The Difference Between a Master’s in Finance and an MBA

Finance professionals understand that earning an advanced degree can set them apart from their colleagues and help them to actualize their career advancement goals. In fact, more than 70 percent of respondents surveyed by the Graduate Management Admission Council say their graduate management education was personally, professionally and financially rewarding. Two-thirds of survey respondents said they received more promotions than peers without their degree.

An MBA with a concentration in finance is ideal for professionals who want to hone their finance expertise while simultaneously broadening their skillsets with business communication and management. But what about a master’s in finance degree?

When deciding between an M.S. in finance versus an MBA, consider the time commitment and potential salaries available to you after graduating. Explore the differences below to determine which degree program is the best fit for your academic and professional goals.


Key Differences: M.S. in Finance vs. MBA in Finance

M.S. in Finance

  • Highly-specialized for those specifically in the financial sector
  • Focus on quantitative finance
  • Ideal for professionals with little to no work experience

MBA in Finance

  • Broader curriculum with options to become financial experts in and out of the financial sector
  • Higher earning potential
  • Work experience is sometimes preferred

Master’s in Finance Degree

Obtaining a master’s in finance degree is a relatively new option for aspiring financial professionals. An M.S. in finance prepares students for roles with a focus on quantitative finance, enabling them to become financial analysts, investors or accountants. Employers who provide financial services to their customers are especially in need of talent with a master’s degree in finance.

This highly specialized degree prepares graduates for roles in risk management, equity and investment research and equity trading. Course offerings included in the pursuit of a master’s in finance degree will focus on financial theory, quantitative finance, valuation and investment best practices.

Little to no work experience is required to apply to a master’s in finance versus an MBA program. For this reason, those with a master’s in finance degree tend to take home a smaller salary than their counterparts with finance-oriented MBAs.

MBA in Finance Degree

Earning an MBA with a concentration in finance is ideal for professionals with a passion for finance, who have a few years of work experience and a desire to grow their business management skills.

Students in these programs benefit from opportunities to network with other seasoned professionals among their peers and faculty.

An MBA with a concentration in finance offers courses related to asset valuation, portfolio management, investment strategy, leadership, communication and business decision-making skills.

Contrary to popular belief, an MBA can be completed in the same amount of time as a master’s in finance degree depending upon specific program requirements. For example, Lynn University’s online finance MBA can be completed in as little as one year.

Not only do graduates see higher earnings than their counterparts with a master’s in finance degree, but finance is among the highest earning MBA specializations.

Lynn’s Online Finance MBA

The Lynn online MBA program is led by credentialed, industry experts with real-world business experience. Lynn’s iPad-powered online curriculum is delivered in a collaborative, convenient and flexible format. In addition to the financial valuation and investment management track, Lynn offers eight other MBA specializations, so you can choose how to best advance your career. Lynn even offers opportunities to combine two specializations into one optimal degree.

Unlike other MBAs, Lynn’s online MBA program is designed to let you benefit from your previous professional experience, regardless of where you’re at in your career. It’s also designed to help you hone your skills in measuring and managing value, increase your efficiency, gain a deeper understanding of financial analysis and learn to develop strategies for increased output and improved outcomes. Upon graduation, you can obtain senior financial analytical positions within all sectors of the global economy.

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