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Georgetown MSF vs. an MBA with a Concentration in Finance From Another Top University?

Many prospective students weigh whether to earn an MBA with a finance concentration from another top university or pursue the Georgetown MSF. At first glance, they may seem like equal substitutions, however there are three primary differences that give Georgetown’s MSF an edge:

1.  Length of study

You can complete the Georgetown MSF program in 21 months—with a 10-week summer break between the first and second year—while you continue working. In contrast, a top MBA program typically requires you to complete approximately 60 credit hours of coursework, quit your job for two years, and return to school full time. If you want to keep your job and attend a top part-time MBA program, you often have to make a three-year commitment, including summer courses.

2.  Curriculum

Top MBA programs require students to complete a wide variety of courses, including many in subjects outside the career interests of a finance-oriented student. On the other hand, the Georgetown MSF program dives more deeply into the most challenging aspects of finance and other critical subjects such as accounting, econometrics, and leadership. Our students also receive training in other key subjects, such as communications. The difference is that Georgetown MSF students are not required to complete module or semester-long courses in these other subjects.  

3.  Career Focus

Georgetown MSF students have a wide variety of career interests including banking, consulting, corporate finance positions in non-financial firms (e.g., CFO—and eventually CEO—of a manufacturing firm), government, investments, non-profits, wealth management, and many other areas. The depth and breadth of our curriculum and career management support provides a strong pathway for our students to pursue these various career interests.

As with any part-time MSF or MBA program, however, virtually all of our students are employed full time and therefore cannot accept a summer internship. Such internships are usually required for investment banking positions at the bulge bracket banks (e.g., Goldman Sachs) and bulge bracket consulting firms (i.e., Bain, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey). These positions are among the most highly sought after among full-time MBA students who can accept summer internships. Prospective students who wish to maximize their chance at landing one of these jobs and are willing to quit their current job to become a full-time student should probably consider a full-time program.

Outside the narrow areas of bulge bracket investment banking and consulting, summer internships are not required. But it is invaluable for a student to gain experience in an industry that he or she wants to switch into by the time they graduate from the program. Toward that end, we developed the MSF Consulting Clinic, an optional course offered during the summer break before the second year in the program. This course involves an intensive project for a prominent consulting firm (e.g., Deloitte) and provides the opportunity for students interested in a consulting career to obtain industry experience, which is especially invaluable for those with no prior consulting experience who want to pivot into this career path, without having to quit their jobs.  

We launched the Consulting Clinic during the summer of 2016 and it was a great success. We plan to continue this initiative and hope to expand it into other areas where our students want to gain industry experience—in order to switch their career path—while keeping their full-time jobs.

In summary, while an MBA with a finance concentration from a top program may come close to providing the level of expertise you can acquire with an MSF from Georgetown, it will take significantly more time and money. Unless your career interests are limited to those positions that require a summer internship, you are positioned with an MSF from Georgetown to advance in—or pivot into—a wide variety of jobs that are interesting and provide high compensation.  Our Career Management webpage contains more information on the career successes of our graduates.

Written by: Professor and Director of the MSF Program, Allan Eberhart