The University of Texas Master in Finance program is going on its second year, but I have been lucky enough to receive yet another review of the program. It is really in depth so it should be helpful for those trying to make their decision. While I am waiting for official placement stats to come out I think it is safe to say that this is a top quality program.
Enjoy the review. Hopefully many more to come!
1) Why a Masters in Finance in general? Why the UT-Austin program in particular?
I went to a non-target undergrad program and spent my summers either working or going to school. I didn’t yet understand how important internships were to the banking industry. As I watched lots of finance majors my junior and senior year settle for jobs with low pay and little room for growth, many outside of finance, I started to think about the MSF. During my last year, one of my buddies was enrolled in the Univ. of Florida Master in Finance. I kept in touch with him on how he liked it and what types of employers were interested. By October, he had two offers with several second rounds still lined up and I knew I wanted to do the MSF.
I applied to three programs; one in Florida, another in Texas, and UT. UT’s business school had the best reputation and I wanted a change of scenery. It didn’t hurt that Texas had been highlighted the past several years for their booming job market (especially Austin/Houston). The UT program was the most expensive because I got the smallest tuition waiver there, but I knew that they had some of the best professors in the country.
2) Pros/Cons (if any) of the degree and University of Texas experience?
- Booming job market (access to Austin, Houston and Dallas employers)
- Located in Austin
- The professors are brilliant and truly vested in the success of the MSF
- McCombs name recognition
- Small class size (this was only because it was the first year)
- Almost everyone left employed or choose more higher ed. and I am almost positive everyone had at least one offer
- The practicum (a mini internship/project from October to March)
- Every student gets an iPad
- Cost of tuition (although it is the same if not cheaper than most in the US)
- Giving up on one year of work experience and the pay associated
- Not much access to the North East employers (there was a good amount but Houston gobbles up so many that they didn’t target us too much)
- First year of program (obviously this is no longer the case)
- The programs work load was sometimes excessive when trying to interview
- Competition: the UT undergrads are highly desired by employers
3) Who would you recommend a Master in Finance program to?
The UT Masters in Finance is perfect for someone who wants to get into banking or consulting in the Houston/Dallas/Austin area. The access to these types of employers is great. The McCombs OCR is a gigantic floor with 30+ interview rooms. Employers love to come. I can remember a couple weeks with 3-4 first rounds. The University of Texas MSF name is out there so someone with a weaker resume would benefit (employer know just how tough it is to get it).
4) Anything else. Feel free to talk about recruiting, groups you were involved in, Texas/Austin, job search, etc. Anything you want.
Recruiting: You will have plenty of opportunities but if you are not prepared you won’t make it to the next round. Figure out if you want consulting/banking and spend your time practicing that style of interview (case based/typically DCF etc.).
Austin: I fell in love with Austin and ended up staying. The bar scene reminds me of New Orleans and the live music is everywhere. There is never a lack of things to do/see here.
The Masters in Finance was tough during the first month or two of recruiting because most employers didn’t even know what it was. I spent some interviews just explaining the program. I know that career services has been going around meeting employers and it has paid off. Next year, the UT MSF will have a board full of employers (I know of the head of a PWM firm and an MD from a Houston I-bank but there are a bunch of them).