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What Is an MBA With an Emphasis in Finance?

A Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance is a direct route to an influential career in an industry most Americans regard as highly important to their futures. The MBA is the expected level of academic achievement for this field, and the specific focus provides the preparation graduates need to hit the ground running.

The Employment Outlook

Job prospects in the field of finance for MBA graduates have never been more promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects personal financial advisor roles to grow by 30 percent until 2024 — more than four times the average for all careers. The BLS expects 73,900 new jobs in that time frame.

Several other career paths for MBA graduates with an emphasis in finance show strong projections as well. Jobs for financial analysts are projected to grow 12 percent until 2024, financial sales agents at 10 percent and financial managers at 7 percent.

A primary job growth driver for advisors is the aging population. “As large numbers of Baby Boomers approach retirement, they will seek planning advice from personal financial advisors. Also, longer lifespans will lead to longer retirement periods, further increasing demand for financial planning services,” according to the BLS. The replacement of pension plans with individual retirement accounts is also going to drive demand for personal financial advisors.

Investment portfolios are becoming more complex, and they need a wide range of financial products. Emerging markets and growing populations in developed markets will create new demand for these products. To create, develop, manage and sell these products, qualified financial analysts, managers, and sales agents will be needed. recently identified the “Best-Paying MBA Majors.” The first concentration identified in this article was finance. The median mid-career pay for graduates with this concentration is $121,000. Positions that graduates often attain throughout their careers include chief financial officer ($168K), finance director ($151K) and senior financial analyst ($86K).

According to, an experienced financial analyst (Level III) earns a median salary of $81,000, while a senior analyst (IV) earns $98,000. A finance director earns a median salary of $165,000 and a chief financial officer earns $307,000.

For many positions in the field of finance, an MBA is practically a requirement. While the curriculum of a general MBA provides a broad foundation of knowledge for a variety of roles in many business sectors, a finance-focused MBA provides the specific training needed for finance jobs.

Financial Coursework in a Concentrated MBA

The curriculum of an MBA with a focus on finance, including the SOSU online program, begins with a core foundation:

Behavioral Management — Human behavior in organizations and its effect on establishing and attaining organizational goals.

Management Economics — Economic theory and quantitative methods as they relate to decisions about pricing, production, profit maximization and government restraints.

Accounting for Managers — Fundamentals of cost systems, managerial decision-making, managerial planning and performance evaluation.

Research Methods — An applied approach to the nature and scope of business research.

Marketing Management — The comprehensive case study method to develop experiences in the application of marketing strategies to create competitive advantages.

Data Analysis for Managers — Theory and application of statistical and quantitative techniques to various types of business data.

Financial Management — Practice and theory of managers making financial decisions for the firm to maximize shareholder wealth.

Strategic Management — The skills and functions of management to develop long range plans and to manage the accomplishment of organizational objectives.

Principle-Centered Leadership and Ethics — Places ethical issues within a management context to enhance the ability of students to reason toward a satisfactory resolution.

Contemporary Issues — The applications of current management practices and techniques to contemporary business issues.

With this foundation in place, students progress to the focused finance courses:

Securities Investments — Covers investment theories and their applications in financial securities like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, and venture capital funds. Also considers risk and the basics of modern portfolio theory.

International Financial Management — Examines foreign trade and capital flows, determinants of currency exchange rates, the forecasting of currency exchange rates, arbitrage, the use of derivatives to manage exchange rate risk, and raising and investing long-term funds internationally.

For MBA graduates with the right combination of broad business and specific financial training, the future is wide open.

Learn more about the Southeastern Oklahoma State online MBA — Finance program.


U.S. News & World Report: 5 Tips for Choosing an M.B.A. Concentration

Monster: Best-Paying MBA Majors

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

U.S. BLS: Personal Financial Advisors Finance Director Financial Analyst Positions

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