Master of Finance Programs

Published: 21 January 2012 | by Thomas Graf

Career with a MSc in Finance

Whether in the corporate world, in governmental or non-governmental institutions, or in the academic world - a serious Master of Finance program should provide you with the tools to be successful in all these areas and the respective financial divisions. Related areas for graduates are Banking, Investment Banking and Asset Management, Private Equity, or Taxation organizations and departments.

Salary with a Master of Finance

What do you earn with a postgraduate degree in finance? Your certainly depends on many factors - country differences may play a role as do company differences and pre-experience. But to provide you with some information on what to expect: In the US, salaries of US Dollars 115,000 are realistic and top performers earn US Dollars 187,000.

MBA or Master of Finance?

Well, this basically depends on your career preferences. If you want a general management education you should go for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Here you will have finance courses among others, for instance marketing, strategy, or supply chain management. You will touch the area of corporate finance but you won't become an expert. Alternatively, a postgraduate program in Finance deepens your knowledge in the area but does not provide you with general management knowledge.

MSc in Finance or Master of Business Administration

Another aspect to think about: A Master of Business Administration (MBA) often is for people who either are in a leadership position or want to become so. Those who are already in such a position often need knowledge on other areas than their key area and want to develop leadership skills. Those that are ambitious and want to become leaders do the MBA to enrich their chances to get promoted into such a positon. They signal their ambition to their current and potential future employers; they develop competence and skills; and they build networks through the business school's company network or alumni club.

The right MSc in Finance Program

Since there are many different parts to the program – as well as different requirements each school or university has – it is very much advisable to carefully check on these offers, taking an array of universities and schools into account.

Carefully screen the Schools' Websites

To find the right degree, considerations should be made towards country and language, program requirements and course schedules, preference of thesis or non-thesis degree, theoretically or practically oriented programs, focus on professors or experts in the field. It definitely takes some consideration as to which school or university to pick, also depending on the personal qualifications as well as personal ambitions towards the future career.

Ever thought about combined Finance Programs?

It is also advisable to think about taking combined programs, such as the Master’s Program in Quantitative Economics and Finance (MiQE/F) at the University of St. Gallen, where a mixture of economic and financial theory, as well as empirical methods of analysis are taught.

How assess the Quality?

One way to assess the quality of a program is to have a look at a MSc in Finance Ranking, for example the Financial Times Finance Ranking (actually there are two rankings, one for pe- and one for post-graduate programs). It provides information on how fast graduates found a job and how their salary developed three years after graduation.

Entry Requirements

A basic distinction is between programs that require a first degree in business or economics and those that don't. A basic distinction indeed is between programs that require a first academic degree in business or economics and those that do not. Of course, those programs with such a requirement can build on existing knowledge and hence go deeper into the area of finance during the master. Masters, in contrast, that are open for graduates from all disciplines need to start from the scratch and hence may be a bit more superficial.

  • Take into account school and program characteristics such as the reputation of the school and the content of the program. Take also into account, however, the environment. Is this the place you want to spend a full year or more? With our MSc in Finance search engine you can systematically search for one type or the other as well as by country and area or program structure.

By Thomas Graf