Morning Coffee: The course that's replacing the MBA as the route to the best jobs in finance. Reasons not to retire at 40

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Alternative to an MBA for banking jobs

A whole new qualification is lighting a path to the best jobs in finance.

It used to be the case that a top MBA would be your best route to getting a top job in banking. Not (necessarily) any more. As banks eschew expensive newly-qualified MBA students for cheaper and less entitled university graduates, their demand for MBAs is falling. At the same time, a whole new qualification is rising up to take its place.

That new qualification is the, 'Masters in Data Analytics.' The Financial Times notes that while MBAs are shrinking, analytics masters are a growth market. The latter teach students quantitative skills, such as advanced spreadsheet analysis and the concepts behind relational databases. MBAs leave their practitioners well-versed in more nebulous concepts like leadership, and provide them with an ability to analyze company strategy using case studies.

As automation takes over, students themselves seem to be deciding that data qualifications are the better bet. HEC in Paris and Ecole Polytechnique run a joint data science and business masters dual degree for which they have 60 places. The FT says they've already had over 1,000 applications for their second intake. A similar course - the master in science of business analytics at NYU Stern - has just 70 places to facilitate communication between the business types and the data types who apply. The new data courses are small and getting in isn't easy.

This should mean that data science graduates have their pick of jobs and pay. The FT cites a report by PWC and the Business Higher Education Forum which found that pay for all data science roles averaged $95.6k in the U.S. last year. In finance, there are stories of some people getting £170k+ (and of others getting considerably less).  The best data scientists in finance will combine knowledge of the industry with knowledge of data analysis. Our own ranking of the top data science qualifications for finance suggests Columbia's Masters in Computer Science with a concentration in machine learning is best for technical types. Alternatively, the London School of Economics introduced a new MSc in data science last year, which requires a "substantial amount of mathematics" from applicants, but no prior computing knowledge.

Separately, the FT says hedge fund manager Greg Coffey is an example of why you shouldn't retire at 40. Coffey retired at 41 and is now staging a comeback. If you take it easy at 40 and live until 80, the FT notes that's a lot of time sitting about: much can change in 40 years while you're playing golf and tending your garden. 40 years ago, the PC of choice in the UK was the Commodore PET. Things have already changed for Coffey - back when he was making returns of 135% in 2005 and 51% in 2007, we were in a bull market. Now we're not, and Coffey may struggle. For the moment, Louis Bacon of Moore Capital is backing him anyway.

Meanwhile:

Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank are the new squeezed middle in banking. (WSJ) 

Bank of America generated a double digit return on equity for the first time in seven years. (Financial Times) 

Glenn Earle, a former COO at Goldman Sachs Europe, just resurfaced at chairman of Ardea, an advisory boutique. (Financial News) 

Asset manager Baillie Gifford says its gender pay gap is just 18% - but it doesn't include its partners. (Financial Times) 

Barclays has got a new venture capital arm. (CityAm) 

Alastair Sword, the head of TP ICAP's alternative investor unit just left. (WSJ) 

A high IQ protects you from brain inflammation and depression - but only if you're a man. (New Scientist) 

Never place a kiss at the end of a work email (BBC) 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

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