Guide to a Finance Online MBA

finance online mba

Are you pursuing a career in finance? Do you aspire to earn a promotion, start your own business, or change the direction of your career path entirely but feel you lack the confidence, experience, or qualification to make it happen? A Finance Online MBA can provide the knowledge and skills necessary to help you achieve your dream career. You can do it!

Knowledge is powerful. You can make decisions that fuel your path in life and set yourself up for success. By completing a Finance Online MBA, you gain way more than just a business graduate degree. It’s a holistic experience that builds life-changing confidence, unmatched professional and personal relationships, a range of highly relevant skills, and the ability to navigate challenges.

Throughout this Guide to a Finance Online MBA, you will learn about what this degree entails, different types of Finance Online MBA degrees, how to choose the right one, and how to apply for and succeed in this degree. We will wrap it up with some tips on what kinds of action plans to take to help you reach your goals.

What is a Finance Online MBA?

Online Finance

It takes money to make money, right? This idea is an essential aspect of what finance is and how it operates. Money is everywhere. Everyone deals with money. They handle it, enjoy it, and navigate the challenges it brings. To better understand what a Finance Online MBA has to offer, let’s first look at what finance is all about.

What is Finance?

There are many aspects of finance, but in summary, the dictionary defines finance as “the management of revenues, and the monetary resources of an individual, company, organization, or government.” It involves acquiring and managing money and includes banking, assets, credit, liabilities, capital markets, leverage, and debt. Financial actions are investing, saving, raising funds, budgeting, borrowing, lending, and forecasting. Everyone deals with finances, whether personally, professionally, or both. Financial professionals study, create, analyze, and oversee these components and conduct and advise on these actions that compose the financial system.

Types of Finance

You can break up the field of finance into three areas: personal, corporate, and public.

  • Personal finance manages an individual’s or family’s financial activities, mainly the spending, income, investing, saving, and protection.
  • Corporate finance handles the sources of funding, ways to maximize the value, and the capital structure of a corporation, firm, company, or business.
  • Public finance, or government finance, deals with managing a country’s finances and the methods by which it pays for public services.

Finance Online MBA

A Finance Online MBA will give you the tools and experience you need to successfully step into a leadership role, change careers altogether, or follow your entrepreneurial desire to be your own boss. With determination, focus, and hard work, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, especially when it’s something you enjoy.

This degree, also known as an Online MBA with a Finance Specialization or Concentration, is one of the most popular and chosen MBA specializations. It consists of coursework and experiences that build knowledge in the main areas of finance, gives students a broad understanding of business and management fundamentals, and allows space to develop advanced leadership skills. Almost every program provides essential professional development and experiential learning opportunities just as important as the curriculum. Let’s take a closer look into the elements that make up this degree.

Curriculum

Every business school and university that offers a Finance Online MBA makes its program unique in some way. They will differ in the number of required credits, specific courses, co-curricular activities, student organizations, cost, and more. You get the idea.

A Finance Online MBA can require anywhere from 36 to 60 credits for completion. Typically, 30 credits are filled by core business courses, while the remaining credits are for specialized finance courses and sometimes electives. Full-time students can graduate in one to two years and part-time in two to five years. There are even specially designed accelerated programs that can be completed in 10 to 12 months.

curriculum

The core business coursework provides a comprehensive understanding of how all the aspects of business work together. Core course topics include:

  • Management
  • Finance
  • Business Law
  • Ethics
  • Economics
  • International Business
  • Risk Management
  • Accounting
  • Marketing

Finance specialization classes, projects, and course material cover a variety of financial activities like:

  • Investments
  • Banking
  • Corporate, Personal, or Public Finance
  • Financial Modeling
  • Portfolio Management
  • Behavioral Finance
  • International Finance
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Securities Analysis
  • Real Estate Investment
  • Global Financial Institutions
  • Small Business Finance
  • Entrepreneurship & Venture Finance

Most programs end with a capstone course or project. This allows students to apply all that they have learned toward helping solve a real-world business challenge with a real company.

Skills

As a business leader, you need a solid skill-set to complete the work, carry you through challenges, inspire team members, and lead your organization to reach greater heights. On top of the business and finance-specific skills you acquire through this degree, these are some additional skills you gather along the way:

  • Management
  • Quantitative
  • Leadership
  • Analytical
  • Strategic Thinking and Decision Making
  • Problem Solving 
  • Communication 
  • Time Management
  • Organization

Professional Development

As a Finance Online MBA student, you will find an enormous amount of opportunities to develop professionally. Make time for and take part in every experiential learning and professional development opportunity that you can fit into your schedule. You might feel extremely busy, but it will all be time well spent in the investment of your future. Here are some examples:

  • Internships – offer hands-on experience, first-hand insight into the professional financial world, networking opportunities, and potential future employment.
  • Student Organizations – provide relationships, networking events, conferences, volunteer opportunities, internship connections, and educational experiences that all increase the quality of your resume.
  • Study Abroad – an opportunity to take an international trip, gain a great global perspective, immerse yourself in a different culture, see how another country does business, and learn once-in-a-lifetime lessons about yourself and the world.

Benefits of an Online MBA Degree

degree

Even though the experience of an online degree is not entirely the same as if you were attending school in person, it does have its benefits that might fit your needs perfectly. Many of these advantages are the reason why online MBAs are growing in popularity and availability.

An increasing number of universities are developing highly reputable and accredited online MBA programs. Also, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of our lives have transitioned online. This paves the way for even more online MBA programs and more profound respect for the degree. Here are some highlights:

  1. Flexibility and Convenience – The ability to access your coursework online from anywhere and mainly at any time is an incredible benefit for working professionals, those with child or family commitments, and people who need to travel.
  2. Affordability – The overall costs of the degree and expenses tend to be less than on-campus MBA programs.
  3. Options – Online MBA degrees come in many different formats. The fun fact is you get to find the type of online MBA program right for you.
  4. 100% Online – no in-person requirement. 
  5. Hybrid – requires some form of in-person sessions, like week-long or weekend residencies on campus.
  6. Expert faculty – Most online MBA programs are taught by the same highly qualified and dedicated faculty that teach their on-campus counterparts.
  7. Technology – With the rapid advancement of technology over the past two decades, online degrees have become more relevant and streamlined. A few aspects of the technological infrastructure include:
    • Interactive live lectures
    • Streaming audio and video
    • Visual software
    • Virtual chat rooms for class discussions, team projects, collaboration, and conversations with professors
    • Adaptive learning
    • Smartphone apps where students can access lectures and assignments. 
    • Online access to support services, including tutoring, academic advising, admissions counseling, writing workshops, mentoring, 24/7 tech support, and career development activities.

What Types of Jobs Does a Finance Online MBA Prepare Me For?

Did you know from 2019 to 2029, financial management jobs are predicted to grow much faster than the average of all occupations? A 15% growth rate projection according to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics. So, not only are graduates of a Finance Online MBA able to look forward to job openings but seem to find greater financial rewards and higher job satisfaction than most business specialties. PayScale shows an average annual salary of $100,106 for those with a Finance MBA.

When you have acquired the Finance Online MBA degree, you can work with many different companies and a substantial variety of jobs. Here is a list of some options with their average annual salary:

How Do I Choose the Right Finance Online MBA?

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There are hundreds of Finance Online MBA programs throughout the U.S. It can be overwhelming contemplating how to find the right degree. But, it can also be exciting to sift through all of the incredible opportunities out there. We are here to help. Here are some things to think about:

  1. Are you interested in specializing in a specific area of finance?

A Finance Online MBA will cover a broad range of topics and prepare graduates for all kinds of finance careers. But, several Finance Online MBA programs offer specializations that will focus your studies on a particular field of interest. Some examples of these specializations, concentrations, emphasis areas, tracks, or certificate programs are:

  • Financial Management
  • Financial Planning
  • Corporate Finance
  • Banking or Financial Services 
  • Financial Accounting
  • Nonprofit Finance
  • Energy Finance
  • International Banking and Finance 
  • Global Finance and Investment 
  • Financial Psychology & Behavioral Finance 
  • Financial Valuation & Investment Management 
  • Financial Fraud Examination 

2. Decide if you can do a full-time or a part-time program.

3. Decide if you want a 100% online format or a hybrid format with some in-person residencies.

4. Make sure you look at accredited universities, colleges, and MBA programs.

Universities and colleges undergo extensive evaluation, review, and assessment in resources, instruction, coursework, student learning, and faculty expertise. If they meet the required quality standards, they receive regional accreditation from an independent accrediting agency.

Business schools and programs can also qualify for their specialized accreditation through national and international accrediting agencies. The three most common accreditations that business schools and MBA programs have are:

  • AACSB – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • ACBSP – Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools & Programs
  • IACBE – International Accreditation Council for Business Education

Top reasons why you want to earn an accredited Finance Online MBA degree from an accredited university or college:

  • It provides confidence and peace of mind knowing that the education you are receiving is proven to be excellent, sufficient, and relevant. 
  • Allows you to receive federal student aid.
  • It is required to sit for state licensing exams.
  • Most employers require it.

5. Check out rankings of Finance Online MBA programs and business schools.

Several credible ranking sites perform thorough research of all the critical aspects of MBA programs and business schools and create updated rankings every year. Take a look:

6. Look to see if the program offers the type of professional development opportunities you want to experience.

How Do I Apply for a Finance Online MBA?

application

Once you have decided which Finance Online MBA degree programs you want to pursue, the next step is to check out the admission and application requirements. There are several components to this process.

Pre-application Process

Before you start the actual application, check out these things:

  • Sign up for a virtual information session, read the program brochure, or read the MBA admissions information on the school’s website.
  • Make sure the undergraduate degree you received qualifies you for your desired graduate program.
  • Most MBA programs are designed for those who have previous work experience. Check to see if your program requires work experience, what type, and how many years. On average, applicants need one to two years of business work experience. 
  • The GMAT requirement. The Graduate Management Admissions Test has been a staple part of MBA admissions for years. 
    • Some online MBAs do not require a GMAT score.
    • Some offer GMAT waivers based on GPA, work experience, or other factors.
    • If you need to take the test, then take ample time to study, prepare for, and complete it.

Application Process

Every application may have some different aspects to it. Here are some potential “to do” items you may come across throughout the application process:

  • Gather official transcripts for high school and undergraduate/graduate education completed. 
  • Fill out application
  • Complete any required essays
  • Gather and submit letters of recommendation
  • Complete an interview with the program director
  • Submit a statement of purpose
  • Submit a professional resume, including education, work experience, and training

Post-application Process

What a relief when you get to this point. But, the three main things you should do right after you get accepted are:

  • Check the school’s financial aid checklist
  • See if your employer offers or would be willing to help cover some or all of the tuition costs
  • Apply for scholarships

How Do I Succeed in a Finance Online MBA?

You have already figured out what Finance Online MBA you want to pursue, worked through the steps to apply, and got accepted. Congratulations! The first round of hard work is over. Now, let’s talk about how you are going to succeed in your endeavors.

Completing a Finance Online MBA and getting the most out of every educational and experiential opportunity while handling work or family obligations is not an easy road. But, with enough determination, self-discipline, and hard work, you can make this happen for yourself.

No matter what, you can appreciate that every bit of the curriculum will get you steps closer to reaching your professional goals. Challenges build strength, perseverance, confidence, and pride as you complete each task. These are all great qualities to carry into your career.

motivation

Find Your Motivation

The Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Norman Ralph Augustine, once said, “Motivation will almost beat mere talent.” Motivation is powerful. You need to clearly define what motivates you to obtain this degree. It is different and unique to each student. Here are some examples:

  • Provide for your family
  • Specific career goal
  • Promotion into a leadership or management position
  • Increase in pay
  • Change in career
  • Start your own business

Much of the work for a Finance Online MBA is completed on your own time. This takes an extreme level of self-motivation and self-discipline. When you have an apparent motivational reason, the entire MBA experience will drive you to achieve your goals. John C. Maxwell, a bestselling author, pastor, and coach, talks about how even amid talent and opportunities, it is motivation, discipline, and consistency that get you going and keep you growing.

Get Involved

As we discussed earlier, there are numerous opportunities to build relationships and participate in groups and activities to aid personal and professional development. When completing an online degree, it is easier to be anti-social and hide behind your computer screen. But, we highly encourage you to step out, get involved, and be known. You can be confident that the results will positively impact your life in incredible ways and far outweigh the initial fear and doubt you may struggle with. What does it mean to get involved?

  • Get to know your professors and classmates.
  • Participate in the chat room discussions.
  • Join student organizations and participate in the conferences, volunteer opportunities, educational activities, and networking events. 
  • Complete an internship.

Pursue Additional Resources

Find every opportunity to look into all of the fantastic resources out there. Yes, the degree program is packed with pertinent knowledge, insight, and tools to deeply educate you in all things finance and business. But it doesn’t hurt to seek out additional knowledge elsewhere, right?

Podcasts, blogs, and websites are excellent free resources that Finance Online MBA students can easily access at any time. Check out these examples:

Podcasts

Financial Management Podcast
The Dave Ramsey Show
BiggerPockets – Real Estate
Motley Fool Money
MAD Money w/Jim Cramer

Blogs

Business Insider
Bloomberg Markets
SBA Blog
AICPA Insights
The Rich Dad Blog

Websites

Google Finance provides daily international market data, market trends, and financial news from leading news outlets.
The SEC Website provides company filings, financial guides, and more.
Bloomberg News is an excellent resource for company and industry news and information.
Nonprofit Financial Management Resources 

Courses

Coursera and edX are excellent free resources that offer free courses and specializations from highly-ranked and reputable universities. A few examples of courses for Finance Online MBA students include:

Accounting Data Analytics with Python Course
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: Intro to Digital Currencies Course
FinTech Law and Policy Course
Introduction to Corporate Finance
Professional Associations

Most benefits provided by professional associations are accessible through a paid membership. This is an excellent investment for your education and your future. Joining a local chapter of a professional association while in business school is a smart choice for many reasons:

  • Job leads
  • Networking opportunities
  • Volunteer activities
  • Access to events, like conferences and conventions
  • Career resources, like magazine and journal subscriptions, seminars, and workshops
  • Impressive to employers
  • Direct access to members that are business leaders
  • Certification opportunities

A few of the popular professional associations for finance students and professionals include:

Action Plans

checklist

In this extensive Guide to a Finance Online MBA, you have read through tons of financial information, the degree itself, jobs you can pursue, and “how-tos” about choosing the right degree, applying for it, and succeeding in it. Have you decided which type of Finance Online MBA program you are looking for? Maybe you are ready to apply? Make sure you set some specific action plans, so you get things done in a timely fashion. Start with choosing around what date you plan to start the degree, then go from there.

  1. 9-12 months before start date = Choose four to six Finance Online MBA degrees to apply for, and see if they require the GMAT.
  2. 6-9 months before start date = Prepare for the GMAT. Plan for two to three months and 100-120 hours of prep time studying the material for the exam.
  3. 4-6 months before start date =
    1. Take the GMAT. You can retake it once every 16 calendar days and up to five times a year. Give yourself ample time to have to retake the GMAT, if necessary. It takes anywhere from five to twenty days to receive your test results.
    2. Look through the applications and see what items you need to gather to apply (i.e., transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.). Gather those items at this time.
  4. Four months before start date = At about four months out, you typically see a priority deadline to apply. Priority deadlines usually come with added benefits, like priority registration, application fee waivers, and additional time to plan for the costs.
  5. Three months before start date = Make sure to apply. This is about the average for the final deadline to apply.
  6. 1-3 months before start date = Apply for scholarships and fellowships through the university, degree program, and outside resources. Check with your employer for scholarships, as well.

Take action for your future, find your motivation, and pay attention to detailed information. Work hard and enjoy your time as a graduate student. We hope you find all the success you’re looking for in a finance career.