The Villanova University Master in Finance is a very popular northeastern MSF program and also where I did my degree. I try and post up as many reviews and opinions of the program outside of my own to make sure that objectivity is remained. Well here is a fresh review of the program from a recent graduate. Hopefully their experiences and insights will help you make your decision as you examine schools and your options.

1)    Why an MSF in general? Why a Villanova MSF in particular?

I didn’t really put much thought or effort into post-undergrad life until about junior year undergrad. As a job candidate, I was at a disadvantage due to sub-par finance coursework, internship experience, and networking contacts. Since I wanted to work in the NYC/Philly area, Villanova’s MSF had three main qualities I was looking for: regional brand name, helpful alumni, and a comprehensive finance curriculum.

2) Who would you recommend an MSF to?

An MSF will be useful to just about anyone, as long as a person has an idea of what they want to use the degree for, and how they are going to use the degree. It’s important to learn about how an MSF program is perceived in the area you’d like to work in, and adjust your expectations and networking efforts accordingly.

3) Pro’s / Cons of the Villanova MSF?

The quality of the professors and the helpfulness of the staff and alumni really stand out.  Professors, staff, and alumni are all willing to understand your expectations to the program, which allows them to really work with you in meeting those expectations.  The program includes networking events, a student-managed fund, access to a state of the art Finance Lab, professional speaker series, and career workshops. Coursework touches on every major topic in Finance, while delving into graduate-level detail on important areas such as Valuation, Derivatives, Fixed-Income, and Quantitative Methods. The breadth of what is available ensures that any student’s goal can be reached given an appropriate level of planning and effort.

The downside of the MSF is the occasional difficulty in relating to a prospective employer the value-add of an MSF over an undergraduate.  This problem will decrease as the Villanova MSF gains more recognition.

4) Anything else you would like to add. OCR, Campus experience, competitions during school, etc. Feel free to talk about whatever.

OCR gives you access to the range of finance jobs; from equity research, investment banking, sales and trading, to corporate finance rotationals. There are even occasional private equity and hedge fund listings. An added perk of OCR lies in the contact information that is often provided under a listing. Since undergraduates also go for entry-level jobs, it’s important to directly contact any names given in a job posting to get your name out there.

Bartley Hall is a really nice building. This is important to understand since the vast majority of time spent in the program will be in that building.

The Philadelphia area has a reasonable cost of living. There is also a good amount of firms in and near the city. Networking trips to downtown Philly and NYC are easily made through bus, train, or car.

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