Best Master Degree to combine with CFA?

Hi, I am considering what to do with my future, any input from the forum would be highly appreciated! I have a BSc in Finance, strong GPA, worked 1 year as a trader/analyst and I am currently in wealth management. I complted the CFA level 1 in June this year, CFA level 2 candidate for next June. I am looking to do a master degree in UK (Pref: London) next year ( Sept 2015), to break into a graduate program in the City of London. The main reason is that I want to break into finance in London, I am currently working in Scandinavia.

From my impression, doring a MSs in Finance will be doing the same thing twice ( To similar to the CFA) ? Therefore, I am considering which options that would be best. I am thinking about doing a MSc in a more theoretical degree, for instance “Economics” at LSE: I have alos thought about doing a MSc in computer science to broaden my skill level. What do you guys think is the best MSc to combine with the pursuit of the CFA charter? My aim is to break into Finance in London, preferably a role that focuses on macroeconomics, research and complex problem solving. Any feedback is highly appreciated.

Why would you do a masters when working in finance, especially if you’ve got the CFA under your belt?

I work in London as well and know people working on different graduate programs in various places in finance, almost nobody has a masters. Professional qualifications such as the CFA or an accounting one are way better.

I only have the CFA level 1 completed, and I intend to do level 2 next summer. I persumed it would be easier to be recruited into a decent city job from a Master course.

An MBA from LBS/Oxford/Cambridge would almost certainly get you where you’re trying to go. Or, an appropriate finance-related degree from LSE… though I’m not sure which one.

Thank you for the reply. I certainely agree that an MBA from one of those schools would get me to where I want to go. I personally think that a top MBA is further down the road. In my head I was thinking of breaking into the industry in London, working for 3-5 years. When I have multiple years with experience and hold the CFA charter then I would like to attend a top MBA program. So at the moment I think a MSc would be a good idea to break into the industry, potentially through a graduate program.

Agree with the above.

Doing a MSc in Finance would be pointless, if you are already pursuing the CFA. You have to complete the CFA prorgam, of course, and L2 is probably the hardest of the 3…

An MSc will give you very little to no advantage when applying to graduate programs but the CFA will certainly help differentiate you. An MBA is a different cup of tea but it seems you’re not there yet.

Thank you for all the feedback. Will I be able to apply for graduate programs when I have multiple years of work experience? I thought it could be beneficial coming straight from a graduate degree? Or am I completely wrong.

I don’t know how they view experienced people applying for grad programs but after you’ve got multiple yeras of experience, nobody will care what degree you’ve done.

Takeaway point: don’t waste your time and money on an MSc.

I have an MS in Finance. Other than Excel modeling, I don’t recall a single topic that we covered that wasn’t also covered on the CFA exam.

Get a Master’s degree in mathematics.

Useful if you want to be an analyst, and it’s just wicked cool.

May want to consider MSc in statistics or applied mathematics? With a finance degree and CFA, I think MBA or MSc in finance is not beneficial.

It depends what road you want to go down, though.

How much work experience do you have? I don’t see why you can’t come here as an experienced hire, why start at the bottom again.

Thanks for all the answers! It seems like consensus is that a MSc in Finance would be unnecessary, and I agree with that. I am very interested in the computing part of finance, modelling, the software being used etc. My passion for programming and it in general has increased rapidly over the last year. Would an MSc in computer science along with CFA make me a strong candidate for analytical jobs, where IT skills are required? AfricaFarmer: I have 1 year as an Analyst/trader, and will have 1 year as a wealth manager when I intend to move over. However, my experience has not been iT/Technology heavy, and I desire to make a move towards that area of the field of finance, e.g. Complex problem solving, analytics and modelling with a high dose of technology involved. I appreciate all the helpful feedback!

I don’t know why some say that MSc in Finance doesn’t teach anything new that is not covered in CFA. Maybe it’s the case in the UK, but here in Finland we have A LOT of statistical programming (and you will look awkward here if you ever mention Excel) in our MSc in Finance, and the level of Math in some of the subjects is quite advanced. And you can judge my words considering the fact that I have my previous degree in Computer Science. In general, I don’t think that it will be possible for you to get into MSc in Computer Science without Bachelor’s in that field. And generally (again, I don’t know how it is in the UK), you will deal with stuff that require quite an experience in programming at least, and the knowledge of algorithms and maths. I am not saying it’s not possible for you, I am saying that schools generally don’t accept candidates in their MCSc if they don’t hold BCSc. From my point of view, Computer Science is good if you want to get into quant positions and you will be mostly a coder than a financial analyst. That’s what I heard, so maybe someone knows better.

Thank you for more answers.

I highly appreciate it. The main reason why I want to pursue a MSc in London is that I think the university career service would be extremly benefiticial to land an Internship at a Top IB or AM firm, then a graduate program position. Yes I do have some work experience, but it is not from top firms. Working at a top firm is main goal, and I do not mind doing a graduate program even tho I have some work experience. Any thoughts on that?

What is not clear in your message is: what kind of job do you actually want to do? And then based on what you currently have (degrees, CFA lvl 1, work experience), it’ll be easier to determine what’s the best route to get there.

If, as your last contributions seem to indicate, you want to do get into a quantitative type of job, this is probably a justification to go for a a master degree in a quant discipline. It could be sth like statistics / computational mathematics / etc. Another option is an MSc in Finance with a quantitative inclination, like the one of Columbia university, and I think Imperial College also got one. Bear in mind you need to already have a solid math background to get into such programmes.

But then you also talk about doing an MBA down the road (?). That sounds like overkill, MBA will be useful if you wanna make a career in the corporate world or Strategy consulting firms, I don’t think it’d be very useful if you wanna get into investment banking.

Don’t forget that education has a cost. Those master programmes can be expensive and make you lose (at least) one year of salary. It makes you delay your job search by one year too, which needs to be taken into consideration, depending on your expectations regarding job market evolution.

I’d say that a one-year Master at a reputable UK institution such as Oxbridge/LSE (or LBS’s Master in Finance) may help you get closer to the City job market and smooth your integration. But that would certainly not be necessary, especially if you pass Level II in June 2015. A Master in a quant subject would definitely be helpful if you want to bend your career in that direction but: is that what you really want? And are you sure you have the background/profile/personality for that type of jobs and education?

hope that helps

What’s better to have today? 1. MBA with a concentration in Finance. 2. MS in Finance 3. MS in Financial Engineering / Quantitative Finance / Mathematical Finance / Computational Finance

^ depends what role in the industry you desire

have you been accepted to one of these programs? Is this a real dilemma you’re faced with?

Or are you, like so many others, just asking “hypothetically”. You know, like, “which should I choose? NFL, MLB, or NBA? Not that I’ve ever played any sport, but I’m sure they’d take me.”