The Villanova University Master in Finance program is extremely popular and I wanted to provide a student review of the program for all of those interested. Hopefully this will help you in your decision making process.
Philly is full of financial firms and very close to NYC. This is great for recruiting and interning. The program is flexible and encompassing. You have FI, Derivatives, Real Estate, Portfolio Management, Risk Management, Financial Theory, Econometrics, Modeling, etc. Basically everything you could want with finance.
The school is beautiful and the business building is pretty new. The applied finance lab is great and has tons of Bloomberg Terminals, Thomson Reuters, etc. Capital IQ should/might be coming next year FYI. We have 2 classes on portfolio management (Fall and Spring) which integrate 2 student managed funds so you get a good experience from that.
What I liked the most was the stuff you don’t hear about. We had PhD seminars on Friday which gave great insight and exposure to that level of academic work. We had value seminars on Thursdays which allowed us to listen and speak with deep value practitioners. I went to a handful of financial conferences as well as networking events which I found both fun and important for increasing my network. I was on the CME commodities trading competition, the CFA investment research challenge and friends of mine competed in the ACG cup. They took 2nd place this year and won the cup 2 years ago. This was the second year that Villanova placed 2nd in the CFA competition and we placed 16th out of 97 in the CME competition.
Recruiting is good I would say. Mostly MM banks coming from front office positions. We had some consulting and a bunch of F500 firms. All the large banks came for BO position, but alumni allowed us to apply for IB positions are the larger banks. The economy was still pretty rough so I would imagine things to be a lot better as things get better.
I really cannot stress the alumni part enough. Villanova alumni are all over Wall Street and they are very, VERY helpful. I have spoken to countless alumni and they will give advice, meet with you, push your resume, help with interviews, whatever they can. I would give alumni relations a top score!
Villanova has a professional MBA program. What I mean by that is most everyone in the MBA program is working in Philly. There really is no on campus MBA recruiting. Not that master in finance students typically compete with MBA’s, it is still nice to have graduate level recruiters on campus.
The program doesn’t advertise as well as it should. This hurts you mainly because companies and recruiters might not know about it. I am a firm believer in marketing making the difference. You have to sell it! I want to say that this is an easy fix and I would dare to say will be fixed soon.
You are also competing with some quality undergrads. You really need to be proactive and sell yourself. You also need to be looking for an internship or something else to promote yourself. The undergrads at Villanova are very smart and typically have good internships. When recruiting time comes this will be an advantage for them.
All and all I think the program at Villanova is great. I readily compare it to Vanderbilt and BC. As I have mentioned, I firmly believe MSF programs are regional and Villanova does well in its target area. I have the utmost confidence that good things are in the works that will take the MSF program to even greater heights.
*** In the interest of full disclosure, I am a 2010 Villanova Master in Finance graduate***
Here is a link to the Villanova University Master in Finance program