The University of Scranton Master of Science in Finance is a newer program I posted about a couple of months ago. It is an all online program, adding to the relatively small list of schools that offer this option. Well the school has been very helpful in me building out information on the program for all of you to read and I have a Q&A series with the program director, Aram Balagyozyan, PhD. Shows the responsiveness of the school in helping to get the message out. Hope this helps anyone interested in the degree. Enjoy!

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The University of Scranton MS in Finance

Program Overview and Future

  • Can you please give an overview of the program and what a student will learn?

The Master of Science in Finance program is designed to provide an opportunity to students to have a well-rounded understanding of finance. Our program will provide students with specialized knowledge of financial securities, financial markets and institutions, foreign exchange markets, risk metrics investment criteria, capital budgeting techniques, and hedging strategies. It can also help to prepare students for various professional certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP). This graduate degree program is housed in the AACSB-accredited Kania School of Management. The program consists of 8 core and 2 elective courses amounting to 30 credit hours that may be completed in as little as 10 months or as long as 6 years.

  • Can you discuss the benefits the Kania School of Management brings to this program?

Our Master’s in Finance Program is housed in the Kania School of Management, an AACSB accredited institution. Currently, less than 5% of business schools worldwide are accredited by the AACSB institute.

  • How are CFA topics covered in this program?

The curriculum for the CFA Program is broad and covers a significant amount of material. The program at the University of Scranton with 8 required courses, 2 electives, and 6 prerequisites foundation modules, offers a solid basis for preparation. Specifically, it is very rare that any program would cover Ethical and Professional Standards covered by the CFA program. The University of Scranton MSF program requires students to take a course in Responsibility, Sustainability, and Justice (MGT 501) that must provide students with sufficient background for this area in the CFA exam. One other required course, Quantitative Methods for Finance (FIN 588) has the depth and breadth of the CFA’s Quantitative Analysis or Statistics curriculum. Students are also required to take Managerial Economics (ECO 507) and may elect to take Macroeconomic Analysis (ECO 583) and Financial Institutions (FIN 581). These classes are well aligned with the CFA exam’s Economics (I and II) curriculum. Students interested in pursuing CFA certification are highly encouraged to take the Accounting Foundation Modules (MBA 502A and B) as well as Financial Reporting & Research (ACC 527). These courses must provide students with the necessary background for the CFA’s Financial Reporting and Analysis curriculum. CFA’s Corporate Finance area are well covered by two required courses, Financial Management (FIN 508) and Advanced Financial Management (FIN 582). Two required courses, Investment Analysis (FIN 583) and Portfolio Analysis (FIN 586), cover Equity Analysis and Fixed Income Securities that together constitute 20 percent on the CFA Level I exam. Finally, all MSF students are required to take Derivative Securities (FIN 585) that must provide them with the necessary background for the Derivatives unit in the CFA curriculum.

  • How will the program evolve to remain current with changes in the industry?

 There are at least couple of established mechanisms in place that ensures that our program remains current with changes in the industry. First of all, the Department of Economics and Finance at Kania School of Management work very closely with its Advisory Board that consists of several prominent alumni from the industry. One of the tasks that our Advisory Board is charged with is to ensure that our curriculum remains abreast of current changes in the industry. Secondly, our own faculty is well-qualified, active academics some of whom hold CFA charters and most of whom actively publish in academic journals.

  • Why was this program created, the impetus, etc?

 The idea of creating a brand-new master program in Finance has been discussed at the Department in the recent years. Also, our alumni were very supportive of this initiative. The success and tremendous growth of our online MBA program has facilitated the development of the MSF program given our existing resources. The Kania School of Management offers to its students various graduate programs (both on-campus and online) that complement each other. The overall success of these programs depends, to some extent, on the portfolio of these program offerings.

 

  • Why would a prospective student select this MSF program over another?

 The University of Scranton Online MSF program offers several unique features. First, we take pride in our Jesuit identity deeply rooted in the tradition dedicated to excellence in education and care for the entire person. As with any other University of Scranton program, every student at the online MSF program receives individual care and attention. Second, every student graduating from the program receives a deep discount for an access to WileyCFA, the Wiley comprehensive CFA exam prep and study pack. Third, the University of Scranton MSF program is housed in the AACSB-accredited Kania School of Management where students from around the world experience rigorous curriculum developed by the faculty of award-winning teachers and renowned researchers. Moreover, the MSF program is housed in the same department that houses an undergraduate Finance Program that in recent years was consistently placed by the US News in the top twenty list of the best undergraduate Finance programs in the United States. Finally, our program offers students a very flexible and convenient 30-credit curriculum that with an appropriate planning and with the convenience of online education may be completed as quickly as in 10 months.

Admissions

  • What do students experience in the on-campus residency?

After completing their MSF curriculum, students are invited to participate in a two-day optional on-campus residency. The residency consists of an 8-hour self-paced course that provides students with a hands-on training on and experience with a Bloomberg terminal, an established industry service. The course consists of four interconnected modules, Economics, Currencies, Fixed Income, and Equities, and incorporates material from Bloomberg data, news, analytics, and TV. Those students who take advantage of and successfully complete this training receive the Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) certificate.

  • What key learning outcomes will students take away from the program?

 Throughout the online Master’s program in finance, students are prepared to:

  • Apply advanced analytical skills and practical knowledge to solve complex financial and business problems.
  • Comprehend and employ skills needed for identifying and navigating financial risks and returns that individuals and firms may face.
  • Utilize the skill-set required by a range of employment options such as investment banks, insurance companies, asset- and wealth-management firms, non-profits, or else.
  • Possess solid academic background for pursuing advanced graduate study.

Career Focus

  • What will the advantages a graduate of the MSF program from The University of Scranton experience?

One thing that immediately jumps to mind is our network of alumni. We at the Kania School of management are blessed with an extensive, tight-knit network of dedicated alumni many of whom are employed by the industry leaders such as Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan, Chase Manhattan Bank, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Prudential Securities, the Federal Reserve System, etc. Hubs of this networks exist in many forms including self-organized and curated social-media groups, personal connections, structured networking events, and career fairs. Graduates of the University of Scranton MSF program automatically acquire a first-degree access to this network and, doubtlessly, this is one big advantage.

  • What kind of career placement support does The University of Scranton have?

The University of Scranton has two offices (the Gerard R. Roche Center for Career Development and KSOM Center for Practical Learning) and 9 full-time employees religiously dedicated to helping our students to define and pursue their career goals. These offices continuously communicate with and career-coach our students, use their networks and various programs to connect students with alumni, organize networking events, and career fairs. All of these unique career resources are also available to our online graduate students.

  • Can you give us a prospective ROI a graduate can expect from The University of Scranton MSF program?

According to the CFA Society’s 2016 Financial Compensation Survey[1], the median compensation of a financial professional with a graduate degree is $119,000, about $45,000 higher than that of a professional with a Bachelor degree. Moreover, the median salary of a professional with a graduate degree and a CFA designation is $226,000, roughly $151,000 higher than the median salary of someone with a Bachelor degree only. Thus, even without a CFA designation, a Master’s degree in Finance may increase the student’s lifetime median earning potential by as much as $1,800,000[2]. This figure simply dwarfs the University of Scranton total tuition for a degree of Master’s in Finance that amounts to about $30,000.

[1] https://www.cfasociety.org/alabama/Documents/2016_CFA_Societies_Compensation_Survey_MN_ND_SD.pdf
[2] 40 years of work after the age of 25 x $45,000 = $1,800,000

Here is a link to the University of Scranton Master of Science in Finance Program