An introduction to HEC Masters: Master in Finance

The end of the spring semester approaching, hundreds of HEC Bachelor students are left wondering what their next step will be. In this series, HEConomist aims at assisting students in choosing their master’s program. In this second part, we will go over another program: the MScF or Master’s in Finance. You can find the first part on the Master’s in Political Economy here.

If you spend sleepless nights wondering how the Black-Scholes formula is derived, how companies are valued, how options are priced or how stochastic volatility is modeled, then maybe you should be considering choosing the Master’s in Finance.

Jokes aside, if you want to learn the things mentioned above (this is only the visible part of the iceberg) and heaps of other interesting stuff, going with this Master’s program might be a good idea. No one is of course pursuing a degree in finance only for the sake of making money, right?

It is important to keep in mind that the finance program is divided in three different orientations. However, the first semester is exactly the same for everyone. This will be a semester with five mandatory courses that aim to provide solid fundamentals to all students in the Master’s in Finance. So there is no course to choose at the beginning.

Then comes the second and third semesters where students take courses depending on the orientation they have chosen. The three orientations are as follows:

– Corporate Finance: This orientation teaches students how firms and projects are valued and how the financial analysis of a company is done. The orientation also deepens the knowledge of students with courses such as M&A and Private Equity and Venture Capital. If you like reading financial statements, you are interested in a company’s financial position and would like to know more about financial transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, etc., you may have been made for this program.

– Asset and Risk Management: This might be a good option if you have rather a quantitative profile and enjoy statistics. With this orientation, you will learn advanced econometric tools, how to build different portfolios, which investment strategies to take, how to deal with the risk of your investments, and you will also find out more about alternative investments.

– Financial Entrepreneurship and Data Science: This is also a highly quantitative track, and this might be a good choice if you like information technologies and have an interest in computer science. This track will allow you to learn deeper coding techniques, blockchains, machine learning, data science and the application of all those in the world of finance. Entrepreneurship and launching your own company are also one of the concerns of this program.

Maybe you can’t make up your mind for now to choose your orientation but don’t worry, if you are certain to go with a Master’s in Finance, you can think about it during the first semester and change your track towards the end of the semester, when you will be immersed in the world of finance. And you will have to choose elective courses during the second and third semester of the Master’s. You can choose your elective courses from a large pool of courses, but you can also choose them among the compulsory courses of other tracks, so you won’t be missing out on anything if you have the dying urge to take a course from an orientation that is not yours.

Even though each track has its own compulsory courses, there are compulsory courses that are common for all the three tracks even during the 2nd and 3rd semesters. Whatever track you choose, the program remains overall very quantitative. You will often have the opportunity to apply what you learn by using software and programming languages such as Python, Matlab, Excel, C++ and maybe others (don’t worry, not all these mentioned above at the same time). Sure, what programming language you use will depend on your track, the courses you choose and even your personal taste sometimes, but being able to master them is certainly emphasized by this Master’s. Even though the program is very quantitative, it allows students to enhance their soft skills that are crucial in the work life thanks to many group projects, presentations and classes such as Finance Ethics.

Last but not least, at the fourth semester comes the thesis. Two opportunities here are offered to students: either writing an academic thesis under the supervision of a professor of your choice, or finding an internship that is related to your Master’s and writing your thesis at that company (still under the supervision of a professor obviously and also a mentor at the company).

The program is very reputed: it appears in high ranks of rankings such as the one from Financial Times. It is also recognized by prestigious organizations such as CFA, CAIA and GARP. Most of the program covers the material that is needed to obtain the certificates of the associations mentioned above. The courses are taught by professors who are all experts in their fields. Whatever track you choose, the program is adapted to the challenges and issues of the current world and guarantees students to provide them everything they will need for their careers!

This concludes the second episode in our series on the multiple master’s available at HEC. Next week, we will take a closer look at the Master’s in Management!

Sinan Güven
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