What Are the Benefits of Earning a Master’s in Finance Degree Instead of an MBA?

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The Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) may be the most traditional graduate program for business students, but it’s not the only solid option available. Specialized graduate degrees like the master’s in finance degree have grown more popular in recent years – for a number of good reasons. While a master’s in finance degree program isn’t right for everyone, there are some benefits to choosing this path over an MBA.

Targeted Finance Specialization vs. Broad Business Focus

MBA degree programs have a broad focus that covers many aspects of business management. Students learn a little bit of finance, but also accounting, leadership, human resources, marketing and other subjects. In some ways, this broad focus is a good thing. It makes the degree versatile and opens up various opportunities for graduates.

However, the broad perspective of an MBA might not appeal to employers who are seeking candidates with a more targeted background. Some employers are looking for candidates with extensive knowledge of finance specifically. They would rather have someone with a narrower set of skills but more in-depth experience in the specific skills the company is looking for than someone who has dabbled in many different subjects. In fact, employers are increasingly searching for candidates that have the specialized knowledge attained through a master’s in finance degree program, according to U.S. News & World Report.

No Work Experience? No Problem

A high-quality MBA program typically expects – if it doesn’t expressly require – applicants to have years of experience working in the business world already. If you know that you definitely want to pursue a graduate degree, you might not want to get started on your professional career only to switch your focus back to academics in five years.

Master’s in finance degree programs often appeal to students who are eager to embark on their graduate studies sooner rather than later. Many of the students enrolled in master’s in finance degree programs are recent college graduates and applicants who have just a year or two of work experience, according to U.S. News. They may have internship experience rather than full-time work experience.

Make More of an Impact in Less Time

Students who choose a master’s in finance degree over an MBA don’t just get started on their graduate education sooner. They can also complete it faster. Earning a master’s in finance is quicker than earning an MBA, sometimes taking as little as one year or less, according to U.S. News.

Spending less time earning your degree means that you can start putting that degree to work boosting your job prospects earlier. While your peers in an MBA degree program are still waiting around the classroom, you’re already impressing new prospective employers with your updated résumé.

A Less Saturated Market

Perhaps one of the reasons employers are starting to look for candidates with a specialized background is because so many candidates now have an MBA. The job market for graduates of MBA holders has become saturated.

Where the MBA degree once made a job applicant stand out, it’s no longer the distinguishing feature that it used to be. Instead, a specialized degree like a master’s in finance degree may be more likely to get a candidate noticed – assuming the specialization is relevant to the job, of course.

Both a master’s in finance degree and an MBA are strong choices when you’re looking to improve your business career prospects through graduate education, and both options have benefits and drawbacks. Which path is right for you depends on your interests and career goals.

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