For business-savvy people who are keen on maths and statistics, a masters in quantitative finance could be the degree for you. If you enjoy the nitty-gritty of business, studying quantitative finance is a great way to prepare for a career in risk management across a variety of different contexts. In this article, EDUopinions will share the best masters in quantitative finance that Europe has to offer.
Is a masters in quantitative finance better than an MBA?
A masters in quantitative finance is not necessarily better than an MBA, but different. Whereas an MBA is a more general degree, covering a diverse range of business topics focused on administration and management, a masters in quantitative finance is more specialised. It deals with the mathematics and statistics behind many important business decisions. Graduates of this degree usually go on to work in risk management for large investment banks, hedge funds or even for smaller more specialist companies.
How difficult is the programme?
Undertaking a masters in quantitative finance is no small feat. The programme usually requires a solid background in mathematics, statistics, engineering, economics or some other related field. After studying one of these subjects at the undergraduate level, students in quantitative finance should be well prepared for the challenge. This programme involves learning different financial methodologies to manage risk, set prices and make sound decisions. In practice, doing so requires a lot of calculus, probability, linear algebra and statistics.
Does this qualification give you good earning potential?
While it does require some hard work, a masters in quantitative finance could really pay off in the long run. Following the global financial disaster of 2008, businesses and banks started to realise how fragile and poorly thought-out our financial systems were and subsequently began to turn to quantitative finance to avoid another similar catastrophe. Because of this, quantitative analysts are very well paid. According to QS, the yearly salary for a quantitative analyst is “US$111,071 in New York, £65,975 (US$93,681) in London and €65,000 (US$80,295) in Paris.”
EDUopinions’ list of the best masters in quantitative finance:
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology—ETH Zurich
One of the top-ranked universities for STEM-related fields, it is no surprise ETH Zurich offers one of Europe’s best masters in quantitative finance. With lectures divided into two broad categories—economic theory for finance or mathematical methods for finance—this programme seeks to equip students with both a detailed knowledge of financial methodologies as well as knowledge of the wider picture of their work. Another benefit of this programme is its location in Zurich, an academic and financial hub for Europe. The university makes an effort to connect students with nearby businesses so that they graduate with existing network connections and experience in the industry. For these reasons, ETH Zurich easily ranks as one of the best places to study a master’s in quantitative finance.
CASS Business School
Another excellent option for those looking to study a masters in quantitative finance is CASS Business School in London. Their 12-month programme offers many options for students to customise their learning. The final term of the module offers over 40 different elective modules to choose from, as well as the option to write a traditional dissertation or a shorter applied research project. In addition to this comprehensive classroom education, students at CASS benefit from the school’s location in London. The largest financial capital in Europe, and second only to New York globally, there are plenty of opportunities for financial analysts.
Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)
The next on our list of the best masters in quantitative finance is Vienna University of Economics and Business. Lasting four semesters, their programme is split into two tracks, one preparing students for an academic career in finance, the other preparing students for work in the industry. With 80% of their student body coming from outside Austria, the MSc in quantitative finance at WU makes for a highly international learning environment. What is even more impressive is that 100% of graduates from WU are hired within the first six months of their professional lives. Clearly, Vienna University of Economics and Business has a lot to offer for those looking to study quantitative finance.
Alliance Manchester Business School
Alliance MBS is the University of Manchester’s associated business school and is home to the next on our list of the best masters in quantitative finance. Alliance MBS’s quantitative finance programme offers many unique advantages. For starters, the course is partnered with the Manchester Accounting and Finance Group, helping to bring real-life experiences to a highly theoretical field of study. In addition, the programme’s affiliation with the University of Manchester means it benefits from its parent institution’s wealth of research resources. Combining an emphasis on practical industry knowledge as well as academic skills, the masters in quantitative finance at Alliance MBS is sure to deliver results.
BI Norwegian Business School
Offering a masters in quantitative finance (MSc), the BI Norwegian Business School is another one of the top-ranked institutions of its kind. Their programme emphasises the rapid globalisation and dynamic nature of today’s financial industry, equipping students with cutting edge skills for a competitive labour market. This master lasts two years, includes a thesis and offers options for internships and some elective modules to customise the degree. Another attractive aspect of BI Norwegian Business Schools is its campus facilities, which are all highly modern and designed to help deliver the best education possible. Without a doubt, studying a masters in quantitative finance at the Norwegian Business School is one of the best options out there.
Bocconi University offers another one of the best masters in quantitative finance. Their Master of Quantitative Finance and Risk Management lasts 12 months and consists of lectures, guest speakers, group projects and individual research tasks. This multimodal style of learning aims to prepare students for the project-based type of work which is typical of financial analysts. In addition, the third term of the programme allows students to choose from a wide range of electives and conduct a capstone project or internship, creating opportunities to customise the degree, network and research. Finally, students at Bocconi can take advantage of the university’s involvement with fintech, getting a head start on a highly lucrative field within the business sector. All in all, students at Bocconi are sure to get their money’s worth on a degree in quantitative finance.
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Located in Dublin, Ireland, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School offers another incredible masters in quantitative finance. With an option to study full-time (12 months) or part-time (24 months), this programme is ideal for those looking for some flexibility or for those who may already be working. Upon graduating from UCD, students are exempt from the Professional Risk Manager certification exams (levels I and II), which is a great way to jump-start your career in the finance industry. Clearly, this programme has a lot to offer to students.
University of Strathclyde
Finally, the last but certainly not least on our list of the best masters in quantitative finance is the MSc offered at the University of Strathclyde. Located in Glasgow, Scotland, the University of Strathclyde offers a truly unique programme for aspiring financial analysts. With students from over 100 countries, the university has a very international atmosphere in the heart of central Glasgow. The MSc programme makes an emphasis on big data, which is an increasingly important area of knowledge for those looking to work in the finance industry. Another great thing about this programme is that the University of Strathclyde offers a two-term pre-masters preparation course if you do not meet the MSc entry requirements. This accessibility and the university’s high quality of education make Strathclyde’s masters in quantitative finance one of the best in Europe.
All these programmes offer something unique to students, which is part of why they appear on EDUopinions’ list of the best masters in quantitative finance. That said, maybe none of these universities fit your needs. If that is the case, do not hesitate to reach out to EDUopinions for personalised advice on your educational career!