University of Southern California MSF Program Update – May 2020

The University of Southern California MSF program is arguably the best program on the west coast and one of the top masters in finance degrees in the country. This was one of the most eagerly awaited new program a number of years ago and the school does a really good job of providing detailed class profiles and placement information. I thought it would be helpful to post an updated summary of the program for anyone considering applying this year. Enjoy!


The admissions process is pretty standard for this program. Resume, completed application, transcripts, one essay (with an optional one if needed), one letter of recommendation, and a TOEFL for international students. Because of COVID-19, the GMAT/GRE is options for the remainder of the 2020 application cycle.

Domestic applicants also have until June 1st to apply to the USC program.

Class Profile

USC does a nice job of giving two years worth of class profiles. I find this helpful to see how things have evolved over the years. This program has a very high GMAT, second only to MIT (and Princeton if you want to include them as a traditional MSF).

Class of 2020Class of 2019
Average GMAT714706
Average GRE320324
Average GPA3.533.46
Number of Colleges Represented4144
Percent International Students74%64%
Male / Female %58% / 42%53% / 47%
Average Months Work Experience1514.4

Placement Information

Class of 2018 Placements

What I like about the USC program is they include links to the current placement report and the last 3 years of placements. Really handy when you want to compare placements over the years and when researching alumni to reach out to. The USC report is pretty detailed as well, very helpful in analyzing the data.

  • Class size – 77 Students
  • % Seeking Employment – 68%
  • Employment % 6 months post-graduation – 98%
  • Average Base Salary – $68K

The above stats are all really good. MSF programs are unique in the fact that not everyone is seeking employment as some students go on to other graduate or PhD programs, go back to family businesses or otherwise travel. That being said, the percentage finding employment after 6 months of graduating is the key metric and USC does a good job with that.

Placements by Industry

  • Investment Banking – 24%
  • Asset Management/Diversified Financial Services – 14%
  • Entertainment and Media – 12%
  • Real Estate – 10%
  • All the rest – 40% (includes healthcare, tech, commercial banking, PE/VC, etc)

As with most MSF programs, placements are heavily weighted towards finance roles. What is unique about the USC program is the Entertainment and Media (makes sense) and Real Estate. Also, when you look at cities where MSF students go to work, all the major California cities are represented. There are a number of International markets, as well as New York  and Houston on there as well.

Full report can be downloaded here.

Student Reviews

I do not have a formal student review of this program and that is something I need to correct. In the meantime, the program does have a page full of recently video testimonials. I like this as there are a number of voices to hear and it does give you an idea of what kids think about the program. You can see them all by clicking this link.

That is the update for now. Check back soon for more information.


Here is a link to the University of Southern California Masters in Finance Program



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