Master Student Interview: Finance
My name is Lisa Cornelissen, I am 22 years old, and currently I am finishing the Master Finance at Tilburg University. Prior to this Master I did the Bachelor International Business Administration, also at Tilburg University.
A year ago, I had to make the decision on which Master to pursue. Making this decision was quite difficult for me, as I am a very indecisive person and my interests are broad. Nevertheless, I always had affinity with numbers, and therefore knew that a more quantitative Master would fit me best. I was doubting between the Master Accounting and the Master Finance for a long time, but in the end I decided upon Finance, as I preferred the Finance courses over the Accounting courses in my Bachelor, and also because I had the idea that this Master would challenge me the most.
So in August I, and around 250 other students, started the Master. The first unit (7 weeks) consists of three core courses: Advanced Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, and Empirical Methods, meaning that every student follows the same courses. Advanced Corporate Finance focuses on the fundamentals of Finance, and makes you think about the logic behind the formulas you learned in the Bachelor rather than just learning them by heart. Investment Analysis is the course I enjoyed most; it explains different rationale of investors and how you can manage a portfolio. Empirical Methods is the course I found most difficult; it is a research-oriented course in preparation of your thesis.
In the second and third unit you can choose 4 elective courses and therefore shape your own Master. This is something I really like about the program, as this gives you the opportunity to adjust the program to your interests. I choose the courses Risk Management, Corporate Valuation, Fixed Income, and Applied Corporate Finance. Every course consists of at least an exam and a, often challenging, team assignment. This strengthens your understanding and links the theory to the real world. For example, for the course Corporate Valuation we had to value an existing electricity firm for KPMG, and for Investment Analysis we had to construct our own portfolio and do an analysis.
“A valuable aspect of this Master is that you have the opportunity to do a fulltime or part-time internship without any study delay”
The last unit is completely devoted to writing your Master Thesis. As the deadline is only at December 1 for Finance students, you have the opportunity to write your Thesis and graduate early or do a 3-month fulltime internship and write your thesis afterwards and graduate somewhere around the deadline. I choose for a combination of the two; I am writing my thesis on Optimal Currency Hedging Strategies, as well as doing a separate part-time internship at Interfood Holding in Eindhoven, and I will defend my Thesis in the end of August. This is also a valuable aspect of this Master, as you have the opportunity to do a fulltime (or part-time) internship without any study delay.
Looking back, I am very happy with the choice I made. I enjoyed (parts of) all courses, and from the start all lecturers were really enthusiastic and knowledgeable. My affinity with numbers has definitely helped me during this Master, but it is not a must to pass. The Master is challenging, especially in the beginning, but with enough effort it is definitely doable. Personally, I look back at a year where I have learned a lot about the fundamentals of Finance, and I feel confident to start working and apply this knowledge.
Hopefully this article will help you in your decision-making process on your Master. If you still have any questions, feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn, or an email on my university account. The best of luck with making your decision!