It can be your route into the high-flying and lucrative world of finance, and can also offer the chance to develop a wide range of skills and expertise. But what exactly does a master's degree in finance entail, and what can you do after you graduate?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Master in Finance.
Who studies a Master in Finance?
Masters in Finance are aimed at recent graduates with little or no work experience, who want to widen their expertise and build a foundation for a successful career in finance.
You don’t need a graduate or undergraduate degree in finance, or any kind of background in the sector. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, nearly one out of three Master in Finance applicants have no work experience in finance, while half have less than three years.
What will a Master in Finance teach you?
During your MiF, core courses teach you the fundamentals of finance, including data analytics, mathematics, and financial accounting.
You also get to specialize your degree by choosing from a wide array of electives that allow you to deepen your expertise in a particular area of finance. At MIT Sloan—one of the world's top-ranked Masters in Finance—for example, MiF students get to choose optional modules like Healthcare Finance, Venture Capital, and Crypto Finance.
At ESADE Business School, MSc Finance students select one of three tracks to tailor their degree according to their career goals: Corporate Financial Management, Banking and FinTech, and Asset Pricing & Big Data in Finance.
In addition to learning about key theoretical concepts, you’ll also get to put this knowledge into practice through hands-on experience.
For example, at London Business School, students get to work on a live business project and apply their newly acquired skills during internships at organizations like investment banks, asset managers, and fintech companies.
Master in Finance jobs
There are many exciting career prospects for MSc Finance grads, including investment banking, private equity, asset management, trading, and venture capital.
You could become an investment manager for BlackRock, a wealth advisor associate at Morgan Stanley, or a private equity analyst at HSBC.
Investment banking is a particularly popular path, as Masters in Finance provide a good stepping stone to financial hubs like Wall Street, the City of London, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
For example, 29% of MiF grads at China’s Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, and 36% of MiF grads at the UK’s Imperial College Business School, go on to work in investment banking for companies like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
Master in Finance grads can also land roles in the public sector, working for ministries of finance, central banks, or even the World Bank. At London Business School, 17% of class of 2020 grads went on to work in these industries.
Public finance jobs don’t pay as well as private financial services, but they’re a great route into a diplomatic career.
Some Master in Finance grads instead use their analytical and interpersonal skills to launch a career in consulting, as high-profile consulting firms seek specialized financial knowledge.
“MiF students add that financial lens: they tend to have built financial models, they can read financial statements, and they know the role financial organisations can play in a business from a strategy standpoint,” explains Keith Bevans, global recruitment lead at Bain.
One Master in Finance grad who took this route is Massimo di Giovacchino, who joined a Big Three firm after his MSc in Finance at Bocconi Business School in Italy.
“The intellectual rigor instilled by the MSc in Finance, and the collaboration style encouraged by the group assignments, gave me the right mindset to enjoy addressing new problems at McKinsey,” he says.
Master in Finance grads can also combine their expertise in finance with an interest in technology, securing a role in the fast-evolving fintech sector.
No matter the path you choose after your Master in Finance, you're likely to earn a high salary after you graduate. Strong growth potential also means you should see a strong return on your investment as you progress during your career.
A Master in Finance will help fast-track your career in finance and beyond, equipping you with the technical and soft skills to build a successful career in diverse fields including investment banking, consulting, and fintech.
You’re also likely to get a very good return on your investment, as finance roles offer high salaries and good career progression in both the private and public sectors.
However, if you’re looking to get into more generalist business roles, you may want to turn towards an MBA or a Master in Management, where you’ll be able to learn the fundamentals of finance alongside other functional areas like marketing, strategy, and operations.
Everything was great ( apart from the covid part)
I really enjoyed this experience because I built a really strong relationship with other students and professors. This fact has permitted me to grow as a person and also to improve my academic background by confronting myself with other people. I would encourage Bocconi to create a new method of exams for online courses (I have experienced it during the covid-19 period) because they could not manage to control and to avoid shameless situations such as software breakdowns just before the exams.
The workload is really heavy, but that’s the only way to prepare students for the job market. Bocconi offers also many services to help students kick off their careers. Overall, Bocconi University Masters Degree is the best option for ambitious students and the best choice among Italian and maybe European universities.
A great experience
A fundamental experience to understand what I want to do in life. In the three years I attended Bocconi University, I laid the foundations for my business education. I will always be grateful to it. I absolutely recommend it.
Bocconi: Italian Quality
The great thing about this University is that it is one of the few Italian universities offering such international programs. My course is unique and doesn't exist anywhere else, so if you like arts and economics, Bocconi is the best place. The course provides both subjects concerning arts/philosophy, and ones more related to economics. Personally, I have decided to follow a different path because I am not so interested in working in this specific field, but this course is totally worth it if you want to work in a creative industry. Indeed, it gives people with a passion for luxury, arts and so on with a complete knowledge concerning management. The best part has been the great support offered by the University in every aspect, going from on-campus facilities to monthly job fairs to better understand the kind of career we want to pursue. This is often taken for granted in Italian universities.
Professional and amazing
Very well organized university. I have studied Financial management and I graduated with 108/110. The teachers are really good and professional. The university has all the facilities and the services are professional. I really enjoyed studying in a professional and international environment. Bocconi has played an important role in finding my actual job!
Great university which gives wonderful placement opportunities.
I really like Bocconi. What I appreciated the most was the high level of teaching and the opportunities given in terms of placement and networking connections. I strongly recommend this university if you want to pursue a great working career.
Beautiful community of students with lots of opportunities for in-campus activities. The university offers 8 residences near the campus, perfect for freshmen at the first year in Milan. Professors are very prepared and always ready to help students
An outstanding university
The great efficiency and organization, the high quality of teaching, and the possibility to take part in many interesting and useful experiences make Bocconi University stand out. It distinguishes itself from the Italian academic background. Many people say Bocconi is too stressful, but to me, it’s worth it.