Dec 2016
20

Five Things To Avoid When Choosing Your University For A MSc In Finance

Five things to avoid when choosing your university for a MSc in Finance

If it’s not the youths you see traipsing about with their Pokémon Go in the city during lunchtime, it’s the well-groomed men and women looking their sharpest in their office wear. Look around, you see a majority of these people hail from the finance sector, perhaps from one of the many banks or other heavy-hitting MNCs. If you were a student or fresh grad, you would feel validated from this sight as you think “Hey! There’s great demand for guys like me!” Well, there might be plenty of you, but that itself is a problem. When there are so many of you with a bachelor’s degree of a finance background, how do you stand out? A bachelor’s degree is not going to cut it today, but a MSc in finance might tip the scales in your favour.

To land that job, that promotion, that corner office with the view, you need to complete your experience with the right qualification. There is only so much The Economist, Financial Times and other publications can help with this dilemma. While their influential insights tell you what to look out for, few tell you what to avoid. So to aid you, here are five things to avoid when choosing your university for a MSc in finance.

Don’t generalise, but specialise

Everyone thinking of doing a postgraduate degree in the finance sector typically questions if they should pursue a MSc or MBA. Is there really a distinction between the two? They both dab in the same waters, but the distinction is that one wears a lifejacket constantly staying afloat, the other dives deeper into the sea of opportunities.

Specialisation takes you on an advanced level into deeper and specific aspects of financial services, which best describes how a MSc course is run. An MBA involves a more general approach to the finance industry, tackling strategic planning and management skills. Not encouraging anyone to shun MBA courses, the reality exists today however that the ballooning up of MBA courses globally has caused it to lose its appeal.

John Moyer of Business.com wrote:

“Meeting someone with an MBA used to be a novelty. Due to the number of people entering and completing these programs, there is only competition within the programme themselves. In the pack of MBAs, you have to have something other than the degree that differentiates you from the others.”

An MSc thusly presents ample opportunity to distinguish yourself from other graduates. Be proud and display your expertise in whatever aspect of finance you wish to devote yourself to. But practice caution, choosing an MSC is a commitment, so see that you do pick the right MSc and stay true to its entirety!

Not the country you want, but the country you need

Before discussing what sort of school you should be looking for, we need to acknowledge how many choose to pursue a postgraduate degree abroad. Just remember it’s ‘study abroad’ and not ‘vacation abroad,’ so pick the place you need and not the one you want. Do I want to swim at the beaches of Barcelona and attend a somewhat decent university, or do I want to go to the metropolis city with a triple accredited university like Grenoble Graduate School of Business in Singapore? A no-brainer here.

You should also be constantly aware of the latest global trends. The destination of your choice may in time have an adverse effect on your employability. Consider #Brexit, Chad Bray of the New York Times recounted of the harsh fallout of the markets and treasuries and its impact on England. If you were considering England, know that is a tough road to follow. The tougher guidelines enacted for foreign graduates to work in the UK are testament to the need to be constantly aware with global trends.

Do not discount an accredited university

Before country, precedence must always go to the university. Certainly a myriad of factors such as a good faculty and good facilities should be on your checklist, but make sure accreditation is on it as well. Accreditation is the safeguard to assure that the university holds a standard of quality and whether it is competent in vigorous levels of higher education. When an employer compares your CV with that of a CV with a listed accredited university, he will not be questioning the validity of the other guy’s training.

So do not discount the effect a degree from an accredited university holds. On your list of universities, Grenoble Ecole De Management should be one of them. The institution is the top 17th in the Financial Times European Business Schools Ranking and boasts a triple accreditation: EQUIS by the EFMD, AMBA and the AACSB. Summing up those acronyms for you simply, Grenoble Ecole De Management had aced the European Quality Improvement System evaluation by three different bodies, a remarkable feat. Like the UK’s Russell Group universities or America’s Ivy league universities, employers look favourably on quality of assurance.

http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/european-business-school-rankings-2016

Not just the overall ranking

You must have browsed heavily through sites such as Times Higher Education or QS University Rankings for the top 100 universities. Ranking is important but do not forget to distinguish overall school ranking with subject ranking. A university may win praise for its schools of humanities, engineering and science, garnering enough wins to claim the top spot in these ranking sites, but it may not have the quality MSc courses you want.

While not encouraging you to set your sights lower and ignore the top rated universities, a degree of compromise has to be included when considering the specific nature of your studies.

Do not apply before testing the waters

Of course all of this would seem jarring to anyone not knowing which aspect of the finance sector he would want to devote his studies too. Remember that a postgraduate degree of this nature would last typically between a year or two. So why not test the waters before applying. You are a fresh grad, work for a year. The length of time in an internship or a contractual basis-type experience would equip you with enough knowledge and insight into making an informed decision on the course of your dreams.

An MSc entails more skill-based learning education. So seek out work experiences that give you an overview of all sectors of the finance industry. Spot the areas you like and narrow down the list to come to your decision.

In the finance industry, a postgraduate degree serves as a furtherance of your career goals. So once you have settled on your preferred genre of finance, know that it will add to your stance in the finance world.  

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