Pursuing an MBA in Finance: Potential Career Opportunities

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Modern careers in finance involve a varied range of skills and knowledge, from understanding basic principles of economics and investing to staying updated on the latest regulations and market trends. While finance professionals develop and fine-tune these skills over the course of many years of job experience, others may choose to pursue an advanced degree like a Master of Business Administration (MBA). In fact, the MBA has become the most popular post-graduate degree in the U.S. within recent years, and specializations in finance and international business can help prepare graduates for the challenges of today's increasingly complex global economy.1

What to Expect From MBA Finance Careers

Careers in finance can take a number of different forms depending on the type of organization you're interested in working for as well as the specific area of the financial sector in which you're employed. Because finance jobs can require up-to-date knowledge of constantly evolving financial laws and regulations, you may need to be prepared for some type of formal or informal continuing education.

Your work environment and daily responsibilities may also be influenced by whether you pursue a position in corporate finance or a government financial position. Business finance roles will typically involve industry-specific responsibilities and knowledge. For example, a healthcare financial manager will need to understand how state and federal healthcare finance laws and regulations impact their organization's internal operations, information a corporate financial manager likely wouldn't need to know. Government financial professionals, however, need to understand the complex intersections between a larger web of federal and state regulations, appropriations and budgeting processes, and even tax law.2

If you're currently working in the financial sector, you may want to think about how returning to school to pursue your MBA will impact your existing full-time position. For those who don't want or can't afford to take a hiatus from a current salary and benefits, completing an MBA in finance online may be an option to pursue. Online degree programs can offer an additional degree of flexibility and convenience that may make it easier to work around an existing job schedule.

Potential MBA Finance Jobs

There is a wide range of possible MBA finance careers. You may decide to use your degree to move into a new part of the field for which you weren't previously qualified or to help you advance in your current career path. However you decide to apply your degree in your professional future, below are some possible career paths for those with an MBA in finance.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help advise corporations (and sometimes individuals) on investment decisions. Much of their job responsibilities include monitoring market trends and shifts in the economy in order to predict the best times to buy and sell certain stocks, bonds, securities and mutual funds. While they may do both, many financial analysts work primarily as either "buy-side" or "sell-side" analysts.3

In addition to advising clients on when to invest and when to collect on investments, financial analysts also study companies' financial statements and current investment portfolios to assess their financial strength and sustainability. For this reason, responsibilities often include preparing reports and communicating findings and recommendations to upper management. Some other common job titles for financial analysts include portfolio manager, fund manager, investment analyst and securities analyst.2 Job growth for this field is projected to grow by 11% from 2016 through 2026.3

Financial Manager

One of the fastest growing MBA finance jobs on this list, financial managers help direct the financial strategy and activities of a company in order to ensure it continues to turn a profit.2 While some of their responsibilities may overlap with those of a financial analyst (monitoring economic trends and making recommendations on investment opportunities), they work much more closely with the internal processes and records of a single business.

Financial managers may work with various departments in order to document and evaluate their costs and profitability, as well as compiling financial reports, ensuring compliance with financial laws and regulations, and even supervising a small team of accounting and financial management employees. Ultimately a financial manager's responsibility is to make recommendations and set strategy for their company's long-term financial health and stability.2 Common job titles for financial managers include controller, finance officer, treasurer, credit or cash manager and risk manager. Some financial managers also work in industry-specific roles, such as government financial managers or healthcare financial managers.2 Job growth for this profession is projected to grow by 19% from 2016 through the year 2026.2

Financial Advisor

Whereas financial analysts work primarily with investments like stocks and securities, financial advisors help individuals make a wide range of short and long-term financial planning decisions. Sometimes called financial planners, advisors consult on everything from personal investments (like stocks, mutual funds and retirement plans) to college savings, estate planning and mortgages. This may be one of the better MBA finance careers for you if you enjoy working one-on-one with individuals and families and your interests lie in a number of different financial activities and markets.4

As a financial advisor, your responsibilities involve talking to clients about their financial goals and making sure they understand the savings and investment opportunities open to them. Advisors spend a lot of their time inspecting clients' financial records (including any bank and property holdings) in order to create a comprehensive financial plan. They may also consult on how to make adjustments to this plan in cases of sudden financial emergency or need. Other job titles for financial advisors include personal financial advisor, financial planner, private banker and wealth manager.4 Job growth for this field is projected to grow by 15% from 2016 through 2026.4

While an MBA in no way guarantees you'll get a particular job, completing an advanced degree program may be a great way to prepare yourself for a range of positions in the field.

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1. Fortune. "Why the MBA Has Become the Most Popular Master's Degree in the U.S." on the Internet at http://fortune.com/2014/05/31/mba-popular-masters-degree/ (visited 6/8/18).
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook. "Financial Managers" on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm (visited 6/8/18). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook. "Financial Analysts" on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm (visited 6/8/18). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook. "Personal Financial Advisors" on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm (visited 6/8/18). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures . AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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