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.