An MBA, or master of business administration degree, offers graduates a centralized core of knowledge and provides them with a great foundation for a successful career. These advanced business degrees can be specialized, and an MBA in finance is a stepping stone to advancement in the growing financial services sector.
MBA in Finance: Program Overview
An MBA in finance exposes students to real-world business and financial practices, providing more specific training in the field of finance and financial management than in non-specialized MBA programs. Coursework prepares MBA finance students for work in either the public or private sphere, including positions such as:
- Financial analysts
- Controllers and managers
- Chief financial officers
- Senior accountants
MBA in finance programs teach students to understand the impact of the global economy on organizational decision making, planning, and resource utilization. Students learn about corporate financial management and investment strategies that help them maximize a company's bottom line.
Earning an MBA in finance is generally a prerequisite to upper-level positions in finance and accounting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with MBA degrees are often rewarded with higher-level positions and incomes and are sometimes eligible for large signing bonuses.
Required Coursework for an MBA in Finance
Coursework for an MBA in finance is varied but focuses on providing students with necessary understanding of finance, economics, marketing, and management. In many cases, finance MBA students enroll in general business courses during their first year of study and then complete more specialized course training during the second half of their program.
Students seeking an MBA in finance are exposed to a variety of courses, such as:
- Economics, including demand and cost estimation, production decisions, pricing, analysis at competitive market structures, and antitrust law
- Marketing management, including environmental analysis and control
- Operations management, including strategy for production, service, and other sectors
- Investments, including stocks, bonds, derivatives, and other planning tools
- Financial strategies, including mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and more
Courses in ethics, business law, statistics, organizational behavior, and leadership are also essential for MBA finance students.
Finding the Finance MBA Program for You
If you've decided earning an MBA in finance is the next step on your career path, you can consider both online and on-campus programs. Most MBA programs require students to complete approximately 52 hours of graduate-level coursework. Many programs, including accelerated and executive programs, have been specifically tailored to meet the needs of working professionals and can be completed in less than two years. Programs can be flexible, and admission requirements usually include bachelor's degree transcripts, personal recommendations, and GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores. Many universities offer an MBA in finance online, which can be ideal for individuals who wish to gain skills to advance in their career without giving up their current job.
Career Options for MBA Graduates
All companies need qualified financial professionals to help balance their books, oversee compliance with laws and regulations, and monitor expenses, so graduates with an MBA finance can find work in industries ranging from computer and information systems to health care and more. Wages in the field can be lucrative--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2009, financial analysts working in investment activities earned an annual mean wage of $111,490.
Financial managers earned a mean annual wage of $113,730 that same year, the BLS reports, and though job growth should keep pace with the national average, the high compensation should make for strong competition for the best jobs. The BLS reports that individuals with a master's degree should have the best job prospects in this lucrative field.