Master of Science in Financial Economics Profiles

Hervé Belmas
Company: BAML, EM Strategies

“When I decided to pursue my studies into finance, I knew I did not want to end up in a 'regular' finance graduate program. Competition is fierce in the industry and having the right set of skills to stand out and meet the demand for highly trained people is key."

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While a Finance PhD allows you to build your knowledge extensively, it is significantly oriented toward academic research and it is also quite lengthy. On the other hand, an MBA program is much more practical and offers a closer connection to the industry network, but it may not train you at a level as deep and advanced as in a PhD.

Columbia’s MSFE program provides the best of both worlds: over two years, I received high level academic training in finance through PhD classes and worked on practical problems in MBA courses along with being exposed to a rich network of industry leaders and practitioners. It gave me an incontestable advantage in that I can tackle real-world challenges of the industry that requires advanced knowledge in Finance.

After graduating, I joined a research team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. While the people I work with have been trained in PhD programs, the set of skills I built in the MSFE program enabled me to work seamlessly with the team and make impactful contributions.

Anne-Laure Roche-Rault
Company: Single Resolution Board, Agency of the European Commission

“I joined the MSFE program, sponsored by the French Central Bank where I had been working for 5 years in financial market infrastructures oversight. The MSFE program attracted me, and convinced my sponsor, as an elite highly selective program based on a demanding PhD level finance education, complimented with business-oriented MBA coursework as well as electives I could choose from at the School for International and Political Affairs or the Computer Science department."

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" This mix is quite unique and allows you to have a strong finance foundation while supplementing your coursework to your specific interests, giving you time to assimilate massive amount of knowledge over two years."

"The program enabled me to reinforce my professional financial background with strong academic foundations and to discover current fields of research in finance, including behavioral finance, and to orient my expertise towards banking regulation. After the program, I joined the European Central Bank as a bank supervisor and am now with the Single Resolution Board, an agency of the European Commission focused on bank resolution. For me, the key strength of the MSFE program is the development of curiosity and the capacity to learn through rigorous PhD courses, giving students a financial tool box they can utilize throughout their career. Whatever my future career path, I am confident I now have the academic foundation necessary to address quantitative or conceptual challenges."

Like Chen
Company: Citi Global CCAR

“The coursework exposes you to content that addresses topics at the PhD level and further advances the way one approaches and addresses questions. The small size of the program provides much opportunity to interact with faculty, who are exceptional. They take a keen interest in the MS students and are dedicated to their academic success and career outcomes. This held true for me in my career search, as it was the faculty and relationships that I had built through networking that led to my job at Citi.”

Hernán Gazze
Company: AQR

“I joined the MS program fresh out of college, not knowing what type of career I wanted to pursue. I only knew I wanted a rigorous, PhD level finance education, to keep the doctorate door open. After a summer internship at Blackrock, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the buy side. After graduation, I joined the risk management and quant research team at Blackrock. The program coursework provided me with the exact tools I needed to excel professionally.

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I am currently a portfolio manager at AQR, a leading quantitative equity hedge fund and keep my old lecture notes at my desk. I think that condenses how impactful my years at CBS have been on my career thus far. But education is more than lecture notes. Professors at CBS were always happy to give their time and advice. I still pick their brains to this day, and I know that if I ever wanted to go back for a PhD, I would have the support of my professors from CBS.

Sean Zhang
Company: Arrowstreet Capital

“The MS in Financial Economics Program armed me with the quantitative skills and broad academic knowledge that enabled me to develop a successful career in investment management. Students from the MSFE program have the unique opportunity to work very closely with faculty on advanced research projects. I benefited from this experience not only building knowledge through cutting-edge research, but also developing a good relationship with the faculty, who helped me identify job opportunities.