Master of finance programs are quantitative programs that teach students to manage an organization’s assets and help them grow. They cover topics like financial planning, reporting, investment, and more to prepare students to assess and execute various financial strategies. MSF degrees may have elements in common with both business and accounting programs but focus less on administration and more on future financial growth. MS in Finance programs also tend to be career-minded and focus on technical skills and knowledge. As such, many of them are either designed for students with some experience working in roles related to finance, or incorporate requirements to help students get that experience in the first place.
Finance is a fairly large field with a wide range of applications in nearly every industry. As such, there may be a variety of masters in finance programs that serve different needs. The first step to finding a program is to determine which type of degree you’d like to earn. Generally, within finance, you’ll find yourself choosing between programs offering one of two options.
While these might not be the only options available in every program, they are the most common. The primary element that distinguishes them is the type of career they look toward. So think hard about whether you want a degree with a broadly applicable curriculum in finance and other areas, or if you want to position yourself as an expert in the financial field.
You will also need to consider your experience level and goals. Some programs are designed for those entering a masters program straight out of undergrad. Others may be better suited for students with some professional experience under their belt. This could impact the prerequisites and content of a program.
For example, a program designed for students with little or no professional experience may not require applicants to demonstrate work experience on a resume. However, the content may also reflect that by covering more of the basics. On the other hand, programs for experienced professionals might need students to submit a resume or CV, and may design coursework with that background in mind. Since different programs could be tailored to different types of students, all of this could help you narrow down your options.
With these variations in mind, most MSF degree programs require students to hold a bachelors degree and may require two years of full time study. Schools vary, so follow up directly for details.
Some master of finance programs may additionally offer concentration options to further focus your studies. This could be worth considering if you have more specific aspirations or areas of interest, or already work in a certain area and want a program that applies more directly to your responsibilities.
Two options to consider include the following.
A variety of other options may be available. For more information about the above options or any other specialties or concentrations that may be offered, reach out to the school directly.
Master of finance programs may cover a broad range of material, depending on the type of program, the level of experience it expects from students, whether it includes a subject area concentration and the type of career the program looks toward. However many may share common elements to provide a core foundation of financial knowledge. Listed below are a few examples of what you might encounter.
Finance and accounting programs—and careers, for that matter—may appear to be quite similar. In fact, they do share some essential qualities. Both programs focus on the management of an organization’s assets. Both are highly quantitative, and require specific expertise. They may even share some course topics or responsibilities!
The essential difference between finance and accounting is the way they approach managing said assets. In essence, finance looks at how to use assets and focuses on the present and future. This might mean planning, investing and managing those assets, spending them, and creating exit strategies. Accounting, on the other hand, tracks that financial activity after the fact. It focuses on ensuring an accurate and up-to-date record of what assets the organization actually has, rather than working to generate more.
Your level of experience, lifestyle, and learning preferences may all impact your choice of finance masters program. In addition to the type of student a program is primarily designed to support, you may also have to consider program format. Below are a few of the most common options.
A masters in finance could help you gain a competitive advantage in the financial job market. Typically, the minimum education required for finance-related positions is a bachelor’s degree, potentially combined with certification and professional experience. However, many employers place a greater emphasis on hiring candidates with a masters in finance or higher, especially with respect to higher level positions.i
Often MSF degree graduates go on to pursue a career as a financial manager. However, according to BLS, that term could encompass a variety of positions, at several levels. Examples include risk managers, credit managers, treasurers, controllers, and chief financial officers or CFOs. Each of these roles may be responsible for overseeing the financial aspects of an organization, forecasting and reporting. They could also help to make strategic financial decisions. However, the specifics may vary by level, industry and type of position.
While professional certification might not technically be a requirement to pursue a finance career, some people may choose to pursue a credential like this to demonstrate their expertise to current or potential employers. These credentials are issued by professional organizations, and may have a variety of prerequisites. These include:
Some finance masters programs may support students in seeking professional credentials by preparing students for some or all of the exams. However, that may vary on an individual basis. For more information on what you might need to do to qualify for a professional credential in finance, follow up with your selected school.
Now you're equipped with the information you need to start your search for a masters program in finance. The academic path you choose may depend largely on what you plan to do after you complete your degree. To a certain extent, you want to not only prepare yourself with an education but also the ‘right’ education for the type of career you want to lead.
Don’t be shy, reaching out to more than one finance school may increase your chances of achieving your goal. Just click request info, fill out the for, and be sure you understand the ins and outs of each program.
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