Are you interested in pursuing a graduate degree in finance?
At Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, we offer a 100-percent online Master of Science — Finance degree, which can be an exceptional investment in your career. Today's businesses are interested in hiring employees who have a high level of education, a depth of knowledge in the field, and a forward-thinking, innovative ability to help keep the company moving forward. Many people obtain a bachelor's degree in finance and then get started in the field. But did you know that completing your master's degree can provide advantages that will help you stand out from your peers?
Here are some of the benefits of earning your master’s in finance:
Employers appreciate your advanced degree
According to the 2016 Graduate Management Admission Council, “companies continue to express high levels of hiring demand for business school graduates.” In short, employers are more likely to fill a position with a candidate with a master's degree versus one who has not pursued an advanced degree.
Why do employers want to hire those with more education in today's financial sector? The reasons are numerous.
- Those with a master's degree are not only knowledgeable but have a more modern, recent education to use to benefit their company.
- Those with a higher level of education have more leadership and management skills, both of which are key factors in today's diverse workplace.
- Most with a master's degree have both advanced education and work experience, an important qualification for many businesses.
The market is less saturated
While an MBA is much more generalized, a master’s in finance will be much more targeted on the financial aspects of business. Courses include mathematics, financial theory, quantitative finance, markets, financial reporting, investments, financial analysis, and valuation. Rather than train for a variety of fields, mastering in finance pinpoints a narrow focus that will set you apart from the crowd.
There are many financial job opportunities, which provides plenty of options for the finance major. It is a far less-saturated job market than openings for an MBA. When you distinguish yourself as a financial professional with a focused financial degree, you will stand out from the crowd. A finance degree is also usually harder to achieve than an MBA, and it shows your dedication to the numbers.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for finance experts is good. The rate of finance jobs is expected to grow slightly faster than average at 5% within the next 10 years. This includes financial and investment analysts, financial risk specialists and more. Financial specialists are expected to grow at a rate of about 4% over the next 10 years. The BLS notes, “A growing range of financial products and the need for in-depth knowledge of geographic regions are expected to lead to strong employment growth.”
Finance isn’t as common of a career path because of the dual-nature of demands. Those in finance have to be skilled with numbers while being good at communication. You will need to be a team player and capable of making friendly conversations with a variety of professionals, both in and out of the office. Finance officers and strategists have to be diplomatic as they handle business goals and determine financial paths forward.
The opportunities are endless.
Many people wonder about the career advancement opportunities a master's degree can provide. Those with a master's may qualify for:
- Senior financial analyst
- Commercial or investment banker
- Financial controller or director
- Chief financial officer
- Real estate finance manager
- Insurance finance manager
- Management roles in any finance department
With a master's in finance, your résumé is more impressive to employers and provides them with a better reason to hire you over other candidates. It also aids in promotions within the same company.
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You’ll have the advantage.
You'll be better qualified for positions that require management or leadership skills. You'll be able to focus your education on a specific topic that interests you, making you an ideal candidate for positions in that field. And you'll have a higher sense of recognition and accomplishment because you've taken on this advanced degree.
Most master's degrees in finance can be completed in less than two years and are available on flexible schedules to encourage busy professionals working in the field to complete the coursework. For those who anticipate advancing in this field, continuing your education is perhaps one of the most important decisions you can make.
Straight path to leadership
As a finance professional, you will likely be working directly with leaders in the company. Not only will you have a straight shot to the top, but finance professionals work with the decision-makers outside of the company, too. You might be working with government agencies, banks, board members, stockholders, other businesses, suppliers, and more.
If you are interested in moving up in the ranks, you will want to have a degree that supports your career path. A master’s degree is an important place to start. But an MBA can be a little vague. It doesn’t show your true focus. The master’s degree in finance (or an MF) is much more direct. Companies that hire you on will know where you plan to work and what jobs you qualify for. The MF alone will show you are qualified in financial strategies and are dedicated to a niche aspect of the business world.
Another thing to note: Most jobs in finance offer great salaries.
- Personal financial advisor for companies and enterprises make, on average, $85,150 and financial advisors that complete commodity contracts, securities and handle financial investments average $95,540
- Finance managers for scientific, technical, or professional services typically earn an average of $152,810, while manufacturing professionals in this area earn an average of $130,900. Finance managers in government work average $114,250.
- A federal financial examiner makes approximately $121,060 and professionals that work on credit intermediation make around &3,839
- A CFO (chief financial officer) and other chief executives make around $184,460.
Your voice will have an impact
Do you want to matter to your company? Most people want to feel like their input is important. As a financial professional with your master’s degree in finance, you are going to have serious sway in the company. You are the detective—assessing current details and looking for weak spots. Now, more than ever, companies are worried about their finances and making sound monetary decisions.
Companies put a lot of effort into their name, reputation, product, and customers, but the bottom line is the dollar. If your company can’t make enough money, it will go out of business. If the company spends money poorly or doesn’t have the right cash flow in place, it will go out of business. You are the professional that helps put those strategies into place and ensure the company stays as financially healthy as possible.
There is a critical need for incoming financial professionals to be prepared to absorb and analyze data faster for increased agility. According to CFO.com, chief financial officers will take roles that are more operational and expected to be experts in compliance. Some companies are looking for their finance experts to replace their COO positions to fulfill a more effective job with strategic spending and budget management.
Most professionals are looking for a job that offers a rewarding experience beyond paycheck alone. Being in a respected position where people take your advice will offer the benefit of feeling valued in what you do. With a MF, you can help companies navigate the churning waters of finance and determine the best course to build a stronger company for tomorrow.
Johnson & Wales University offers an online Master of Science — Finance degree and a Master of Business Administration — Finance. For more information, complete the Request Info form or call 855-JWU-1881.
*See www.cfp.net/ for information pertaining to CFP certification requirements.