Studying for an MSc in Finance isn’t cheap. The best Master in Finance program in the world costs close to $44,000 in tuition and fees alone.
That’s why the salary you earn after your Master in Finance is a key part of the return on investment (ROI) you get from business school.
When choosing a program, you want to identify a school that’ll give you the best chance of hitting your career goals and paying back your student loan in the quickest time possible.
Master in Finance salary: Where will you earn the most?
Master in Finance graduates from China’s Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management earn the most of any finance master’s grads in the world, according to the Financial Times’ Masters in Finance pre-experience ranking 2021. Grads from the school earn on average $166,000 three years after their degrees.
The school is followed in second place by HEC Paris—ranked the overall best program in the world. The MS in finance salary for HEC Paris students three years after graduation is around $156,000.
China performs strongly when the FT’s ranking is adjusted for salary. The country has three schools in the overall ranking, and they all feature in the top five for Master in Finance salary.
Alongside Tsinghua are the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) at SJTU—whose grads earn around $153k three years after graduation—and Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management—whose students earn salaries close to $140k three years after completing their degrees.
France is another country where you can expect a strong salary return from your MS in finance. There are three French schools in the top 10 ranking for post-degree salary.
After HEC Paris, ESCP Business School is ranked fourth in the world for salary. Finance master’s graduates from the school can expect to earn on average $142,000 three years after their degree. ESSEC Business School sits in seventh for salary—grads earn around $120,000.
The top 10 is rounded off by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School in sixth place, where grads earn around $125k; eighth placed St Gallen, where grads earn close to $118k; London Business School in ninth, where you can expect to earn around $116k three years after your degree; and SDA Bocconi in 10th, where finance grads earn roughly $115k.
Best Master in Finance programs for salary increase
When looking at Master in Finance salary, the amount by which you can expect to increase your salary is another key metric to consider when choosing a program.
Graduates from Poland’s Kozminski University increase their salaries the most compared with any other MS in Finance degree. Grads increase their salaries on average by 93%.
France again has the greatest number of schools in the top 10. HEC Paris is in second place for salary increase, where grads can expect a 92% increase on their pre-degree salary.
Skema Business School is ranked fourth, where graduates can expect a salary spike of 79%, whereas fellow French school, emlyon business school, sits in seventh for salary increase. Grads earn around 66% more than they did before business school.
SDA Bocconi and the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance at SJTU—both ranked in the top 10 for overall salary—are also in the top 10 for salary increase.
SDA Bocconi finance master's grads increase their salaries by 66%, whereas grads from SAIF see a 65% increase on their pre-business school earnings.
Return on investment of a Master in Finance
The amount you earn and how much you increase your salary by after business school are just two metrics by which to judge a program’s overall ROI. Though weighing up the first of these metrics against your program’s cost is a great way to work out how long it’ll take you to pay back any financial aid.
The program at HEC Paris, for example, might cost $44,000 in tuition and fees, but grads earn more than three times that amount three years after graduation.
The same can be said of the program at Stockholm School of Economics. The program costs around $34,000, but students earn close to $92,000 three years after graduation. The program is also tuition-free for citizens of any EU/EEA country or Switzerland.
The Financial Times also breaks each program down by value for money—according to alumni salaries today, course length, tuition fees and other costs—and the extent to which alumni achieve their goals.
The French schools dominate the top 10 when it comes to helping alumni achieve their goals, taking the top four spots. 97% of ESCP grads achieved their goals, so too did 94% of HEC Paris and Skema grads, and 93% of grads from Essec.
The Master in Finance programs from St Gallen, Oxford Saïd, Stockholm School of Economics, Portugal’s Nova School of Business and Economics, and Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School, all scored at least 90% when it came to helping alumni achieve their goals.
Interestingly, only four of the schools in the top 10 for salary earned today are ranked in the top 10 for value for money—St Gallen (second), ESCP (seventh), HEC Paris (ninth), and Tsinghua (10th).
The best program for value for money can be found at Switzerland’s HEC Lausanne. Other highly ranked value for money programs are Lund University School of Economics and Management (third), Tilburg University School of Economics and Management (fifth), and Rotterdam School of Management (sixth).
When choosing a Master in Finance degree, the return on investment of your program goes beyond just the salary you earn at the end. You should use the rankings as a guide to inform your list of target schools, and take into account the value for money of a program, alongside how well a school helps its alumni reach their goals.
After this, speak to alumni and admissions staff from schools that pique your interest, and you'll be well on your way to finding a Master in Finance program that's the right fit for you.
Master in Finance salary: World's best business schools