MBA Concentrations: Do they matter?
Unlike undergraduate programs, you’re not required to choose a concentration when pursuing an MBA. In fact, you can keep your options open by earning a general MBA degree while taking elective courses that align with your interests and career goals.
Which is better? Drilling down into a concentration or keeping your options open with a general MBA? Let’s take a look.
MBA concentrations build on basic coursework while helping students dig deeper into a particular concentration. The advantages of choosing a concentration include:
- Customize your MBA to your interests/career goals
- Increase your skills and knowledge in a given subject area, increasing your attractiveness as a job applicant
- Show potential employers your interest and willingness to develop skills and knowledge in a particular concentration, which may set you apart from other job candidates
Even if you’re unsure of a career path, specializing in a concentration allows you to explore an area of interest that may shape the trajectory of your career.
With or without a concentration, an MBA prepares you for almost any field. Also, it’s good to know that a concentration won’t limit you to a particular career path should you choose one. There’s room to grow within as well as outside a given concentration throughout your career.
As knowledge, interests, and experience increase and/or evolve, you can grow laterally into other jobs with ease.
What is a Finance MBA?
A Finance MBA is a post-graduate level degree option that combines the basics of an MBA degree with specialized classes focused on financial subject matter. Examples of topics covered include investments, collections, borrowing, disbursements, fundraising, securities analysis, international finance, and portfolio management. Many Master of Business Administration degree programs combine learning with paid and unpaid internships positions in major financial organizations.
The MBA in Finance prepares students with in-depth knowledge related to various facets of finance. A Finance MBA places a much greater emphasis on financial theory and analysis while building on the competencies and skills acquired during undergraduate studies. Students increase their proficiencies in statistics, mathematics, and economic analysis, thereby increasing their ability to manage projects and tasks at a management level in the workplace.
The MBA in Finance increases your knowledge of finance, preparing you for mid to upper management and executive-level positions in the financial industry. As a Finance MBA graduate, you’re trained to perform at a higher level with the ability to take on management tasks and more complex projects.
Graduates often find jobs in credit unions, commercial banks, management consulting firms, investment firms, broker-dealer firms, large corporations, and other financial institutions, both domestically and abroad.
With an MBA in Finance, it’s easier to secure a job, and your worth is increased to both current and potential employers. Based on your educational experience, the Finance MBA provides greater leverage in securing a higher salary, especially if you’ve completed an internship or have experience in your career field during your studies.
Can I Get a Finance MBA Online?
Many colleges and universities offer online MBA programs. Best of all, the online Finance MBA provides many of the same educational opportunities as an on-campus program. Online programs expand study options, providing improved accessibility and flexibility for students. Taking online business classes gives you the freedom to pursue a Finance MBA in a way that suits your needs and schedule.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, in fact, offers a 100% Online MBA that is AACSB accredited. With a faculty of industry-experienced instructors and best-of-class courses, UTC’s 100% Online MBA program offers a well-rounded business education that ensures success for its graduates.
With UTC’s completely online program, you earn a respected master’s degree without ever having to set foot on campus, and you can do so on a full-time basis or as a part-time student while working full-time.
How long does it take to get an MBA with a concentration in finance?
Although accelerated programs are sometimes available, a traditional full-time MBA program takes approximately two years to complete. If a student decides to work full-time and study on a part-time basis, it will take longer.
MBA in Finance Coursework
MBA in Finance programs train graduates to successfully oversee and manage finance and accounts for any organization. MBA coursework covers a wide range of business-related topics including accounting, economics, communications, statistics, entrepreneurship, financial theory, and management.
Coursework for an MBA in finance varies from school to school. Examples of classes you may be required to take include:
- Organizational Behavior and Leadership
- Human Resource Management
- Business Statistics
- Corporate Governance and Business Ethics
- Financial Institutions and Markets
- Fundamental of Econometrics
- Marketing Management
- Entrepreneurship Development
- Business Policy and Strategic Management
- Information Technology
As you can see, coursework covers a broad spectrum of subjects, preparing you to work in various sectors such as investment banking, private banking, merchant banking, consulting, and many other financial and non-financial institutions.
Master’s in Finance vs MBA
Those who want to continue their studies must determine whether a master’s in finance or an MBA will help them reach their career goals. Many individuals choose an MBA because it offers a more comprehensive curriculum.
However, a master’s in finance, also known as a Master of Finance or MF, has become increasingly popular. Therefore, individuals who want to further their studies must weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine which course of study helps them obtain the high-paying career positions to which they aspire.
What is the Difference Between an MBA vs an MF?
The MF degree is much more finance-specific compared to the MBA which covers a comprehensive skill set and knowledge base made up of numerous business-related aspects. Your career goals determine which program is right for you. Some key things to consider when comparing a master’s in finance vs MBA include:
- Both programs can assist you in reaching your career aspirations
- An MBA offers more flexibility in terms of coursework and taking classes on a part-time basis
- Business schools have become more competitive, whereas MBA programs have become more popular
- For those who want to devote only one year to earning a degree while working towards a finance-specific career, an MF can be a good alternative
- Although the MBA takes longer, it can help you land a better paying job and make more money throughout your career
- An MBA teaches skills that transfer to other business roles/positions
Looking More Specifically at an MBA
MBA coursework covers a wide range of business-related topics which can help you climb the corporate ladder. MBA coursework prepares students for careers in financial institutions including banks, nonprofits, and other governmental agencies and start-up companies. Coursework prepares you to work in financial positions within companies in many other job sectors, as well. MBA applicants are typically expected to have a good GPA in undergraduate coursework and an adequate GMAT score to be accepted into their program.
An individual can pursue an MBA as either a full- or part-time student. It’s much easier, however, for a student who has recently earned their bachelor’s degree to transition into a graduate program right after completing their undergraduate work if they intend to pursue an MBA full-time. Individuals already in the workforce typically have obligations that prevent them from pursuing their MBA on a full-time basis. Students who have already entered the workforce generally choose to pursue their MBA on a part-time basis.
There are two types of part-time MBA programs – the executive MBA (EMBA) and a “regular” part-time MBA. Both are intended for individuals who are already established within the workforce. The most common type of student, however, is those who work full-time but have not yet attained a leadership role within their organization. According to Investopedia, these individuals are typically between 24 and 35 years of age. They enter the MBA program with the intent to boost their career, hoping to enter management or a leadership role earlier in their careers because of having earned an MBA.
The second type, the EMBA, is designed for someone who has already attained an executive position or some other type of higher leadership role within a company. According to Investopedia, these individuals are typically between 32 and 42 years of age and employers generally pick up the tab for their education.
Taking a Closer Look at Master of Finance
The MF program is shorter than an MBA, taking up to one year of full-time study compared to two years for the MBA. MF programs are for individuals who want to focus more specifically on finance. Master of Finance programs comprehensively target finance and typically don’t mandate any previous work experience; therefore, students pursuing the MF tend to be younger than students pursuing their MBA.
MF programs are filled with courses related to finance such as mathematics, financial theory, quantitative finance, financial reporting and analysis, markets, investments, and valuation. Since MF students are trained with a smaller skill set and generally have less work experience, they generally earn lower salaries than MBAs.
Why Choose an MBA with a Concentration in Finance?
There are actually several reasons to choose an MBA with a concentration in finance:
- Makes you highly employable
- Results in an above-average salary
- Helps you to advance your leadership skills within the world of finance
According to a review performed by PayScale comparing the four MBA concentrations, MBAs were almost 5 times more likely to choose the finance concentration, and finance is one of the top 10 paying MBA concentrations. According to salary.com, the average salary range for an MBA in Finance in the United States ranges between $88,663 and $110,724 per year with the average being $99,766.
What Can I Do with a Finance MBA?
A Finance MBA trains you for a wide range of roles in and out of financial organizations. A Finance MBA prepares you for a variety of well-established career paths such as:
- Financial manager
- Corporate controller
- Accounting manager
- Management consultant
- Financial analyst
- Chief financial officer (CFO)
MBA Finance grads find jobs working in the private, public, nonprofit, and governmental sectors.
A 2014 study of the 100 best-performing CEOs in the world published in the Harvard Business Review stated that 29 of the 100 CEOs on the list had MBAs. According to CNBC, top CEOs who have earned an MBA include:
- Apple’s Tim Cook
- Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky
- General Electric’s Jeffrey R. Immelt
- Wells Fargo’s John Stumpf
Is the MBA with Finance Concentration Worth It?
A career with an MBA in finance can provide money, prestige, and stability.
An MBA can increase your salary. According to MBA.com, newly hired employees with an MBA earn a starting salary of as much as $115K, which is substantially higher than the new hire with an undergraduate degree who makes only $65K. It must be noted, however, that factors that may impact your salary as an MBA include the school attended, chosen field of study, experience, and position within the company.
An MBA in Finance provides a comprehensive skill set on which to build a career with a firm foundation. This leads to a career path in which you’re greatly valued and highly paid.
Earning an MBA in Finance can help you land a high-paying job and enhances the trajectory of a career path. Many business school alumni report the benefits of having pursued an MBA degree.
Are you ready to take the next step toward earning an MBA? The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) offers several career-focused educational options for those choosing to pursue a Master of Business Administration. Whether you decide to pursue a degree program in-person or online, UTC offers three career-focused MBA concentrations – Finance, Business Analytics, and Healthcare Administration. Additionally, you can choose to keep your options open by earning a general MBA degree and taking electives that align with your interests and career goals. For more information on how The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga can help you pursue your career goals, contact us at https://www.utc.edu/mba.