Is the MBA degree obsolete today? Are declining MBA applications a sign that this career path is losing relevance in today’s fast-moving economy? A number of recent studies have indicated that the demand for the MBA degree is softening. So, the question is: Is an MBA degree still a good investment? Well, I am afraid not. When it comes to Finance, it used to be the popular option among students.
However, with students interested in specialized Masters degree in Finance and with more universities offering it, this option too seems to be gaining popularity among aspirants from India and other countries.
If you’re stuck with a dilemma and trying to probe whether a Masters in Finance (MS) or an MBA degree would be the right choice for you, here are some insights into what makes the MS option a better one.
MS in Finance or MBA: What’s the Difference?
The primary distinction between an MBA and an M.S. is breadth versus depth.
The MBA is a common business graduate degree. It equips students with broader skills and knowledge in business and helps graduates apply them in many different areas.
An M.S. degree hones in on a single specialty. It helps you become a deep expert in one functional area, which is suitable for professionals who are clear about their career path. So, if you want to be in the finance field, then an M.S. degree is likely to be a great option for you.
Generally, students who apply for Masters programs are younger. They are expected to have multiple years of professional experience under their belt, but they do have to complete an internship program before they are admitted. Meanwhile, MBA applicants are required to have at least three years of work experience. Due to the work experience requirements, MBA applicants are mostly older than students in the MS programs. Both programs usually require the same GMAT scores.
The Rise of MS in Finance
The specialized MS degree takes only one year and has correspondingly lower tuition fees than the traditional two-year MBA, making it less costly. If you are sure about pursuing a career in finance or closely related fields, then Master of Finance degree is the intelligent choice. MS programs zero in on finance in a comprehensive manner, with courses in financial theory, mathematics, quantitative finance, investments, markets, financial reporting and analysis, and valuation. These programs do not typically require any previous work experience, so students tend to be younger than their MBA counterparts.
But as more universities offer MBA programs, the field is becoming a bit more crowded, and more people are seeking alternatives. Research says that MS programs are ought to become more and more competitive over the next few years.
Large companies have realized the need to have graduates with the best Master of Finance degrees. It is especially true for firms that solely offer finance-related products and services.
The MS in Finance degree is highly focused, specializing in the technical aspect of finance and quantitative methods. The program enables students to understand complex finance strategies through tools, mathematical models, and frameworks that will aid them in applying financial principles to businesses.
An MBA gives you the option to specialize in the Finance area; however, there is a limitation to the level of details covered and the scope of topics dealt with. In specialized areas of Finance such as risk management, equity research firms, asset management, advisory services, investment research, security analysis, brokerage, which need quantitative financial experts with a deep analytical knowledge, an MS graduate would always have the upper hand.
However, there are several professionals who wish to have the best of both worlds. So, they may complete their Masters in Finance, work for a few years in a Financial role. They then complete their MBA and aim for more senior management positions within the industry.
Many universities also offer a joint degree, such as an MBA / MS in Finance. Your education will take slightly longer, but you will have the benefit of the breadth of the MBA and the depth of the MS.
There’s no denying that the MBA is a popular degree, but it isn’t always the best choice for every career path or individual. There are several advanced degrees that are more in demand and often, more easily accessible than the conventional MBA. Design programs, finance degrees, and dual-track MBAs are all in high demand right now.
Today, Masters in Finance versus MBA issues have created confusion among individuals who want to pursue either of these graduate programs. But if you have a love of numbers, the Masters degree just might be a better choice than an MBA. Masters programs are typically a bit easier to get into, and while most MBA programs require at least three years of work experience, advanced finance students can come in with just internship experience. This degree also tends to be shorter and cheaper.
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