Top Online MBA Finance Specializations


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Money makes the world go round, and finance is the quintessential business course. It is also an in-demand specialization option for graduate students pursuing an online MBA.

Financial professionals are needed in the private and public sectors to manage those assets and make wise investments to maintain and build an organization’s wealth. Finance is a robust career field that is continuously growing and evolving to keep up with the rapidly changing economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in business and financial operations are anticipated to grow by eight percent between 2020 and 2030, with an estimate of 750,800 new jobs created. Careers in finance also offer great earning potential, with a median salary of $72,250 as of May 2020. Professionals holding an MBA are highly trained and thus equipped for managerial roles with the potential to earn higher salaries.

Maybe you’ve decided you’ll pursue a top online MBA in finance, but do you know what type of finance you’d like to specialize in? Don’t worry if you weren’t even aware there are different types of finance. Finance offers such a wide array of specialization areas, and this article of the Top Online MBA Finance Specialization will break down some of the most popular options and offer some interesting choices for you to consider.

Corporate Finance

corporate office

One of the top online MBA finance specializations is corporate finance. Corporate financial professionals work towards increasing a company’s value, so shareholders will want to invest more money in the future. Capital budgeting and working capital management are the two main subcategories within corporate finance. Webster University’s Walker School of Business features a dynamic MBA with a specialization in Corporate Finance. The Corporate Finance program ranges from 39-45 credit hours, depending on a student’s business background. Value creation is emphasized from foundation courses to practice courses that allow you to gain hands-on experience. A few of the courses in this robust curriculum include Adding Value through Human Capital, The Financial Value of Capital Projects, and Capital Budgeting and Corporate Investments. Webster spans more than 50 campus sites, and online students who live near one of the campuses have the option to participate in two hours of in-class experiential learning each week. Additionally, students may attend a week-long global experience to learn about financial management practices at international corporations around the world.

Financial Accounting

Financial accountants prepare a company’s public financial documents, such as quarterly and annual profit and loss statements. Records of a company’s financial statements are of interest to present and potential stockholders and financial institutions who fund capital loans. Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University offers an exceptional MBA in Financial Accounting. This cutting-edge program prepares students to analyze financial statements and to effectively use a wide array of accounting systems. All Financial Accounting students are required to complete Financial Accounting for Decision Making before proceeding to electives. Some of the elective options available include Advanced Auditing, Forensic Accounting, Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting, and International Accounting. Students have five elective credits and may use them all for financial accounting courses or split them among two concentrations. Students interested in earning sufficient credits to qualify for the CPA exam should schedule a meeting with the chair of the Accounting Department.

Financial Fraud Examination and Management

Certified Fraud Examiners are part detective, part financier. CFEs investigate financial transactions to determine whether or not fraud occurred. They must write detailed reports with any evidence they uncovered and present their findings in court. If this career sparks your interest, you can earn an MBA with a specialization in Financial Fraud Examination and Management from Saint Xavier University. Leading professionals, such as CPAs and CFEs, teach students how to help businesses and individuals minimize their risk of being a victim of fraud, detect fraud, and all aspects of responding to financial crimes, from presenting a court case to providing expert testimony. The curriculum covers all four components of the CFE exam: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence. Upon graduation, students in this program will be well prepared to sit for the CFE exam. Graduates have assumed positions with the Chicago Police Department, CIA, FBI, and other government agencies.

Financial Management

Financial managers are responsible for the daily financial operations of a company, including overseeing the budget, handling the cash flow, maximizing profits, and minimizing capital costs. If you are seeking a fast-paced financial career, you can obtain a specialized MBA in Financial Management from Marist’s School of Management. Students will learn to apply financial theories to solve real-world financial challenges in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Concentration courses include Corporate Financial Theory and Practice, Financial Statement Analysis, Financial Markets and Institutions, and Investment Analysis and Theory. Each course is offered in an eight-week online accelerated format. Online students who live near campus can partake in numerous student benefits such as New York City internships, Wall Street field trips, and Bloomberg terminals at the state-of-the-art Investment Center. Marist MBA graduates are employed with some of the world’s most renowned financial institutions and insurance agencies, such as JP Morgan Chase, Aetna, and Fidelity. Financial Management is one of the most sought after top online MBA finance specializations.

Financial Advisor

Financial Planning

Certified Financial Planners have the important job of helping individuals create a financial plan for life’s milestones, from paying off student loans to retirement preparation. If you’d like to pursue this rewarding career, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley delivers a first-rate, convenient MBA with a specialization in Financial Planning fully online. This 36-credit-hour, accelerated MBA can be completed in as few as 12 months. Classes are offered in seven-week modules with multiple start dates per year. The curriculum covers topics such as personal portfolio design, tax management, and retirement planning. Students build upon their business foundation with three concentration courses. The concentration courses include Fundamentals of Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, and Wealth Management. Alumni have advanced to successful careers with brokerage houses, trust companies, insurance firms, and even started their own private consulting practices. Prospective students are invited to join professors for an informative MBA webinar.

Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance

This specialty focuses on the psychology behind the financial decisions consumers and corporations make. Spending habits and perceptions about money are often developed in childhood. The Heider College of Business at Creighton University is proud to offer a one-of-a-kind MBA in Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance. This 33-credit-hour program is taught by leading business practitioners and consists of a combination of MBA core courses, concentration-specific core courses, and elective credits. The Financial Psychology class line-up consists of Applied Behavioral Finance, Introduction to Financial Psychology, and Personal Financial Psychology. Students can also select three electives amongst The Psychology of Family Finances, Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits, Financial Communication and Client Interviewing, Tax Theory and Business Decisions, and Investment Value and Theory. This degree prepares students to enter HR careers, work as onboarding specialists, and teach financial literacy and budgeting courses to clients at banks or non-profit organizations.

Financial Services

Financial services managers work closely with clients in the financial industry, such as banks, credit-card companies, credit unions, and insurance companies. They may also help clients diversify their portfolios with hedge funds, private equity funds, and collective investment funds. If you enjoy working with people, this may be the perfect degree for you. You can prepare for this exciting career field by earning an MBA in Financial Services fromĀ the University of North Carolina at PembrokeĀ in as few as 12 months. The curriculum for this 36-credit-hour program consists of eight core courses, three concentration courses, and one elective. Concentration courses include Personal Financial Planning, Investment Analysis, and Bank Management and Financial Services. Students can select an elective that aligns with their career goals from amongst Services Marketing, Data Analytics for Business, Human Resources Management, Legal Issues for Managers, or Entrepreneurship. Graduates will have the needed skillset to become a CFO or Portfolio Manager.

Financial Valuation and Investment Management

Financial advisors analyze a company’s financial worth using different valuation methods and analytical tools. This position also entails managing investment portfolios and mapping out market forecasts to help individuals and corporations optimize their earnings by selling and buying stock at the perfect time. This highly sought out career skill set can be attained through an online MBA in Financial Valuation and Investment Management from Lynn University. An accelerated degree option allows students to graduate in as little as one year. Throughout this program, students will learn how to apply the Capital Asset Pricing Model, Arbitrage Pricing Theory, and equity valuation. Specialization courses include Measuring and Managing Value, Portfolio Management Analysis, and an Investment Management Seminar. The curriculum also prepares students to succeed on the Chartered Financial Analyst certification exam. Graduates are prepared to assume a wide array of financial leadership roles and to become senior financial analysts.

International Banking and Finance

Another top online MBA finance specialization is international banking and finance. Corporations conduct business transactions with clients around the world. One company may need to lend from an international bank when expanding to a new country. The prestigious Texas A&M International University prepares students for global financial careers through a rigorous online MBA in International Banking and Finance. This MBA program consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 15 months. The curriculum consists of 21 hours of core courses and nine hours towards concentration electives. Students will take core finance courses and seminars in management and marketing before proceeding to International Finance courses. Concentration courses include International Financial Markets and Institutions, International Investments, and International Finance. All classes are seven weeks in duration, and six start dates are available so that you can begin at a time convenient for your schedule. There are many careers available within international banking, including financial accountants, management consultants, investment bankers, and venture capitalists.

Managing Financial Performance

managing financial performance

This subcategory of finance consists of effectively measuring the financial performance of corporations and assessing risks. Natural leaders who enjoy problem-solving will excel because this role often involves working with individuals across many departments. The University of Baltimore offers a completely customizable MBA with a specialization in Managing Financial Performance. Students will take 15 credits of required core courses, nine credits of specialization courses, and a capstone course. There are nearly 20 specialization courses for students to choose from, so students can tailor this degree to their interests. A few options include New Venture Creation, Real Estate Investment, and Financial Markets and Institutions. Students additionally have the option of earning three credits while gaining real-world work experience and building their resumes by completing a graduate finance internship. Upon completing this degree, graduates will be in high demand for a wide variety of business, finance, and accounting roles.

Action Plan

You have a plethora of information to digest about financial careers. Any of these top online MBA finance specializations will provide you with a strong foundation and excellent ROI potential. You may have noticed some overlap in the curriculum and career choices available for these specializations, because several financial professionals work closely together. Perhaps you read about some MBA Finance concentration options you’d never even heard of before that sound like a good fit for you.

In order to whittle down your options, you may want to first do a bit more research about the ones that piqued your interest, and eliminate any options you know you aren’t interested in pursuing. Once you’ve decided on a couple of different finance specializations, you can research other business schools that offer these concentration options as part of their online MBA degrees. You should ensure the programs are accredited by the AACSB, and you can also see if they’ve been ranked by U.S. News and World Report or the Princeton Review.

Next, research tuition rates for the programs you’re interested in and begin to figure out how you will fund your education. Finally, it will be time to apply for the programs you’re interested in. You will need to find out the application deadline and required components. An application portfolio may consist of an official graduate school application, resume, personal statement, GMAT/GRE scores or waiver, and application fee. Await your acceptance letters, and you’ll be on your way to earning an online MBA with one of the top finance specializations available.

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