Masters in Finance
Students going for a Masters in Finance will find that they take classes surrounding economics, accounting, quantitative methods, financial modeling, mergers and positions, and portfolio management. Others may pursue studies surrounding corporate governance, business strategy, and business ethics. Students will learn how to understand, apply, and analyze various aspects of a company or individual's finances. After graduation, many will go in to the private industry as financial analysts. Others use this form of degree as a stepping-stone towards becoming a controller within a large corporation.
For those that want to pursue a degree, finding time is often the biggest obstacle. Money may be the second obstacle. In pursuing a degree online, many students find it easier to get over those two obstacles. Tuition is usually much lower than tuition at traditional universities. There are much lower expenses related to facilities by pursuing your online degree. You can easily overcome the time factor since getting an online degree provides you with the flexibility to do your class work on your own schedule. Students that choose Finance Master's Programs offered online obtain the same academic credentials as those that go to traditional universities. They get the benefits of a higher degree without disrupting their life or their finances.
For graduates, job prospects opened up in many areas of both public and private industry. Many graduates go on to work in banking and finance companies. Others go on to pursue a PhD and become a teacher at the university level. Some go on to become consultants for large corporations and private firms. The finance departments of large corporations continually look for students coming out of college. For those that choose to pursue the financial analyst route, beginning salaries can start as low as $45,000 and go up work from there based on experience.
Additional Finance Grad Resources
Vanderbilt University offers the Master of Finance degree through the Owen School of Business, but as a degree separate from the MBA program. It is a thirty two credit hour program consisting of courses delivered in seven week modules, two modules to a semester. Completion of the Master in Finance takes nine months of full time study.
University of Florida has a Master of Finance program that is also offered through the College of Business but as a program separate from the MBA. There are five academic components to the program, with classes in each group: Real Estate, Bonds, Valuation/Corporate Finance, International Finance, and Derivative Securities & Computational Finance. The program requires two full semesters and one summer session.
Princeton University is one of the few schools that offers the Master of Finance and does not require work experience. The program puts strong emphasis on financial economics which very quickly leads to immersion in quantitative and analytical finance. The program will take two years to complete and includes a summer internship between those years.
Rochester Institute of Technology is one of the sleeper schools in the U.S. with some great technology and business graduate programs that aren't terribly costly. The Master of Finance program consists of twelve courses and a comprehensive exam. It can be completed in one full year of full time study. The degree prepares students to sit for the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) exam.
New York University offers a Masters of Mathematics in Finance for students interested in serious quantitative studies. The MBA program at NYU offers specialization options in Finance, Financial Instruments & Markets, Financial Systems & Analytics, Corporate Finance, and Quantitative Finance. There is also a Masters in Global Finance offered by the Business School.
Professional Finance Associations
Financial Management Association is an international organization for both academicians and business professionals that publishes two journals and a survey series for its members. The Association hosts an annual meeting in the United States and four conferences located in the U.S. and other continents. There is a membership section for MBA students and undergraduates.
American Finance Association is an organization oriented to academics, with its most visible activity being publication of the Journal of Finance. The organization is active in research support, and has a number of awards presented annually for academic achievement. Membership is granted through written application.
Association for Financial Professionals is the organization for management level finance executives and officers. The organization offers a certification program for CTP or Certified Treasury Professional. There are Association reports on regulatory activity and on news stories relevant to the industry that are constantly updated on the website.
Government Finance Officers Association is also active in tracking changes in reporting requirements and other standards set by federal agencies including the SEC. There are permanent and active committees on Accounting, Auditing & Financial Reporting; and on Federal Government Relations. The Association offers a substantial list of publications on issues relevant to state and local government finance.
Financial Planning Association is an organization for professionals in the personal financial planning industry, whether they are sole practitioners or employees of major investment firms or banks. There are nearly 100 chapters of local organizations under the FPA umbrella connecting finance professionals working in various sectors of the industry.
Finance Accreditation and Credentials
Association to Advance Collegiate Business Schools is the body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation as the accrediting institutions for the nation's schools of business. Almost all Master of Finance degrees are offered through university business schools, with the exception of the Master in Financial Mathematics, which is usually offered by a department of mathematics.
American Academy of Financial Management is a provider of exam-based certification for finance professionals. Among the credentials available through this organization are Certified Asset Manager, Accredited Financial Analyst, Master Financial Planner, Certified Risk Analyst, Chartered Market Analyst, Chartered Compliance Analyst, and several others.
Chartered Financial Analyst Institute offers one of the premier professional credentials: the CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst. Achieving this recognition requires the completion of three levels of testing, which will take at least two years to complete. There are CFA Societies around the world.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has an exam based program that leads to designation as a Certified Financial Planner, which requires renewal every two years and meeting continuing education requirements. The Board also censures unscrupulous behavior.
Investment Management Consultants Association has two certification programs that are exam and experience based: the Certified Investment Management Analyst, and the Certified Private Wealth Advisor for professionals working with high net worth clients.
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