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Tips For A Successful Master In Finance Application—From Admissions Experts

Getting into an executive business school program can be challenging but here’s 5 tips to help you stand out from the crowd in your Master in Finance application


Thu Dec 22 2022

You’ve decided you want to join an advanced Master in Finance program that’s geared towards finance professionals, but how can you stand a chance of impressing admissions teams?

From writing a strong admissions essay to impressing in the interview stage, we spoke to two academic directors from the HKUST Business School-NYU Stern Master of Science (MS) in Global Finance (MSGF) program, to find out everything you need to know to create a winning business school application.

This advice will be especially handy if you’re looking to apply for the executive MSGF, which opens admissions for the 2023 cohort on 16 December 2022.

Before applying to a Master in Finance, make sure the program is right for you

There’s nothing worse than getting mid-way through your business school application before realizing the program isn’t right for you. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly research the Master in Finance you’re applying for and ensure you meet the eligibility requirements.

The HKUST-NYU Stern MSGF is an advanced Master in Finance program that’s targeted at high performance finance professionals with at least five years of full-time postgraduate  work experience and a bachelor’s degree.

“The program is aimed at those who are mid-level financial executives or higher but feel that they need to refresh their knowledge and be up-to-date, and those with finance functions in non-financial firms who wish to expand their knowledge of finance,” says Menachem Brenner from NYU Stern and academic director of the MS in Global Finance. 

You’ll also need to ensure you enjoy the combination of theory and practice and learning a mix of qualitative and quantitative tools. 

The MSGF enables professionals to put their finance skills to the test in a practical environment during the Integrative Project Presentation, working in teams to solve a real-life finance issue that might be related to corporate finance, financial markets, or even key finance trends such as fintech.

The MSGF costs $83,000, which covers tuition, course materials, and accommodation during some trips to Hong Kong. 

Reach out to faculty and alums from the Master in Finance

If, after researching the program, you’re still unsure whether a Global Master in Finance is suitable for your career goals, it’s always worth reaching out to faculty, alums, or students in the program.

“A sincere applicant will reach out to some of our alumni, more than one, to get a better perspective if the program is suitable for them and receive advice about the interview,” says Jialin Yu from HKUST and academic director of the MS in Global Finance.

This can help you to get a better view of the program from beyond the website or brochure. You may even find out insider tips from alums or students about what exactly made them successful in the application process. 

Create a tailored business school CV

The application review process for MSGF applicants is holistic.

If you’re serious about getting into a top Master in Finance program, then you’ll need to ensure every part of your application is tailored to the program you’re applying for, including your CV or resume.

Creating a tailored CV will be about using your research and knowledge of the program to inform the structure and information contained in your CV. 

If you have five or more years of work experience, make sure to highlight keys achievements within these roles and use metrics to show how you’ve brought value to your team or the wider company. 

Also, be sure to check that the resume you submit is fully up to date, which is a requirement for the MSGF program.

Write a strong admissions essay

The admissions essay is your chance to shine and show recruitment teams how your experience and skills are relevant to the program. It’s also a chance to explain your defined career goals and what you’re hoping to get out of the master’s degree in finance.

The MS in Global Finance requests three essays from applicants.

As the MSGF is an executive program, you may wish to include some detail about why you’ve chosen to study a master’s in finance mid-way through your career and what topics and skills you hope to leverage in your career once you’ve completed the program.

“Any applicant with the right background in the business world should state why they wish to join the program and define their expectations,” says Menachem Brenner from NYU Stern.

Dazzle in the interview stage for the Master in Finance

It’s not surprising that the interview part of a Master in Finance application can feel the most daunting. If you’re prepared, however, this should feel like a manageable component of the journey. 

If the rest of your online application for the Master in Global Finance at HKUST-NYU Stern is successful, you’ll be invited to a selection interview. This may take place in-person or online.

Jialin Yu from HKUST says, “during the interview, state clearly why you want to join the program, how you expect that it’ll help you advance in your career path, and how you can contribute to the program and your peers.”

Try to remain calm and composed as the interview for your Master in Finance isn’t about trying to catch you out—it’s an opportunity for the recruitment team to get to know you beyond the online application.

If applicants are successful at this final stage, the results are typically published four weeks after the interview. 

By weaving your research of the Master in Finance program into your application and highlighting why the program is right for you at this stage in your career, you’ll stand the best chance of success in the application process.