You're already working in banking or financial services, but you're stuck in the back office, or you're stuck in the middle office, or you've missed a promotion, or you're working for the Bank of Benghazi on the dinar trading desk. What can you do to jump up a level? How about a Masters in Finance? But which one?
Fortunately, the Financial Times has just issued its ranking of the best post-experience Masters in Finance for 2014. If you want a Masters in Finance that will kick-start your career, the FT suggests the courses below (ranked from top to bottom):
1. London Business School's Masters in Finance
2. Florida University Chapman Masters in Finance
3. University of Cambridge Judge Business School Masters of Finance
4. University of Illinois Masters in Finance
5. University of Hong Kong Masters in Finance
But before you go out and spend £38k ($65k) on a 10-16 month Masters in Finance at the London Business School (plus a £1.3k application fee), maybe you need to stop and think. If you follow the FT's 'careers ranking', you may not end up in that desirable finance job you'd hoped for. You could simply end up in a career dead end.
The FT defines career success as 'career status three years after graduation.' This in turn is defined as progression according to your level of seniority combined with the size of the company you work for. In other words, the FT is defining career success along the lines of working as vice president for a large international bank. But as as we suggested in May, a lot of vice presidents in investment banks are now frustrated and stuck. Is this really what you should be aspiring to?
A better measure of career success might be the Masters in Finance courses which best enable graduates to escape banks and work for hedge funds or M&A boutiques. Unfortunately, these criteria aren't included in an easily digestible ranking. Don't rely on journalists' research - before you start a MiF degree, you really need to do some investigations of your own.
How a Masters in Finance will affect your pay
The top 25 Masters in Finance for getting a job in investment banking
What recent recruits at JPMorgan tell you about trying to get a job there