How to Choose Your Online Master of Finance Electives

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Earning an Online Master of Science in Finance degree is not just a valuable option for professionals in one particular industry or role. The options and electives within the degree program enable individuals to pursue their interest in one of several financial career paths. Employees seeking advancement in their present specialized niches may find the in-depth experience they seek, while those hoping to move into a new field can acquire the new skills and knowledge needed to do so.

Customizing an MSF degree at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business begins with selecting one of two tracks: Corporate Finance or Investment Finance. Students can also select from a variety of electives to ensure they develop an in-depth knowledge of the aspects of finance that interest them most. Becoming a more experienced financial professional and spending time working with the relevant concepts in a hands-on setting can propel graduates toward their career goals, in whatever part of the industry those objectives reside.

Picking a concentration

Students who enter the Online MSF program at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business choose whether they will study corporate or investment finance. This decision determines the main direction of each individual’s education.

All students in either track are required to complete core classes, which cover universally relevant financial concepts such as theory, international finance, market analysis, strategy, and institutions. In addition to these six courses, students take four electives associated with their concentration. The tracks differ in their subject matter and intended outcomes:

Corporate Finance

Students who take the Corporate Finance track are interested in the ways capital moves within today’s companies and nonprofit organizations. They may be aiming for post-graduation roles analyzing data, setting financial strategies, raising venture capital, managing budgets, producing risk analyses, or pursuing other related functions.

Corporate finance is all about using monetary expertise to help organizations reach their overarching goals. These objectives, and the methods of reaching them, will differ widely from one company to another. The courses within this MSF track will help students interpret and adapt to a company’s unique situation, equipping them with hands-on expertise and an understanding of up-to-date financial concepts.

Investment Finance

Working with investment markets is a wide-ranging concept that encompasses corporations managing massive portfolios as well as individuals buying smaller amounts of stocks and securities. The Investment Finance track allows students to learn about futures, securities, options, and more. They will learn to analyze financial data, perform risk management, and manage private wealth.

Whether professionals are interested in working independently or as part of a corporate investment team, they will accumulate valuable knowledge in the Investment Finance track. Companies that primarily deal with investments will need teams of individuals with relevant experience, whereas large organizations that hold portfolios also have openings for market specialists.

Choosing electives

In all, students select four electives from a larger group of courses when studying for an Online MSF, meaning it is possible to customize the educational experience beyond selecting one of the two concentrations and further tailor one’s curriculum. The following are summaries of the elective courses professionals may select during their MSF studies.

Financial Risk Management (Investment or Corporate Finance Track)

This course gives students knowledge on hedging instruments they may use to reduce the risk inherent to financial transactions. Through case studies and readings, participants learn to determine when they should change a portfolio’s risk exposure. Interest rates, currency rates, equity returns, and fixed income returns are the types of risk examined.

Fixed Income Securities and Risk (Investment Finance Track)

Students in the investment finance track use this class to determine how to manage investment products with highly sensitive interest rates. The curriculum includes late-breaking examples of developments in the field, and gives practical advice on risk management program development.

Investment Banking (Investment or Corporate Finance Track)

Professionals gain information on the inner workings of financial services companies in this course. They will learn to meet the capital requirements of a securities firm, delve deeper into the issuance of securities, and more.

Mergers and Acquisitions (Corporate Finance Track)

A merger or acquisition with complex and consequential events can significantly impact a company. Students in this course learn how to assess the prospects of such a transaction and negotiate advantageous terms for businesses engaging in a merger or acquisition.

Business Turnarounds (Corporate Finance Track)

While it may seem counterintuitive to take a course that is most relevant when companies are struggling financially, there are few situations when in-depth expertise is more useful. Individuals who take this course will craft an example turnaround plan as part of the curriculum.

Valuation and Value Creation (Investment or Corporate Finance Track)

The best practices and concepts behind value assessment and building are always changing and evolving. Students taking the class on these subjects will learn the latest approaches to the processes and be able to approach valuation confidently in roles as consultants, managers, or securities analysts.

Real Estate Finance and Investment (Investment Finance Track)

Investing in real estate products is one way to diversify a portfolio beyond more standard bonds and securities. Whether individuals are investing in real estate on behalf of a fund or a corporation, they’ll learn how to understand the unique mechanics behind buying and selling ownership stakes in properties. Professionals directly in the real estate field can also benefit from the course’s lessons.

Portfolio Management (Investment Finance Track)

There are many smaller individual skills within the creation and curation of a valuable portfolio. Students in this class will learn these abilities, analyzing the risk inherent to investment, as well as the theory behind asset diversification and effects of inflation, taxes, and more. The institutional investor’s perspective is a major focus area for the course.

Applying for an Online MSF

Electives give students knowledge and experience that can guide them toward specific career options after a master’s in finance. From investment advisors and wealth managers to corporate financial leaders and risk analysts, many types of professionals can benefit from earning a master’s degree in finance online. Just as there is no single path through the financial field, professionals will find a variety of ways to earn their credits and complete the diploma requirements, giving them highly relevant knowledge and experiences along the way.

Contact an enrollment advisor to learn more.


Recommended Readings:

A look into the field of international finance

Financial controller: Learn more about this career



Northeastern University – MSF Curriculum