Finance Application with Computer Science Background

With the bachelor degree of computer science from average university and postgraduate degree of finance engineering in prestigious university , the applicant is more or less competitive than those from prestigious university with only bachelors degree in finance ? If a student is studying computer science, but he wants to transfer to finance companies especially the top companies, what advice would you give to him? Thanks

Hi Jesse,

I’ll give you a case example to think about:

BSc in Computer Science (random local university in China) and MFin (Princeton) v BSc with Finance Major (Wharton).

It does massively depend on what “prestigious” means because finance, more so than any other industry recruits very selectively from certain programs but assuming we take my example above as a reasonable example.

  1. Your undergraduate institution contributes more to the prestige of your education than any other single degree. This is because the world’s most competitive programs are mostly undergraduate programs. Elite MBA programs like GSB and HBS have acceptance rates of <7% and <16% respectively but there are a number of Ivy League undergrad programs with <8%.
  2. Computer Science skills are sought after in quantitative trading firms. These firms typically have very rigorous interview processes which are fairly good at deciphering very gifted candidates from other candidates. In this case, it is most important that your core skills in mathematics, problem solving, statistics and computer science are very strong. I had interviews like this for a hedge fund I worked at called Weiss Asset Management and other processes I went through at firms like Jane street.
  3. MFin programs are highly quantitative in nature and often do not teach very similar content to undergraduate finance programs. MIT’s program, for example, has a heavy emphasis on stochastic calculus whereas undergraduate finance at Wharton is very excel heavy and less theoretical.

A very important additional characteristic is your work experience in computer science and how challenging this work is. All in all, you are well equipped to break into finance with a prestigious masters program provided your academic achievement in the program is great. I’d generally say a prestigious undergraduate program positions you better to join finance generally and particularly investment banking and sales and trading. A computer science undergraduate program and MFin equips you relatively better for quantitative trading firms (although undergrads can be very competitive for these firms as well).

Feel free to send me your resume and academic transcript to and I can give you some more specific advice.

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