The Washington University – St.Louis Masters in Finance Program is a sought after program that routinely places students into some of the best jobs in the country. The program is highly competitive and offers both a corporate finance track and one that is more quantitative for those looking to pursue a quant type position. I’ve been lucky enough in the past to have another previous student write a review and wanted to provide all of you with an updated perspective. Enjoy!
Why did you decide on a Masters in Finance degree? Why the Olin Business School program in particular?
I decided to pursue the MSF degree in order to gain further knowledge in the field of finance as well as expand my career opportunities. I chose Washington University’s Olin Business School in particular because I fell in love with the school five years ago when I was considering the school for my undergrad. The school is absolutely beautiful, with the old gothic style buildings lining the edges of campus. Everyone here was so friendly and helpful to me as well. It was certainly the easiest admissions process I went through.
Pros/Cons (if any) of the degree and Olin experience?
The Masters in Finance curriculum consisted of a combination of strong theoretical classes as well as those that applied that knowledge using case studies and realistic examples. Students were given the opportunity to customize their schedules to fit their specific career paths or interests. This helped develop each of us into a unique graduate. For example, in order to get practical experience for my consulting position, I participated in the Taylor Community Consulting Program where, along with other students, I helped a nonprofit organization plan for their expansion project. For those interested in asset management, there is also the Investment Praxis Course where students manage over a million dollars of the University’s endowment in various equity securities. The rigorous academics required a willingness to work hard which will translate to the real world when we start our jobs as business men and women. The case studies, group projects, and presentations provided the soft skills necessary to work with others, convey our ideas, and critically solve business problems within the finance field. All together, these aspects of the curriculum established each one of us into a future leader within our respective fields.
The faculty really brought everything together for us. All of them are experts in their respective fields and are able to bring their previous experiences and knowledge into the classroom. They are adeptly able to lead case study discussions to bring out students’ creative ideas. Each professor has their own unique teaching style which is refreshing after hours of class time.
In my opinion, one really great reason to come to Washington University’s Olin Business School is its career services program and its ability to place students in jobs. Before you even start your classes in the fall, you are put through “ProDev” to help you hone your resume, cover letter, and networking skills. Career Services doesn’t forget about you after that though. Throughout the year, you can get their advice and do practice interviews of any kind: behavioral, technical, or mock cases. I never realized how helpful a career services can be until I came here. They are able to bring in hundreds of recruiters who are specifically looking to hire Olin students. The program organizes and sponsors multiple career fairs throughout the year. And also posts thousands of jobs on its careers web site. Typically first round interviews are conducted on campus, while the company flies you out for subsequent rounds. Having no prior connections, I was grateful for the help I could get from the Weston Career Center.
One challenge I encountered during my educational experience was group conflicts. Most of the case studies we did were done in groups. Sometimes it was a challenge working with people of different personalities or backgrounds or even just coordinating schedules with one another. Learning patience is definitely the key to conflict resolution as well as being open minded to other people’s viewpoints, experiences, and opinions.
Who would you recommend a Master in Finance to?
I would recommend a Masters of Finance to anyone who wants to jumpstart their career. Most top MBA programs require you to have several years of work experience before they admit you. The MSF, however, can be done right out of undergrad or with only a couple years of experience. It is a great way to get an outstanding graduate education without having to interrupt your career later. This one year program is a quick way to deepen your knowledge of finance and be one step ahead of your peers.
Anything else. Feel free to talk about recruiting, groups you were involved in, Olin, Washington University, job search, etc. Anything you want.
If I could describe the program in one word I would have to say opportunity. Coming to Washington University’s Olin Business School, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with people from so many different cultures. I had the opportunity to learn from others in the MBA program with many years of previous work experience. I was given the opportunity to learn from some of the most accomplished researchers in the field of finance. I had the opportunity to work in so many different fields upon graduation and be eligible for many types of jobs. I had the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge in the field of finance and make so many friends that I will never forget. I had the opportunity to get a great post graduate education from a great university with a stellar reputation.