Master’s Degree

Usually out of a desire to get promoted to a management or executive position, an undergraduate finance major often pursues a master’s degree in finance. A master’s degree program is considerably more specialized than a bachelor’s degree program, because usually at this stage in his or her career, the finance major has picked an area of finance in which to focus and specialize.

A prerequisite to virtually all finance master’s degree programs is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While it certainly can be helpful for success in master’s degree pursuits, a bachelor’s degree in finance is not usually specifically required for entrance into a master’s degree program in finance. The typical components of an application package include a formal application form, an essay, transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended, official scores from the GMAT exam, and a resume or job profile. A test or equivalent to demonstrate proficiency in English may also be required for those for whom English is not a first language.

While it is not unheard of to obtain a master’s degree specifically in finance, a master’s in business administration (MBA) with a specialization in finance is much more common. For an MBA degree, in addition to the specialized courses in finance, expect to take foundation and core courses in mathematics; statistics; economics; accounting; information technology; organizational behavior; marketing; and operations and supply chain management. Financial courses typically cover in depth such topics as investment banking; the ethics of investment management; real estate finance and investments; international financial management; financial derivatives; and fixed income markets and securities.

Most master’s degree programs offer the option of completing the degree on a full-time or a part-time basis. This is done to accommodate the needs of both full-time students and those students who are working full-time. If you complete the program full-time, you can expect it to take between two and three years to complete. Part-time students can generally complete a master’s degree program in three to six years.

Most finance master’s degree recipients use their degrees to advance to managerial and executive positions in their chosen fields of finance. Most do not pursue higher education upon completion of their master’s degrees. For a very select few, however, those who have a very deep love and passion for finance and wish to teach it at the university level, a doctoral degree, or PhD, caps their educational achievements.

Last Updated: 06/08/2014

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