Academic Director: Ignacio de la TorreThis is a short interview with the Academic Director of the IE Master of Finance, Ignacio de la Torre, to explain the difference between IE’s Master of Finance and more quantitative oriented Finance programs.

To what extend the program considers quantitative approaches as most finance programs do?
At the moment we have 3 courses in quantitative finance, totalizing about 90 hours of classes:
Financial maths
Quant finance I
Quant finance II

We don´t study quant finance deeper as its rise was associated with the development of quant models to assess risk and to invest. The credit crisis has left clear the malfunctioning of these models, and the tendency is back to basics.  Structured finance is in intensive care, the same applies to quant investment (look at hedge fund returns and outflows) and the same for risk measurement (many subprime mortgages were deemed as AAA following quantitative models).  Taking into account these thoughts and the future of the job market in quant finance, taking a more ample view is a good advice. IE understands that is better to be generalist on the financial industry than dedicate to a determined segment as job opportunities would be also restricted.

Why do we decided to go for another curriculum?
Since September 2008, our original program, called the Master in Financial Management became two different programs, forming a new family of â??Masters in Financeâ?: the Master in Finance will be aimed at students that have recently finished their university studies and young professionals with limited work experience and who aim to pursue a career as analyst; and the Master in Advanced Finance that will be designed for professionals with 2-5 years of previous experience, who wish to change career or advance in top-tier financial institutions. Each of the two programs will have one annual intake, in September 2008 for the Master in Finance (running for 10 months) and in January 2009 for the Master in Advanced Finance (running for 12 months).

We´ve decided to switch our curriculum due to:
i) the phenomenal growth that the Master in Financial Management has experienced in terms of enrolments
ii) the demand for segmentation of students by differentiating those without previous experience, who seek analyst positions in financial institutions, from those with 2-5 years of previous experience, who seek associate positions in the financial world
iii) recruiters in the financial world are starting to demand that master in finance syllabi centre more heavily on increasingly specialized areas of finance.

Hence the curriculum is also evolving by focusing entirely on the interests of financial institutions. It now includes courses in the most innovative areas of finance, such as Islamic Finance, Institutions of International Financial Stability, Geopolitics, Behavioral Finance or Historical Episodes in the Financial Markets. These courses adopt a highly practical approach, many of them being taught by practitioners who also work in large financial institutions.

How different are career opportunities between a Master in Quant Finance and our Master in Finance?
Quant Finance: mainly employers are: hedge funds using quant investing, structured finance departments of investment banks, departments of credit derivatives, departments of risk measurement in structured productsâ?¦ all of these recruiters are now in the worst crisis (they are the epicenter of the credit crisis): heavy layoffs, a lot of qualified people unemployed, will take years for this inventory to adjust

Masters in Finance: Can prepare you to become a CFO, work in corporate finance, venture capital and private equity, equities, mergers and adquisitions, portfolio manager, fixed income, derivatives, asset management, private banking, financial consulting, auditing, public finance, regulator (such as SEC), finance departments of large corporations, etc.