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The top master’s in finance programs for getting a job at an investment bank

If you want to get a job at an investment bank, you need to go to a good school.

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And once you get into a good school, you have to do a good course. One of the most popular for prospective financiers is the masters in finance (or MS Finance, MSc Finance, Master in Finance, etc. depending on where you are in the world).

A masters in finance is a middle ground between doing an MBA and the CFA charter, both in terms of cost and career prospects: as we explain in other articles, if you didn't secure a second year banking internship, it allows you to complete a new internship between graduating from university and starting the masters. That internship will hopefully then lead to a full-time role. 

Masters in finance programs are often more popular with sales & trading professionals rather than investment bankers, for a variety of reasons. Investment bankers have historically tended to gravitate towards MBAs rather than MSc Finance courses. Neither are to be confused with the much more niche master’s in financial engineering courses which offer access to quantitative roles. Be warned, though, that even after completing a masters in finance you will usually only join as an analyst, the bottom rung of the ladder.

Our ranking of top Masters in Finance courses 

The table below shows a ranking of the top 32 schools for a masters in finance, based on our own data and some publicly available information on where graduates work. 

The ranking reflects the percentage of masters in finance graduates from each school working in a front-office investment banking role compared to total program alumni in the financial services ecosystem and the percentage of those in front-office roles at the industry's well-respected institutions (a combination of bulge bracket banks and elite boutiques)*.

The best masters in finance: Imperial College Business School

Our top-rated masters in finance is offered by the UK's Imperial College London’s business school. Although it performed well in terms of the prestige of its alumni, it was in a class of its own when measuring the proportion of its graduates working in front-office roles: this was more than twice as high as the average school we assessed.

The (second) best masters in finance: Warwick Business School

The second highest-rated masters in finance course was offered by the UK's Warwick business school. Although Warwick performed reasonably well in terms of front-office weighting, it was the best-rated masters program we looked at for the prestigious institutions its alumni attended.

The (third) best masters in finance: McCombs School of Business

The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business came third. Although the masters in finance program is generally a European phenomenon, McCombs’ graduates have strong penetration of the most prestigious banks.

The (fourth) best masters in finance: Owen Graduate School of Management

Owen Graduate School of Management, part of Vanderbilt University, led the pack behind McCombs. Like McCombs, it performed particularly well when assessing where its alumni ended up, and the school had a relatively low proportion of its graduates in revenue-generating front-office roles.

The masters in finance course at the London School of Economics (LSE), based in the UK came fifth. The LSE benefited both from alumni in the front office and students at prestigious institutions.

Generally speaking, the list was dominated by American, British, and French universities. Between the three of them, they made up 75% of the list, with only Spain and China having more than one entry.

*”Prestigious Institutions” in investment banking were defined as the following, or their respective investment bank subdivision where applicable: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citi, Bank of America, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Evercore, Lazard, Rothschild, PJT Partners, Perella Weinberg Partners, and Moelis.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon
  • di
    digital iiec
    30 January 2019

    Study in France
    the system must always produce a group of well-educated people with a common culture, language and skills that can serve the state. The French educational system has a very strong emphasis on content, culturally specific knowledge, scientific and mathematical knowledge. The system is designed to meet the needs of the state; individuality and originality are not considered worthwhile values

  • di
    digital iiec
    29 January 2019

    Study in France
    The system must always produce a group of well-educated people with a common culture, language and skills that can serve the state. The French educational system has a very strong emphasis on content, culturally specific knowledge, scientific and mathematical knowledge. The system is designed to meet the needs of the state; individuality and originality are not considered worthwhile values

  • 14
    14cp
    10 August 2017

    Like every other normal person would do - at least when we're talking about MiF degree.

  • iv
    ivyscammed
    6 August 2016

    It has always been based on connections - kids of some related / influential people with money to start the fund...
    Probably their kids are already in.
    Next hires need real skills... since they came up with many 'sophisticated' products to crash themselves.
    It also depends on which country these companies are from - hire their own

    Mostly scam 'news' and 'analyses' - ivy league standard!

  • Mo
    MontyCarlo
    7 June 2016

    Hi alex oldguy,

    I have 15+ years experience with top-tier banks in London/Singapore and came across your comment while researching a good uni for someone close.

    MIF is for entry level jobs in banking e.g. Corporate Finance. Though all banks have "equal opportunity" policy, but in reality these factors become quite real unless you have good networks in banking. Then there are issues of working under a 27 year old associate.

    Instead of targeting a technical area e.g. corporate finance, M&A or trading where you would suit more entry level role, I would suggest pick where you can show transferable skills gained in running your business.

    Suggested areas:
    Project manager in banking (regulatory / risk / compliance etc) - Normally project managers have anywhere between 7-30 year experience. It's not uncommon to see people with less than 2 year experience in Finance rest in other industries. A PMP certification + a finance / risk mgt Masters will help.

    Business Analyst - experience range from 1 year to 20 years. There are Director level BAs in banking who manages team of offshore BA teams in say India/Poland etc.

    Route suggested: Once you have relevant qualification get a contract role in large companies (easier to get in non-London location), then to contract role in banking and then to permanent role. It's easier that way.

    Regards

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