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Choosing a master's degree in finance: 3 things you should look for

By Chloe Lane

Updated May 12, 2022 Updated May 12, 2022

Sponsored by Bocconi University 

With 179 universities featured in the most recent QS Business Master’s Rankings: Finance, choosing a master’s in finance can be a tough decision. 

If you’re struggling to choose a master’s in finance there are three things that you should look for in a university: research-focused learning, innovative teaching and a strong international outlook. 

Read on to discover more about why these three things can help you make the most of your master’s in finance.  

Research-focused learning 

In some universities, the work conducted by academics is used to shape the content of each degree programme. This research-led approach ensures the degree programme is up to date with the latest developments in the field and will set the university’s degrees apart from those at other institutions.  

Bocconi University in Milan offers a wide range of research-led programmes, including the MSc Finance. Its experienced faculty members and the knowledge of visiting professors and teaching fellows ensure that each of its degree programmes benefit from world-class, up-to-date research. 

“One thing that separates studying at great universities from good universities is that great universities are full of professors that do research at the cutting edge of what we currently know,” says Hannes Wagner, an associate professor of finance at Bocconi University.  

Bocconi’s research provides insights on contemporary issues and developments, and offers guidance on emerging trends.  

As much as possible, research-led institutions try to use this research in the classroom. Although not all research is directly transferrable to teaching, the thinking behind it often is.  

“Much of the thinking that goes into research is completely suitable for the classroom. Research shows up in the classroom in many ways, and makes a huge difference to the learning process,” said Professor Wagner. 

Innovative teaching  

When choosing a master’s degree, you should look for programmes that offer innovative methods of teaching, taught by experienced faculty members. Rather than endless textbooks, lectures and assignments, look for universities that will help you engage more proactively with the material. 

Bocconi’s MSc Finance is taught by outstanding international faculty as well as in-the-field expert practitioners. This two-year programme offers a mix of both theoretical training and practical application, allowing students to specialise in their second year.   

According to Professor Wagner, finance students at Bocconi should expect to be taught in a wide variety of ways, particularly as technology is becoming more involved. 

He said: “My own teaching is constantly evolving, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our use of technology drastically. My favourite teaching moments are those where the technology becomes effortless and takes the overall learning experience to the next level.” 

Aside from the standard methods of teaching, there are two main ways Bocconi uses technology to help students.  

Flipped classrooms 

Flipped classrooms is a blended learning approach to learning and is an easy way to help you better engage with the learning material. 

A mix of online learning and in-person learning, students will complete some reading, watch a lecture or work on an activity at home before attending the in-person lecture. Students will then discuss the material in person.  


Gamification is where lessons are designed to be in an interactive game format. This helps further engage you with the lecture, while helping you gain a deeper understanding of the topic. 

International outlook  

If you are considering studying a master’s in finance, choosing a university with an international outlook can help you reach the next step of your career.  

Studying a finance master’s at Bocconi will help you develop a truly global mindset. Bocconi University is based in Milan, Italy’s financial, industrial and commercial centre. It has agreements with more than 280 international partner schools and each year more than 4,000 students spend a period abroad for study or work.  

You will also get the opportunity to learn another language, such as Italian, French, Spanish, German or Mandarin, although many of Bocconi’s programmes are taught in English. 


Professor Wagner at Bocconi University

If you are looking to study finance at an internationally focused university, Bocconi’s Professor Wagner is hosting an online masterclass on cybercrime, secrecy and trust in financial markets on 24 February 2022. 

“This masterclass will help them think about the big picture question how finance interacts with modern technology, and most importantly, with computer science. Different from most of our actual classes, this masterclass will not be quantitative,” said Professor Wagner.  

The masterclass will discuss the effects of globalisation and technology change on cybercrime and what this means for trust and security in finance. Ultimately, it will draw conclusions on what this means for the skills that students will need for the financial jobs in the future.  

If you’re looking for a taste of what studying a master’s in finance might be like, sign up for Bocconi’s masterclass in finance.  

This article was originally published in February 2022 . It was last updated in May 2022

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Written by

As Content Editor for and, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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