Pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration in Finance isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can be a career-defining decision. For finance students and professionals who don’t want to be pigeon-holed in their jobs, this concentration offers more freedom, choices, and financial security. An MBA in Finance has the potential to take you far.
What makes a Finance MBA Different?
The MBA is one of the most versatile graduate degrees available. It can help people in many different vocations – and seasons of life – take their careers to the next level. Under this umbrella degree, most students choose to focus on a specific field and apply it to the business world. This means that the finance track in an MBA is more than just a number-crunching degree. When they graduate, students are set to take on leadership roles throughout the finance sector.
Any MBA program will include finance somewhere in its curriculum. By choosing it as an emphasis, students make the decision that they want to pursue a finance-oriented management career, and to widen their range of job opportunities in this field. An MBA in finance also happens to be one of the most financially-rewarding degrees. According to U.S. News, the average yearly salary for professionals with a finance MBA is 109,000.
Reaping the benefits of any business degree doesn’t happen overnight, and a finance MBA is no exception. Earning your degree can take anywhere from 1-3+ years, depending on whether you study full or part-time. But for people who are ready to invest time and money towards hopping several rungs up the corporate ladder, this is one of the best pathways available.
What Can You Do with an MBA in Finance?
Every business, corporation, organization, political group, and nonprofit in the world has to deal with finance. This means that finance MBAs are valuable wherever they choose to go.
- Typical jobs for Finance MBAs include:
- Corporate Finance
- Financial Advising
Doubled-up skills in business and money management also give them a vital role to play in creating, building, and restructuring companies.
When you prepare for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for entry into a finance MBA program, scoring well on the quantitative section should be top priority. Admissions teams look for competence in every section, but since finance is such a numbers-heavy discipline, stellar math skills are a non-negotiable.
Education and Experience
A bachelor’s degree (with a good GPA) in finance or a similar discipline is also extremely helpful. Some of the most popular undergraduate backgrounds for a finance MBA include:
This is not to say that all hope is lost if you studied something else in college. What it does mean is that you’ll need to prove to schools that you have all the right skills to succeed in their programs. This is where professional experience in the finance world comes into play.
As with any MBA, experience is a factor that can make or break an application. The longer – or more meaningful – your experience, the better your chances. An interesting finance internship with a great company or two may be the ticket for some students. Others may stand out by showing how they have risen into a responsible finance role through years of steady work.
Courses and Specializations
Though strong math skills are essential, most business schools see them more as a prerequisite than as an important part of their curriculum. While a Master’s of Finance involves heavy coursework in math and computation, a Finance MBA uses these disciplines as business and management tools.
Finance MBA coursework generally starts out covering a broad range of topics. As students progress, their classes become more focused on their target field. Programs typically offer classes on:
- Managerial finance
- Financial planning
- Investment strategy
- Micro and Macroeconomics
- Financial Theory
- Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) and other corporate business transactions
- International Finance
- Small Business Finance
- Corporate Finance and budgeting
- Financial Markets
- Risk Management
At most schools – including many online programs – you can expect a hands-on learning experience. Lectures and exams will still be part of the curriculum, but experiential learning and group projects will likely be more important.
Because many finance jobs require specialized skills, there are a number of certificates on offer within a finance MBA. Students can earn these concurrently with their MBA, honing in even further on their subject of choice. These vary by school and some are unique to a certain program.
Before applying to schools, think carefully about the career field or specific job you want to land in after graduation. This will help direct you through the business school search. Because coursework, concentrations, and certificates are different from program to program, even getting into a big-name school may not be as helpful as it seems. Rather, look out for one that prioritizes exactly what you want to study.
Online MBA in Finance
Traditional on-campus programs can be a great way to focus on your education while leaving the “real world” behind, but they aren’t for everyone. Fortunately, there are a myriad of high-quality online MBA programs for students who need to work while they pursue their degree. Online MBAs are also ideal for students who simply prefer the flexibility and independence of online courses. Even full-time online MBAs can be more cost-effective than face-to-face programs. To learn more about an online MBA in finance, read about our featured programs.