Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the financial engineering program at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, told The Wall Street Journal that banks "have come to realize they really need students with strong skills in financial economics, math and computer modeling for more complex products like mortgage- and asset-backed securities and credit and equity derivatives."
It's not that MBAs aren't needed anymore so much as the increasing complexity of the business has increased demand for candidates with higher math and even science degrees, recruiters tell eFinancialCareers. In addition, the Journal says, many banks seek candidates with advanced degrees in specific business fields, such as finance.
To meet the demand for financial math graduates, a number of schools are adding finance programs that emphasize quantitative skills. These include UCLA, Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota, says the Journal. The programs aren't always in the business schools, but are often offered through math departments.