Comparing Degrees: MBA with Finance Concentration or Dual Finance/MBA Degree?

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Taking the next step in a corporate leadership career can mean anticipating the kind of experience and credentials necessary for advancement. A master of business administration is one way to gain more subject matter expertise and organizational leadership skills.

That said, seeking out an MBA means making a few key choices. Degree programs have concentrations such as finance, and the Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business also offers a dual degree option combining an MBA with a Master of Science in Finance.

Executives seeking more financial responsibilities within organizations should consider the differences between program options before deciding on an educational plan. Each degree path can offer an engaging graduate experience and career advancement opportunities, and picking the right match in terms of required classes and potential learning outcomes is an important part of making a satisfying return to higher education.

MBA with a concentration in finance

Finance is one of the most widely applicable and useful degree concentrations for executives seeking an MBA. A deeper knowledge of financial strategy and hands-on practice can prepare graduates to take an active hand in setting the direction of a company.

From launching a takeover effort to guarding an organization against an outside bid for control, some of the most valuable elements of business strategy are directly tied to financial processes, and thus addressed extensively in an MBA with a concentration in finance. Students learn to manage an institutional portfolio, oversee financial markets domestically and worldwide, navigate bankruptcy proceedings, and more.

Across industries and regions, companies of all sizes and descriptions need leaders skilled in corporate finance to guide decision-making that aligns with profits, loss, and projected growth. An MBA with a financial concentration can give a graduate a host of options for seeking advancement within such roles.


Completing Northeastern University’s Online MBA degree involves taking five elective courses alongside the core curriculum, which consists of 13 courses. Students pursuing a finance concentration must select three out of their five electives from the Finance concentration.

These classes include focused knowledge on topics such as financial strategy, investment management, and execution of business turnarounds. Additional subjects, such as finance in the healthcare industry and entrepreneurial tactics preferred in the technology sector, are also available as electives.


Graduates of Northeastern University’s Online MBA program with a concentration in finance tend to seek out roles such as finance director, investment banker, compliance officer, financial examiner, and finance manager. Previous positions, practical experience, and skills gained within the graduate curriculum can steer students to such careers.

The salaries for MBA degree holders with a finance focus vary by profession. However, graduates may experience an increase in their pay simply by holding the degree: 71 percent of MBA graduates report raises, and 85 percent earn $75,000 or more. With regard salary potential for specific careers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted the median salary for financial managers is $125,080, while financial analysts make $84,300.


Pursuing an MBA with a finance concentration isn’t the only way to combine theoretical and practical financial knowledge with the core tenets of business management. A specialized dual Master of Science in Finance (MSF) and MBA degree program offered by Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business goes beyond the MBA and dives deeper in financial matters that surpasses completion of the standard degree. Students can take four more courses to obtain the dual degree.

The added courses represent the academic side of finance, but the topics remain relevant to business. Learning about corporate finance means mastering budgets, treasury management, venture capital, consulting, and more.


The dual degree courses tend to focus on similar subject matter to the MBA finance concentration classes. Seeking out a dual degree is more a matter of delving deeper into the subject matter than taking a completely different path.

Students can learn about the policy and strategy elements of finance, gaining a deeper perspective on analyzing markets, studying finance around the board, and setting strategies. Combined with the leadership expertise taught in MBA core courses, these areas of financial competency create a well-rounded professional ready to enter a number of roles.


Typical places of employment among dual degree graduates include corporations of all sizes, government agencies, healthcare organizations, and nonprofit groups.

Dual-degree recipients may end up in MBA-based management tracks or the more statistically focused paths in finance. Underwriters in the insurance industry tend to favor the finance skills. These professionals have a median annual salary of $69,760, according to the BLS. This position may point the way to other jobs in insurance, especially considering the management expertise conferred by an MBA. In more general corporate roles, management consultants take in an average of $82,450 every year.

A path for every student

Professionals with an interest in management and the precise mechanics of modern finance will have to decide whether to seek an MBA with a concentration in finance or study for a dual degree. The latter option can prove more beneficial for individuals who will seek careers that require more in-depth financial expertise, while the former likely suits students who hope to advance into more management-centered roles.

Any professional at the intersection of finance and corporate leadership can find a path forward from the degree options available at Northeastern University. With online delivery options designed to fit into the schedules of working professionals, both programs are specifically created to open opportunities for motivated individuals on the brink of greater leadership responsibilities.

With accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, the D’Amore-McKim School of Business is able to provide programs that can fit students’ career goals and prepare them for an exciting future. These individuals can graduate with the kinds of knowledge valued by corporations across industries andaroundtheworld.

Visit the Online MBA program page to learn more.

Recommended Reading:

The benefits of earning your MBA online

What to know about Northeastern’s Online MBA

6 things you can learn while getting an MBA

Northeastern University’s Online MBA Program

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Analysts

Northeastern Full-Time MS in Finance/MBA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook: Insurance Underwriters

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook: Management Analysts