Launched in 2014, the Master of Finance (MFin) program at Rady School of Management is a relatively new program. But despite its adolescence, the program and its curriculum has quickly become highly praised within the industry.
Just last year it was ranked by the Financial Times as one of the top MFin programs in the world; a huge accomplishment after a mere four years since the program’s conception. It placed 14th in the U.S. and is expected to rise higher in the future.
The highly-regarded ranking isn’t all that the MFin degree has to offer. The Rady School MFin program is a STEM-designated, CFA Institute-affiliated professional degree that delivers rigorous, hands-on training to prepare graduates to immediately contribute in environments where quantitative and analytical skills are at a premium.
Students learn leading-edge methods for analyzing big data for financial decision-making and risk management. The program’s emphasis on quantitative models and methods ensures that graduates are equipped to develop innovative solutions to the complex problems facing the financial industry.
“The Master of Finance program at Rady is designed for the current needs of the finance industry. It incorporates class work that reflects what’s going on in the industry today and includes a heavy component of data science, which is presently very important for financial firms,” says Michael Melvin, the Executive Director of the MFin program at Rady.
As Melvin notes; “It’s a quant program, so students learn quantitative skills, including financial econometrics that they can apply throughout their coursework including the final capstone research project.”
The MFin capstone is a project-based course that allows students to work with a prestigious firm within the finance industry. Students work together in teams of four and complete research that demonstrates the application of skills developed throughout the MFin program.
“Our students work with a mix of local and global firms. From San Diego to London to Hong Kong, capstone project stakeholders present students with a particular idea to research, which may cover a range of financial topics.”
These topics can include anything from portfolio construction, cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, trading issues, payments, asset management, and risk management, among many others. What’s more is that students can learn from collaborating with respected industry professionals.
Examples of capstone companies that students worked with this year include some of the top financial firms in the world, such as Goldman Sachs and BlackRock. They also worked with companies that have finance groups within them, like ViaSat, and a local La Jolla firm, Alphacore.
“Alphacore is a great example of a firm where we had students interning with them that were so successful in their research that Alphacore executives were interested in continuing the relationship and building upon what was started,” recalls Melvin.
Melvin says that “students might do a project with one firm but then that experience will lead them to opportunities with other firms as well.” Opportunities for students to network and showcase their skills often lead to their ultimate goal; employment.
“I think the MFin degree is a ticket into the industry. I used to be a Managing Director at BlackRock and we’re teaching students at Rady the skills that I wanted to hire for my teams at BlackRock, which were quantitative investing teams.”
The capstone increases employability because the students gain the skills and the abilities that firms want to hire. Not only that, but students can differentiate themselves from other job applicants because they’re able to highlight bespoke research on their resume.
“When capstone teams are doing very well, which they often do, firms will request resumes from the teams so that they can interview students, which leads to internships and permanent jobs.”
For anyone looking to enhance their career within the finance industry, the MFin program at Rady is a great place to start.
For more information about Rady’s MFin program, please visit https://rady.ucsd.edu/programs/masters-programs/master-of-finance/