What can I do with a master in finance?

RodgerP's picture
Rank: Monkey | 60

I'm a sophomore in a semi target school(Notre Dame), majoring in Applied Math and Econ, and wish to find a career in IBD. But I somehow realize it's such a competitive and risky path. So what I'm going to do is to have a back-up plan. I've been looking at some top Master in Finance/Financial Engineering programs(Princeton/MIT/Columbia) and they also get pretty good placement on the street. But is it true that mostly MFin/MFE graduates go on to be quant and do back-office/middle-office jobs? (Someone told me it's nearly impossible for a master graduate to land a BB front-office job, which is mostly reserved for undergraduates from target schools. ) Is it true? If so, what can I do to land a front-office job? Please give me some advice. Thank you very much.

Comments (49)

Oct 28, 2017

Landing a front office job at a BB is extremely difficult for anyone who didn't intern there.

Basically, an MSF is like any other similar 1-year master's: it just makes you a bit more competitive for an entry level job. YMMV. If you already have some options there's no benefit. If you need to show more competency in finance (e.g. you're a math major who wanted to change course late in your degree program) it can help.

And yeah. It probably won't get you a front office position on its own, but it CAN help you get other finance roles (including lower tier IBs) that make it very doable to lateral to IB at a name brand firm.

    • 2
Oct 28, 2017

Thank you for answering. Speaking of internships at BB, if I could somehow secure one in HK, would that be same useful as in NYC(if I want to actually do full-time in NYC)?

Oct 28, 2017

This is a very informative answer. Is it the same for some two-years programs like Princeton? So I should definitely try to land a job after graduate then.

Best Response
Oct 28, 2017

Can't do shit with a master in fiance- might have better luck with a master in finance

    • 17
Oct 28, 2017

Actually I have heard master in fiance is a great, up and coming degree, it will certain usurp the usefulness of master in finance.

@TNA help us out here bro what is better master in fiance or finance?

Oct 28, 2017

That's harsh, but very clear... Thanks

Oct 28, 2017

1) ND is a target
2) You are a sophomore
3) BB IBD is highly competitive. Tons of MM and boutique shops you can target
4) If this fails, you have TAS, credit analyst, corporate banking, F500 rotational programs.

Save the MSF thoughts for 2nd semester, senior year.

Oct 28, 2017

Thanks for answering. It's true I'm only sophomore. But lots of kids around me started their job hunting, and some of them even already secured an intern. And that really makes me panic. So you think if I can't land a BB, I should go to smaller shops instead and use them as a springboard? (Should I work for a few years and then get a MBA?)

Oct 29, 2017

You already know the answer to your own questions, you just don't think you do.

Take a key from Jordan Belfort. If you want to be able to make the sale on anything in life (including yourself in job interviews), you need to be able to speak with a tonality that says "I fully believe in what I am saying".

Oct 29, 2017

Your back up is to land an internship. A masters won't help you one bit if you can't get an internship or job from ND before then.

Oct 29, 2017

More degrees aren't going to make up for your lack of work experience. At a minimum - get a SA your sophomore/junior year start by applying at the top of the spectrum; BB/EB then if you don't land one of those apply to MM and boutiques on down. Do the same thing for FT, and try to lateral up a level if you don't land where you want. Just know that the non-ND analysts in your group will forever hate you.

If that doesn't work out be the best damn burger flipper with a ND degree you can be and win one for the gipper.

    • 1
Oct 29, 2017

Sorry about being stupid, but I really don't know what does SA/EB/FT stands for... I tried to google it but didn't find any persuasive answer. (My personal guess is EB for elite banks FT for full-time but SA I really don't know)Also can you elaborate on:"Just know that the non-ND analysts in your group will forever hate you. " this sentence?

Oct 31, 2017

Summer Analyst, Elite Boutique, and Full Time (Analyst)

    • 1
Oct 29, 2017

With a master in finance, you can bang NONTARGET SLUTS from the back office!

    • 5
Oct 30, 2017

I heard that Cheryll from Accounting is prime.

    • 1
Oct 31, 2017

she is sub-prime

Oct 31, 2017

To each their own... an MSF could help, but the CFA is likely enough depending on what your experience is in. I think I saw that Vandy sends a decent % of kids to ER

    • 1
Oct 31, 2017

What type of work experience? What level of the CFA are you on? Need info like that. An MSF can help you get into ER as it opens you up to OCR. I've seen students do it coming from a variety of different programs.

Oct 31, 2017

I have taken Level 2 in June this year.

Array

Oct 31, 2017

@"ar169" - I think with LII passed you should be able to get some traction with regards to ER. I'd maybe focus on AM shops which seem to be slightly easier to break into vs. a pure ER role at an investment bank.

Everything depends on how much you hate your job, how relevant/irrelevant it would be towards an MBA and your financial situation. An MSF will open you up to FO OCR and give your resume a student appearance so you can go through normal recruiting channels. Only you can decide if that is worth the time and cost. Then again, if you are working at a place that wont really benefit you when applying to MBA programs and you maybe need a GPA boost or a new brand, the MSF could be the ideal stepping stone.

Oct 31, 2017

I hate what I am doing right now. Even though there are internal opportunities, I cannot say for sure I will get them since they are few and many apply for them.

Also my current position is too close to Operations to land me into a good MBA program. Its not exactly Ops but still no where near the calibre required to get into Top 10.The advantage though here is that I have time to do things on the side (NGO work, perhaps even start a business which might help in MBA admissions)

Array

Oct 31, 2017

@"ar169" - Well that helps some. You're coming to the point of being on a bubble with regards to your work. 2 years now, probably 3 upon matriculation, tends to be the limit of work experience I'd recommend for an MSF. You'll run into issues applying for banks with work experience beyond what they consider for an analyst.

It can be done, but the more you look like an MBA candidate the more you have difficulty with an MSF.

IMO, keep working and try and find something "better". Do the non profit stuff, start that side business, keep going with the CFA. I think with a good gmat score you'd be competitive for schools within the T20. A degree from any of those schools would give you associate banking opportunities, F500 rotational programs, mid level consulting, etc. I think that would be the best angle for you right now.

Oct 29, 2017

MSF is quite common in the UK to my understanding. Many students finish undergrad and complete a MSF right away. Friends at my firm landed amazing buy side positions with them. Can't remember if they all did IB internships or not.

Oct 30, 2017

Great, do you have any programs for recommendation? I so far only researched US programs. I heard LSE is pretty good,right?

Oct 30, 2017

Oxford MFE is also very good

Gimme the loot

Oct 30, 2017

Imperial College program is really good too. It costs around PS33500-PS37000 but I am not sure for international students.
Met some guy coming from Hong Kong in an Open Day and he managed to land a job as a Trader for a Hedge Fund after finishing. He did not have too much experience or had worked previously in the buy side or anything.

Oct 31, 2017

In NYC you have a few limited options. Rochester has a NYC MSF and MiM. Pace has a PT program of sorts. Baruch is starting a night time MSF program this year. Hofstra has one also. Online you have Indiana, Penn State, Georgetown. Personally, I would do a PT program at night as you will meet people and get professor interaction.

Your GPA is low, but you have work experience which is good. The GMAT and essays will largely determine where you get in. Let me know what you and thinking and some more information on your situation and I will try and give you better advice.

Oct 31, 2017

Thanks for the feedback, Ant. I don't log in much on WSO but the situation is the same. I am going to take the GRE in the next few months and am looking to apply for Baruch's MSF program (PT), Penn State online, and University of Delaware. All three schools would be in my budget. What is your opinion on the three schools? I know that since I am looking to stay local as well as keep my current job that offers tuition reimbursement, Baruch would be ideal. What is your opinion?

Oct 31, 2017

I'd go with Baruch only. Hit up the Rochester people. They are generous with scholarship and the tuition is all in (books, European trip, etc). Plus you can work in NYC.

PSU online isn't worth it. Do Indiana if you have to.

Oct 30, 2017

Different set of circumstances, but I recently found that a young employee at my company has a double masters- one in math and one in finance. From a large state school (U of Miami I think). Here is the shit part: She is a Financial Analyst II. You know, the promotion you get automatically after 2 years if you aren't bad enough to get fired..

Granted, this is one data point and she didn't go to an elite school. So take this with a few grains of salt: The general feel that I've gotten is that a MSF doesn't do you much more good than getting a year of relevant work experience. So if you have a job that you wanted and didn't get, it seems better to work in a less desirable job and then lateral, rather than spend time and money on a MSF.

    • 1
Oct 30, 2017

This is also what i've heard. Maybe brand name schools work better but never as good as a relevant working experience... It's true that MSF programs cost a LOT (like 100K for 12 months program in MIT). Thanks for your suggestion.

    • 1
Oct 31, 2017

use the search function

Oct 31, 2017

for me, it is a fresh start from my nonfinance undergrad degree without having to wait 4-5 years to apply for mba

Oct 30, 2017

Notre Dame graduates are seen as like the second coming of Jesus in Chicago. You will be a top contender for William Blair in chicago, which pays the same as NYC BBs.

Oct 30, 2017

Thanks, it's really good to hear that. But I'm actually considering going back to APAC sometimes in my career, so global brand somehow means more to me even than salary. But I would definitely put William Blair on my list!

Oct 30, 2017

If you're only a sophomore and you're at a target (ND is a target), you should have no problem recruiting for some type of internship for this coming summer and then recruiting for BB/EB summer analyst next fall (for SA 2019). Mind you, the internship you get this summer doesn't even have to be IB - you just need something to put on your resume. Don't stress so early in your college career.

Oct 30, 2017

I'm a typical empty-glass guy hahaha. Thank you very much for saying that. Yes, that's what I'm trying to do right now. Maybe I can't secure an intern in US, but definitely one in Hong Kong, with the help of my family. I guess that would still be better than doing nothing.

Oct 30, 2017

You sound like a troll - I don't know why people keep on feeding you.

    • 1
Oct 30, 2017
Comment
Oct 30, 2017