Masters in Finance vs MBA: Which Should I Get?

Are you considering a graduate degree in business but unsure whether to pursue a Master’s in Finance (MF) or a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)?
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Are you considering a graduate degree in business but unsure whether to pursue a Master’s in Finance (MF) or a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)? Both are respected graduate degrees that can help you advance your career and achieve your professional goals.

To inform your decision, you must understand the differences between these degrees, from curriculum to career paths. Let’s look at these key differences to give you insight into which degree best fits your goals and aspirations.

What is a Master’s in Finance?

A Master’s in Finance, also known as an MF degree, is a graduate-level program focusing on developing expertise in financial management, investments, and financial instruments. The program is designed to offer skilled training on financial concepts, analytical skills, and decision-making strategies required to excel in financial services and related industries.

Through a Master’s in Finance program, students can acquire a deeper knowledge of financial markets, institutions, and products. They also learn about corporate finance, investment analysis, risk management, portfolio management, and financial accounting practices. Additionally, graduates of these programs understand how organizations operate and how financial analysis and decision-making support business objectives.

Coursework for an MF degree includes financial theory and financial decision-making, with electives that cover topics such as financial modeling, quantitative analysis, derivatives, and investments. Students will also need to engage in practical applications like internships, case studies, simulations, or capstone projects, which provide hands-on experience in finance and prepare students for real-world situations.

One of the key benefits of completing a Master’s in Finance degree is that it helps prepare professionals for a variety of roles in finance and business, including corporate finance, investment banking, portfolio management, risk management, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

What is an MBA?

An MBA degree is a postgraduate degree recognized worldwide and highly respected by students and employers. The MBA program is intended to give students a thourough understanding of various business fields, including finance, marketing, management, accounting, and entrepreneurship. An MBA education aims to develop professional, problem-solving, and leadership skills in students to prepare them to face the world of business.

The MBA degree curriculum includes a wide range of subjects such as economics, management, strategy, accounting, finance, marketing, and other areas relevant to business. Students pursuing an MBA also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular field, such as healthcare management or supply chain management.

Difference Between an MBA and a Master’s in Finance

Now, investigate the main differences between a Master’s in Finance and an MBA.

Master’s in Finance vs. MBA Curriculum

The curriculum of an MBA program provides students with a comprehensive overview of business management, including marketing, finance, accounting, human resources, operations, and strategy. In contrast, a Master’s in Finance typically focuses on finance-related topics such as investments, financial analysis, and risk management.

While both degrees cover topics related to finance, an MBA degree provides a broader understanding of business management, which can benefit students 

looking to pursue leadership roles in an organization. On the other hand, a 

Master’s in Finance allows students to specialize in finance-specific fields, providing them with a deeper understanding of financial concepts and practical applications.

Master’s in Finance vs. MBA Careers

Graduates of an MBA program typically have a variety of career opportunities 

available to them, including management, consulting, finance, and entrepreneurship. Because of the broad skill set provided by an MBA degree, graduates can often easily transition across industries to find roles that fulfill them.

Graduates of a Master’s in Finance program typically work in finance-specific roles, such as investment banking, financial analysis, wealth management, or risk management. These roles may be more specialized, but they usually provide a deeper understanding of financial concepts, allowing graduates to become specialists in their field.

Master’s in Finance vs. MBA Cohort and Schedule

The cohort structure of MBA and Master’s in Finance programs can differ. 

Because the MBA curriculum is broader, these students often take classes with various other majors like engineers, accountants, and liberal arts students. In contrast, a Master’s in Finance program generally recruits students with an undergraduate degree in finance, economics, or business, creating a more focused cohort.

The schedule of an MBA program is also varied. Some universities offer full-time, part-time, online, and executive MBA programs. Master’s in Finance programs are more commonly offered full-time in a traditional academic setting.

Master’s in Finance vs. MBA Cost

The cost of an MBA or MF program varies depending on which institution you attend, the program you choose (online or in-person), and if you go to school full-time or part-time. As mentioned, most MF programs are full-time while MBA programs can be part-time, online, or full-time.

If you complete a part-time program, you can still work, which may assist those looking to keep costs down. If you enroll in a full-time program, you won’t be able to also work, though you will complete coursework more quickly. 

Choosing the Right Degree for You

If you take the time to consider the benefits offered by both MBAs and Master’s in Finance degrees, you can make an informed decision for your future. In addition to the differences listed above, here are some considerations to help you make the right choice.

Consider Your Interests and Passions

Consider honestly what you enjoy doing. If you are drawn to business topics and enjoy studying different industries and their company models, you’ll enjoy the MBA curriculum. Or, if you prefer to focus on a more specialized interest like finance, the MF program may be better suited for you.

Consider taking a career assessment test to help gauge your interests and skills. These tests provide insight into the career paths that interest and suit your personality and character.

Think About Your Career Goals

Your degree should align with your career goals. Consider what type of career 

you want and what you can envision doing full-time. Both finance and business careers allow graduates to work in various workplace settings, so research the variations between each.

Also, network with professionals in business and finance roles and get an idea of their daily workload. Ask questions, observe their work environment, and pay attention to the type of work they are performing. This is a great way to get a realistic idea of a certain job or field.

Explore Different Degree Programs

It’s helpful to explore the various fields and degree programs available. Look into the requirements for each program, the job market, and the potential career opportunities. Ask faculty members or advisors about different programs to learn more about their curriculum, outcomes, and available resources.

About Xavier University

Are you looking to pursue an MBA as a future goal? Xavier University’s multiple Master of Business Administration programs are ranked among the top MBA programs in Cincinnati and Ohio. Our MBA programs include in-person, online, full-time, part-time, and Executive programs, giving students various options to find what works best.

Whatever your personal and professional aspirations, Xavier is here to empower you to reach them. Our students get the most out of their education, from rigorous classroom studies to experiential learning in the real world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Master’s in Finance equivalent to an MBA?

No, a Master’s in Finance is not equivalent to an MBA. While both degrees focus on business and finance, they have different areas of emphasis. A Master’s in Finance typically focuses on the technical and analytical aspects of finance, such as financial modeling and analysis, while an MBA covers a broader range of business topics, including marketing, leadership, and strategy.

Is a Master’s in Finance good for investment banking?

Yes, a Master’s in Finance can be a good choice for those pursuing a career in investment banking. Many investment banks prefer candidates with advanced degrees in finance or related fields, indicating a strong understanding of financial concepts and analytical skills. Additionally, a Master’s in Finance program may offer opportunities for internships or networking with industry professionals, which can be valuable in securing a finance job.

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