Aerial view of Grainger Hall and UW-Madison campus, facing east toward the Wisconsin State Capital

MS in Finance: Applied Security Analysis Program

A high-impact career in the investment industry starts with a strong foundation

The Master of Science in Finance: Applied Security Analysis at the Wisconsin School of Business will give you the theoretical knowledge, analytical skills, and real-world insights to confidently launch your career in investment research and portfolio management.

This high-impact program is designed for all Wisconsin Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) majors and UW–Madison undergraduate economics students, offering an efficient path to an MS degree with one additional year of study beyond BBA requirements.

In this program, you will connect with industry professionals and have the opportunity to manage over $20 million in equities and fixed income assets. Wisconsin MS in Finance students are highly sought after—for both internships and full-time positions—by leading investment firms.

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Hawk Center Advisory Board Meeting with students presenting

Preparation for the Real World of Investments

Opportunities for hands-on experience are central to the Wisconsin MS in Finance Program. A hallmark of the program is our portfolio of over $20 million in assets, managed entirely by students. As a student here, you’ll be part of a team managing real money held in an equity or fixed income portfolio. You will make presentations to a panel of professionals, experiencing the client-manager relationship firsthand. You’ll also gain an insider's view of the investment industry from guest lecturers and through on-site visits to leading investment firms.

Program overview
Two people talking at an alumni conference

Alumni Dedicated to Your Success

The Applied Security Analysis Program (ASAP) at the Wisconsin School of Business has a strong base of more than 600 alumni worldwide. Many have founded their own asset management firms, while others are working in top investment firms. Alumni engage with students and the School on a regular basis, making presentations in classes, serving on our advisory boards, and providing internship and employment opportunities. As your career progresses, you can continue to tap into this alumni network for career connections, information sharing, and more.

Two students working together on laptops

Connections to Leading Employers

Top employers value the challenging and highly individualized education provided in our MS in Finance Program. They also count on the University of Wisconsin–Madison to provide high-caliber employees. Leading investment research firms and other industry partners recruit Wisconsin students year after year for internships and full-time positions. We help you meet your career goals by providing industry-specific career advising. We can also facilitate connections with potential employers in the geographic region you prefer.

A CFA Institute University Affiliation Program School

The Wisconsin School of Business is a participant in the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, which ensures that our curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and is helpful to students preparing for CFA Program exams.

A Highly Regarded ASAP Program

The MS in Finance Program is delivered through the Stephen L. Hawk Center for Investment Analysis. The Hawk Center helps deliver a challenging, comprehensive Applied Security Analysis Program (ASAP) that prepares students for careers in investment management. The program benefits from the active participation of seasoned professionals who hold leadership positions in the investment community, including Hawk Center advisory board members, alumni, and other industry partners.

Kara Olsen

“The biggest strength of the program is the extent to which we are taught how to analyze investment opportunities; it was very clear during the interview process for internships that the specific training we received was an advantage. My summer internship at Barclays in sell side credit research was a great opportunity to see how the investment process works at a first tier investment bank while working toward getting a full-time job offer.”

—Kara Olsen, MS in Finance ‘18
Credit Research Analyst, Barclays Capital

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How is the MS in Finance: Applied Security Analysis at UW–Madison different from other finance master’s degrees?

    The master’s program in applied security analysis at the Wisconsin School of Business is both demanding and personalized, with significant emphasis on hands-on experience and meaningful interactions with industry professionals. Working in teams, students manage portfolios that hold, in aggregate, over $20 million in equity and fixed income assets. Student teams have complete control over their portfolios and make regularly scheduled presentations about their investment strategies to a panel of professionals.

    The depth and breadth of the alumni network is another distinctive feature of the Applied Security Analysis Program. The Stephen L. Hawk Center for Investment Analysis was founded in 1970, and as a result, we have a base of more than 600 alumni who hold industry positions across the globe. Our alumni are known for being extraordinarily supportive of students and graduates, and many are actively involved in the program as mentors, lecturers, and employers.

    A favorable student-faculty ratio of 4-to-1 means that you’ll have direct contact with our highly accomplished faculty members. Some of your classes will be taught by industry practitioners, and guest speakers from leading firms join classes regularly for discussion and networking.

    In order to help ensure your career success, we provide assistance in landing internships and full-time positions, working closely with a network of corporate partners.

  • Who is eligible to apply for the MS in Finance Program?

    Students pursuing any major in the Wisconsin BBA program, as well as UW–Madison undergraduate economics students, are eligible to apply for the MS in Finance Program.

  • What are the benefits of pursuing an MS in Finance: Applied Security Analysis?
    If you are a current undergraduate student at UW–Madison majoring in finance, you can earn a Master of Science in Finance by adding just one year of graduate studies to your academic plan. You can also get an early start on your career interest by taking electives in applied security analysis in your senior year. Students who prefer to earn an MBA may consider the Wisconsin Full-Time MBA Program with a specialization in applied security analysis.
  • How will I develop my professional network while participating in the MS in Finance program?

    We recognize the importance of building a professional network and provide multiple ways to connect with alumni, other leading industry professionals, and employers. Students manage portfolios in teams, often developing lifelong networks in the process. The program provides significant opportunities to network with guest speakers, alumni who are industry practitioners, and members of the Hawk Center boards of advisors. The Wisconsin School of Business has a loyal and supportive group of alumni who return to campus regularly to connect with and mentor students.

  • Will I have opportunities to interact with students and faculty in other Wisconsin School of Business programs?

    As a student in the MS in Finance degree program, you will have networking opportunities with students and faculty members throughout the Wisconsin School of Business. You’ll take classes and participate in applied learning experiences side-by-side with Wisconsin MBA students who are specializing in applied security analysis. MS and MBA students in the Applied Security Analysis Program travel together for the optional winter trip to investment firms in New York City and Boston. There are plenty of opportunities for cross-disciplinary interaction with others in the School through co-curricular activities, guest lectures, and networking events.