If you choose to study a Master in Finance, your employment prospects are high. Half of global employers are predicted to hire MiF graduates in 2021, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council's Corporate Recruiters Survey.
Masters in Finance jobs range from some of the highest-paying jobs in finance—accounting manager, finance director, investment banker—to roles across industries in consulting, technology and more.
So which companies hire the most Master in Finance graduates and in which industries? And what do the world's top employers really think of MiF grads?
Investment banking: Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan...
In investment banking, you’re responsible for buying and selling different financial assets. If you picture yourself working at one of Wall Street’s top investment banks, then a Master in Finance is a good place to start.
Investment banking regularly hires large proportions of MiF classes. At Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, for example, 29% of MiF students go on to work in investment banking. Given that average salaries for investment banking in New York are $117k, this is hardly surprising.
Investment banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan regularly rank highly among top employers for Master in Finance graduates. In MIT Sloan’s most recent Master in Finance cohort, 10 graduates went on to get jobs at Goldman Sachs, while seven went to work at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Ferdinand Petra, from the HEC Paris Master in Finance, believes an MiF prepares candidates well for a career in investment banking. Not only do they get the thorough expertise in finance you require, it also gives you a good flavor of the working culture.
“It’s highly multicultural, and this is what you will have in investment banking. There’s a great deal to be learned by doing, practising, doing cases in multicultural teams,” Ferdinand says.
Consulting: McKinsey, Bain, BCG
Consulting is a popular career choice for business school graduates, and MiF candidates are no different. At Imperial College Business School, 20% of the MiF class joined consulting firms.
These include companies like McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group, who are keen to snap up MiFs from top programs. Masters graduates can expect starting salaries in consulting of around $90k, reaching $125k after signing and performance bonuses.
Keith Bevans, global recruitment lead at Bain, explains why Big Three consulting firms are drawn to MiF graduates.
“MiF students add that financial lens: they tend to have built financial models, they can read financial statements, and they know the role financial organisations can play in a business from a strategy standpoint. This means they have more subject matter expertise than other masters students would.”
Government banking & public finance: EU, World Bank...
Many MiF graduates are drawn to public finance roles, including roles working in global financial institutions or national government banks.
At London Business School, 22% of graduates go on to work in central banking or public finance roles. Employers include Ministries of Finance in Japan and Singapore, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank).
While roles may not be as well paid as private financial services, these roles have a great opportunity for global exposure on a diplomatic level. Christian Dummett, director of LBS’ career services, believes that a diverse MiF cohort prepares you well for this.
“You’ll have a broader perspective on the world, because you will have had that immense exposure to diverse working groups. It’s really important that when you start your job, you’re not just thinking as a 28 year old finance person, you’re thinking as a global business person,” Christian says.
Asset management: BlackRock, Vanguard...
While investment banking is one the ‘selling side’, asset management is on the ‘buying side’. Asset managers must seek out financial assets to invest money in on behalf of their clients’ portfolios.
At MIT Sloan School of Management, 9% of the most recent MiF cohort went into roles in asset management. These include companies like BlackRock and the Vanguard Group.
Finding and investing in profitable assets requires a curiosity and creative thinking that you’ll learn during a Master in Finance. “For asset management, you need to be deep thinking, rigorous, have tenacity, to ask questions that other people don’t ask. This helps you unearth opportunities that other people don’t see,” explains Christian from LBS.
Sales & trading: JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs...
High risk, high reward—sales and trading is a popular career destination for ambitious graduates. Organizations like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have sales and trading arms that regularly recruit MiF graduates.
At MIT Sloan, 13% of MiF graduates go into sales and trading; at Imperial, it employs around 7%. Average starting salary for Imperial MiF graduates who go into sales and trading is just over $67k.
There’s no doubt that sales and trading is one of the most challenging, high pressure, and time intensive sectors in finance. To commit to this industry, graduates should know what they’re getting themselves in for.
ESSEC Business School’s Master in Finance has a specialized track dedicated to financial markets, sales, and trading, giving students not only the expert knowledge required, but also a chance to gain work experience in the sector.
Sridhar Arcot, from ESSEC’s MiF, says corporations look for this sort of knowledge and experience when hiring, as it means recruits know what they’re getting themselves in for, as well as what is expected of them. “They want employees who can hit the ground running.”
Masters in Finance jobs are plentiful and varied, whether you’re looking for global exposure, top salaries, or even a public sector role, there's something out there for you.