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Finance Is a Top MBA Concentration

Are you interested in pursuing a rewarding career in the fast-growing field of finance? Then a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance -- the expected level of education in the field -- may be well worth your consideration.

Career Outlook

Employment growth projections for positions within finance are exceptionally optimistic among all careers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Financial advisor roles are projected to grow by 15 percent (40,400 jobs) until 2026 -- much faster than the average for all careers. The BLS sees strong growth for financial analysts, projected at 11 percent, and financial managers at 19percent during the same period.

Why such an exceptional outlook for these roles at this particular time? Job growth in financial planning and management is driven by demographics. Aging Baby Boomers and longer lifespans are leading to longer retirements, which drive demand for financial services.

Businesses, banks and investment firms actively seek financial advisors, analysts, sales agents and managers with finance MBAs. According to a Monster article titled Best-Paying MBA Majors, "Finance is known as an MBA-heavy field." Common jobs and salaries for MBAs with a finance concentration include:

  • Chief Financial Officer: $183,000
  • Finance Manager: $112,000
  • Senior Financial Analyst: $86,300

An MBA is practically a requirement for many positions within the field, and an MBA with an emphasis in finance may open up more career pathways in the finance sector than a general MBA. A concentration in finance provides stronger training in the specific skills required for success in financial management, planning, analysis, security sales, and other related positions.

Poets & Quants confirms the value of focused MBA programs, saying, "The generalist training of the MBA degrees, coupled with the ability to concentrate in a specific area, makes it more valuable to employers." Finance is listed in its "Highest Paying MBA Concentrations of 2016," with an early career median pay of $69,400 and a mid-career median pay of $130,000.

Financial Coursework in a Concentrated MBA

Southeastern Oklahoma State University's program covers security investments, international finance management and an exploration of modern portfolio theory. The curriculum prepares graduates for positions including financial advisor, analyst, agent and manager. These professions are as rewarding as they are fast-growing:

Financial advisors advise clients on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes and retirement. Most work in the finance and insurance industry or are self-employed.

The annual salary range for financial advisors is $34,583 to $124,287, according to PayScale. The skills that increase pay for this job are financial planning, investment management, portfolio management, investment planning and financial reporting, which are covered in SOSU's curriculum.

Financial analysts offer financial or operational accounting guidance to decision-makers within organizations. They evaluate the performance of stocks, bonds and other investments.

These professionals earn between $44,247 and $79,382 annually, according to PayScale. The capabilities that enhance employment prospects include the skills to prepare detailed annual financial budgets and provide financial analysis support to various areas of a company.

Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents connect buyers and sellers in financial markets, manage portfolios, sell securities to individuals, and advise companies in search of investors.

According to PayScale, stock brokers make an annual salary between $39,010 and $151,088. Bonuses and incentives can push total compensation to near $200,000. The SOSU program prepares students to perform these responsibilities with integrity.

Finance managers produce financial reports, direct investment activities and develop long-term financial strategies. Finance managers claim high job satisfaction and enjoy great authority. The U.S. BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that candidates with a master's degree have the brightest outlook as financial managers.

Finance managers may earn salaries from $48,394 to $123,5840 annually, according to PayScale.

As an MBA graduate, you should not have to wait long for your expertise in finance to pay dividends. Eight-one percent of employers reported plans to hire MBA graduates in 2018, according to the GMAC 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report. These same employers also planned to offer a median base salary of $105,000 to MBA graduates in 2018. From there, your prospects continue to improve. According to the GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey, business school alumni earn nearly $2.5 million in cumulative base salary in the 20 years following graduation.

If your passion is finance and you have high ambitions, enrolling in an MBA program with an emphasis in finance may be the most consequential step you take in your career.

Learn more about the SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in Finance program.


Sources:

Monster: Best-Paying MBA Majors

Poets & Quants: Highest Paying MBA Concentrations of 2016

U.S. BLS: Outlook for Financial Advisors and Similar Occupations

U.S. BLS: Personal Financial Advisors

U.S. BLS: Financial Managers

U.S. BLS: Financial Analysts

PayScale: Financial Analyst Salary

PayScale: Financial Advisor Salary

PayScale: Finance Manager

PayScale: Stock Broker

2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report

GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey

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