Fordham Notes: For Some Business Students, One-Year Masters are the Right Fit

Monday, March 8, 2010

For Some Business Students, One-Year Masters are the Right Fit

When Mitchell Suter graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in economics last May, some would say he was in the thick of it.

“Let’s face it – I graduated amid the [economic] turmoil,” he said. “I knew I wanted to work in financial services, but it wasn’t a good time as far as the job market.”

Suter (pictured right) began looking at graduate programs as a way to gain an extra advantage before hitting the job market. While a Master’s in Business Administration would be nice, it would also entail more time and money than he wanted to invest. So he found something more specialized – a one-year Master’s of Science in Quantitative Finance degree at Fordham. The program offers a sharper focus on finance theory and quantitative methods.

According to an article that ran in the Wall Street Journal in December, “more students are looking to business schools for shorter and more focused alternatives to the M.B.A., with in-depth education in everything from science of management to international finance.”

Schools are beefing up the specialty programs they already offer and adding more to keep up with the increased demand, the article said.

Fordham’s Graduate School of Business Administration saw this trend coming. Two years ago, it debuted a Master of Science in Quantitative Finance.

Suter said the program was just what he needed.

“It is a one year degree, which saves me on cost and lost earnings,” he said. “It’s also specialized, so it caters to those who have a good idea of what they want to do.”

Suter said he intends to find a job in financial services that will make the most of the quantitative tools he picks up at Fordham. The degree will give him more to bring to the table at interviews, he said.

“If a recruiter sees that I’ve taken twice or three times the course in finance than the next candidate, then it’s going to make me an attractive candidate,” Suter added.

But first, he’ll have to endure the curriculum, which he called “not for the faint of heart.”

“It’s very intense here at Fordham, basically you are getting two years worth of education in one year,” Suter said. “We find ourselves in our cave seven days a week.”

Gautam Goswami, Ph.D., associate professor of finance, is director of the program.

Sris Chatterjee, Ph.D., associate professor and area chair of finance of finance and economics, said the MS in Quantitative Finance offers “hands on learning for students.”

“What people need today in this competitive environment is more specialized training,” Chatterjee said. “Students gain the quantitative tools they can use to solve complex financial problems, such as asset pricing and risk management.”

The program has proved successful and not just for graduates. Many MSQF students supplement their coursework by joining internships at companies, including Wachovia Securities, Standard and Poors, Alliance Bernstein, Morgan Stanley and Citizens Bank.

The MSQF is also an “excellent compliment” to the MBA, Chatterjee said.

For more information on other specialty programs offered at the Graduate School of Business Administration, visit the school’s Web site.

-Gina Vergel

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