Vanderbilt MSF vs. Claremont McKenna MSF

ECG2014's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

Hello, everyone, I pulled together some research on these two since they both are getting a lot of attention in the forum. Here are some differences I see, but I would be interested in getting everyone's thoughts and additional insights:

PRESTIGE: In the absence of reliable MSF rankings, I evaluated the overall prestige of the school. Vanderbilt's undergrad is a national university and is ranked #17 in US News and the MBA program is #25 in Businessweek. (For what it's worth, Vanderbilt Law School is #15 and Med School is #14). CMC is a great liberal arts college. In fact, it ranks #9 in US News which is pretty impressive. Both schools do what they do well, but the edge here goes to Vanderbilt since it is a much larger university with a brand that is nationally recognized. Unfortunately, CMC's low overall enrollment makes it relatively obscure outside of the region and as good as the MSF program appears to be, CMC's MBA is unranked and is just not a player in the space. That's probably a big deal since the reputations of a business school's degrees tend to rub off on each other.

ALUMNI NETWORK: Reading around the web and having spoken to some friends who have connected with alums from both programs, all these grads loved their experience and sound like they'd be helpful in the job search. That said, the size of the alum bases appear to be drastically different. The MSF programs are about the same size, but Vanderbilt graduates many more students per year and all of them become potential job search contacts. Also, back to a previous point, Vanderbilt has a ranked MBA program which should prove to be a huge advantage since I'm guessing a sizable portion of them enter finance. A quick LinkedIn search confirms this.

GEOGRAPHY: CMC has strong West Coast placement, and Vanderbilt is definitely stronger in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that Vanderbilt is a much more national brand. I've heard their undergraduate programs are basically packed with Ivy League types from NYC and Boston. Unless I knew I wanted to work out West, I would go with Vanderbilt since they cover more of the larger financial hubs which are mostly east of the Mississippi.

CLASS PROFILE: A quick look at LinkedIn and the program websites can answer this. The class sizes are roughly the same size. As far as student backgrounds, CMC looks much more regional, and a large portion of the classes come directly from CMC. The Vanderbilt classes look a lot more diverse in terms of undergraduate origin. Vanderbilt probably edges out CMC here because part of the return one should expect from a graduate program is a broader network of contacts. Those contacts are every bit as important as the education.

CONCLUSION: There's ample evidence to conclude that both are solid programs; however, Vanderbilt is pretty clearly the stronger option. In my opinion, the exception would be if I definitely knew I wanted to target California.

Comments (12)

Jan 15, 2014

Pretty much why I chose Vanderbilt over CMC

Jan 15, 2014

Your method is very poor. Based on this reasoning, WUSTL would be better than both Vanderbilt and CMC (higher undergrad and MBA ranking). Whether or not WUSTL is better than Vanderbilt is unclear, but the objective relevant stats (not the irrelevant crap you're focusing on) clearly demonstrate CMC's relative MSF superiority. It has a higher average starting salary and has stronger FO BB placements, which is what most people are interested in.

Vanderbilt doesn't even disclose its placement information, which should raise at least some red flags. The last time Vanderbilt's placement information was disclosed, it was relatively lackluster, though in all fairness, it was the placement information for the class of 2010 (a very bad year). Its FO BB placement, according to the available information, is nonexistent. The program is quite selective though.

[EDIT]Oh and Duke's program would be better than all three.

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Jan 15, 2014

Esuric, Vanderbilt's employment stats for the MSF Class of 2013 are published on their site. Can't post the link because I'm new to WSO. 95% offers at 100 days, 25% entered FO IB, and their top employer was Deutsche Bank. It's easy to Google. I'd also add (and ECG pointed this out in another post) that Claremont includes internships in their job offers stats. Not arguing either way on this one. Just pointing out facts.

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Jan 15, 2014
MSFSeeker:

Esuric, Vanderbilt's employment stats for the MSF Class of 2013 are published on their site. Can't post the link because I'm new to WSO. 95% offers at 100 days, 25% entered FO IB, and their top employer was Deutsche Bank. It's easy to Google. I'd also add (and ECG pointed this out in another post) that Claremont includes internships in their job offers stats. Not arguing either way on this one. Just pointing out facts.

Yeah you're right. I just found it. The only thing that's unclear is their FO BB placements, but the stats are strong nonetheless. CMC still has a pretty significant advantage when it comes to average starting salary though. It's strange that they don't post these placements on http://www.owen.vanderbilt.edu/programs/ms-finance/careers.cfm. They highlight, for example, Asurion, Cummins and FedEx over GS and MS.

Thank you though.

Jan 15, 2014

INB4 NOVA

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

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Jan 15, 2014

As someone interested in doing an MSF, I'll admit, if I wanted to avoid living in California, I would likely take my chances with Vandy. Otherwise I'd do CMC all the way.

Most people do the MSF because:
1. fucked around (me)
2. went to a shit school with no FO recruiting (also me)
and/or
3. want to rebrand themselves.

The common theme behind all these reasons is front office employment. Based on their employment report, somewhere around 75% of CMC MSF grads get placed in FO jobs at BB, Elite Boutiques, and the like. Just go check out the list of firms recruiting there on the careers page. GS, MS, MBB, etc... If I was a 3.7 710 with an internship or two and no full time job I would be very serious about CMC. They're definitely doing something right over there.

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Jan 15, 2014

Gotta love the influx of brand new posters. Real convenient.

Jan 15, 2014

I edited my last comment btw

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Jan 15, 2014
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