The Villanova University Master in Finance program is a very popular masters program and also my alma mater. I provided a review of the program from the 2010 class, but wanted to get an updated opinion. This is from the recently graduating class and provides some additional color on the program. Hope it helps.

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Why did I choose an MSF and why Villanova?

Initially I majored in Chemistry with the hopes of going to Medical School. However, at the end of my junior year I realized that I did not want to stay in school/residency for another 7+ years so I decided to switch my major to Finance which was my “back-up” plan. I was still able to graduate in four years but I missed out on on-campus recruiting (it was really non-existent at my school anyway). A professor introduced me to MSF programs and as I researched different programs Villanova really appealed to me. Typically my undergrad university sends students to Vanderbilt for a Masters in Finance but when I toured Villanova I fell in love with the program and the area/location. I believe MSF programs are regional and if you want to work in the Northeast then Villanova should be on your list.


Pros

Alumni – I e-mailed about 100 alums from Villanova that held senior positions at banks in the area and received a response from almost half of them. I believe some of the e-mail addresses were outdated or it may have been an even higher success rate. Everyone I talked to was willing to help out in any way possible. Villanova alums truly care about the school and want to help out fellow Villanovans. A few alums were able to get me interviews with banks that do not even recruit on campus and others helped me out with my resume, job search advice, networking, or just answered any questions I had. Villanova has an outstanding alumni network.

Location – Villanova is a quick train or car ride from Philadelphia and within a couple of hours of New York City, Baltimore, and the beach. There is a huge alumni base in Philly and NYC and it was easy to take a trip to NYC or Philly to network with alums. There are plenty of things to do around campus but having those cities nearby makes the opportunities endless. To make it even sweeter you are close to the beach which is great way to spend some weekends in the spring and summer.

Events – Villanova plans several social events throughout the year to aid students with networking and some just for fun. There is a trip to NYC as a class in the summer to tour a couple of different banks and meet with alumni. This past summer we went to Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital where Villanova alumni were there to meet with us and they gave us a presentation on the current economic climate, career and networking tips, and information on their recruiting schedule. After the tours, we had a networking event with Villanova alumni who work on Wall Street and that was a great experience.

On-Campus Recruiting– Villanova has a solid list of companies recruiting on campus. You can view a list of employers here. Several MSF faculty members send out e-mails with regional (sometimes larger) firms looking to hire Master in Finance students as they have had success with MSF students in the past. Many large F500 companies (GE, Johnson & Johnson, etc.) with great rotational programs recruit on campus as well.

Cons

MSF Popularity – Several employers did not understand what an MSF was at first. Some eventually warmed up to the MSF degree while others refused to hire master’s level students. I expect this to change as the MSF becomes more popular. Also, Bill Andahazy, Associate Director of Career and Professional Development, was hired this past fall and he has been in constant contact with major companies touting the MSF program at Villanova.

Conclusion

My experience at Villanova has been great. I secured a job in October, made several friends, and learned a ton about finance. If you put some effort into networking, job searching, and interview prep then you can land an excellent job while still having fun at Villanova.

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Here is a link to the Villanova University Master in Finance program