Is Creighton’s MSAPM Program any good?

I have heard and read more than a few times that Creighton’s graduate-flagship-finance program is not worth it. I am not sure what these naysayers are basing this opinion on because none of them have gone to Creighton, nor do they seem to know anything about it. On the other hand, I can say it is fabulous all day long, but maybe I am biased because, with only two classes left to go, I am heavily invested in the program at this point. Opinions are pretty worthless, anyone can open the hole in their face and spit out an opinion. Let’s look at some numbers instead and see what they have to say…..

I suppose the best and most common metrics are the percentage of recent graduates who are employed and their salary amounts. There is also undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores, which are commonly thought of as the mark of a superior program. I actually think superior GPA and GMAT scores are a silly metric to hang a hat on; the program that can produce superior outputs with inferior inputs is truly the better program.

Someone once said “Creighton’s finance faculty could not hold a candle to the finance profs at Washington University“, so let’s compare outcomes and see.

Creighton reports that only 4.11% of Heider College of Business graduates, are still searching six months after graduation. This number is actually not very usable for my purposes here. These are numbers for the entire Heider College of Business (including undergraduates), not just the MSAPM program. Unemployment for those with masters degrees tend to be lower. This number also includes volunteers and students continuing into graduate programs in the 95.89% who are no longer searching. Also, the six months is kind of an oddball metric. 90 days seems to be the industry norm. I will assume the worst and move on. Creighton also reports that the average 2014 MSAPM graduate salary was $95,000 with a range of $40,000 up to $250,000.

Washington University has two Master of Finance programs, Quantitative Finance, and Corporate Finance and Investments. Washington University reports that 86% and 83% respectively of those seeking employment were successful within 90 days of graduation, and their median salaries were $57,000 and $65,000 respectively. Washington University’s MBA program is much better, with 97% of those seeking employment reporting success within 90 days of graduation, and a median salary of $100,000.

Hmmm…Creighton’s profs look like they are doing just fine. In fact, it kind of looks like Washington University’s finance professors are having trouble holding the candles here.

Granted these numbers are not completely apples to apples. Creighton reported average salaries, while Olin reported median salaries, and 90 days is different than 180 days. However, Washington University’s Master of Finance program’s salaries do not look nearly as strong as Creighton’s, actually they look terrible when you consider that tuition is more than double at Washington University. At least  Washington University’s outcomes for their MBA program are comparable to the MSAPM program’s, except the MBA’s tuition is over $200,000 compared with the under-$40,000-price tag of the MSAPM program.

Even if every MSAPM graduate was unemployed for 5 months and 29 days, the MSAPM program is producing better results than anything rolling out of the Olin Business School. Let’s do a quick internal rate of return (IRR) comparison to see which program is better.

First up is Olin Business School’s MBA. I won’t even bother with the Master of Finance programs. I’ll calculate the five-year IRR, starting with the median $100,000 salary and assume that the MBA will get a 10% raise every year for five years.

HP12C Inputs: CF0 -200,000; CF1 100,000; CF2 110,000; CF3 121,000; CF4 133,100; CF5 146,410; IRR = 88.77%

Next up is Creighton’s MSAPM program. I’ll calculate the five-year IRR, assume no pay raises on the $95,000 salary, and a worst-case-scenario unemployment for 6 months (half salary the first year).

HP12C Inputs: CF0 -40,000; CF1 47,500; CF2 95,000; CF3 95,000; CF4 95,000; CF5 95,000; IRR = 162.13%

So, is Creighton’s MSAPM program any good?

Yes it is.