The Best B-Schools for Finance
For many years, finance has been one of the most popular concentrations for MBAs. Top schools like Wharton, Booth and Stern—the three top business school for MBAs in finance, according to the 2013 U.S. News & World Report—typically send 35 to 45 percent of their graduating class into the financial services industry, and the growth is persisting today. Read below to find out what makes each program so unique.
Finance majors at Wharton are able to mold their own curriculum through Wharton’s Flexible Core, allowing them to take a wide range of electives or, in some cases, even define their own major. Some Wharton students with specific interests choose to pursue an individual major, where they can specialize in areas such as Private Equity, Turnaround Management, or Corporate Development. For students who pursue the finance major, approximately 39% of the 2011 graduating class entered the financial services industry directly upon graduation, joining with hedge funds, insurance companies, investment banking, private equity and venture capital firms. The reputation of Wharton’s finance major alone is unparalleled: for years, Wharton has reigned as the top of the field and led as a shining example in reputation, research, and the high-salaried placement of recent graduates. Few other programs can truly claim to live up to the high standing and extraordinary repute of the Wharton finance program.
Chicago’s Booth School of Business offers two very different and unique specializations in financial services: the finance concentration and the analytic finance concentration. The finance concentration delves into the management of financial assets, raising capital, managing risks, and weighing investments. It is intended to prepare students at the business level to be able to calculate stock and bond prices, to compensate executives fairly, and to determine the risks in making investment decisions. The analytical finance concentration, on the other hand, digs deeper into the specifics of financial theory and application and to conduct rigorous analyses of hedge funds, investment banks, and risk management. Students combine theory learned in class with quantitative skills and hands-on, real world application, such as with Bank Week and the use of the case method. According to Booth, the analytical finance concentration offers the largest number of advanced finance classes of any other business school, and, regardless of the concentration, they offer an unequivocally broad-based foundation for any finance student to hone in on a specific niche of the industry.
Stern MBA students have the opportunity to specialize in up to three areas of focus. But take note that, out of Stern’s twenty specializations, half a dozen of them alone are in finance: Corporate Finance; Finance; Financial Instruments and Markets; Financial Systems and Analytics; International Finance, and Quantitative Finance. What this broad range of specializations means is that a Stern student does not just get an education in finance—they get an education in a unique subset of finance. Of the twenty specializations, approximately 49 percent of Stern students choose the general finance specialization, while another 19% go with corporate finance. Additionally, Stern holds the record for having more electives than any other business school—72 of which are in the area of finance. Most typically, Stern graduates with concentrations in finance enter into positions in the finance industry, financial institutions, or with a government or nonprofit institution. And, if that isn’t enough to be impressed about, many of the NYU faculty hold prestigious awards, including, notably, Professor Robert Engle, recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics.