Guest comment: Making it with a Masters in Finance

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Is it worth doing a Masters in Finance? Lukas Gresnigt, a student at the London Business School, thinks so.

After a science and an engineering degree in chemistry, I joined the Boston Consulting Group as an associate consultant, followed by a brief internet adventure. My last employer before I started the Masters in Finance degree was Nuon, a Dutch power and gas company. There I had different commercial and business developing roles, the last related to the merger of Nuon and Essent, creating a Dutch national energy champion.

I decided to go back to studying because I wanted to broaden my knowledge base and internationalise my career and network. The London Business School Masters in Finance combined excellent academics with practical experience, both from faculty and the fellow students. I've chosen not to be sponsored and am paying for the course myself, which will give me more freedom to decide what I want to do next - I aspire to stay in London after my degree, and with my experience in the energy sector my ambition is a role in private equity related to energy and infrastructure. I'm currently talking to various potential employers.

Why didn't I choose an MBA? With my experience in strategy consulting I felt that many of the broader MBA subjects had already been covered in my work experience. The Masters in Finance programme has more depth and focus on the finance aspects. It's a course that suits people with good quantitative skills and an ambition in any finance area. By comparison, people with a less clear idea about their post-business school interest or who want to have a broad overview of all business aspects should probably do an MBA.

Why didn't I choose a CFA? The Masters in Finance covers a broader area of finance, assures more interaction with fellow students and provides 'the business school experience'.

The Masters in Finance is not an easy option. It helps to be clear what your long-term career aspirations are when you arrive - a one-year degree forces you to make an early decision regarding the elective modules and your future. Whilst studying, you also need to ensure you're spending sufficient time orientating yourself towards the job market. And you need to take time to learn from the wealth of experience of your fellow students.

If you get it right, the course can prove very rewarding: interaction with fellow students and faculty members is invaluable. I've been able to draw on my past work experience and to learn the ways in which things could be done differently next time - the combination of work experience and studying allows you to convert theory into business.

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