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Want to Work in Finance? Do a Specialized MBA, B-School Recruiters Say

Want to Work in Finance? Do a Specialized MBA, B-School Recruiters Say main image

From fast-growing fintech firms to AI and digital investments, the finance sector has changed significantly in recent years. Nevertheless, it still remains one of the most popular paths amongst MBA graduates, providing them with some of the highest salaries in the world and a plethora of career advancement opportunities.

But is an MBA enough to land a job at a top financial firm?

TopMBA caught up with b-school recruiters and faculty to find out more.

An MBA is always useful

Stéphane Dubreuille, Head of Executive Education at NEOMA Business School, says an MBA title is always advantageous to have when job-hunting in finance.

He said: “The finance professions are professions of strong expertise. An MBA gives a 360-degree vision that allows us to understand the financial impact of each decision, such as management, sales and marketing. It also offers a financial culture that allows you to take a critical look at the expertise of financiers.”

In terms of skills, Stéphane believes an MBA allows graduates to “lead” in the candidate pool.

He said: “The skills sought are managerial – listening, analytical and critical skills, commitment, collective intelligence and personal convictions. MBA students master the fundamentals of corporate finance and are able to make strategic financial decisions such as external growth operations, major fundraising or significant investments in innovative projects.”

Anna Royon-Weigelt, Head of the Career Center at GISMA Business School, agrees. However, she also points out graduates must possess the ability to thrive in times of uncertainty.

She said: “The finance sector has become extremely dynamic and volatile with digitalization, the rapid growth of fintech companies and the use of computer-based investment strategies. The Brexit issue also contributes to uncertainty in the field.

“Restlessness characterizes the industry and creates a specific risk that candidates looking for jobs in this sector have to live with.”

Specializations can open doors – but knowledge of tech is imperative

While trying to land a spot at a top firm remains a highly competitive process, recruiters believe a finance specialization can help MBA graduates stand out in the candidate pool.

Dr Alison Watson, Interim Head of the School of Business and Management at Arden University, said: “A finance recruiter will look for specialisms, therefore they will probably search for an MBA with a themed route attached, as this will suggest specific skills and knowledge development within the financial sector.

“A specialization helps open doors.”

Stéphane agrees. However, he also believes MBA students and graduates need to develop a high knowledge of technology to be able to land top-tier jobs.

He said: “Skills in high demand in finance today are related to modeling and automation. We are looking for people capable of making mathematical, econometric and statistical models, of managing databases, of being able to program them and of automating tasks. In corporate finance, we also use a lot of data that we must analyze, synthesize and project to make quick decisions.

“The obvious skills [MBAs need] are analytical mind, quantitative analysis, and proficiency in many programming languages.”

Discover the top programs for finance

If you want to gain insight into the world’s top finance specializations, take a look here.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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