Financial services have gotten a bad rap since the global financial crisis, but it remains one of the most attractive and lucrative career paths.
A sure-fire way into the financial sectors is to study for a Master in Finance (MiF)—otherwise known as an MSc Finance—degree.
MSc Finance programs mix rigorous technical theory with hands-on application in the markets. Typically one year long, these degrees tend to be highly quantitative and address a range of topics important for landing a job in the financial industry. The core curriculum in an MiF program may cover concepts like financial accounting, financial analysis, investments, valuation, and more. Elective classes may expose students to a broader range of concepts, such as global finance, data analytics, economics, and more.
The best MScs in Finance will be ranked in one or more of the global rankings for finance programs, especially those published by the Financial Times. Typically, the top programs are run by business schools that have strong research capabilities in finance, and may house specialized research centers in the field.
In terms of program eligibility, while some Masters in Finance programs require some experience in finance roles, the majority of those on offer are aimed at students with little to no work experience.
Those graduating from an MSc in Finance have many job opportunities after the degree. Many grads go into the financial services sector, as financial analysts or associates. These roles may be in organizations such as banks, investment houses, or one of the financial behemoths like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, or Morgan Stanley. Additionally, some MiF grads explore careers in the financial departments of other kinds of organization (corporate finance roles.)
See below for the best Masters in Finance programs, offered by business schools all over the world.
HEC Paris toped the Financial Times ranking of pre-experience finance master’s programs in 2018, a feat it also achieved in 2011. The French business school’s alumni earn juicy pay packages, with the average salary $136,000 three years from graduation, an 82 percent increase on pre-program pay. The school’s career service is also rated as one of the most efficient globally, while HEC Paris also scored highly for the mobility of its alumni and for having an international course experience.View School Profile
Alumni from MIT Sloan School of Management in the US have an average salary at $141,000 (according to the school), which is impressive given the finance course there is for candidates with little or no work experience. MIT Sloan has a strong global reputation, world-renowned faculty and a hands-on approach to learning. Staying true to its MIT roots, the finance program at Sloan features a rigorous STEM curriculum that explores quantitative finance models.View School Profile
London Business School came up top in the FT’s ranking for post-experience master’s programs in finance. The school’s course is for experienced professionals and this is reflected in their massive salaries: about $160,000 after three years, up 89 percent on pre-program pay. Students can also study part-time (or full-time), which reduces the opportunity cost of not working among the program’s high-flying financiers. Studying in one of the world’s best connected cities is a massive plus, since LBS has near unbeatable links with financial institutions. LBS also offers a Masters in Financial Analysis.View School Profile
EDHEC Business School is one of the Grande Ecole elite professional schools that count much of France’s business and political establishment among their alumni. The school, based in both Lille and Nice, runs a very highly ranked MSc Finance program for pre-experience students. A key feature of the course is an internship abroad, on which students develop valuable business relationships. Little wonder, then, that 100 percent of the class is typically employed and at major firms such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Barclays and BlackRock. Beyond its core MSc in Finance program, EDHEC also has other, more specialized finance programs on offer, including an MSc in Financial Markets and an MSc in Corporate Finance and Banking.View School Profile
The University of St Gallen in Switzerland is renowned globally for the quality and rigor of its financial training programs. The flagship course is the Master in Banking and Finance (MBF), which boasts an impressive 100 percent employment rate within three months of the students graduating. The program is also extremely international, with a large cohort of students from 80 different countries enrolling each year. That enriches the learning experience and is a boon for employers too, since they need financiers who can work with global teams and clients.View School Profile
Singapore Management University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business runs a top-ranked MSc in Applied Finance that is designed for more experienced professionals. The course focuses on technical abilities and the people and communication skills that are essential for advancing careers in the fund management, banking and finance industries. Singapore is one of Asia’s leading financial centers, which benefits from a large English-speaking population and collection of the world’s top financial firms.View School Profile
SDA Bocconi School of Management is Italy’s finest financial training institution. The school, based in Milan, is ranked highly by the FT for its course that focuses on corporate finance. Students get a truly global experience, since they can complete the course in either New York at Fordham University or in Mumbai via the SDA Bocconi Asia Center. The program is also affiliated by the CFA Institute, an international association for investment professionals. That means graduates can bypass Level I of the CFA exams, which lead to the Chartered Financial Analyst status that is the gold standard qualification in investment management. The school also offers a Master in Corporate Finance program, as well as an Italian-language Executive Master in Finance.View School Profile
The MSc Finance program at Imperial College Business School in London is ranked among the top 10 in the world. The course has an excellent reputation worldwide and is known to secure students the best jobs in finance, in sectors such as investment banking, asset management and consulting. For 20 years the program has drawn on its close links to the City of London, giving students the chance to meet and network with the leading global financial institutions headquartered there. Beyond its core MSc Finance program, the school also offers some specialized degrees, including an MSc in Finance & Accounting, an MSc in Financial Technology (FinTech), and an MSc in Investment & Wealth Management, among others.View School Profile
IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, runs a top-rated masters in finance program in English over 10 months. The program offers preparatory classes for the CFA Level I, optional trips to New York, London and Ghana, and a specialization in fintech to mirror the needs of the financial sector, which is undergoing a digital revolution. There’s also an “employability in finance” course that helps students land jobs. In that respect, the program is successful: eFinancialCareers ranked the IE course as fifth globally for getting an investment banking job and third for landing a job on the buy-side (hedge funds, private equity and asset management). The school also offers specialized finance-related masters programs, including a Global Master in Finance and a Master in Advanced Finance.View School Profile
The Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden runs a highly rated MSc in Finance that combines a research-based curriculum with experiential learning opportunities, for example an exchange program to a financial center abroad. Students can specialize in either corporate finance or investment management, and there are also a wide range of electives that give students the flexibility to tailor the training to their professional goals and personal tastes. The electives include risk management, behavioral finance and macroeconomics.View School Profile