Masters in Finance: Become an Economic Master

By Brendan Conway updated on Friday, January 25, 2013

If you're interested in taking finance to the next level, past undergraduate studies, than a master's in finance is your next stop.

Why should I earn a master's in finance?

Earning a master's in finance is by no means necessary for someone interested in entering into a finance-related profession, as there are many professions which can be entered into with just a bachelor's degree or an associate degree in finance. The highest levels of finance will require master's degrees, however; thus, if you're hoping to get into the highest levels of a finance-related profession, you would do well to pursue a master's in finance.

Which master's in finance should I get?

One of the primary questions that anyone interested in that level of professional work might immediately ask, of course, is whether to get a master's in finance or an MBA with a specialization in finance. The MBA is in many instances the more recognized degree, and it can theoretically open many of the same doors.

The answer to the question isn't easy to say, of course. A master's in finance and an MBA will actually often cover very similar topics, but there are some differences which might make one preferable over the other. The biggest difference lies in terms of specialization.

An MBA, even with a special focus in finance, is going to inherently be a much more generalized degree. It will cover several elements of business which generally do not have a direct relation to matters of finance.

A master's in finance will obviously focus almost exclusively on matters of finance. In turn, however, someone with a master's in finance will very likely have studied topics in such depth and with such a degree of focus that he or she will have a much greater understanding of matters of finance. Even an MBA specialized into finance will likely not achieve the same level of depth as a master's in finance would.

What careers will a master's in finance help me pursue?

Whether this specialization is ultimately advantageous or detrimental will vary greatly depending upon the individual goals of the student in question, as well as the environment in which he or she is pursuing a career. For example, a student who is determined to find a job somewhere within the domain of finance would very likely be better off pursuing a master's in finance, as such a degree would give him or her a greater amount of specialization and skill, thereby making him or her a more desirable candidate for a finance career.

On the other hand, if careers in finance are difficult to find or obtain, even with the additional specialization of a master's in finance, the decision may not be a good one. An MBA would allow him or her to find additional potential jobs which might allow the student to find a job more easily, even if that job was not in the direct realm of finance. It's a difficult question as to which option makes more sense for a particular student.

What is involved in obtaining a master's in finance?

A master's of finance will likely take up to three years of study, and will most often require students to have bachelor's degrees before coming into the master's of finance program, although these bachelor's degrees do not have to be within the realm of finance or economics.

A master's of finance program will cover such areas of study as investment analysis, financial management, accounting, and more. Students graduating from such programs will generally have Master of Finance degrees, or Master of Science in Finance degrees.

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About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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