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M.S. or Certificate in Finance????

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M.S. or Certificate in Finance???? [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2009, 07:43
Hey All,

So, I've wanted to get an MBA for a long time, but I've realized that even with a top degree, I probably won't stand out in terms of technical skills. I think this is more for my own skill set, so I was wondering whether one program is better than the other. Here is the issue:

1) M.S. in Quantitative Methods and Modeling from Baruch - definitely provides a wide area of quant skills that include some programming, stats, calc, database management, etc. It's very inexpensive, and I'll probably get my company to pay for everything. The major downside is that I probably won't be able to take any "high" level math courses like differential equations, linear algebra, or anything like those previously mentioned. Also, I think Baruch is pretty solid in terms of reputation, but I don't know too many people outside of New York who know about it.

2) Certificate of Quantitative Finance from Columbia University - provides a lot of the high level math courses that I am looking for as well as some programming classes. I wish the program included more database management classes, but overall it's pretty quant focus as an introductory level program. The downside is that the program is more expensive (way more). Also, it's a certificate program, not an actual M.S. I looked into the M.A. program at Columbia, and the M.S. program at NYU through Courant, but I don't have all of the prerequisite classes fulfilled to apply.

With all of that said, does the Certificate program carry any weight at all? It's a postbacc program, so I assume it doesn't carry much at all. The program at Baruch is an actual M.S., but excludes some of the higher end Math classes that I really want to take. Maybe I can take those separately, but not sure when especially because I want to apply for an MBA after I finish one of these programs.

Any advice or help is greatly appreciated.


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Re: M.S. or Certificate in Finance???? [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2009, 08:38

1) If you are going for any MS degree, make sure you attend info session and ask for placement statistics. (In general, great programs boast about it and average programs will try to avoid the topic) Any reputable MS Finance/Applied Mathematics in Finance/Financial Engineering limits their enrollment for a reason. And this allows each school to boast 90+% placement rate for its graduates.

2) Caution regarding any certificate program offered through a continuing professional studies (ETC) division. No matter how reputable the school is (aka Columbia), Continuing Professional Studies division is really set up to generate revenue. Very few schools/programs can boast any significant benefit in terms of career placements and etc.

For example, I once had a staff member who worked for me that majored English literature in an Ivy school as UG. He went to Harvard Extension School and received certification in Finance. It didn't do much for him when he was looking for a job.


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Re: M.S. or Certificate in Finance???? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2009, 12:39
I am coming into this thread like 6 months late but still feel anyone that comes across this may find my comments of some value.

I think any cert program - regardless of school - would not be valued when being evaluated a few years down the road. As an example, an MS from any school, i feel, would be valued higher years down the road than a certificate from a top school. This is the trend with certificates in general. Whether it's IT certifications, post graduation (post-BA/BS) certifications, they would not hold up in value nor would they be recognized by anyone looking at them. Certainly it proves you took the initiative to go beyond your regular course work but the standard set for them is still valued far lower than the standards set on MS/MBA degrees.

In short, although an MBA or MS takes way longer, I still feel it's a better value and a better asset on your resume in the long run. A cert would be great to supplement an MS or MBA degree but even then, most people chose to do a post masters which - for a lot of programs - is similar to doing a certification program (ie, post masters/cert programs require 4-5 courses, in general.)

fwiw. hope this helps anyone that's on the fence.
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Re: M.S. or Certificate in Finance???? [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2010, 08:22
Yes , I get that MS is more valued than a certificate program.

But the "Master of Liberal Arts[Management]" conferred by Harvard Extension School is actually a Masters degree given by Harvard University.Hence I believe it should also fetch some interest among the employers although everybody knows , that it is nowhere close to the normal MBA curriculum.

But I believe , a Master's degree is better than no degree at all . :twisted:

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Re: M.S. or Certificate in Finance???? [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2010, 17:22
While a document from Columbia may sound tempting, a certificate is not really worth your - or anyone else's - time. And even if that isn't the case, the high price makes this option an unappealing one.

Sorry for the glum news. :(

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Re: M.S. or Certificate in Finance????   [#permalink] 07 Jul 2010, 17:22
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M.S. or Certificate in Finance????

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