than either you or me who graduates from YSOM. Actually the head of PRINCO is a YSOMmer, I believe, and it is difficult to see a typical poster on WSO becoming a $17 Billion fund manager. Of course there are a lot of Berkeley, SUNY, Michigan, and UVA grads who are probably just as successful.

As far as ut-austin and yale SOM. Lol. Those schools are jokes for the most part. Once you go outside of the top 10 mba (stern here is pushing it), the caliber of the student body becomes REALLY bad.

Not everyone at UT Austin is brilliant, but they have some students who are smarter than you or me, and the next Exxon Mobil CEO will probably be an alumn. I hope I'll have the opportunity to do business with him one day.

I am trying to figure out how I can respectfully try and deconstruct the prestige obsession. There are a lot of people out there who don't have "prestige" and choose to sell themselves short rather than stand on their own, high-quality brand. Don't be arrogant, but have enough self-respect to realize that you are a lot more than the sum of the schools, companies, and organizations on your resume. You are going to need it to survive in this industry.

Be proud and be strong in who you are and know that degrees and companies do not define your accomplishments.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 5:49pm

IlliniProgrammer:
Would you at least admit that (most) students attend top-tier MBA programs for the recruiting/networking opportunities they provide?

That's part of the reason I didn't have much interest in an MBA. I'm willing to spend $40K on an education and $20K on networking, but not $160K on just networking.

Pointless to get into an argument over this, but almost everyone at haas got rejected from an M7 school. This does not mean that they are any less intelligent of course, but they didn't quite meet the bar of achievement and leadership that the M7 is looking for.

Statistically speaking, there will be someone more successful than either you or me who graduates from YSOM. Actually the head of PRINCO is a YSOMmer, I believe, and it is difficult to see a typical poster on WSO becoming a $17 Billion fund manager. Of course there are a lot of Berkeley, SUNY, Michigan, and UVA grads who are probably just as successful.

As far as ut-austin and yale SOM. Lol. Those schools are jokes for the most part. Once you go outside of the top 10 mba (stern here is pushing it), the caliber of the student body becomes REALLY bad.

Not everyone at UT Austin is brilliant, but they have some students who are smarter than you or me, and the next Exxon Mobil CEO will probably be an alumn. I hope I'll have the opportunity to do business with him one day.

I am trying to figure out how I can respectfully try and deconstruct the prestige obsession. There are a lot of people out there who don't have "prestige" and choose to sell themselves short rather than stand on their own, high-quality brand. Don't be arrogant, but have enough self-respect to realize that you are a lot more than the sum of the schools, companies, and organizations on your resume. You are going to need it to survive in this industry.

Be proud and be strong in who you are and know that degrees and companies do not define your accomplishments.

Yes, you can find uber-successful people from any school. That point was never in contention, so you're attacking a straw man here.

My point was that by and large, there is a fundamental difference in the caliber of students and opportunities at the likes of wharton/booth vs haas/stern/yale. That was all.

Prestige obsession can get over the top, I agree. But for MBA, it matters so much that i totally understand why people bust their butts off to get into the right program. An admission to an elite b-school is a game changer in many ways.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 6:22pm

Yes, you can find uber-successful people from any school. That point was never in contention, so you're attacking a straw man here.

My point was that by and large, there is a fundamental difference in the caliber of students and opportunities at the likes of wharton/booth vs haas/stern/yale. That was all.


Of course, but if we generalize that assumption to those programs' grads, we miss out on some of the smartest people in life. More importantly, those people will suspect we generalize that view on their program to them- they certainly see us as doing it to their network.

So really the smartest approach is to judge these programs by the smartest, most driven and successful people in them. And every school in the top 30 has people who are better than the two of us. So let's stop being douchebags and acknowledge the fact that people who are smarter and better and more successful than us think that UT Austin is probably God's gift to mankind (and may very well be right).

I believe the Fortune 500 of 2025 will look a lot different than it does today. And that 40-50% of it will be run by folks outside the M7 who probably had to crawl over a lot of people with better pedigrees than them to make it there. I want to do business with that 50%- and that 50% in particular. That is not going to happen if I buy into school rankings or believe people should hang their hats on pedigree.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 6:30pm

IlliniProgrammer:
Yes, you can find uber-successful people from any school. That point was never in contention, so you're attacking a straw man here.

My point was that by and large, there is a fundamental difference in the caliber of students and opportunities at the likes of wharton/booth vs haas/stern/yale. That was all.


Of course, but if we generalize that assumption to those programs' grads, we miss out on some of the smartest people in life. More importantly, those people will suspect we generalize that view on their program to them- they certainly see us as doing it to their network.

So really the smartest approach is to judge these programs by the smartest, most driven and successful people in them. And every school in the top 30 has people who are better than the two of us. So let's stop being douchebags and acknowledge the fact that people who are smarter and better and more successful than us think that UT Austin is probably God's gift to mankind (and may very well be right).

I believe the Fortune 500 of 2025 will look a lot different than it does today. And that 40-50% of it will be run by folks outside the M7 who probably had to crawl over a lot of people with better pedigrees than them to make it there. I want to do business with that 50%- and that 50% in particular. That is not going to happen if I buy into school rankings or believe people should hang their hats on pedigree.

You make some good points although we don't see eye-to-eye on this topic. We just have to agree to disagree.

I actually think more of the Forbes 400 and Fortune 500 will be run by the alums of elite schools. We are becoming a more pedigree driven society, as David Brooks has noted numerous times in his columns. In many ways, accesss to elite professions is being outsourced to admissions officers at our elite colleges and b-schools. Whether that's a good way of doing things is a debatable point, but there is a very good reason why people are so obsessed with getting into these programs. I don't think we should attack the motives of these people or portray them as some crazy lunatics who are blinded by prestige. Ultimately, we pursue our self-interests, and people like myself believe that going to a certain school will promote my self-interests to the fullest degree.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 7:15pm

In many ways, accesss to elite professions is being outsourced to admissions officers at our elite colleges and b-schools.

Well, I've seen a lot of counterexamples to this. Maybe it's that I hang out with STEM majors, but roughly half- maybe even more- have state school backgrounds. So the very admissions offices you speak of concede by their actions that they don't always do a very good job at either finding or recruiting the smart people- at least on undergrads.

And while Princeton has a great engineering program, many of their undergraduates- often who get PhD admit offers from Princeton- sometimes choose state schools like Berkeley or UT Austin because that's where they can get more and better research done. The students also admit that there are smart people doing the research they want to do at "non-targets". So even the admissions committees and the students attending those schools believe life is about your accomplishments rather than your pedigree.

And of course the other thing is that either your notion or my notion can become a self-fulfilling prophecy depending on which we choose to embrace. Do you really want this to be a country where we have a caste system and you get categorized based on your accomplishments prior to the age of 17.5? Or do we want to be a country where anybody can make it if they work hard enough?

If David Brooks really wanted us to be a Hamiltonian society, he'd be pointing out the fact that the trend is reversing- and it is. Banks are hiring a greater percentage of state schoolers than they did five years ago. And if you look at the STEM programs at most of the "elite" universities, the Big Ten, ACC, and Pac Ten have as strong a representation as the northeast private schools.

There's evidence for both worldviews. I choose to embrace the worldview that I'm convinced makes us a stronger country. The US did not become the biggest economy on the planet by denying opportunities to people based on their pedigree. In fact, that was how Europe lost a lot of creative and driven people and ultimately got eclipsed by no-name American industrialists in the late 1800s.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 7:17pm

IlliniProgrammer:
In many ways, accesss to elite professions is being outsourced to admissions officers at our elite colleges and b-schools.

Well, I've seen a lot of counterexamples to this. Maybe it's that I hang out with STEM majors, but roughly half- maybe even more- have state school backgrounds. So the very admissions offices you speak of concede by their actions that they don't always do a very good job at either finding or recruiting the smart people- at least on undergrads.

And of course the other thing is that either your notion or my notion become self-fulfilling prophecies depending on which we choose to embrace. Do you really want this to be a country where we have a caste system and you get categorized based on your accomplishments prior to the age of 17.5? Or do we want to be a country where anybody can make it if they work hard enough?

If David Brooks really wanted us to be a Hamiltonian society, he'd be pointing out the fact that the trend is reversing- and it is. Banks are hiring a greater percentage of state schoolers than they did five years ago. And if you look at the STEM programs at most of the "elite" universities, the Big Ten, ACC, and Pac Ten have as strong a representation as the northeast private schools.

There's evidence for both worldviews. I choose to embrace the worldview that I'm convinced makes us a stronger country. The US did not become the biggest economy on the planet by denying opportunities to people based on their pedigree. In fact, that was how Europe lost a lot of creative and driven people and ultimately got eclipsed by no-name American industrialists in the late 1800s.

I think your argument would have much more clout if this were say 1970, when the ivies were mostly comprised of white wealthy prep school men. Admissions is significantly more meritocratic and accessible to people of humble backgrounds due to generous financial aid. Now, the rich kid at andover/exeter has to compete against the brainy math whiz from texas or the champion violinist from ohio. And poor kids can actually go to these schools. Consequently, I think a lot of the recruiters are using school as a proxy for how smart and driven a given applicant is. This is justified in part by the lack of structural obstacles that were pervasive in the 60's and 70's. This is not to say that state school kids are any less deserving-far from it. I'm just pointing out that there are good reasons why pedigree is being used in such ways.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 7:47pm

I think your argument would have much more clout if this were say 1970, when the ivies were mostly comprised of white wealthy prep school men. Admissions is significantly more meritocratic and accessible to people of humble backgrounds due to generous financial aid.

Of course, and what you accomplish at age 17 is a very poor indication of what you will accomplish at age 23, when you:

-Are subject, in many states, to the death penalty
-Are trusted to vote in elections
-Can enlist in the military
-Do your own laundry
-Drive a car
-Have to pay rent
-Have to buy groceries
-Decide what you will eat for dinner
-Work for a living for someone who doesn't care about you, just your work
-Don't need anyone else to tuck you in at night
-Don't have people hounding you to do your homework
-Can be in a relationship with an adult without the police getting involved
-Are evaluated based on your competence rather than test taking ability

Now, the rich kid at andover/exeter has to compete against the brainy math whiz from texas or the champion violinist from ohio. And poor kids can actually go to these schools. Consequently, I think a lot of the recruiters are using school as a proxy for how smart and driven a given applicant is. This is justified in part by the lack of structural obstacles that were pervasive in the 60's and 70's. This is not to say that state school kids are any less deserving-far from it. I'm just pointing out that there are good reasons why pedigree is being used in such ways.

Again, an ivy league undergrad- or even a graduate degree- doesn't tell people what you've done lately. It tells people what you did at age 17 or age 25.

We're just a better country when black swans fly when they're ready. Thank goodness that's still the case.

I think you either truly want us to be a country where all of the adults are forced into a caste system, or you choose to believe that there are a lot of brilliant and driven people who will never go to certain schools because they have much better things to do. And I would much rather compete on my work product, competence, and accomplishments in the past few years than on pedigree.

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 8:09pm

1 year MSc in Finance programs - suggestions? (Originally Posted: 03/09/2014)

Hey guys,

I'm looking for 1 year MSc in Finance programs to apply to (fall 2014 start) - I've already applied to two programs, both in the UK, in the process of ending a third application, also in the UK.

I want to apply to a few more. Do you guys have any suggestions as to which I could pick?

I know it's quite late into the year already and that it's not exactly the ideal situation, but due to personal reasons, I haven't been able to apply earlier in the year.

Profile: swiss, 2 BB internships, 1 in IB financial accounting and control, 1 in FX Sales, former semi-pro athlete, french/english native speaker, average grades, very good bachelor degree thesis, 680 GMAT.

My short-medium term goal is to secure a position that's related to S&T/Hedge fund/.... something quantitative that's for sure, related to the financial markets, I have no interest at all in IBD or anything related to corporate finance for that matter.

Taking into account my profile and the time frame I have, what do you guys suggest?

On a side note, I have to retake the TOEFL as my old TOEFL score is no longer valid (>2 years) so I can't apply to programs that require you to send the TOEFL score at the same time as the application.

Would it for example make sense to apply to a US MSc in Finance program? To be honest I have no knowledge whatsoever about these programs, nor do I know which ones are the best...

Any other good European programs out there?

Thanks a lot

 
Sep 17, 2012 - 8:12pm

One Year MSF Degrees (Originally Posted: 06/21/2010)

If only one semester of grades will be available by fall ib interviews will a one year MSF Degree add value, or will recruiters be more interested in my undergraduate degree and GPAs?

 
Best Response
Sep 17, 2012 - 8:14pm

1-year Masters?? (Originally Posted: 08/11/2011)

I am about to start my senior year at a non-target on the west coast and concerned that I will not be able to get any interviews/offers for full-time IB. Would doing a 1-year masters program be a good option? If so, what are the best programs right out of undergrad (west coast preferred) that I should apply for?

Some background:
I currently intern at a regionally respected boutique in Public Finance IB and have had 3 internships in PWM and corporate finance before. I am also the president of my finance club, was the treasurer of my fraternity, have won several achievement awards from my college, and have a GPA of 3.6.

I am afraid that with this job market and the bulges not hiring, everyone from target schools will flock to the MM and boutique shops where I normally would have had a chance.

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