Business Administration

How to Find the Right Finance MBA for You

How to Find the Right Finance MBA for You
If you love the world of investment analytics and formulae, watch the markets like a hawk, and thrill when juggling data, you may be an excellent candidate for an MBA with a concentration in finance. Image from Unsplash
Eddie Huffman profile
Eddie Huffman January 25, 2023

Many business schools offer MBA programs that feature specializations in finance. Discover the value of a finance MBA and how it differs from a Master of Science in Finance.

MBA Programs You Should Consider

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Master of Business Administration candidates face many choices when selecting their course of study. Full-time or part-time? On-campus or online? Local or out-of-state? And then there is perhaps the most significant option: whether to pursue a concentration/specialization area.

Generalist MBA courses typically cover fundamentals from accounting and communications to supply chain and human resources. These subjects are vital for MBA graduates interested in management, perhaps with a long view toward the c-suite.

Most programs also offer a variety of concentrations, opportunities to focus in a specific area through a selection of discipline-specific elective courses. According to GMAC, the most popular concentrations> include:

In aggregate, graduate business programs offer dozens of concentrations. No school offers all possible concentration options; some offer only a few, and some offer none at all.

Many, however, offer the most popular choices. If you love the world of investment analytics and formulae, watch the markets like a hawk, and thrill when juggling data, you may be an excellent candidate for an MBA with a concentration in finance.

This article provides information on how to find the right finance MBA for you. It covers the following topics:

  • Why choose a finance MBA?
  • What jobs can you get with a finance MBA?
  • How much can I make with a finance MBA?
  • Admission requirements for finance MBA programs
  • How to find the right finance MBA for you
  • Can I get my finance MBA online?
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Why choose a finance MBA?

Indeed offers a list of suggested characteristics for prospective finance MBA students, including:

  • Background in math and statistics
  • Desire to work in banks, accounting firms, and investment firms
  • Accounting background
  • Strong skills in management, critical thinking, and creativity
  • Interest in finance, accounting, and investment management

MBA finance programs typically offer specialized courses in:

  • Corporate finance
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial theory
  • Global economy
  • Investment management
  • Macroeconomics
  • Mathematics
  • Quantitative finance

So why get a finance MBA rather than a Master of Science in Finance? As one Reddit poster puts it: “An MBA is a more rounded education designed for managerial positions [while] an MS in Finance is a very targeted degree [with] depth in a particular area.”

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“Should I Get A MBA?”

The National Association of Colleges and Employers predicted an average starting salary for 2019 MBA graduates of $84,580—provided those graduates found jobs in computer science, engineering, science, or business. (source)

Students considering an MBA or graduate business degree can choose from varied career paths, including those focused on financial management, data analytics, market research, healthcare management, and operations management. The analytical skills and problem-solving techniques gained from graduate level business degrees are in high demand across business sectors. (source)

University and Program Name Learn More

What jobs can you get with a finance MBA?

The tight focus and specialization of a finance MBA opens the door to a wide world of career paths, including:

Finance MBAs typically work in:

  • Financial institutions
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Government
  • Manufacturing

How much can you make with a finance MBA?

The kinds of career options available to finance MBA degree holders pay well and show good signs of growth for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts seven percent job growth in business and financial occupations from 2021 to 2031, with about 980,000 job openings per year and the creation of about 715,000 new jobs over the decade. The predicted growth rate for financial managers during that same period is considerably higher: 17 percent.

People in business and financial careers earned a median annual income of $76,570 in May 2021, higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760. Here’s the median annual pay in 2021 for some of the jobs held by finance MBA grads, as reported by the BLS:

Admission requirements for finance MBA programs

Admission requirements vary from school to school, but most call for a few essentials:

  • Bachelor’s degree in economics, business, finance, statistics, data analytics, or a related field
  • A minimum GPA, 3.0 or higher at the most selective schools
  • GMAT or GRE test scores
  • Letters of recommendation, typically from past academic supervisors or professional colleagues
  • Admissions essay, personal statement, or interview
  • Resume summarizing work experience

Students without a finance-related bachelor’s degree may have to complete foundation courses such as accounting, finance, statistics, and business administration before beginning graduate studies.

How to find the right finance MBA for you

Selecting the right program will depend on your answers to a number of questions, including:

  • Can you relocate for school or do you need one closer to your current location?
  • If location is an issue, does the school offer an online-only or hybrid option?
  • Can you take a year off to focus on your degree, or do you need to go to school while continuing to work?
  • Which schools offer the best opportunities to focus on your primary interests?
  • Which schools offer classes or specialties that align with your career goals?
  • Which schools have internship and networking opportunities that align with your goals?
  • Do graduates of a given school earn the kinds of salaries you’re hoping to make?

U.S.News and World Report suggests five additional criteria to consider:

  • Gauge whether students can convert summer internships into full-time jobs
  • Aim for a math-intensive MBA program
  • Choose schools with finance courses that intrigue you
  • Look for programs with courses that apply to both publicly traded and privately held companies
  • Choose schools with a balance of theory-oriented and practice-oriented faculty

The 2017 article puts a particular emphasis on networking. “I believe that finance, especially banking but also corporate finance, is a relation-driven industry, even more than you can expect,” said Oscar Rodriguez Fuertes, then an MBA student at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

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Can I get my finance MBA online?

Absolutely. If you aren’t limited by geography, you have a wealth of remote-learning options. Some classes or assignments may require you to log in live or even show up in person from time to time, but most online programs offer their content asynchronously. That means you can get to it whenever and wherever suits you. If you need to juggle grad school with the responsibilities of a job and/or family, it’s an ideal setup.

Schools currently offering online Master of Business Administration degrees include:

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

About the Author

Eddie Huffman is the author of John Prine: In Spite of Himself and a forthcoming biography of Doc Watson. He has written for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Utne Reader, All Music Guide, Goldmine, the Virgin Islands Source, and many other publications.

About the Editor

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.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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MBA Programs You Should Consider

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