When you’re considering a career related to finance, your degree options include a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in finance. While these kinds of degree programs might seem similar, there are some notable differences between them. As you explore business school options for your career, you’ll need to decide which program is more suitable for you. Comparing an MBA versus a master’s in finance can help you understand more about both degree programs and choose the one that best fits your finance career goals.
What’s the Difference Between a Master’s in Finance and an MBA?
A master’s in finance and an MBA in Finance are both advanced degree programs in business schools. Although they have a few similarities, they differ in terms of curriculum, available careers, and other areas. In order to understand the differences between these degree programs, it’s helpful to first learn what each one is.
What Is a Master’s in Finance?
A master’s in finance is a graduate degree program that provides in-depth education on finance-related topics, such as financial theory and financial markets. This type of degree focuses exclusively on financial courses rather than business-related topics, such as marketing or entrepreneurship. A master’s in finance program prepares you for a career in finance.
What Is an MBA in Finance?
An MBA in Finance is a graduate degree program that teaches a combination of finance subjects and business subjects. This type of degree program includes financial classes, but it also covers operations, management, and other subjects that are part of business education. An MBA in Finance helps you learn the skills needed to work in finance while also teaching you about business principles and practices.
Master’s in Finance vs. MBA
When you’re deciding whether to pursue a master’s in finance or an MBA in Finance, taking the time to compare curriculum, cost, completion time, and other factors is important. These factors can help you understand more about these degree programs and how they differ so you can choose the right one for your career goals. The following are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing between these advanced degree programs.
The curriculum in an MBA program vs. a master’s in finance program is one of the biggest differences. A master’s in finance includes courses related to finance, such as accounting, investing, statistics, financial theory, and financial reporting. The curriculum for this degree program is designed to help you learn specific or specialized financial skills and knowledge for a career in finance. Courses in other areas of business, such as leadership or marketing, are not typically included in a master’s in finance program.
An MBA in Finance includes courses that cover both finance-related subjects and business-related subjects. This advanced degree program does not focus solely on finance and might not offer in-depth information on specific financial areas. However, it does include classes, such as accounting, management, communications, and international business, that provide a well-rounded education in business and finance.
The kinds of skills you can expect to learn in an MBA vs. master’s in finance program differ in some ways. A master’s in finance teaches you skills for a financial career, such as investment analysis, risk management, and financial reporting. This type of program does not focus on helping you learn other kinds of business skills, such as leadership.
An MBA in Finance program helps you develop a wider range of skills for a financial career. You can expect to learn leadership skills, as well as communication, teamwork and collaboration, market analytics, and problem-solving along with a more substantial overview of finance topics than a regular MBA offers. You’ll also learn other financial skills in this type of program, such as accounting skills. However, the financial skills you learn might not be as in-depth or specialized as those learned in a master’s in finance program.
Time to Complete
The length of time it takes to earn a master’s in finance or an MBA in Finance differs. In general, a master’s in finance is offered on a full-time basis. This requires you to take a full course load rather than a part-time course load, but it also means you’ll most likely earn your degree sooner. Some master’s in finance programs can be completed in 12 to 15 months.
When you’re in an MBA program, you can usually choose between full-time and part-time schedules. Since many MBA students already work, a part-time schedule can be easier to manage, especially for those working full-time jobs. However, full-time MBA in Finance programs are also available. Doing a full-time MBA program can help you earn your degree in a shorter amount of time compared to a part-time MBA program. Overall, MBA programs in Finance might take two or three years to finish, depending on whether they are part-time or full-time.
How do the costs of an MBA in Finance vs. a master’s in finance compare? The exact costs of these degree programs vary considerably from school to school. Since a master’s in finance is typically full-time, you might find these costs higher compared to part-time MBA programs. Keep in mind that your ability to earn an income is also limited when you go to school full-time to earn a master’s in finance. However, it might only take a year to earn your degree, so you can begin working full-time upon graduation sooner rather than later.
The cost of MBA in Finance programs differs, depending on whether they’re full-time or part-time. A full-time MBA program will cost more upfront than a part-time program. However, a part-time program is spread out over a longer period, which is important to take into consideration. If you work full-time and go to school part-time, you’ll still be earning your full income during school. The downside to this is that you might need to wait longer to earn your degree and pursue a finance career.
When you earn your degree, the career paths available to you may differ, depending on whether you have a master’s in finance or an MBA in Finance. With a master’s in finance degree, you might consider career paths such as financial analyst, financial advisor, chief financial officer, investment manager, or financial manager. These career paths require you to have in-depth financial skills, including specialized skills in some cases.
With an MBA in Finance, you can choose from many career paths, including product manager, general management, entrepreneur, consultant, or business executive. Your education in both finance and business provides you with the skills needed for leadership roles in financial departments or other departments in organizations.
Do employers show more demand for job candidates with an MBA in Finance or a master’s in finance? This depends on the position you’re interested in and other factors. For example, employers might prefer hiring someone with a master’s in finance to work in risk management or another specialized financial role. Remember that earning a master’s in finance usually involves looking for entry-level jobs, especially if you don’t have any work experience yet.
When you earn an MBA in Finance, this can help you stand out from the competition for finance-related jobs in the business world. You don’t necessarily need a master’s in finance for these kinds of jobs. If you already have work experience, this can also make you a more desirable job candidate. With previous work experience, you can focus on looking for advanced positions rather than entry-level ones after earning your degree.
How to Choose the Right Degree for You
Which finance degree is right for you? This depends on your career goals, schedule, budget, interests, and other factors. If you’re leaning toward a career in finance, such as a financial analyst or financial advisor, an education focusing on in-depth financial skills and knowledge might make a master’s in finance a better choice. If you want to combine your financial skills and knowledge with business skills, an MBA in Finance probably makes more sense.
Keep in mind that your situation might also factor into your decision. For example, a part-time MBA in Finance, which has more flexibility, might suit your schedule better than a full-time master’s in finance. Your decision also depends on how soon you want to earn your degree and how much you want to spend on school.
Start Your MBA in Finance at UTC
If you’re ready to get started on your MBA degree, contact The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Our Gary W. Rollins College of Business offers an MBA program with a Finance concentration. This concentration includes coursework in advanced financial management, international financial management, investments, financial markets, and more.