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Masters of Finance programs rankings

The Financial Times Ranking of Masters in Finance Programs  June 2, 2020 – 08:51 pm

Cash ManDon’t want to spend two years in business school? Looking to focus on one specific area of the business? If that’s the case, you may want to join the growing legion of students enrolling in specialized masters programs.

According to the 2014 Prospective Student Survey, the Graduate Management Admission Council found that 20% of all GMAT test-takers were focused exclusively on a specialized masters. That was up from 13% over the previous year (with test takers devoted to the MBA declining from 55% to 53%). Even more, it was female candidates driving this trend, outpacing men 27% to 15% among those targeting a master’s degree.

For many, the appeal is obvious. Let’s start with the commitment, which is usually 12-16 months, as opposed to a two-year MBA (making it less costly in many cases). Master’s programs also require less work experience and allow students to play to their academic strengths. Plus, certain disciplines, such as finance and human resources, require more in-depth technical knowledge than areas like marketing or management. And there’s no better program for preparing students for the three CFA level tests than a Master’s in Finance.

Of course, master’s programs also carry distinct disadvantages compared to MBAs. For starters, an MBA’s broad-based curriculum exposes students to all facets of business operations, producing more well-rounded employees. In fact, MBAs can receive in-depth training in certain areas, such as finance or logistics, giving them the best of both worlds. Most important, MBAs enjoy greater flexibility, whereas a finance specialist also risks being pigeonholed in their role, even as their career progresses.

Make no mistake: A Master’s degree in finance is a valuable credential in the business world. And that’s especially true in finance (and particularly true overseas). For the latter, consider this study by eFinancial Careers, which shows the degree being quite helpful for entrance into the investment banking sector. That said, the salaries are significantly lower than they are compared to starting offers for graduating MBAs. According to the Financial Times, graduates were earning an average of $64, 000 three years after graduation (with American graduates averaging $87, 000). How does that compare to MBAs? At the top 50 American MBA programs, starting salaries range from $87, 198-$138, 346…to start.

Advantage MBA.

This week, the Financial Times released its annual ranking of Master’s in Finance programs, a largely European-centric list because many U.S. schools see little reason to participate in this beauty contest. The publication conducts two rankings: Pre-experience (programs where students possess little to no background in finance) and post-experience (programs comprised of students who have already worked in the financial sector. It’s interesting to note that U.K. pre-experience programs represent 31% of the ranked list, while U.S. pre-experience programs represent only 17% of the ranked list, especially since New York and not London has long been the financial capital of the world.


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