If you’re studying a Masters in Finance or MSc in finance, what will you do when it finishes? Having spent big money on the qualification, will you get a big job in the front office of an investment bank? Or will you move into something more modest like risk management, or a bank’s accounting team?
Our own CV database suggests Masters in Finance courses aren’t an assured route into the front office. In London, the database suggests there are twice as many Masters in Finance graduates working in risk management jobs than in trading jobs. Far from being a route into a trading role in an investment bank, an MSc in Finance is therefore more likely to land you a job in risk.
There’s nothing wrong with working in risk management, but if you’re planning to use your Masters in Finance as a route into trading, which courses are best? Using figures from our own database and publicly available information on candidates’ roles and resumes, we’ve identified the top 10 below. If you want to be a trader rather than a risk manager, these look like the best bets.
In our estimation, Imperial College Business School’s MSc in finance ranks first for trading careers. A 12 month programme, it costs £32k ($46k), which is steep compared to some others on this list. It may be worth it though: Imperial’s employment report says its MSc in finance graduates have gone into sales and trading jobs at Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and elsewhere.
If you want to work in trading, the MSc Finance at the London School of Economics comes second on our ranking. The programme is offered on a full or part time basis. Full time, it will take you 12 months, and cost £30k ($43k).
The MSc in Trading and Mathematical Finance at Cass lasts one year full time or two years part time. Cheaper than other courses on this list, it costs a ‘mere’ £23k ($33k) in fees. Cass's graduate destination survey for the MSc indicates that 15% of its graduates go into sales, trading and structuring roles (although 20% go into risk).
A 30 week course that began in 1987, the ESCP Europe Advanced Master in Finance claims to be one of the oldest in Europe. Students spend 15 weeks in Paris, followed by 15 weeks in London, followed by a finance related internship. The course costs €21k ($24k), making it far cheaper than those based entirely in the UK. ESCP says 79% of its former Masters students go into finance careers with companies like SocGen, HSBC and Bank of America.
French business school HEC also produces plenty of future traders. Its Masters in International Finance is a 10 month programme, taught entirely English. It costs €25k if you’re a European student and €29k if you’re not. HEC says 71% of the course graduates go into finance careers, at companies like Blackrock, Barclays, and Goldman Sachs.
Graduates from French business school Edhec are also comparatively well-represented in London trading roles. Edhec's MSc in Finance is a one year programme, taught entirely in English. International students are offered free French lessons as part of the course. Tuition fees are €21.5k.
Warwick Business School offers a one year Masters in Finance, based in the UK. The course will cost £33.6k to students applying for the 2016-2017 academic year. The school boasts that the course has been developed following consultation with the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch.
Graduates from Milan’s Bocconi University are also reasonably plentiful on London trading floors. The school’s Master of Science in Finance is a two year programme which has placed students in careers including sales, trading and structuring roles at banks like Citi, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. Bocconi’s course costs just €26k euros over two years. It can be taught in English, but students must study a European language alongside this.
French business school Essec offers an “intensive” MSc in finance over a 12 month period. The course is taught in English and 75% of students are from overseas. Tuition fees are a cost-effective €22k and Essec says past graduates are now in roles including credit trading at Barclays and sales trading at Nomura.
Oxford-based Said Business School doesn’t offer a Masters in Finance per-se, but it does offer a Masters in Financial Economics, the graduates of which are to be found on trading floors in London. The Said course lasts just nine months and costs £35k in course fees plus £3k in college fees. Said says past employers of its graduates have included Credit Suisse, Deustche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley.