MS in Finance Vs. MBA

Master of Science in Finance and Master of Business Administration degrees can both prepare graduates for careers across a wide range of industries. This article offers you a comparison of the two degrees, including the admissions requirements, coursework, and future job prospects. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

MS in Finance vs. MBA: A Detailed Comparison

MS in Finance

A master's degree in finance generally takes two years to complete, but some schools offer an accelerated curriculum that can be completed in one year. In this program, you will mostly be studying financial and investment theories as well as statistics and quantitative models. A course or two on business management strategies may also be included in the curriculum.

To apply to a Master of Science in Finance program, you should possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree in any field. A bachelor's degree in business, science, or a related field could be beneficial. Most of the universities require a minimum GPA in order to consider your application to the program. Along with it, you will have to score high enough on the GMAT or GRE.

Common career pathways for someone who completes an MS in Finance include financial consulting, banking, and data science.


An MBA is also a one- to two-year program in which you will be learning more about business management, including business laws, ethics, entrepreneurship, and business strategy. However, these programs do include some finance and economics courses.

The minimum qualification to join an MBA program is a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA that varies for each university. A bachelor's degree in a subject related to business would be helpful in your master's degree studies, but a specific major is not usually required. Additionally, you have to submit high GRE or GMAT test scores to qualify for admission.

MBA graduates can be hired by companies in the consulting, technology, and finance industries. The job designations of MBA graduates range from analysts to managers or directors.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
MS in Finance 1-2 years Bachelor's degree Financial consultant, data scientist, investment banker
MBA 1-2 years Bachelor's degree Business manager, financial manager, real estate manager, credit analyst

Careers Related to an MS in Finance

Financial Consultant

As a financial consultant, you will be offering advice and guidance to clients regarding their economic ventures, including their insurance and investment decisions. To do so, you will be analyzing a client's finances and current economic trends before suggesting investment strategies. Your knowledge of financial models and theories can help you offer the best consultation to your clients.

Data Scientist

You will be working with massive sets of data as a data scientist, analyzing and interpreting them using artificial intelligence and statistical methods. You will be sourcing data from a large number of databases and analyzing them to understand and evaluate your company's or client's business performance. Your understanding of statistics and financial management can be beneficial in this career.

Investment Banker

As an investment banker, you will help your clients acquire the capital needed to operate or expand their businesses. You will help them issue stocks and bonds or offer your services throughout mergers and acquisitions. What you learned about financial investment and management during your MS in Finance program can be applied here.

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Financial Consultant $66,741 7% (for all personal financial advisors)
Data Scientist $95,942 16% (for all computer and information research scientists)
Investment Banker $98,918 4% (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)

Sources: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Careers Related to an MBA

Financial Manager

As a financial manager, your primary role is to maintain or improve the financial health of your organization by reviewing business reports and financial statements. You will also monitor the reports and analyses made by other employees to ensure that your company has met all the legal requirements. Your knowledge of business laws, financial analysis methods, and ethics will come to good use in this role.

Real Estate Manager

As a real estate manager, you will be overseeing the commercial or industrial properties of your clients. This role requires you to make sure these properties are profitable once rent has been collected and any bills or mortgages have been paid. Your awareness of finance and accounting, in addition to your general knowledge of management practices, will make this role easier for you.

Credit Analyst

As a credit analyst, you can work in banks or with finance and accounting firms to analyze the credit worthiness of customers who apply for credits and loans. The role includes reviewing credit applications and making decisions based on a customer's payment history, the purpose of the credit, and any references provided. A knowledge of finance and economics could also pay off in this position.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Financial Manager $127,990 16%
Real Estate Manager $58,340 (for all property, real estate, and community association managers) 7% (for all property, real estate, and community association managers)
Credit Analyst $71,520 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Both MS in Finance and MBA degrees are two-year programs that can prepare you to enter or advance in the realms of finance and business management. The coursework for each program may vary slightly, but ultimately both lead to a variety of career options.

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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