Master's in Finance for Non-Business Majors

A master's degree in finance can be useful for students majoring in non-business fields. This article discusses the benefits of getting a postgraduate finance degree, as well as potential careers, program information, academic requirements, and what you can do to prepare.

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Economic integration, globalization, and the ever-increasing complexity of financial systems mean demand for financial specialists continues to grow. A master's degree in finance is not limited to those with an undergraduate degree in finance, as it can also be a very useful qualification for people with backgrounds in other disciplines. Careers available to those who have completed a master's degree in finance include the following.

Finance Careers

Career Median Annual Salary (2017)* Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Financial Manager $125,080 19%
Personal Financial Advisor $90,640 15%
Securities Sales Agent $63,780 (securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents) 6% (securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)
Financial Analyst $84,300 11%
Management Consultant $82,450 (management analyst) 14% (management analyst)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Finance Career Descriptions

Financial Manager

Financial managers can find careers in a variety of areas, from private sector finance to government institutions to non-financial corporations. They oversee the financial workings of the organization, create financial plans, handle investments, and produce financial reports. While a bachelor's degree is typically the minimum requirement, many employers now require both a master's degree and prior experience in the industry.

Personal Financial Advisor

Financial advisors work directly with clients to plan their financial futures. The focus can be as narrow as designing an investment portfolio or as broad as outlining a comprehensive financial plan covering employment, debt, education, taxes, savings, retirement and insurance. A master's degree is not absolutely necessary for a career as a personal financial advisor, but those with more extensive credentials can experience much greater demand for their services.

Securities Sales Agent

Securities sales agents provide investment information and advice to clients. They facilitate the purchases and trades of securities, and may also consult with corporations on acquisitions, mergers, and business planning. Upper-level positions generally require a master's degree and provide increased responsibility, greater pay, and more room for advancement.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts collect, monitor and analyze data in the financial services sector. Their conclusions are used to create models, identify trends, and recommend strategies. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, but due to strong competition for jobs in the field and for advancement a master's degree is highly recommended.

Management Consultant

Management consultants are charged with maximizing the efficiency of a company or institution. They typically focus on increasing profits by analyzing all aspects of the organization, from personnel to methods to expenditures, then proposing changes and solutions. A bachelor's degree may be enough for entry-level jobs, but some employers prefer applicants with master's degrees.

General Program Information

A bachelor's degree in a financial major is the most common starting point for those interested in completing a master's degree in finance. However, those with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines can also apply for entry. Courses in mathematics, business, economics, and accounting will be a benefit to your application.

You will need to provide all education transcripts, letters of recommendation are usually required and always helpful, and background experience in the financial industry is certainly advantageous. GRE (Graduate Record Examination) results are often required, and high GRE scores could improve your chances of acceptance.

To prepare for a master's degree in finance you should start by taking as many related undergraduate courses as possible, especially those quantitative in nature. Familiarizing yourself with current trends and theories is important, and any current finance professors you have can be a useful source of information. It is always a good idea to study the focus and philosophy of the institutions you hope to attend.

The process of studying for a master's degree in finance will greatly increase your knowledge and understanding of investing, economic concepts, and political policies. Increasing both your educational qualifications and practical expertise can make you much more valuable to employers in financial sectors.

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