The Washington University St. Louis Global Master in Finance program is relatively new, but I have seen a lot of interest in it because of its unique structure. I think the impetus behind the program starting is the interest by international students in the Masters in Finance, but also the reality that the job market for international students is still difficult in the US. The WUSTL Global MSF program exposes students to an education both in the US and Singapore, giving international exposure and global job opportunities.
This is the first student review I have for the program, but I hope to get more as more classes graduate. Hope this helps!
1) Why an MSF in general? Why Washington University St. Louis Global MSF specifically?
I was stuck in a job that I didn’t really care for after undergrad. I studied finance in undergrad so felt like a MSF would be a natural progression. Other than Princeton and MIT, there are very few top notch schools with MSF programs. I went to a well-regarded undergrad business school and felt like WUSTL Olin was a peer school and I didn’t want to go a less well known school. Also being international, the school’s reputation becomes very important. WUSTL GMF program with Singapore Management University seemed like a great opportunity to study at two business schools in two different continents while getting exposure to Singapore.
2) Who would you recommend the program to?
This is a difficult question to answer. Although, this program has been almost entirely made of international and mainly Chinese students. I would recommend this program to Americans as well. Getting exposure to Asian culture and the opportunity to do internships in Singapore has been some invaluable experience for the very few Americans in our class. This isn’t really a program for candidates over two years of solid business/finance experience.
Another thing would be that this program isn’t for international students who wants to find work in the US. Due to the nature of the program you only spend summers in the US and don’t have the opportunity to qualify for OPT. Therefore, chances of finding employment in the US diminishes astronomically.
1) Academically, it is very strong. We have taken classes on PE/VC, new academic research that’s being published, hedge funds, exotic options and others. Because of the nature of the program, you end up taking a lot of classes than an average MSF program would be able to provide.
2) International exposure at the master’s level is unparalleled. Also, the exposure to Asia and especially Singapore is invaluable.
3) Small cohort helps to facilitate learning and also you end up knowing everyone really well and mostly make lifelong friendships.
4) Professors can be used as valuable resource for job searching possibilities.
1) There is great variance in quality in professors at SMU. There were superstar hedge fund manager teaching you classes and really crap professors teaching classes as well. At the start the quality of professors at SMU is not so good.
2) NO OPT: Con for anyone who didn’t really read the fine text and didn’t know about it. There was a couple in our program.
3) Non-stop Travel: Although many might put this in the pros column. I have to put it in the cons because it becomes difficult to really get used to some place and even if you do then you are basically leaving.
4) Anything else. You can talk about recruiting, the network, how the campus was, trips, competitions, anything you want to discuss that you think someone interested in the program should know about.
Job Specifics: If you are American while in Singapore you can still access WUSTL’s job portal and apply for jobs. It is going to be hard to get interviewed and hired though when you are about 9k miles away. If you are international then you have to focus your job search internationally. The easiest place to find a job would be always the country of your origin as you avoid visa issues. But if you are interested in getting a job offer in Singapore then the best way to go about it is getting an internship. All the students who got an internship in Singapore also found full time employment especially at the firms they interned at. Big banks like GS, MS, Barclay’s, Citi all hire from SMU and do come on campus for recruiting events. These networking sessions although as usual are flooded by almost all students of SMU. And your biggest competitors would be top flight SMU undergrads who have had internships at PE or BB internships. So, it’s not going to be easy or cake walk at all.
Also another thing about Asia is most jobs are application oriented which basically means that you have to apply through their online apps even if you know the VP at the firm. So, even though networking is very helpful it is not as useful as in the US.
Visa Issues in SG: There has been a new anti-immigration low level immigration stance from the government. So, the days of extremely liberal immigration laws in Singapore is over. But still the reality of getting a work visa is much easier than in the States. If you have a set of special skills and you get hired by a reputable firm you will be issued a work visa. In a lot industries, the government have been rejecting fresh graduate work visas because the argument is that employers could easily find local Singaporeans to do the same job. But financial services industry hasn’t been touched by these policies yet.
All in all, I am gonna put this way. I really enjoyed my time in the program. Learnt a lot and got valuable life experiences. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to learn more about Asia or wants to start a career in Asia.