Admissions Criteria

The right fit for you and us.

The Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is a unique community. With an incoming class size of about 40 students each year, our MS Finance program is one of the world’s most selective—and one of the best.

We seek exceptionally talented and diverse individuals who will value our unique community, meet the challenges of our rigorous program of study and join our productive alumni network.

As we evaluate applications, we have a holistic and balanced approach to admissions and look for success in three main areas of your life:

Your Academic Potential
We rely on your academic records and test scores to assess your ability to succeed in the Vanderbilt MS Finance program.

  • The ideal candidate has earned at least a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a top-quality college or university.

  • We seek students who have taken a demanding course load in any field of study and have a consistent record of high performance. We welcome applicants who have taken courses or completed degrees in graduate or professional programs other than finance, although we do not accept transfer credits.

Learn more about Admissions Criteria by visiting our MS Finance FAQs.

Your Experience and Goals
Most incoming students find that substantial work experience enables them to understand new concepts more fully and apply them more quickly. They are able to make more relevant and meaningful contributions to the learning community and they can realize a greater return on their MSF investment with access to more and better career options.

  • Full-time post-baccalaureate work experience is not required; however, we strongly recommend prior internships in a related field. No minimum amount is specified because we believe that exceptional candidates are able to prepare themselves for graduate management education through competitive internships, student and community leadership and other developmental experiences.

  • We look for students who can work well with others, seek opportunities to manage projects and lead people and consistently exceed expectations.

  • While our flexible curriculum allows students to explore various areas of study, we expect our applicants to have invested a considerable amount of time into determining their career goals. Applicants should try to attain work experiences that will build the right transferrable skills, laying the proper foundation for business school and the post-MS Finance career.

  • We do not require a certain type of experience—work in all fields, military duty, volunteer service and involvement in community and extracurricular activities give our students the ability to share unique perspectives.

We evaluate your experience via your resume, interview and letters of recommendation.

Your Personal Qualities and Fit
Our students have a balanced approach to life, a history of accomplishment, a sense of social responsibility, an entrepreneurial spirit and outstanding potential for leadership in business and society.

  • We believe that everyone is diverse in some perspective. By fostering diversity of nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, educational and professional experience and personal backgrounds and goals, we can enhance the Vanderbilt MSF experience for everyone. Applicants should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and how they can add value to the learning experience of others.

  • Owen is a community that gives back. We look for students who have made a difference through their involvement and leadership in academic and professional associations, civic and religious groups and extracurricular and recreational activities.

  • We hope your essays, recommendations and interview will reveal personal qualities that fit the Vanderbilt MSF culture: integrity, professionalism, diversity, curiosity, open-mindedness, team orientation, cooperation, ambition, motivation and excellence.


Do you have these questions?

  • Can MS Finance graduates return to Owen to complete an MBA?
  • Who is eligible to apply?

These answers and more in our FAQs. Click here.