Finance Master’s vs. the MBA in Finance

Finance Masters vs. MBA in Finance

Many people interested in pursuing a career in finance finish their undergraduate degree and find themselves faced with two options: A finance master’s or a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a finance specialization. Each has intensive course study, specialization, and career opportunities waiting at the end. How do you know which one is right for you?

Both an MBA in finance and a master’s degree in finance prepare students for administrative positions within the world of business and finance. The main way in which the two degrees are different is that the MBA in finance helps students to increase their business skills broadly, making them applicable to other areas, while the master’s in finance is a more specialized degree that almost entirely focuses on finance-related issues. Your career goals are something to consider when choosing between an MBA in finance and a finance master’s degree.

A finance MBA course of study gives a broader curriculum that covers business strategy and corporate management, providing students with training to assess financial risks and advise corporations on investments. Typically a student studying for an MBA in finance would begin with general business studies and then specialize in a particular area of finance, such as portfolio management. The goal is for graduates to be prepared to hold management positions in all kinds of businesses, where they will be responsible for budget allocation and financial analysis. Individuals carrying an MBA in finance can work as cash managers, controllers or treasurers.

In comparison, the finance master’s degree has a more directed approach, focusing on practical skills and technology by studying specific courses, such as economics, capital markets, financial strategy, and investment management. It can also be a shorter course of study before earning a degree than the MBA. A student might choose a master’s in finance when they know the exact area in which they will focus, such as quantitative finance, which could land them a job in trading and principal investments. Other careers available to someone with a finance master’s degree are in financial analysis, treasury, cash management or private wealth management.

So why choose one over the other? It depends on your short-term and long-term career goals. A master’s in finance is the more specific, intensive program that might get you into the work force in a shorter period of time. The MBA in finance provides a broader course of study first before you choose your more direct focus and typically has coursework focusing on managerial and leadership training. A satisfying career in finance is possible with either option—your plans, your own financial situation, and how soon you want a degree in hand should all factor into your choice.