I just received a brand new student review of the Villanova University MSF program and wanted to get it posted for all of you to read. This student is a recent graduate and experienced the program during covid. Obviously, in normal times things are much different, but I think it is interesting to see how each university handled this situation and how students responded to it. Should be very interesting in years to come to look back and see how things were and how they have changed. Enjoy the review!
Why a MSF in general? Why Villanova in particular?
- By my senior year of undergrad, I found my interest in finance/investing. I went to a non-target school and my internships did not correlate to either research or banking. I thought it would be best to go get my MSF degree where I can dive into areas such as Investment Banking, Alternative Investments etc. More importantly, finding a school with a strong reputation and a great alumni network.
Pros/Cons (if any) of the degree and program?
- Pros: Villanova has their own job portal and the opportunities showed stark contrasts versus my non-target undergraduate job portal. I have seen opportunities from BB to EB banking, PE, HF and AM roles. You are probably competing with the undergraduates who have strong resumes.
- The alumni network is strong, but you have to put in the work. Tap into the Undergraduate, MBA and MSF alumni there are plenty of people on Wall Street who will help you. If financials are an issue, you can apply for the fellowship program where students work alongside professors with their unpublished work. You will get a scholarship along with a monthly stipend. You can also work part time, but you will have to find that opportunity on your own. I would recommend doing one of those two options while you are at the program. There is a mentor program where each student is paired with a Villanova Alumni. I enjoyed my mentor, but it could be a hit or miss when it comes to how much the mentor cares or how strong their network is.
- Cons: The biggest con was COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, we were moved to a hotel out in King of Prussia which was upsetting. We were allowed to be on campus and use the Bloomberg terminal but there was no need for it as we utilized FactSet from our laptops. It would have been nice being on campus and feeling more like a student.
- The professional development course felt redundant.
- I think it is fair to say there are other MSF programs that have stronger career services but again you need to tap into the alumni network.
Who would you recommend this program to?
- I would recommend the MSF program to any student trying to get an entry level role on Wall Street. Villanova’s MSF program has a history of alumni who have gone into PE, IB, ER, HF, Direct Lending etc. I will be fair and say it does not compete with Vanderbilt, but you have the opportunity to make it. Not everyone at the program wishes to be in the industries I mentioned above. There are students that want to work in valuation, consulting, and corporate finance. This year, we had a student that wanted to become a lawyer, another student opened his own business and in the 2020 class there was a student who went on to earn a PhD.
- If you are particularly set on a specific sector, say asset management for example, I would first look at a program that caters specifically towards AM such as Washington St. Louis. At Villanova, you can customize your classes in the spring that specifically fit toward AM but in the fall you have a fixed schedule. In my class we have 1 or 2 people working in AM right now so again, you can make it, but you have to work for it.
Anything else – people usually talk about campus experience, program trips, advice on recruiting/networking, things like that. Whatever you want.
- It is currently Mid-July and right now a considerate portion of my classmates are working in either IB or Valuation. We have one student who is working at a Hedge Fund, but he worked his tail off for it.
- The program can be difficult at times so communicate with your classmates and work together whenever the opportunity arises.
- To wrap this up, I recommend the program. The competition is fierce, but Villanova has the brand and network to help get you that dream job. Plan before you arrive to the program and execute.
I want to thank the individual who wrote this as it seems to be very honest, open and frank. As a fellow Villanova MSF graduate, a lot of what this person says resonates. I had a wonderful experience when I attended the program back in 2009 and it looks like the program continues to serve its students well.
Here is a link to the Villanova University MSF program