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What Can You Do with an MBA in Finance?

05/07/2021

The master’s in business administration (MBA) is the most popular master’s degree conferred in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Almost 1 out of 4 people who earn a master’s degree do so with an MBA.

When you tailor that degree with a concentration in Finance, you develop the advanced skills needed to analyze investments, make complicated financial decisions, manage risk, and solve complex challenges—which in turn can lead to greater career opportunities and increased earning potential.

What can you do with an MBA in finance? How does this advanced degree help you succeed in a global economy? We sat down with Dr. Mark Johnson, Associate Dean of MBA Programs and Finance Professor at Wake Forest University, to learn more.

An MBA in Finance Increases Your Potential for Leadership Positions

In pursuing an MBA with a concentration in Finance, you gain leadership skills that open doors to higher-level positions. “These skills may help you advance your career in an increasingly competitive work environment, as most companies require a graduate-level degree for executive and senior management positions,” Johnson says.

According to the results of the Financial Times 2018 MBA Skills Gap Survey, the top five skills employers seek from MBA graduates are the ability to:

  • Build, sustain, and expand a network of people
  • Manage time and prioritize
  • Solve complex problems
  • Work in a team
  • Work with a wide variety of people

These skills—business communication, change management, personnel management, and strategic planning—are taught in most MBA programs, and they are key to being ready for leadership roles.

An MBA Elevates Your Value as an Employee

Earning an MBA can be a smart move for one simple reason: Employers want MBA graduates. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 77% of U.S. companies said they planned to hire recent MBA graduates.

In an MBA finance program, you’ll learn best practices regarding compliance, accounting, budgeting, modern financial theory, capital markets, investment banking, and making complicated, data-informed decisions. These advanced skills and knowledge elevate your value and make you more marketable.

“The finance MBA concentration enables managers to better understand the levers that get pulled to achieve financial outcomes,” Johnson says. “The knowledge can help managers make data-informed decisions. They can also be prepared to lead processes, handle a team of individuals, and oversee budgets and financial resources.

“This knowledge is not just about necessarily working in the financial services industry. It's also making leaders and managers more comfortable making decisions with financial implications.”

The financial industry is demanding greater proficiency at making data-driven decisions, he added.

“The market wants managers and leaders who are more comfortable analyzing large data sets and looking for trends,” Johnson says.

MBA Employment Opportunities Are Growing

Graduates with MBA degrees might find themselves on an accelerated path into leadership. The reason is simple: Employers expect them to have the academic, interpersonal, and leadership skills to solve complex business problems.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in business and financial occupations will grow 5% through most of this decade, faster than average when compared with all occupations. Employment in management occupations is projected to grow 5% through most of this decade, according to the BLS.

Sample Job Titles for Those Holding an MBA in Finance

Graduates with an MBA in finance can find themselves filling several different jobs in the business world. Here are some of the titles they might hold:

  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Controller
  • Corporate Strategist
  • Manager, Financial Services Consulting
  • Senior Auditor
  • Senior Financial Analyst
  • Vice President, Project Finance

Why Earn an Online MBA With a Finance Concentration at Wake Forest

Wake Forest offers an online MBA with a concentration in Finance that can be completed in just over two years. Our MBA empowers working professionals to become purpose-driven leaders who are ready to drive change, improve performance, make an impact, and solve complex challenges in a global economy.

This program is designed to prepare you for career opportunities in financial services. Wake Forest is a prestigious university known for providing:

  • An extensive current student and alumni network
  • Qualified faculty and a rigorous program
  • An easy-to-use online learning platform and flexible choice of synchronous or asynchronous learning
  • Opportunities to develop relationships with instructors and other students

“At Wake Forest, we take pride in our faculty,” Johnson says, “and the students are going to learn from some of the best and brightest in their respective fields. Moreover, they're going to be in class with other highly motivated and driven individuals.

Wake Forest uses a student-focused, user-friendly online platform for students called Canvas. One of the leading learning management systems available, Canvas is a flexible and accommodating format for earning your MBA.

“One key criterion that students are going to look for is flexibility,” Johnson says. “We wanted to make our program as accessible as possible. For those seeking a flexible, interactive, and collaborative experience, Wake Forest is an excellent choice.”

Learn About Wake Forest University’s Online MBA Program

At Wake Forest, we keep innovating our curriculum and incorporating real-world scenarios to help you gain immediately applicable skills. The online MBA with a concentration in Finance connects operations, management, marketing, strategy, and IT with a pool of electives that lets you customize your degree to fit your career plans.

Wake Forest also offers online MBA concentrations in strategy and leadership and business analytics. Reach out today for more information about our business programs.