Best Masters in Finance by Industry Sector (Pre-experience)

Top business schools and universities have been offering Masters in Finance programmes that do not require work experience, but how effective are they in placing graduates in investment banking, asset management and private equity sectors? We have gathered employment data from each school’s website for comparison. The schools were chosen with reference to the top 20 Msc. Finance rankings from the FT, QS and efinancialcareers; and schools without a finance industry breakdown are not included.

The table below shows the percentage of graduates that ended up in each financial sector for each school course.

School NameProgramme NameInvestment BankingAsset ManagementPrivate Equity / Venture CapitalConsulting
London Business School (LBS)Masters in Financial Analysis45%9%14%*14%
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)All MSc. Finance Related Programmes39%5%6%23%
HEC ParisMsc. International Finance20% or more**10%**-22%
IE Business SchoolMasters in Finance52%9%7%13%
University of St. GallenMasters in Banking and Finance (MBF)44% or less†11%-13%
Said Business School (Oxford)MSc. Financial Economics65% or less††5%2%16%
Imperial College Business School (IC)MSc in Finance36% or less‡18%8%12%
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (FS)Masters of Finance23%11%‡‡3%23%
Olin Business School (Washington University)Master of Science in Finance (Corporate and Quantitative Finance tracks)22.5%^17.5%8.5%3%

* 1% is taken from their specified VC/Hedge Fund category to form a combined 14% for Private Equity and Venture Capital.
** 20% are working in Financial Markets, 42% in Corporate Finance and 10% in Asset Management functional-wise. As most Financial Markets graduates and some from Corporate Finance should work in the IB industry, we expect the actual percentage to be higher.
† 44% are working in banking with no particular breakdown for investment/commercial/retail banks. Hence, we expect the actual percentage to be lower.
†† 46% are in IB, while 19% in Sales & Trading/Research by employment type. We have combined the two as most graduates in the Sales & Trading/Research category are also likely to be working in the IB industry.
‡ 22% are working in the IB function, with 14% in Sales & Trading. We have combined the two as most graduates in the Sales & Trading category is also likely to be working in the IB industry.
‡‡ 14% are working in the asset management industry. As 3% is working in PE functionally, we have taken out the 3% in asset management to separate them into the PE function.
^ Graduates from both tracks are included to give the statistics for the programme. With 8.5% working functionally in IB, 5.5% in Private Wealth Management and 8.5% in Capital Markets, we have combined these percentages as most of these graduates are likely to be working in the IB industry.

How to Use this Data

From the data above, we can conclude the top 3 schools for graduate employment for each sector.
Investment Banking:
Said Business School (65%), IE Business School (52%) and London Business School (45%)
Asset Management:
Imperial College Business School (18%), Olin Business School (17.5%) and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (11%)
Private Equity/Venture Capital:
London Business School (14%), Olin Business School (8.5%) and Imperial College Business School (8%)

We suggest at least applying to the top 3 viable schools for your desired sector in this list. This is because:

  1. It increases your chances of getting accepted as getting in one is highly competitive
  2. It allows you to explore a few schools and discover ones which fit you best
  3. The schools in the list are more likely to meet your expectations by being transparent about graduate destinations

Ready to apply? Let’s start by getting an admission’s viewpoint on your CV or personal statement!

Important points to note

  • Graduate statistics changes from time to time – it can highly depend on the previous experience of admitted students, and getting into a competitive sector can be down to chance. For courses with a small intake, having one more graduate inside an industry can make a difference of 1.5% or more.
  • Schools with the best placement in the sector may not be the best school for you – it may not be possible to achieve that outcome due to geographic/language barriers, and the course experience itself should be considered as it can affect your motivation and long-term development.
  • The data provided is insufficient and imperfect – as mentioned, many schools have yet to provide a breakdown. Furthermore, how they classify each category can be different (e.g. a breakdown by function or industry?). Finally, there is no guarantee the graduates in the sector are in full time roles.

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