The MS in Finance adds a fifth year of study for undergraduates at the Wisconsin School of Business who are majoring in finance. Students graduate with both a BBA degree in finance and a Master of Science degree. The program is open only to undergraduates majoring in finance at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Students who are coming from other backgrounds may be interested in the Wisconsin MBA Program with a specialization in applied security analysis.

The MS in Finance program provides the foundation needed to launch a career in investment research and portfolio management. Students begin working toward their master’s degree in their senior year in the Wisconsin BBA program. Hands-on experience and frequent contact with industry practitioners are central to the program.

A research internship at an investment firm in the summer after the senior year adds relevance to the graduate-year curriculum, strengthens one's résumé, and positions students to land attractive full-time job offers after graduation. The MS in Finance program has an outstanding track record, with 100 percent of students being placed in internships and 100 percent accepting job offers within three months of graduation.

The program also helps equip students to take the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam after the senior year and the CFA Level II exam following graduation.

Manage Real Money

As a student in the MS in Finance program, you will have the opportunity to co-manage more than $50 million in assets held in equity and fixed income portfolios. Working as a team with other Wisconsin MS and MBA students, you will define an investment philosophy and process to guide your investment decisions. Using the same tools as those used by professionals, you will have complete authority to direct assets into investments you choose. Your clients are the University of Wisconsin System and the advisory board for the Hawk Center for Investment Analysis, respectively, for the fixed income and equity portfolios.

The board members for the Hawk Center—many of whom are alumni of Wisconsin’s Applied Security Analysis Program—will serve as mentors and advisors as you develop strategies to optimize these investments. Quarterly presentations to the board members enable you to experience the dynamics of an actual client-manager relationship.

Two students working together at laptops
Students work in teams to manage real portfolios that collectively hold more than $50 million in equities and fixed income assets.

Learn from Industry Practitioners

Regular contact with industry practitioners and leaders in the investment community provides you with insights into the profession, networking opportunities, and sound career advice.

The program incorporates classes taught by actual practitioners who have extensive experience as investment managers. In these classes, you will develop analytical and communication skills, as instructors provide individual critiques of your models and reports.

Guest speakers visit the program on most Fridays to share their experiences, discuss industry issues and trends, and answer your questions. Class speakers have represented firms such as Fidelity Management & Research Company, Fiduciary Management, Northwestern Mutual, OppenheimerFunds, Robert W. Baird & Co., T. Rowe Price, Waddell & Reed, and Wells Capital Management.

Students in the Applied Security Analysis Program can also choose to experience two important financial centers firsthand. In an optional trip over the winter break, Wisconsin MS and MBA students visit leading investment firms in New York City and Boston. The trip provides an insider’s look at the various types of firms and careers that exist within the investment profession, as well as an opportunity to network with Wisconsin alumni and other professionals. Some of the travel costs are subsidized by the Hawk Center.

Ricky Sandler speaking with two students
Ricky Sandler, CEO and chief investment officer at Eminence Capital in New York City and a Wisconsin School of Business alumnus, visits campus regularly to speak with students in the Applied Security Analysis Program.

Get an Early Start on Your Academic Plan

Throughout your years at the Wisconsin School of Business, you will have access to guidance and support for your career goals. The faculty and staff of the Stephen L. Hawk Center for Investment Analysis will be available to you on a one-on-one basis to discuss admissions questions and provide academic advising. You’ll get all the help you need to map out an individual course plan. You actually begin preparing to enter the MS in Finance program during your junior year.

As an undergraduate majoring in finance, you will have several opportunities to advance your career preparation and experience the investment industry firsthand.

  • Many undergraduates participate in the Capital Management Club (CMC), in which students engage in researching and selecting investments and making presentations based on their recommendations. CMC members also network with industry professionals who serve as guest speakers and make trips to leading investment firms.
  • Exceptional BBA students majoring in finance may also apply to the Applied Equity Market Research (AEMR) course. This unique undergraduate course offers students the opportunity to learn from industry leaders who are Wisconsin School of Business alumni. Under the guidance of these senior executives in the investment management industry, students apply the concepts they learn to real-world investment problems.

Students who participate in CMC and/or AEMR get a head start on the MS in Finance curriculum and gain a competitive edge that benefits their careers.

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 is 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: Applied Security Analysis Class of 2018

A Focused Curriculum

The MS in Finance program is designed to provide the theoretical, analytical, and experiential education needed to begin a career in investment analysis. The curriculum requires a minimum of 27 credits in the graduate year. Students have the flexibility to customize their academic experience with elective graduate courses, which can be drawn from a number of business disciplines.

First Year

Your senior year as an undergraduate will include required electives in applied security analysis, as well as the courses you need to complete your BBA with a major in finance.

  • Classes required to finish a BBA with a major in finance
  • Security Analysis
  • Analysis of Fixed Income Securities
  • Portfolio Theory and Applications
  • Introduction to Applied Security Analysis
  • Introduction to Applied Portfolio Management

Summer after Senior Year

  • Research internship at an investment firm
  • Portfolio management responsibilities

Second Year

  • Applied Security Analysis & Investment Management I
  • Applied Security Analysis & Investment Management II
  • Electives (3) in finance or accounting
  • Electives (3) in any business discipline

At least nine credits of electives must be taken in each semester of the graduate year.

This degree plan is subject to change based on course availability. The curriculum shown is representative of the course of study.