Entering the finance industry is a popular route for MBAs. The sector offers recent grads a wide range of roles, fast-paced environment, and plenty of scope for progression.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 34% of MBA applicants are interested in finance. When they graduate, 16% go on seek employment in the finance industry, drawn by promising salaries, big-name companies, and exciting new developments in fintech.
Breaking into such a popular industry can be tricky, so ensuring you have the right skills, experience, and network is key. There are plenty of MBA programs out there, but only a few with the industry connections, faculty, and location to make finding a career in finance a breeze.
Here are our picks of some of the best MBA courses for a career in finance.
© HKUST via Facebook
% of MBAs in finance: 22% (further 3% in FinTech)
Top employers: Barclays Capital, Citibank, JP Morgan
For 13 years in a row, the MBA at HKUST has sat in the top 20 of the Financial Times’ Global MBA Ranking—an impressive statistic. Even more impressive is that out of the 80-100 students per MBA intake, 22% of these go on to work in finance, with a list of recent recruiters featuring some of the biggest names in banking.
This makes sense considering the school’s location in Hong Kong, one of the biggest financial centres in the Asia Pacific Region. The curriculum also boasts electives in Macroeconomics and Financial Modeling, as well as a tailored curriculum track in Finance.
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
© Stanford GSB via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 33%
Top employers: HSBC, American Express, Goldman Sachs
Stanford’s MBA program is billed as the third-best in the world by the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2020, but also boasts strong attractions for those looking to enter the world of finance.
One third of graduates from the program go on to work in the industry, earning an average salary of $174,386.16% of those working in finance are in private equity, with venture capital and investment management making up the other top-three areas.
Stanford’s weighty reputation means big-name employers are a given, and over half of graduate job offers can be linked to school-facilitated activities.
3. NYU Stern
© NYU Stern via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 30.6%
Top employers: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Capital One, Morgan Stanley
NYU Stern’s two-year MBA program offers the chance to specialize in up to three areas, so you can dive into Accounting, Banking, Finance, Financial Instruments and Markets, FinTech, or Quantitative Finance, and other finance-related specializations.
Experiential learning in the NYC area is key to this MBA, and finance majors will find the Investment Funds project highly relevant. This exclusive academic course offers students the chance to gain real-world experience in analysis and portfolio management.
Additionally, the program’s location in New York City means you’re on the doorstep of some of the world’s biggest companies—at least three students have made it to Barclays Capital Group, Capital One, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs & Co from the program.
© Frankfurt School of Finance and Management via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 20%
Top employers: Banco Santander, KPMG, Allianz
The clue’s in the name here—Frankfurt School of Finance and Management bills itself as one of the top schools in Germany for finance, with a great location in the country’s financial and economic hub.
On the 12-month intensive program, general management courses are taught alongside modules in Corporate Finance, Financial Management, and the Global Economy, while the specific Finance curriculum track gives studencets the chance to dive into Capital Markets, Green Finance, and more.
20% of Frankfurt MBA graduates go on to work in finance, with banking and fintech both popular industries, attracting 16% and 7% of graduates respectively.
5. London Business School
© LBS via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 26%
Top employers: Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Partners Group
Almost a third of graduates from London Business School’s (LBS) MBA program go on to work in finance.
The school lets students explore the heart of London, which remains the UK’s financial capital.
LBS also boasts links to global companies, and students can connect through internships—in fact, 28% of the MBA class of 2020 found summer internships in finance, with Goldman Sachs hiring eight students from the program.
The two-year MBA program features a range of specific elective concentrations, with options in Finance, Private Equity and Economics to really gain the detailed knowledge you’ll need for your future career.
© CEIBS via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 25%
Top employers: Bank of China Investment Management, Legend Capital, PwC
The China European International Business School (CEIBS) benefits from its location in Shanghai, a city that aims to become one of the world’s largest financial hubs in the next few years.
24.7% of MBA graduates from the CEIBS class of 2019 went on to work in finance, with just over 20% of all graduates working specifically in the financial services industry.
Add to this the fact that 62.2% of students stay in Shanghai after graduating, and you can see that the finance industry in Shanghai is a real draw.
The MBA puts a real focus on doing business in China, a real necessity if you’re aiming for the Chinese finance industry. As well as this, students can choose a concentration in Finance in your second year, pursuing electives in Investment, Fund Management, and East Asian Financial Institutions among others.
7. University of Oxford, Saïd Business School
© Oxford Saïd Business School via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 30.8%
Top employers: KPMG, JP Morgan, Visa
One third of graduates from the MBA at Saïd Business School go on to work in finance— an impressive figure for an MBA in a small English city one hour outside London.
However, location isn’t the only factor at play—Saïd’s hands-on elective courses offer the chance to explore international business, with past electives including ‘Fintech: Present and Future’ held in London.
Additionally, the Finance Lab is an intensive workshop experience offering students the chance to explore key finance concepts in an immersive manner, intensely preparing students for roles in investment banking, private equity, and asset management.
8. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
© Chicago Booth via Facebook
% of graduates in finance: 36.2%
Top employers: JP Morgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse, Citigroup Inc.
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business boasts the most impressive percentage of grads in finance on the list, with almost 40% of the 2019 class bagging jobs in the sector, whether in company finance, investment banking, or private equity.
Booth’s full-time MBA offers a range of intensive concentrations, allowing students to specialise in Accounting, Analytic Finance, or general finance.
This is where Booth’s top faculty comes in—their finance specialisation is taught by world-leading finance scholars, including Nobel laureates Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen.
9. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
© Wharton Business School via Facebook
% of graduates in financial: 35.8%
Top employers: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs & Co, Citi
The Wharton School’s MBA consistently features in the top five of the Financial Times’ Global MBA Rankings, so you know that the program is rigorous and bound to get you a top job.
The program is also ideal for those looking to enter finance, with over one third of graduates entering the industry. At least two graduates in the class of 2019 went to finance giants including the Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs & Co, Citi, and Barclays—so there’s a rich heritage of finance alumni.
There are a total of 19 majors to choose from, including Accounting, Finance, and the STEM-designated Quantitative Finance.
The number of finance electives is vast, including Real Estate Investments, Data Science for Finance, Fintech, and Financial Derivatives.