Benefits of Earning an MBA in Finance: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with an MBA in finance. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Can I Pursue with a Finance MBA?

Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance could lead to a variety of positions within financial firms and institutions. For example, an MBA in Finance could prepare you for work as a personal financial advisor. These professionals provide individuals with advice on taxation, retirement planning and securities and commodities investments. You could also find work as a financial analyst - a similar profession that involves analyzing financial data and making investment recommendations for not only individuals, but organizations as well. The following chart gives you an overview of these two careers.

Personal Financial Advisor Financial Analyst
Degree Required Bachelor's degree; master's degree for advancement Bachelor's degree; master's degree for advanced positions
Key Responsibilities Advise individuals regarding investments, retirement, taxes, and other financial matters Advise businesses and individuals on investments and financial portfolios
Licensure/Certification Required Licensure required in some fields; optional certification available Licensure required in some fields; optional certification available and recommended
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 30%* 12%*
Median Salary (2015) $89,160* $80,310*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Can I Do with an MBA in Finance?

Graduates of an MBA program commonly find work in a variety of businesses and financial institutions, including investment companies, international law firms, financial services firms, banks and mortgage companies. You could work as a financial analyst or advance your career to become a financial manager. In these roles, you can advise businesses based on market fluctuations or budgetary concerns.

You could also work as a personal financial advisor or private banker, helping individuals manage their finances and investments. Other possible job titles include risk analyst, portfolio manager, credit manager, hedge fund manager, treasurer or finance officer.

What Will I Need in Addition to My Degree?

Depending on your job title and responsibilities, professional licensure may be required. You typically won't need a license until after gaining employment, especially if licensing requires employer sponsorship.

If you work as a personal financial advisor, you might need various licenses from state licensing boards in order to buy or sell bonds, stocks and insurance policies. To provide public reporting on a company as a financial manager in an accounting department, you'd need to obtain the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation administered through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. If you work in the securities industry, you may be required to register through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

What Career Advancement Opportunities Could I Have?

With sufficient experience, earning an MBA in finance could lead to a promotion or increased responsibilities. Even if your job doesn't require certification, earning it may lead to an increase in job opportunities. Aside from the CPA credential, there are several certifications applicable to various occupations within the financial sector. Completion of some continuing education coursework may be required for recertification.

For example, as a financial analyst, you could earn the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation through the CFA Institute. This credential is designed to prepare you to handle a range of investment specialties. If you work as a treasury and finance professional and have at least two years of experience, you can earn the Certified Treasury Professional credential through the Association for Financial Professionals (www.afponline.org). You might also pursue the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation if you work as a personal financial advisor. According to the CFP Board of Standards, some firms require this credential (www.cfp.net).

What Could I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisors earned a median annual wage of $89,160 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). During the same year, the BLS reported that financial analysts made a median annual salary of $80,310 and worked primarily as investment professionals and managers.

Robert Walters is an international recruitment firm that publishes salary information for accounting, banking and financial services occupations. Based on its 2014 U.S. salary survey, finance directors earned annual salaries between $57,907 and $156,877, and senior financial analysts had annual salaries ranging from $60,391-$97,787 (www.payscale.com).

Many finance professionals earn signing bonuses once they're hired. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management publishes data, including signing bonus figures, on its MBA graduates. The school's 2014 MBA Employment Report states that the median signing bonuses for 2016 MBA graduates ranged from $20,000-$70,000 in finance professions, financial sales and trades, investment banking and investment management.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're interested in careers outside of the finance world, an MBA in Finance could lead to work as a health services manager. These professionals oversee a variety of healthcare facilities and supervise other healthcare personnel. An MBA in Finance can also prepare you for a security and commodities sales position - a career that focuses on trading within financial markets. An MBA may also qualify you for work as a financial manager, particularly if you have prior finance experience. Financial managers oversee the finances of a business, and they generate financial reports, as well as make recommendations on the financial goals of an organization.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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