A Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in finance is a strong career investment for any professional who wants to take their career to the next level. An MBA in financing offers specialized training in the management of money as well as core business principles such as marketing. The combination makes the degree a great match for business professionals who want versatile careers or a better understanding of financial management.
It’s important not to confuse an MBA in finance with a master’s in finance. Simply put, an MBA is broader in focus — programs prepare students for work in financial institutions but also leadership positions in corporations and startups. That means graduates with an MBA in finance gain a wider range of skills and have more flexibility when it comes to choosing careers. A master’s in finance is much narrower in focus and is best for those who specifically want careers in financial management, investments, or trading. Both are great choices, but for those who like exploring a variety of opportunities, an MBA in finance is the way to go.
It’s common knowledge that an MBA in finance is highly prized by employers, but programs also prepare students to start their own businesses. After all, the focus on money management will be an asset for entrepreneurs who want to ensure the financial health of their companies. In that sense, an MBA in finance offers significant value for industry leaders and disruptors alike.
What Can I Expect from an Online MBA in Finance?
Choosing an online MBA in finance program provides students with the same quality of education found with a traditional, on-campus program, often at a lower price. Those who work full-time or have personal commitments appreciate the flexible attendance policies of most online programs, letting them participate at their convenience. A variety of scheduling options, like part-time or accelerated options, are also offered to give students control over the time commitment required to work through the program. For MBA degrees, students also have the option of seeking an executive MBA if they have professional experience in an executive position or some other type of leadership role. It’s important to note that every program is unique, so it’s a good idea to look carefully into the details of several before making an enrollment commitment.
Concentrations Offered for an Online MBA in Finance
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION|
|Corporate Finance||Prepares students for a managerial finance position within a major corporation, exploring the financial needs in the corporate world and providing the tools necessary for financial analysis working capital management and capital budgeting techniques.||Chief financial officer or financial analyst for a major corporation or business in a traditional office setting|
|Health Care Finance||Students learn about the financial components of the health care industry, preparing them for the management of health care expenses and providing a deeper understanding of health insurance finances.||Financial analyst, financial examiner or financial director for a health care facility|
|Investment Management||Focuses on the skills needed to effectively handle company assets, exploring the management of various securities, such as bonds and shares, to meet investment goals.||Chief financial officer or finance manager for financial institutions or corporations|
Curriculum for an Online MBA in Finance
Choosing an MBA in finance program can seem difficult with the curriculum differences found between schools. However, taking the time to compare offerings to your professional goals can help ensure you find the program that best meets your career needs. Make sure to watch for blended programs that require one or more classes to be completed on campus. Those that are outside of your local area may require relocation to complete.
Along with the course options that are unique to each school, there are a few courses that can be found in almost every program, including.
|Business Communication||Students learn effective professional communication methods that include writing, technology and presentation preparation.|
|Accounting for Managers||Focuses on accounting concepts critical to the decision-making process of management professions.|
|Quantitative Methods for Management||Explores quantitative methods used to support manager decisions.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MBA in Finance?
Most online programs for an MBA in finance require 36 credit hours and can be completed in 18 to 24 months. This time line can be extended for students who work full time or have personal commitments that require a part-time course schedule of only one or two classes each semester. Some programs also offer an accelerated option that can cut completion time to as little as one year but require a heavier course load.
The way curriculum is delivered can also have an impact on the time needed to complete the program. Individually paced programs often offer multiple start dates throughout the year and allow students to self-pace based on their ability to complete coursework. Cohort programs are more rigid in structure, requiring groups of students to work through the curriculum together on a shared schedule. These types of programs generally only offer one or two start dates each year and encourage networking between classmates, providing a higher level of support between students and instructors.
Certifications and Licenses an Online MBA in Finance Prepares For
|Chartered Financial Analyst||The CFA Institute offers the CFA credential that can be obtained through passing three different exam levels. The CFA credential is considered to be a high achievement for the best of investment management professionals.|
|Financial Risk Manager||The FRM certification is offered through the Global Association of Risk Professionals. A graduate degree is required to take the exam and those who pass are recognized as experts in credit risk, market risk, investment management and operational risk.|
Accreditation for Online MBA in Finance
When choosing your program, it’s critical to verify that any school you consider is accredited from a respected agency. Accreditation guarantees that the quality of education being provided is up to the standards set by the granting agency. Electing to pursue a program without accreditation carries the risk of non-transferable credits should you choose to continue your education, losing out on job opportunities for employers who require a degree from an accredited program and being ineligible for licenses and certifications that require accreditation.
There are three types of accrediting agencies you should look for. National agencies, such as the Department of Education, offer accreditation to schools that meet the national educational standards. There are also six regional agencies, including the Higher Learning Commission and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. These agencies are highly respected and accreditation carries the additional benefit of easing the transfer of credits between institutions that are accredited by the same agency. Finally, there are industry-specific agencies that grant accreditation to programs that meet the standards necessary to ensure students have the tools they need to be successful. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs are two examples.
Employment Outlook for MBA in Finance Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
Taking the time to complete an online MBA in finance program gives job seekers an edge over bachelor-holding competitors. It demonstrates your dedication to your career and provides additional education and work experience. It’s also important to note that some certifications, such as the FRM certification, are only available to those who hold a master’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the growth of jobs for financial managers to be around 19 percent, which is much higher than the overall job growth average of 7 percent. Having your MBA in finance can increase the chance that you land one of the more desirable positions.
The salary potential for those who hold an MBA in finance is significant, with many job titles offering six figures in the upper range. Looking at the chart below, it’s easy to see the positive financial impact of positions often held by those with a graduate degree.
|Job Title||Salary Range|
|Financial Operations Manager||$50,591-$111,659|
|Business Financial Manager||$50,335-$119,195|
|Chief Financial Officer (CFO)||$71,559-$215,020|
ving an MBA in finance can help tip your salary to the higher end of the scale. Looking at the chart below, you can see how the salary potential goes up with additional experience in the first 20 years.
There are a number of career opportunities for someone with an MBA in finance. The degree also increases your negotiating power, commanding a higher salary potential and increasing your eligibility for better benefits packages.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Financial Examiner||Financial examiners are responsible for ensuring financial institutions are in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. This requires the examination of financial documentation and practices and can involve one of two specialties. Those who choose to work in risk assessment determine the financial health of the bank or financial institution. Those in consumer compliance focus on lending practices to prevent illegal or unjust lending to consumers.||$81,690 per year||10%|
|Financial Analyst||Financial analysts focus on investments and offer guidance to individual consumers and companies in making investment decisions. Analysts are split into two groups: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts. Buy-side analysts are responsible for guiding the investments of those who have a high level of capital to invest. Sell-side analysts focus on the financial services agents responsible for selling investments such as stocks and bonds.||$84,300 per year||11%|
|Chief Financial Officer||The chief financial officer holds the executive position responsible for overseeing all the financial operations of a business or corporation. This includes investments, working capital, asset management and budgeting.||$104,700 per year||8%|
|Financial Manager||Financial managers monitor the financial health of businesses and corporations, creating strategies for financial improvement and managing long-term financial goals. This position requires heavy data analysis to ensure the business or corporation is managing its money effectively.||$125,080 per year||19%|
As with most industries, professional organizations for those with an MBA in finance provide an opportunity to network, take advantage of educational opportunities and stay up-to-date on the latest industry news. Here are a few organizations that could be helpful to those with their MBA.
Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business: This organization is sometimes referred to as the Institute of Managerial Accounts and offers members its full resource center, educational opportunities, industry publications, members-only discounts and hosted events.
Association for Financial Professionals: The AFP provides members with networking opportunities and offers a number of professional tools and access to industry publications and research.
American Association of Finance and Accounting: The AAFA was created to help professionals connect with consumers. Young graduates, especially, can benefit from the career building provided on the AAFA site.
Financing Your Online MBA in Finance
In many cases, the tuition for an online MBA in finance program is lower than that of an on-campus program. Despite that, some students may still find themselves in need of help to cover program costs. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be your first step to find out if you qualify for any government-funded grants or loans. If you don’t, or if the amount offered isn’t enough, you also have the option of pursuing private loans or scholarships to make up the difference. To get you started, check out the resources below to learn more about your options.
Government Finance Officers Association Scholarships
Deadline: January 26
Eligibility: Open to all students who plan to pursue a finance career in local or state government and have not previously won the award.
Lance Surety Bonds Scholarship
Deadline: December 15
Eligibility: Open to any student, enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program, who completes one of three essay questions, subject to change each year.
Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship
Deadline: February 15
Eligibility: Sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution and open to students enrolled in a full-time MBA program. Must have a minimum 3.25 GPA.