Ready to take your financial know-how to the next level? Consider pursuing a master’s degree in finance. A master’s in finance offers an in-depth understanding of financial markets and can help you kickstart your career as a financial expert. Imagine yourself analyzing investment opportunities, managing risk like a pro, and making strategic financial decisions that drive success. Sounds great, right?

A master’s in finance goes beyond textbooks and lectures – it also includes hands-on learning and real-world skills that set you apart in the competitive world of finance. In this article, we’ll get a deeper understanding of pursuing this finance degree, and how you could leverage it to launch a successful career in finance. 

What is a Master's in finance?

A master’s in finance is a graduate-level program that primarily focuses on advanced financial concepts and practices. This degree delves deep into topics like financial analysis, investments, risk management, and corporate finance. As a student of this program you would learn how to apply financial theories to real-world situations, analyze financial data, and make informed decisions. 

Typically, the curriculum includes courses on financial markets, financial modeling, and quantitative analysis. A master’s in finance could open doors to various career paths in finance, such as financial analyst, investment banker, or financial manager, offering opportunities for higher salaries and career advancement.

If you think that only those with a bachelor’s in finance can pursue a master’s degree in the field, well, that’s not true. Let’s look at who should consider getting a master’s degree in finance. 

  1. Finance Enthusiasts: If you’re someone who’s passionate about finance and eager to deepen your understanding of financial concepts, a master’s in finance may be a great fit for you. This degree could  be your chance to indulge in your passion and turn it into a lucrative career.
  1. People Looking to Advance Their Careers: Professionals in finance looking to advance their careers could also benefit greatly from a master’s in finance degree, as it opens doors to higher-level positions. You could consider job positions such as financial manager, investment banker, or financial analyst, that offer higher salaries along with increased responsibilities. 
  1. Professionals Looking for a Career Switch: If you’re considering switching careers into finance from another field, a master’s in finance can help gain necessary skills and knowledge to make a successful transition. It would also equip you with the expertise needed to thrive in the finance industry.
  1. Analytical Thinkers: If analyzing data, identifying trends, and making informed decisions is an inherent skill, then pursuing a master’s in finance could help you sharpen these skills further. This degree program involves quantitative analysis and financial modeling, which are considered essential in the finance industry.
  1. Aspiring Entrepreneurs: As someone who’s planning to start their own business, earning a master’s degree in finance can greatly benefit you. From equipping you with the financial acumen to learning how to manage your business finances effectively, you would know how to make strategic decisions and navigate the financial world.

Now that we have a fair understanding of what a master’s in finance is and who should pursue it, let’s move on to the advantages of pursuing this degree.

  1. Specialized Knowledge: With a master’s in finance, you stand to gain in-depth and clear understanding of financial concepts, markets, and strategies. This gives you a competitive edge in the finance industry and enhances your problem-solving abilities.
  1. Various Career Paths: A master’s in finance can open up a wide range of rewarding and fulfilling career paths. With this degree, you can pursue seravel roles including that of a financial analyst, investment banker, financial manager or a financial planner.
  1. Higher Earning Potential: Once you earn a master’s in finance, there is a good chance that you could gain opportunities that fetch higher salaries than those with just an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. This is possible because of the specialized skills and expertise you gain with a master’s degree, leading to greater financial stability.
  1. Professional Growth: The master’s in finance program helps you develop critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills, which are essential for advancement in the finance industry. This fosters your career development, leading to professional growth.
  1. Networking: You’ll have the opportunity to network with industry professionals, professors, and fellow students, which can lead to valuable connections and career opportunities, expanding your professional network.
  1. Global Perspective: Many programs offer a global perspective on finance, giving you insight into international markets and trends, which is valuable in today’s interconnected world, broadening your understanding of the global economy.
  1. Flexibility: A master’s in finance offers flexibility in terms of specialization, allowing you to focus on areas such as corporate finance, investment management, or financial analysis, depending on your interests and career goals, tailoring your education to suit your specific needs.

The admission requirements for a master’s in finance program can vary by institution, but generally include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. While some programs may require a specific undergraduate major or coursework in finance or a related field, most other programs require submission of transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, and a statement of purpose outlining your goals and reasons for pursuing the degree. 

Some programs may ask for GRE or GMAT scores, though others may waive this requirement based on work experience or other factors. Sometimes, you may also be required to give an interview as part of the admissions process. 

In the next section, we’ll explore how a master’s in finance is different from an MBA in finance.

Master’s in Finance vs MBA in Finance - What should you pick?

AspectMaster’s in FinanceMBA in Finance
FocusA master’s in finance gives special focus on finance and financial management.An MBA in finance has a broad focus on business administration, with a concentration in finance.
CurriculumThis degree emphasizes advanced finance concepts and strategies.This program includes general business courses alongside finance courses.
PrerequisitesTypically, this degree may not require work experience.Sometimes, an MBA in finance may require some work experience.
Career OpportunitiesA master’s in finance primarily prepares you for roles in finance and related fields.An MBA in finance might offer diverse career opportunities in various industries.
SpecializationsThis program focuses primarily on finance and may have limited specializations.This degree may open doors to various specializations that span beyond finance.
Skills DevelopedThe skills developed with his master’s degree include financial analysis, investment, and risk management skills.This degree helps you develop leadership, management, and financial skills.
Target AudienceYou may want to pick this degree if you’re seeking specialized knowledge in finance.If you’re seeking a broader business perspective with a focus on finance, you might want to consider this degree.

If you are unable to attend traditional on-campus classes, but wish to gain a deeper understanding of financial concepts, you could consider enrolling for an online master’s program in finance. This degree program offers the flexibility and convenience to study finance online, eliminating the need to attend physical classes. Reputed colleges like the University of Arizona (Global Campus) offer a master’s degree in finance. Typically, most programs cover the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, including advanced financial concepts, investment analysis, risk management, and financial modeling. As an online student, you can access lectures, course materials, and assignments online, allowing you to study from anywhere with an internet connection. 

With interactive elements such as virtual classrooms and discussion boards, an online master’s in finance may appeal to working professionals looking to advance their careers without interrupting their current employment.

Pro Tip: Before you zero in on an online program, whether it is a master’s or an MBA in finance, it’s best to ensure that the program is accredited and offers the same level of quality and support as traditional programs.

Careers after a Master's in finance

If you’re wondering what kind of career options you could pursue in finance, especially after earning a master’s in finance degree, here’s the answer. In this section, we look at some unconventional career options for you to explore, once you gain a master’s degree in finance:

  1. Financial Consultant for Startups: As a financial consultant for a startup, you would get a chance to use your financial expertise to advise startups on fundraising, financial planning, and growth strategies. You’ll also work closely with founders and management teams to help them navigate the complexities of early-stage financing and achieve sustainable growth.
  1. Sustainability Analyst: If you choose to be a sustainability analyst, you would be required to focus on analyzing the financial impact of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors on businesses. With this, you would help companies integrate sustainability into their financial strategies, assess risks, and identify opportunities for sustainable growth.
  1. Forensic Accountant: Becoming a forensic accountant could be an interesting career choice. In this profession, you would investigate financial discrepancies, fraud, and misconduct in businesses and organizations. Your expertise in financial analysis and auditing could help uncover financial crimes, offering evidence for legal proceedings.
  1. Quantitative Analyst (Quant): If you’re interested in applying advanced mathematical and statistical models to analyze financial markets and investments, consider becoming a quantitative analyst. As a quant analyst, your prime responsibility would be to develop algorithms and trading strategies for investment banks, hedge funds, and financial institutions.
  1. Financial Technology (FinTech) Specialist: With a master’s in finance and a flair for finance and technology, you could combine both skills to innovate and improve financial services. Being a FinTech specialist involves developing new financial products, digital payment systems, blockchain technologies, and automated trading algorithms.
  1. Impact Investment Manager: As an impact investment manager, you would be managing investments that generate positive social or environmental impact, alongside financial returns. Primarily, these managers assess the social and environmental performance of investments to achieve both financial and social goals.
  1. Risk Management Consultant: If you choose to be a risk management consultant, you would be required to help businesses identify, assess, and mitigate financial risks. You’ll develop risk management strategies, conduct risk assessments, and ensure compliance with regulations to protect businesses from financial losses.
  2. Personal Financial Planner for Millennials: Most millennials look for qualified professionals to understand how to invest their funds wisely and earn from their investments. With your expertise as a personal financial planner, you could cater to this unique financial need of the millennial generation. Your main responsibility would be to offer guidance on student loan management, saving for homeownership, investing in socially responsible funds, and navigating the gig economy. With your financial know-how, you can tailor financial plans to align with their values and goals, helping them achieve financial stability and independence.

A master’s in finance is a great choice if you’re looking to advance your careers in the finance industry. With a deep understanding of financial concepts and practices, you get the skills needed to excel in roles such as financial analyst, investment banker, or financial manager. 

While a master’s degree in finance offers a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, preparing you to make informed financial decisions, an MBA in finance offers a broader education in business administration with a concentration in finance. Overall, pursuing a master’s in finance can be a rewarding investment in your future, offering the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the complex world of finance.

Is a Master's in finance worth it?

Yes, a master’s in finance can be worth it as it offers specialized knowledge and skills, leading to lucrative career opportunities in the finance industry. Upon graduation, you may get a chance to increase your earning potential and are sought after by employers for their expertise in financial analysis, investment management, and risk assessment. Additionally, the program offers a deep understanding of financial markets and concepts, which is valuable for making informed financial decisions. Overall, the return on investment for a master’s in finance can be significant, particularly if you’re looking to advance your career in finance and increase your earning potential.

Master's in finance vs MBA in finance - Which should I pick?

Choosing between a master’s in finance and an MBA in finance depends on your career goals and the level of specialization you seek.
If you’re looking for a deep dive into finance with a focus on advanced financial concepts and analysis, then a master’s in finance is the better choice. It’s ideal for roles like financial analyst, investment banker, or risk manager that require specialized financial skills. On the other hand, if you want a broader business education with a focus on finance, and are interested in leadership roles that require a combination of business and financial acumen, then an MBA in Finance would be more suitable. It offers a wider range of business topics, such as marketing, operations, and strategy, in addition to finance.