Empowering the next generation of global financial leaders: MIT Sloan School of Management’s Master of Finance Program gains STEM classification


Designation allows foreign grads to extend their training in the U.S. for up to two years

Cambridge, Mass., June 15, 2016––MIT Sloan School of Management today announced its Master of Finance (MFin) Program has gained classification as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program in accordance with Department of Homeland Security eligibility. The new designation, which reflects both recent changes to the MFin curriculum and new rules issued by the government, allows foreign graduates to extend their training in the U.S. by working in their field of study after they graduate. “I am delighted that our MFin program is now officially recognized as a STEM program,” says David Schmittlein, Dean of MIT Sloan. “The designation ensures that MIT Sloan will continue to attract the best and brightest students from the U.S. and around the world and will help us empower the next generation of global financial leaders.”

Under the new classification, international MFin graduates on F-1 visas will be able to remain in the country for an additional 24 months via the optional practical training (OPT) STEM extension. The designation is part of a series of measures aimed at retaining more foreign-born science and technology graduates from U.S. universities, establishing pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs to start businesses in the U.S., and helping American entities compete for talent.

“International students make a vital contribution not only to our educational community here at MIT Sloan but also to our nation,” says Heidi Pickett, Director of the MFin Program. “Allowing them to stay here after they graduate and gain professional experience at American companies and startups is a wonderful complement to their formal education.” 

Launched in 2008, the MFin program focuses both on financial theory and application in industry. The program, which can be completed in 12 or 18 months, prepares students for entry-level positions in asset management, corporate finance, financial technology, government, risk management, and consulting. Last year, the Financial Times ranked MIT Sloan’s MFin first in the U.S. and fifth in the world for its pre-experience category.

STEM is a growing field. According to the National Math and Science Initiative, STEM job creation over the next decade will outpace non-STEM jobs significantly, growing 17% compared to 9.8% for non-STEM positions. In addition, STEM graduates out-earn non-STEM grads by a considerable margin.

Growing interest in MIT Sloan’s MFin program reflects that data. This year, the school received 2,083 applications—a record number—for 120 seats. The program has also achieved strong employment results. Nearly 93% of the Class of 2015 received a job offer within three months of graduation. The median base salary for new graduates is $80,000.

Over the years MIT Sloan has augmented and strengthened its program. It bolstered its curriculum requirements to include financial mathematics, financial markets, and advanced corporate finance. It also added concentrations in capital markets, corporate finance, and financial engineering for students who want to further specialize their degree. These enhancements helped the program meet the standards for the STEM designation.

“This new STEM classification is a testament to the fact that the MFin curriculum encompasses both rigor and practical application,” says Antoinette Schoar, the Michael M. Koerner Professor of Entrepreneurship and head of the Finance Group at the school. “Our goal is to create a new class of leaders in finance who will be principled innovators to confront the great financial and economic challenges facing our world today.”

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