Financial Analyst Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Financial analysts work for companies such as securities firms, banks and mutual funds. An advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, is highly desirable; however, many financial analysts have only an undergraduate degree. Acceptable undergraduate areas of study include accounting, statistics, finance and business.

How to Choose a Financial Analyst School or College

Since there are many degree options available for aspiring financial analysts, a prospective student must first decide on whether to complete a bachelor's degree only or to continue their studies and enroll in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Graduates of an MBA program have a better chance of securing a financial analyst positions than job candidates who hold only an undergraduate degree. However, there are some instances in which a job applicant who has an undergraduate degree is also a desirable candidate.

For instance, the quality of the school and the ability to complete internships with banks and other financial institutions are important considerations that need to be taken into account for aspiring financial analysts. Therefore, the ranking of a school and its internship opportunities are two key criteria for selecting the right school.

According to BusinessWeek, some of the best undergraduate business schools in the U.S. are the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley and Cornell University. Not only are undergraduate finance students exposed to a rigorous curriculum, but they are also aided by career services offices in job placement as they approach graduation.

MBA graduates who have completed the more advanced courses in finance will likely have an advantage over job applicants who have only an undergraduate degree. However, since the quality of a finance program is so important, a job candidate who has an MBA in Finance from an average-to-good business school may not be looked upon that much more favorably than a job applicant who has an undergraduate degree in finance from a top-ranked business school.

Some of the advanced finance courses taken in an MBA program include investments analysis, financial derivatives, financial markets and instruments and mergers and acquisitions. Potential MBA students may also want to consider business schools that offer career placement services as a student finishes the program.

Largest Schools and Colleges by Student Population

College/University Student Population Institution Type
Arizona State University 67,082 4-year, Public
Ohio State University-Main Campus 53,715 4-year, Public
University of Florida 51,474 4-year, Public
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 51,140 4-year, Public
University of Central Florida 50,121 4-year, Public
The University of Texas at Austin 49,984 4-year, Public
Texas A&M University 48,039 4-year, Public
Michigan State University 46,510 4-year, Public
University of South Florida 46,189 4-year, Public
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 44,406 4-year, Public
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 43,246 4-year, Public
New York University 42,189 4-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Wisconsin-Madison 41,620 4-year, Public
University of Washington-Seattle Campus 39,675 4-year, Public
Florida International University 38,759 4-year, Public
Florida State University 38,682 4-year, Public
University of Arizona 38,057 4-year, Public
University of Maryland-College Park 37,000 4-year, Public
California State University-Northridge 36,208 4-year, Public
University of Houston 36,140 4-year, Public

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