So you want to be a financial analyst? : Educational opportunities and rankings for the B-School bound
The financial analyst position is a highly competitive and coveted job in big banks, investment firms, insurance companies, and investment banks alike.
The rigorous nature of the job attracts go-getting undergraduates fresh out of college each year.
Most entry level financial analysts have a strong technical background in economics, math, computer science, or physics.
However, a B.A/B.S will not suffice if you plan on breaking into the financial analyst position from an unrelated field or if you are looking to climb the ladder to senior analyst status.
Early acceptance programs
The traditional route to business school is usually precluded by a minimum of two years working experience, after which an applicant will typically apply for admissions.
This traditional route to graduate school of course has its exceptions.
A Wall Street Journal piece found that although most students still take more than double the minimum years recommended to work before applying to business school, the largest growing demographic of applicants taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is the under-24 group.
Many business schools have initiated new programs and initiatives to attract the newly degree-minted set to their schools right out of college.
While these programs offer a path of guaranteed admissions to business school, accepted students are still required to gain full time work experience before sitting down next to the average 29 year old B-school student.
Some notable programs for college graduates looking to kick start their careers as financial analysts include: the Harvard Business School 2+2 program, the Yale School of Management Silver Scholars program, IESE’s the Young Talent program, and Stanford Graduate School of Business’s deferred enrollment policy.
Best international schools
The United States proudly claims the majority of the top twenty slots in a ranking of the top global MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times.
While a number of US business school programs offers combination international study-abroad type programs, many students are opting to take their entire educational experience overseas instead.
In fact, the remaining ten spots in the Financial Times list are programs from highly ranked institutions abroad that offer a gateway to a variety of different markets and opportunities that homegrown MBAs may not garner access to.
Finance graduate programs ranking
As a financial analyst looking to branch out or lay down roots on a different continent, your best bet is to attend a school with both national and domestic repute.
In Europe, the London Business School and INSEAD France are both great institutions with diverse student bodies and excellent faculty. India and China are hotspots for emerging markets and their B-schools aren’t shabby either.
Hong Kong UST Business School is number ten on the Financial Times list with Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad right behind it at a close number eleven.
Best US business schools
While there’s good reason to have the mentality of Wharton or bust; every business school has niches where it excels, and niches where graduates are average.
It’s important to take a moment to look past the rankings and hype and decide what your goals are after business school.
For a specialization in Finance, consider the University of Chicago (Booth), NYU (Stern), and MIT (Sloan), all of which excel in the US News rankings for 2014.
While an MBA is not the only flavor of graduate degree that financial analysts hold, it is the most popular.
Consider all of your options and put your best foot forward during the application cycle to land the business school and future career of your dreams.
This article is written by our guest author, Angie Picardo.
Angie is a writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you have a successful career by setting financial goals.