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Rochester MSF Review

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

A good friend and very helpful individual has provided me with her opinion of the University of Rochester program. I hope this helps anyone looking at the school!

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Q) Why did you pick the U of R MSF program:

A) The executive director of admission flew to Beijing to meet with me. I really liked the personal attention smaller school like Simon can put into their students and the bond between current students and alumni. Beyond that, it’s its reputation in the academic world of finance. I fully believe it gave me the technical skills I need for a career in finance.

Q) Who would you recommend an MSF to in general and a Rochester MSF to specifically?

A) I think I would recommend an MSF to some groups of people. For international students like me who wants to come to the States and get career exposure to the finance world in New York, getting an MSF is a good choice as long as they are mentally prepared to jump into an unfamiliar professional world. As for Simon MSF, one needs to be even more active in job search and networking because of the location of the school and lack of traffic in terms of attracting recruiters.

Q) How was recruiting, job placement, on campus, etc?

A) The job placement is picking up. International students have always been able to locate themselves great positions back in their home countries because of the soft skills and technical skills they’ve got from the school. But in terms of finding a job in the States, basically it’s every man for himself. Fortunately, most of the alum are willing to help out if they can because they went through the same process while looking for jobs themselves. Campus recruiting is more helpful for MBAs.

Q) Any comments in general about the program. Feel free to talk about Rochester, the school, things you liked and disliked.
A) In general, I’ve got what I was looking for from the school and had a great time there. Life is really easy in Rochester. It’s really nice to have a relaxed neighborhood when you are struggling between school work and job search. Travel is easy too. We are three hours drive away from Toronto and one hour flight away from NYC. Dean Zupan of the Simon School is probably the most dedicated person I’ve met. He will always be a role model for many years after my school life.

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Why I chose FSU MSF program #2

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I am very lucky to have a second review or opinion of the Florida State MSF program. This should add further light for anyone thinking about applying to the FSU program. Thank you very much to the reader who provided me with this review.

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Florida State University – Master of Science in Finance

Pros: rigorous curriculum, close relationship with faculty, great value, superb alumni base, career support, top undergraduate and graduate accounting program,

Cons: geographic location is far from large cities, new program,

Biggest Difference: In most of the larger schools you can feel like a small fish in a huge pond. Although, the college of business has over +5,000 students, I’ve never felt this way. Professors always have time to talk to you, career advice is always available, and people emulate the southern hospitality of the area. Many students agree, that professors have a interest in seeing to it that their students succeed. This mentality also careers over to the “Seminole Alumni”, I personally had two interviews with BB because of alumni. Taking the time to network can get you very far at Florida State.

Return on Income: One of the best valued MSF degrees in my opinion. Florida International University is around 28K while Florida State is 10K for instate students. Not to mention how cheap it is to live in Tallahassee, FL. You get a lot more bang for your buck with this degree.

Job Prospects: Florida in general, has many active job markets. Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Tallahassee. You many not have the large investment banks, but you have everything else. Many people come to Florida State University from the north and end up in various Florida cities.

Companies on campus: Deutsche bank, Bank of America, BB&T, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Fidelity, Florida State Government, boutique investment firms,

Why I chose the Queen Mary- UL MSF program

August 3, 2010 1 comment

I have a review of the Queen Mary program in London. I cannot thank everyone who sends me these enough. It is a great insight for myself and very helpful for everyone else.

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Why I picked the MSc Banking and Finance at Queen Mary, University of London:

They seemed very focused on applied learning, rather than theory.

City university (cass) has a pretty good reputation as a solid recruiter and a partner of the CFA program; however, beyond just having the fact that you’re a partner program, the curriculum compared to Queen Mary was about equal. They covered pretty much the same material. So if you wanted to take the CFA afterwards you would certainly not be at a big disadvantage. QMUL Also seem to have quite a few modules taught by professionals in London, which not only gives applied learning but a networking opportunity as well.

The professors seemed really knowledgeable and prestigious. They come from top schools including LSE and Bocconi

Placement seemed pretty good for a non Oxbridge/LSE school. The overall Finance program, which includes MSc in Law and Finance, Investment and Finance and Finance and economics, (accounting and finance/banking and finance are brand new this fall) has placement since 2001 of 23% going into investment banking, 33% banking and the rest distributed between intl. finance and research jobs mostly. Each of the Finance programs has between 60-90 each year (so roughly 225 people graduating each year). Banks include Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds

Review of the Villanova MSF Program

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Ok, I figure since I went there I might as well review it for everyone.

Pros:

Philly is full of financial firms and very close to NYC. This is great for recruiting and interning. The program is flexible and encompassing. You have FI, Derivatives, Real Estate, Portfolio Management, Risk Management, Financial Theory, Econometrics, Modeling, etc. Basically everything you could want with finance.

The school is beautiful and the business building is pretty new. The applied finance lab is great and has tons of Bloomberg Terminals, Thomson Reuters, etc. Capital IQ should/might be coming next year FYI. We have 2 classes on portfolio management (Fall and Spring) which integrate 2 student managed funds so you get a good experience from that.

What I liked the most was the stuff you don’t hear about. We had PhD seminars on Friday which gave great insight and exposure to that level of academic work. We had value seminars on Thursdays which allowed us to listen and speak with deep value practitioners. I went to a handful of financial conferences as well as networking events which I found both fun and important for increasing my network. I was on the CME commodities trading competition, the CFA investment research challenge and friends of mine competed in the ACG cup. They took 2nd place this year and won the cup 2 years ago. This was the second year that Villanova placed 2nd in the CFA competition and we placed 16th out of 97 in the CME competition.

Recruiting is good I would say. Mostly MM banks coming from front office positions. We had some consulting and a bunch of F500 firms. All the large banks came for BO position, but alumni allowed us to apply for IB positions are the larger banks. The economy was still pretty rough so I would imagine things to be a lot better as things get better.

I really cannot stress the alumni part enough. Villanova alumni are all over Wall Street and they are very, VERY helpful. I have spoken to countless alumni and they will give advice, meet with you, push your resume, help with interviews, whatever they can. I would give alumni relations a top score!

The Bad

Villanova has a professional MBA program. What I mean by that is most everyone in the MBA program is working in Philly. There really is no on campus MBA recruiting. Not that MSF students typically compete with MBA’s, it is still nice to have graduate level recruiters on campus.

The program doesn’t advertise as well as it should. This hurts you mainly because companies and recruiters might not know about it. I am a firm believer in marketing making the difference. You have to sell it! I want to say that this is an easy fix and I would dare to say will be fixed soon.

You are also competing with some quality undergrads. You really need to be proactive and sell yourself. You also need to be looking for an internship or something else to promote yourself. The undergrads at Villanova are very smart and typically have good internships. When recruiting time comes this will be an advantage for them.

All and all I think the program at Villanova is great. I readily compare it to Vanderbilt and BC. As I have mentioned, I firmly believe MSF programs are regional and Villanova does well in its target area. I have the utmost confidence that good things are in the works that will take the MSF program to even greater heights.

*** In the interest of full disclosure, I am a 2010 Villanova MSF graduate***

Categories: Villanova Tags: , ,

Cambridge MPhil Program Review

Ok everyone, I was lucky enough to have a very gracious and helpful individual provide me with a review of the Cambridge program.  Here is this persons review, unedited.

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Let me preface by saying I completed a MPhil in Finance at Cambridge (not the Master in Finance).

Recruiting is top-notch at Cambridge. If you are qualified, you will get interviews to investment banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds. The caveat is (1) these positions will be in London/Europe (it’s difficult to go back to the U.S. where I did my undergrad) and (2) if you are looking to go to the industry, you will be at a disadvantage if you don’t have prior work experience. I found those who struggled in finding jobs either didn’t enough effort into applying early or had zero internship experience. Particularly in the most recent job market, you will need the requisite credentials to get interviews, but the Cambridge name provides the connections to get the job if you do.

My class had around 25 students. The MPhil program has people with 1 or less years of work experience. We had mostly students fresh from undergrad and a couple who already had master’s degrees. A couple had already worked for less than a year.

The program is great for recruiting in London and getting a study abroad experience (my goal since I had a job offer already lined up in the states). I’ll focus on recruiting since that’s what most people are concerned about. My classmates ended up in McKinsey, Goldman, MS, HSBC, Lazard, FTI, etc. The same caveats apply — recruiting is regional and job hunting will depend on the individual (interview prep, internships, marks, etc.). Try not to get caught up in schoolwork and put your efforts into recruiting if this is your goal. The program also is a tie-in to a PhD if that’s what you want to do. But be warned, the university has a strict 70% cut-off for entrance into their program (which extends 2 more years). This is actually more difficult that it sounds since about a 1/3 of students get this mark. Personally, I was quite frustrated by the grading as it seemed random at times and often not really based on execution.

Coursework tends to be more research oriented than practical. It seems more suited for further academic study (PhD) than for work placement, but the name and general drive of students gets them pretty good jobs afterwards.

As far as admission into the program, Cambridge has a pretty low acceptance rate (~8%). You must have superb academic credientials (+3.8-3.9 GPA) and it helps to have quantitative coursework. I feel as though the university cares less about extracurriculars, GMAT, experience, etc.

The Cambridge program is a bit different than the other UK programs. Oxford combined their MFin and MPhil programs and mixes everyone together whereas the Cambridge MPhil is strictly research oriented for fresh undergrads. LSE is solid as well but I go the feeling that admission is less stringent given their mass quantity of degrees (feeling like a degree factory at times when looking at their list). I think all of these programs will you get you interviews in London for the “right” candidate. But I would think Oxbridge has a bit more prestige in terms of meeting with people/employers.

Hope this helps.

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An absolutely wonderful review of the program. I think this gives great insight on the program there and should be very helpful for anyone looking at it.

Categories: Cambridge Tags: , ,