MBA in Finance | TopMBA.com

An MBA specialization in finance will prove to be invaluable for those thinking about a career that deals with money post-graduation. Those who choose to go into the field of finance will be required to have strong skills in mathematics, economics, and financial theory, all of which are covered in great detail in a finance degree, specialization or track.

An MBA in finance balances mathematical rigor with management classes, and can be a good way to direct your career towards c-suite jobs in finance. As well as what you learn in the classroom, you will be able to undertake a finance internship (at most schools) allowing you to expand on your MBA while actively researching whether or not a career in finance is right for you.

What is an MBA in Finance?

An MBA in Finance prepares students for careers in accounting, financial planning, banking, corporate finance and other institutions in the financial sector.

What You Need to Study an MBA in Finance

Most MBA specializations will require a strong background in mathematics on top of the usual communication and managerial skills demanded by business schools.

Finance is an ever-popular discipline, so getting into a top school will also require a competitive GMAT score. Average scores for top business schools can exceed 700 (in North America in particular). Since finance programs are looking for the math-savvy, most schools are looking for quantitative section numbers in the 40-60 range.

MBA in Finance – Course Content

While courses vary from school to school, finance MBA courses typically include:

  • Corporate investment management
  • Portfolio management
  • Hedge fund management
  • Small business and corporate finance
  • Investments
  • Securities analysis
  • Borrowing
  • Fundraising
  • Collections
  • Disbursements
  • International finance
  • Coverage of global financial institutions, valuation, volatility, fixed income securities, international markets and macroeconomics

Typical coursework and projects include financial modeling, global macro and micro-economics, private equity projects, stock market pitch projects, entrepreneurship projects based in mergers and acquisitions, real estate investment, development and design, and investment strategies.

International economics programs will, obviously, require a bit of international travel. The Wharton School, for example, has campuses and programs in conjunction with other business schools around the world, which makes it very accessible to those hoping to take their MBA in finance onto a more global setting in their future endeavors.

Many MBA finance degrees also combine learning with internships or paid positions in major financial corporations.

While an MBA in finance typically prepares graduates for a broad range of careers, some business schools offer a deeper specialization for those with a particular field of interest in mind:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) specialization allows holders to practice accountancy as an individual, or as part of a corporation. Many independent CPAs deal with tax services, personal wealth, personal investments and smaller amounts of money on the private side. When working for a larger firm, the CPA specialization means that certificate holders will operate in the financial arm of the company, particularly with taxes, corporate money, wealth management and other investment and monetary based roles.
  • The Certified Financial Adviser (CFA) works both publicly and privately with either individuals or companies to help them make wise investments and purchases, build investment portfolios, and generally manage their money.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) handles almost all of the financial aspects of a company, from forecasting the profit margins of specific projects to advising directors on the best means of achieving financial growth and protecting their company from potential risk.  
  • International finance is not only a huge sector, but a growing one as well. Specializing in this field opens up opportunities in international investment, banking and taxation, as well as allowing international financiers insights into developing markets.
  • Financial economics focuses more on microeconomics in terms of optimization, equilibrium and comparative statics. This specialization is more observational, looking at the models of how producers and consumers function in a given economy.
  • Corporate finance is where most finance MBAs will be looking to end up, as a fund manager for instance, or financial personnel manager. Topics within corporate finance are typically focused on how to grow the corporation’s capital by means of mergers & acquisitions, financial forecasting, managing investments and managing investment strategies.

The Wharton School has been ranked as the best business school in the world for specializing in finance once again, with 35.8 percent of its graduates going into financial services. The complete top 10 can be found below.

1)    The Wharton School

2)    Stanford Graduate School of Business

3)    Harvard Business School

4)    Columbia Business School

5)    The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

6)    NYU Stern School of Business

7)    Saïd Business School

8)    London Business School

9)    Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

10) MIT Sloan School of Management

Top Careers to Pursue with an MBA in Finance

There are numerous opportunities for finance MBA grads, mainly because of the various subjects students are taught during the two-year course. In fact, graduates can land careers in financial consultancies, financial institutions, banks and so much more.

If you’re looking into something a bit more niche, you could go into fields like investment and consumer banking, merchant banking, international finance, corporate finance and institutional finance. And when you’ve gained enough experience in the field, you could eventually serve on government committees, having your say on policy-making issues; provide consultation services to government and corporate organizations.

Possible jobs following an MBA in finance include:

  • Accounting Manager
  • Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)
  • Cash Managers
  • Manager Consultants
  • Investment Banking Associates
  • Credit Managers & Specialists
  • Financial Analyst
  • Corporate Controllers
  • Finance Officers & Treasurers
  • Insurance & Risk Managers
  • Investment Bankers
  • Investing Sales Traders & Associates

Careers in financial management can vary from business to business, but financial management careers typically include asset management, corporate finance, investment banking, sales and trading, personal finance and insurance.

Salaries

Financial officers play a fundamental role in all types of businesses, leading to generally high salaries and bonuses.

Here are some of the top-tier finance positions with the highest average salaries you could land after your MBA, according to PayScale:

  • Chief Financial Officer: US$135,540
  • Investment Banker: US$100,428
  • Finance Manager: US$91,919
  • Senior Financial Analyst: US$81,081
  • Accounting Manager: US$72,223

Top Firms Hiring in Finance

If a successful career at a top financial firm is your goal, here are the firms you should consider sending your application to:

  • Goldman Sachs
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Bain & Company
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
  • JP Morgan Chase & Co
  • Barclays
  • KPMG
  • McKinsey & Co
  • Amazon
  • Deloitte