Masters in Finance
Information About Advanced Finance Degrees
The masters in finance degree, alternatively known as a master of finance or master of science in finance (MSF), is a graduate degree for individuals interested in working in the finance field or advancing to a higher level in their organization. This rigorous academic program will provide a deep understanding of important financial concepts, models, methods, and theories that can be applied in a corporate environment in roles like a finance manager or portfolio manager. A masters in finance will help improve quantitative analysis skills and deepen your knowledge of the financial markets.
Masters in Finance Information by State
Reasons to Earn a Masters Degree in Finance
There are several reasons to pursue a master’s in finance degree including a strong passion for finance, a desire to deepen your knowledge of finance, position yourself for a better job, or to make a lot of money. These can all be good reasons to explore whether a masters in finance will be right for you and what schools would be a good fit and give you the best chance to achieve your goals. Finance can be an incredibly fascinating subject to learn about and is a field that is in constant flux.
Master of Finance Course Requirements
A masters in finance requires strong quantitative analysis and mathematical skills to pass a challenging set of courses. Most master of finance programs focus a majority of their curriculum on topics that can be applied directly to the financial field instead of covering a wide net of business topics like an MBA. The required courses are intensive and typically take a full-time student about two years to complete and longer for part time students (about 3-4 years).
Master of Finance Educational Prerequisites
A common requirement for applicants of a masters in finance program is an undergraduate degree in finance or related field like accounting. Required undergraduate courses may include calculus, statistics, economics, and financial accounting. Other requirements could include satisfactory scores on the GRE or GMAT exams and a strong grade point average in undergraduate courses. Another common requirement for MSF programs is experience working in finance or the business field. Personal achievements and letters of recommendation may also be considered. Make sure to check with each school to learn their specific requirements for admission.
Masters in Finance Curriculum
While schools vary in their course offerings, here are some examples of common courses that can be found in Master of Finance degree programs:
Career Outlook for Finance Professionals
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for financial managers will have average growth at a projected 8 percent from 2008-2018.1 There is strong competition for these jobs and those with masters degrees have the best prospects according to the BLS. Some factors driving demand for financial professionals is the changing regulatory environment, increasing complexity of investments, and the growth of global finance.
Master of Finance Salary
How much can you expect to earn after graduating from a masters in finance degree program? Compared to other graduate degrees, finance degrees provide one of the highest starting salaries for graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median salary is $99,330 for US financial managers.1 Salaries vary based on the role and many successful financial professionals make well over a million dollars per year.
Top Masters in Finance Schools
The US News ranks the top finance graduate programs based on several factors including recruiter rating, average starting salary, employment rates, and student selectivity.2
1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
2. University of Chicago (Booth)
3. New York University (Stern)
4. Stanford University
5. Columbia University
6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
7. University of California – Berkeley (Haas)
8. University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson)
9. Harvard University
10. Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management)
Online Masters in Finance Degree Program
An online master of finance degree can be an attractive option for some individuals who seek additional flexibility and time savings from not having to commute to a physical location. An online masters in finance can allow you to earn your degree without having to leave your job, therefore saving tens of thousands of dollars in opportunity cost. Additionally online education has been steadily improving and new tools like downloadable lectures, virtual lectures with real time video interaction with the professor, and use of social technologies can enhance the learning experience.
Top 10 Finance Professor Blogs
The following finance professor blogs feature excellent content that provide valuable insights for finance students and individuals interested in pursuing a finance career.
Jim Mahar, associate professor of finance at St. Bonaventure University, writes the very detailed and thoughtful blog “Financeprofessor.com,” which would be immensely helpful to a finance student working at any university. He packs his blog full of information and links that students and professors alike would find useful, such as academic papers, videos, and recommended reading, all related to the world of finance.
Musings on Markets
The posts on Aswath Damodaran’s finance blog “Musings on Markets” include insightful and personal thoughts about corporate finance, valuation, and current events in economics and finance. The professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business gives his readers detailed explanations of his topics and includes graphs, charts, spreadsheets, and a wealth of information to help make sense of everything that is going on in today’s markets.
With astute observations and well-thought explanations that will enlighten even the most uncertain readers, University of Michigan-Flint professor of finance and economics, Mark J. Perry, shares his ideas and opinions on a variety of current news and theories in economics and finance. His posts range from discussions of the turnover in America’s top earners and the upsurge in manufacturing in the Midwest to the economics of oil and alternative energies and the astounding GDP growth in North Dakota.
Prof. Jayanth R. Varma’s Financial Markets Blog
At “Prof. Jayanth R. Varma’s Financial Markets Blog,” professor Varma writes a comprehensive series of posts on his subject of choice and does so with real insight and obvious passion for the topic. A professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Varma studies financial markets and the regulation of markets throughout the world and uses his knowledge and experience to give readers a perspective on current issues as well as the history of world markets.
Dr. David Kass
Dr. David Kass, professor of finance at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, pens his eponymous blog with the sole purpose of updating readers on all things Berkshire Hathaway. Kass’s academic interests are diverse, but he clearly has a special expertise in the holding company of Warren Buffet and writes about the portfolio, annual meetings, shareholders, and even Mr. Buffet’s health concerns with detail, clarity, and perceptiveness.
The humor and unique take on his subject are immediately apparent to readers of Dr. Richard Warr’s blog, “Finance Clippings,” which offers a diverse collection of links, recommended blogs, and articles on everything financial. As a professor of finance at North Carolina State University, Dr. Warr has the expertise, but also the wit and acuity to provide his readers with an important outlook on current events and issues in finance, economics, and markets.
From the finance department of the world-renowned Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University comes the “Everything Finance” blog, updated by several different Kellogg professors, both current and former. The posts from these distinguished academics provide students and other interested readers with expert perspectives and commentary on current events in finance and economics, public policy, and noteworthy areas of research.
Financial Literacy and Ignorance
The state of personal finances in the U.S. is of great concern to George Washington School of Business professor Annamaria Lusardi and she pens her informative blog “Financial Literacy and Ignorance” to address the need for financial education. Lusardi has extensive experience in the world of financial literacy and personal savings and brings that to bear on her posts which highlight educational opportunities, current issues in personal finance, and other areas of use to the individual interested in becoming more knowledgeable.
An anonymous blogger, known only as Unknown Professor, is behind the financial meets real world blog entitled “Financial Rounds.” With references to Unknown Wife, Unknown Son, and Unknown Daughter, this mysterious finance professor from Unknown University posts about his everyday life, economic and financial news, occurrences in the classroom, and other practical topics with a dash of cynicism and a huge helping of humor.
Jason C. Hsu is the author of Macro Musings and an Adjunct Professor in Finance at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. His blog delves into fascinating topics like whether we should complain about income inequality and government debt explained through Orwell’s Animal Farm.
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Top Finance Blogs
Top 25 Financial Advisor Blogs – The top financial finance advisor blogs based on website popularity metrics.
Additional Resources for Prospective Finance Students
Ohio State Financial Thought Video Series – Videos of lectures by finance professors at the Fisher College of Business that cover topics in financial theory and history.
Bloomberg News – Breaking news on business and finance.
Motley Fool – Stock investment news, research, and commentary.
Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational outlook for financial managers.
Association for Financial Professionals – A network of over 16,000 finance professionals that sponsors the Certified Treasury Professional certification and puts on the largest annual meeting of financial professors in the United States.
The Risk Management Association – An association for finance professionals with the goal of advancing sound risk practices.