Business Administration

What Are the Best MBA in Financial Planning Programs?

What Are the Best MBA in Financial Planning Programs?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for financial planners will grow faster than average over the next ten years, with an average annual income of almost $90,000. Image from Death to Stock Photos
Christa Terry profile
Christa Terry October 17, 2019

Florida State University is just one of the best financial planning MBA programs to make our list.

MBA/Business Programs You Should Consider

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When you become a financial planner, you’ll help people meet a broad range of financial and life goals. Some clients look for quick-return, fast-growth investment opportunities; others need help getting out of debt; some want help with tax planning; and still, others need someone to handle retirement planning or estate planning.

It’s a perfect job for someone with solid analytical and interpersonal skills. Financial planners have to be great listeners and great communicators; they need to be trustworthy as well. You’ll learn intimate details of your clients’ lives and advise them on how to reach their goals. In the process, you’ll develop strong relationships with your clients. This job is a lot more than just running numbers and making recommendations.

You can become a financial planner with nothing more than a bachelor’s degree, but if you want to increase your chances of success, you’ll eventually need to get your Certified Financial Planner designation. To earn this designation, you’ll need to:

  • Demonstrate three years of work experience
  • Pledge to abide by the CFP Board’s code of ethics, rules of conduct, and practice standards
  • Complete the CFP Board’s education requirements
  • Pass the CFP certification exam

Plenty of aspiring CFPs take CFP graduate certificate courses designed to prepare financial planners for the certification exam. That isn’t the only continuing education option to consider, however.

Master’s degree programs for financial planners do exist, though there are only a handful of MBA programs for financial planners__. An MBA will give you a broader understanding of the business world than will any profession-specific certification program. You’ll learn how the economy works and how different functions within a business interact and operate while also preparing for your CFP certification. Should you decide later in your career to pivot to another business profession, your MBA education will serve you well

Most master’s in business administration programs for financial planners can be completed in two years. They typically require applicants to have at least three years of related work experience and a bachelor’s degree. Core coursework usually covers:

  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Business management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Communications
  • Financial risk
  • Ethics

Concentration coursework is often focused on:

  • Retirement planning
  • Tax planning
  • Wealth management
  • Estate management
  • Portfolio management
  • Risk management

As a financial planner with an MBA, you will have a broad understanding of the business world, which should help you provide expert guidance to your clients. You’ll also be in a growing profession; the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for financial planners will grow faster than average over the next ten years, with an average annual income of about $88,890 (also quite a bit higher than the national average).

If you’re not sure that you want to spend your whole career in financial planning, so much the better. An MBA in finance (or a Master of Science in Finance) will serve your current goals while also giving you the option to transition into financial analyst or financial manager roles later in your career.

What are the best MBA in financial planning programs?

For each of the MBA programs below, we’ve included the most relevant information you should consider:

  • Degree type
  • Tuition
  • Graduation requirements
  • Core courses
  • Concentration courses
  • Features

You can find a full list of CFP Board-approved educational programs here.

California Lutheran University

  • Degree: MBA in Financial Planning
  • Format: Full-time and part-time online
  • Tuition: $855 per credit ($38,475 per year for full-time students)
  • Graduation requirements: 48 credits in 15 courses over 12 to 24 months
  • MBA core courses: Macroeconomics for Investments; Behavioral Finance; Business Law and Ethics; Enterprise Management, Organization & Strategy; Marketing Management; Information Technology for Management; Strategic Decision Making
  • Concentration courses: Introduction to Financial Planning; Tax Management & Strategy; Employee Benefits and Retirement Planning; Risk Management & Insurance; Principles of Estate Planning; Capstone Course in Financial Planning; Financial Principles and Policies; Investment & Portfolio Management; Social Psychology of Leading Clients; Psychological-Cultural Dynamics of Communication and Persuasion; Applied Research in Financial Planning; Financial Planning for Small and Family Businesses; Advanced Estate Planning; Retirement Income Planning
  • Features: Offers a CFP certificate program; class size capped at 20; five eight-week terms per academic year; multiple program entry points throughout academic year; special MBA track for students who already have a CFP; ranked by US News & World Report among the top 20 schools in the western United States; USDLA-award-winning online classes; opportunities to network with leading financial services firms; 4+1 bachelor’s/MBA option for CLU undergraduates

Cleary University

  • Degree: MBA in Financial Planning
  • Format: Full-time, on-campus
  • Tuition: $15,180
  • Graduation requirements: 33 credit hours
  • Core courses: Financial and Managerial Accounting, Financial Management Managerial Economics; Law and Ethics, Quantitative Management Analysis; Managerial Economics; Management and Organizational Leadership, Strategic Management; Strategic Marketing Management
  • Concentration courses: Investment Planning; Insurance and Risk Management; Retirement and Employee Benefits Planning; Income Tax Planning; Estate Planning; Legal Thinking; Organizational Adaptation; Disruptive Marketing; Strategic Customer Creation
  • Features: Students practice preparing financial plans using real-world cases; program prepares students to take the CFP exam; capstone project involving a real-world case study; the school also offers a graduate certificate in financial planning

College of Our Lady of the Elms (Elms College)__

  • Degree: MBA with a Concentration in Financial Planning (MBA + CFP)
  • Format: 18-month program; hybrid on-campus and online content delivery
  • Tuition: $823 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 36 credit hours
  • Core courses: Managerial Finance and Data Analysis; Globalization and Social Responsibility; Leadership and Teamwork; Current Events Impact on the Economy; Strategic Management Practicum
  • Concentration courses: Introduction to Financial Planning; Tax Management and Strategy; Risk Management and Insurance Planning; Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management; Employee Benefits and Retirement Planning; Principles of Estate Planning
  • Features: Graduates are prepared to sit for the CFP exam after completing this program; Pathways to Leadership workshop includes career-planning events and networking events; capstone project

Creighton University Heider College of Business__

  • Degree: MBA with a concentration in Personal Financial Planning
  • Format: Online, on campus, or hybrid
  • Tuition: $896 per credit for on-campus programs; $1,162 per credit for online MBA students
  • Graduation requirements: 33 credit hours over two years
  • Core courses: Leadership & Organizational Behavior; Business Policy & Managerial Action; Business, Ethics & Society; Financial Reporting for MBAs; Managerial Finance; Economic Analysis for Managers; Marketing Management; Information Systems Management
  • Concentration courses: Estate Planning and Taxation; Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits; Investment Value and Theory; Tax Theory and Business Decisions
  • Features: US News & World Report ranks Creighton’s online MBA among the top 20 in the US; AACSB-accredited in both business and accounting

DeSales University

  • Degree: MBA with a concentration in financial planning
    Format: Part-time; on-campus, online, or hybrid
  • Tuition: $855 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 13 courses
  • Core courses: Financial and Managerial Accounting; Business and Society; Marketing Management; Organization Management; Financial Management; Executive Skills Development; Business Computing
  • Concentration courses: Investment and Portfolio Management; Risk Management and Insurance; Income Tax Planning; Retirement and Estate Planning; Financial Plan Development; Policy and Strategy (a capstone integrating course)
  • Features: Curriculum satisfies the CFP Board’s education coursework requirement; multiple entry points throughout the academic calendar; GMAT waivers available; accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Florida State University College of Business__

  • Degree: MBA with a concentration in Risk Management and Insurance-FInancial Planning
  • Format: Online-only, part-time
  • Tuition: $780.18 for residents per credit hour; $810.24 for non-residents. Total estimated cost of program: $30,427 for residents, $31,599 for non-residents.
  • Graduation requirements: 39 credit hours over seven semesters
  • Core courses: Financial Reporting and Managerial Control; The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business; Problems in Financial Management; Information and Technology Management; Marketing Strategy in the Global Environment; Organizational Behavior; Operations Management; Business Conditions Analysis; Strategy and Business Policy
  • Concentration courses: Fundamentals of Risk and Insurance; Employee Benefit Plans; Personal Financial Planning
  • Features: Option to earn fast-track CFP Certification; ranked #21 overall on US News & World Report’s 2019 rankings of “Best Online MBA Programs”; same professors as the on-campus MBA program; affordable and flexible

Husson University College of Business__

  • Degree: BS in Business Administration in Financial Planning + MBA
  • Format: Full-time, on campus
  • Tuition: $360 per credit hour for undergraduate courses/$497 per credit hour for graduate courses
  • Graduation requirements: 152 credit hours over five years with a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Core courses: Research Methods in Business and Education; Management Communications; Managerial Economics; Managerial Accounting; Global Strategic Management; Strategic Change Management
  • Concentration courses: Personal Financial Planning; Financial Plan Development; Marketing Management; Federal Taxation; Estate Planning
  • Features: Accelerated dual degree track option

Indiana Wesleyan University – Marion DeVoe School of Business__

  • Degree: MBA in Personal Financial Planning
  • Format: Fully online, five-to-six week courses taken one at a time
  • Tuition: $559 per credit hour
  • Graduation requirements: 42 credits in one year
  • Core courses: Foundations of Graduate Business; Ethical and Legal Aspects of Management; Decision-Making and Essential Business Communication; Accounting and Finance for Managers; Statistics for Business Decision-Making; Business Economics;
  • Concentration courses: Marketing Management; Foundations of Financial Planning; Biblical Principles for Professional Financial Planners; Risk Management; Investment Planning; Income Tax Planning; Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits; Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer; Financial Plan Development
  • Features: Students with a CFP designation can earn an MBA with as little as eight courses; fast track options for Qualified Kingdom Advisors with the CFP Certification

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

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Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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