Top 10 MBA Programs for a Career in Finance 2021 |

Top 10 MBA Programs for a Career in Finance 2021

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated Updated

Released today, the QS MBA by Specialization Rankings 2021 provide insight into the world’s top business schools and MBA programs for seven different areas of specialism.

Schools are ranked based on employer reputation and research strength for each of the seven areas, as well as the number of career placements MBA graduates from the school have achieved in the field. Each of these three indicators is assigned a score out of 100.

The Wharton School has been ranked as the best business school in the world for specializing in finance once again, with 35.8 percent of its graduates going into financial services. The complete top 10 can be found below.

QS MBA Rankings by Specialization 2021: Finance




% of graduates going into financial services,based on 2019 employment data


The Wharton School

Philadelphia (PA)



Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford (CA)



Harvard Business School

Cambridge (MA)



Columbia Business School

New York (NY)



The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Chicago (IL)



NYU Stern School of Business

New York (NY)



Saïd Business School

Oxford (UK)



London Business School

London (UK)



Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

Ithaca (NY)



MIT Sloan School of Management

Cambridge (MA)



10) MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan

Sloan kicks off the top 10 for the finance specialization ranking – earning a near perfect score for employer research.

Sloan’s two-year MBA program offers ‘Introduction to the Practice of Finance’ in the first semester. Other required courses include Managerial Finance, Corporate Finance, and one Action Learning course. Pre-approved action learning courses include:

  • Proseminar in Capital Markets/Investment Management
  • Proseminar in Corporate Finance/Investment Banking
  • Finance Lab
  • Fintech Ventures

Sloan’s MBA Class of 2022 has 484 students, of which, 33 percent are international, 38 percent are female, 51 nationalities are represented, and students have an average of five years’ work experience. Students have a median GMAT score of 720. For the academic year 2020-2021, students would pay US$77,168 in tuition.

9) Johnson College of Business

Cornell Johnson

The MBA program at Johnson scored highly for career placements and research strength.

After completing an immersion during the first year of the two-year MBA program, students can choose to structure their second-year electives around one or more areas of focus. Elective courses that could benefit a career in finance include:

  • Asset Management/Investment Research
  • Consulting & Strategy
  • Corporate Finance
  • Emerging Markets
  • Investment Banking
  • Private Equity & Venture Capital
  • Sustainable Global Enterprise

Tuition and living allowance for the academic year 2020-21 (first year cost) is US$99,760.

8) London Business School

London Business School

LBS boasts an established reputation in finance, which is unsurprising given its status as the leading institution in one of the world’s financial capitals.

At LBS, students can customize their MBA with a selection of more than 70 electives. To tailor your MBA down a finance track, you can choose:

  • Advanced corporate finance
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Distressed investing
  • Fixed income securities
  • Hedge funds
  • Real estate finance

LBS MBA students can also tailor their program to complete it in 15, 18 or 21-months – so you decide your period of study, offering even more flexibility. Tuition fees for the 2020 MBA intake are £87,900 (US$114,039). Students must also pay £240 (US$311) for the Student Association Fee which covers the Student Association (SA) subscription.

7) Saïd Business School

Oxford Said

The one-year MBA (finance track) is well-regarded, scoring a near perfect score employer reputation and very highly for the other indicators.

Students accepted onto a relevant financial program at Saïd can apply to the Oxford Saïd Finance Lab. The program helps students break into investment banking, private equity and asset management industries through online and in-class finance and valuation modelling programs, case studies presented by leading banks and firms, and participation in challenges.

Saïd’s MBA class profile for 2020-21 features a class size of 311, 67 nationalities, 92 percent international students, 47 percent female students, an average of five years’ work experience, and a median GMAT of 680. Students will pay £63,000 in tuition for the year long program.

6) NYU Stern

NYU Stern

Located in Manhattan, a stone’s throw away from Wall Street, NYU Stern is close to the beating heart of US finance.

Sample courses on the MBA that would be applicable to careers in finance and real estate include:

  • Asset Management
  • Investment Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Private Client Services
  • Equity and Fixed Income Research
  • Real Estate Finance
  • International Sales/Emerging Markets
  • Sales and Trading

Students work with field leaders and can participate in real-world learning programs like the Michael Price Student Investment Fund.

Stern’s finance faculty have won numerous awards for teaching and research, including Professor Robert Engle who received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics. 

Student clubs tailored to the world of finance include: Graduate Finance Association; Real Estate Club; Stern Investment Management and Research; Stern Private Equity Club.

Students in the 2020-2021 program will pay US$119,251 per academic year.

5) Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth

Booth’s MBA program scored very highly for career placements and employer reputation, with 31.3 percent of graduates working in the financial services.

According to Chicago Booth’s website, “a good percentage of students pursue MBA interests in finance and banking”.

Finance courses at Booth include financial instruments; portfolio management; advanced investments; financial markets and institutions.

Stats for the 21-month MBA class of 2020 feature a class size of 591, 52 countries represented, an average GMAT score of 731 and an average of five years’ work experience. Students can also expect to pay US$108,683 in tuition.

4) Columbia Business School 

Columbia Business School

Founded in 1911, CBS is one of the oldest business schools in the world. Its program scored very highly across all indicators.

Some finance-based electives at Columbia include applied value investing; the future of financial services; impact investment.

And if you want to add even more finance to your bow, some CBS clubs that will help include:

  • Columbia student investment management association
  • Columbia wealth management club
  • Community career and money skills
  • Equity research club
  • Investment banking club

For the academic year 2020-2021, first year will pay a base budget of US$117,633, which incorporates tuition, mandatory fees, health services & insurance, and other expenses.

3) Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908, HBS is one of the most recognizable business schools in the world and ranks at or near the top of almost every MBA specialization.

Some of the financial electives MBAs can take at HBS include corporate finance; entrepreneurial finance; finance and capitalism; private equity finance; real property; sustainable cities and resilient infrastructure; investment strategies, and more.

Students undertaking HBS’s MBA program in the academic year 2020-2021 will pay US$111,818 for the full program and additional expenses. However, a married MBA would pay US$132,176; a married student with one child would pay US$147,790, and so on.

2) Stanford GSB

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford’s two-year MBA landed the top spot in our QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2021 – with the finance track earning a perfect score for employer reputation and near perfect for the other indicators.

The topics in Finance I during the first year include criteria for making investment decisions, valuation of financial assets and liabilities, relationships between risk and return, and capital structure choice.

For the academic year 2020-21, the cost of attendance for a first-year MBA student is US$118,644 for a single student, and $142,080 for a married student. 

The Stanford MBA Class of 2022 has 436 students of which 47 percent are female, and 35 percent are international. Students have an average of 4.7 years’ work experience, and an average GMAT score of 733.

1) The Wharton School

The Wharton School

Table-topper Wharton has long been considered a powerhouse in finance, and with its MBA finance specialization landing the number one spot again, it’s no surprise.

Wharton earned a perfect score for employer reputation, as well as near perfect scores for research strength and career outcomes.

MBA students choosing to major in finance are required to take the two core requirements (Corporate Finance and Macroeconomics and the Global Economic Environment) and four upper-level elective finance credit units.

Wharton’s Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance aims to stimulate cutting-edge teaching and research as well as student and industry engagement focused on the revolutionary impact of information technology on financial services.

MBA students Wharton will feel a pinch in their purse to attend the prestigious school, with students paying US$111,900 per academic year.


This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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