Who Should Consider a Master of Finance Degree? Questions to Consider Before Applying

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Professionals interested in taking on new challenges, either within their current organizations or on the open job market, may consider graduate education. While exploring their degree options, each individual needs to decide based on their unique goals, background, and interests.

An Online Master of Science in Finance degree is one option for professionals who are interested in enhancing their financial expertise and competitive edge in the job market. Such a program stands in contrast to others, such as a Master of Business Administration, due to its focus on monetary matters such as taxation, budgeting, investment, and more. For candidates seeking to progress within these subjects, earning an MSF can be a defining accomplishment.

Questions to determine suitability

Current or prospective financial workers considering enrolling in an online MSF program should ask themselves the following questions to determine whether the degree path is right for their continuing education:

What is my motive for seeking a degree?

Earning a degree that may impress hiring managers is only one of the reasons to pursue an MSF. The learning experiences students encounter along the way have their own appeal.

Current financial workers seeking deeper hands-on experience are well-suited to MSF education. Many of the classes students take while studying for an MSF include practical components and projects that test problem-solving skills and use real-world data to grant a new perspective on successful financial decision-making.

Online MSF courses may also be a perfect fit for applicants who want to interact with and learn from thought leaders in their field. These programs consist of classes taught by experts with up-to-date industry knowledge and deep connections in financial organizations. The expertise and relevant insights conferred by faculty members can have lasting value for graduates.

What work experience do I possess?

An MSF is generally not for entry-level employees. Since the degree is based on the concepts accumulated in a practical work environment, students may have to meet work experience requirements as part of the application process. For instance, the Online MSF program at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business calls for five years of professional experience as a potential substitute for Graduate Management Admission Test results. Students also have to submit letters of professional recommendation and an updated resume.

Professionals who are working full-time in financial roles are the typical audience for an MSF, rather than individuals emerging directly from undergraduate education. With several years of accumulated work on the types of subjects included in the MSF curriculum, these employees generally have a clearer understanding of their interests and goals in the financial field.

What is my career goal?

There are several potential career options for MSF graduates. Individuals hoping to climb the corporate ladder into one of these roles may find a finance master’s program worthwhile. For example, chief financial officer and director of finance are a few of the high-ranking positions that demand the kind of knowledge and expertise gained in an MSF program. Financial planners and consultants may also come from the ranks of MSF graduates.

Due to the number of specialized courses available to MSF students, it’s possible for graduates to seek positions in financial sub-fields such as investment, auditing, and wealth management. The experience accumulated in an MSF program can prepare graduates to excel in roles including commercial lending officer, investment banker, financial planner, mutual fund analyst, underwriter, and private wealth manager.

What elements of business am I most excited to learn about?

Online master’s of finance programs offer in-depth looks at many relevant topics under the general umbrella of corporate finance. Potential applicants should ensure the concepts that interest them the most are included in the curriculum before deciding on a degree program. The D’Amore-McKim School of Business program is divided into two tracks, Corporate Finance and Investment Finance, each with a unique selection of required courses in addition to the theoretical and practical market overviews that all students receive.

  • Corporate finance classes will teach students about business planning, analysis, strategy, valuation, budgeting, venture funding, consulting, merger management, and more.
  • Investment finance courses give an in-depth look at investments, securities, and portfolios in both the corporate and private markets. Students will learn about the present conditions of the investment field, learning to analyze performance, perform risk management, and more.

Am I more suited to overall management or finance?

Resolving the question of Master of Science in Finance vs. MBA is one of the primary steps an MSF applicant must take. An MBA with a concentration in finance is one option for professionals working in finance. The primary difference is that the MBA core curriculum contains a strong focus on people management, leadership, and teamwork, alongside global management and other leadership concepts. Students who want to keep finance as their primary focus are best suited to an MSF, while those who also have HR management ambitions may focus on an MBA.

For students who want some elements of each degree type, the D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers a dual degree program that combines MSF and MBA concepts. This program begins with the MBA curriculum and then adds four courses from the MSF program. Like the primary MSF program, the hybrid degree allows students to focus on corporate or investment finance.

The process of applying

Current financial workers who have confirmed their interest in the deep knowledge and potential advancement that can come with an online MSF degree can take the next step and apply. The Online MSF program is designed with full-time work schedules in mind, so these professionals will likely be able to fit the flexible courses in alongside their current responsibilities.

Studying for an MSF degree is a way to pursue important career objectives by learning relevant and up-to-date concepts from a faculty of connected professionals and making connections that can prove indispensable. The options in the curriculum allow applicants to pursue the concepts that interest them most and chase their personal goals. Contact an admissions advisor to learn more.


Recommended Readings

Understanding Different Types of Mergers and How to Handle Them Successfully

What an You Do with a Master’s Degree in Finance?

Northeastern University Online Master of Science in Finance



Northeastern University – MSF Program Details

Northeastern University – MSF Curriculum

Northeastern University – MBA Curriculum