Finance is a core area of instruction and training in the field of business management and administration. Understanding finance involves learning about banking systems, capital markets, investment strategies, financial instruments, and other factors that impact the relative value of individual and company assets. Financial specialists assess risk, estimate returns on investments, and use a variety of strategies to reduce risk exposure and protect an enterprise’s fiscal assets in the short- and long-term. Because finance is central to business management and administration, it is a subject addressed in the general curriculum of an MBA program. However, there are also MBA programs that provide additional advanced training in finance through a designated specialization or concentration in finance, which is usually comprised of two or more classes in finance and financial management.
An MBA in finance is a Master of Business Administration degree that incorporates a concentration consisting of several advanced courses that explore topics in financial analysis, financial planning, commercial banking, investment and portfolio management, and other financial functions. Students in an MBA program with a finance specialization complete the general MBA curriculum, which includes courses in accounting and financial reporting, sales and marketing, human resource and operations management, and organizational leadership and communication. In addition, often in lieu of general elective coursework, MBA students who opt for a finance specialization take several designated classes that comprise a track or concentration in finance.
Online MBA programs are designed to provide students with a flexible and often more convenient alternative to traditional, campus-based MBA programs by utilizing distance-learning technologies. An online MBA program with a finance specialization provides all or most of its general, intermediate, and advanced coursework through a learning management system (LMS). An LMS is a platform that delivers lectures and other course materials through a secure Internet connection, and facilitates online group discussions, interactions with instructors, and the submission of exams and other assignments. An online MBA in finance program may be a particularly good option for MBA candidates who do not live near a school that offers a finance specialization, or for students who cannot or would prefer not to relocate or commute to a central campus for classes.
OnlineEducation.com independently researches MBA programs and identifies programs that offer all or most of their instruction online. While some of the programs on the site require students to attend a limited number of campus visits, none of the programs included here require more than two campus visits per year. All of the MBA programs listed on the site are offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities, through business schools that have additional specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). To be classified as an MBA in finance program, a program must provide students with a clearly designated track in finance.
Most of the coursework in an MBA program is devoted to core business knowledge and skills across a broad range of business functions, such as: accounting, finance, marketing, operations management, project management, and organizational leadership. Students in an MBA in finance program complete this core coursework and take a series of additional courses that provide advanced training in the field of finance. The specialized finance coursework may include instruction in the application of financial proficiencies in specific areas of business (e.g., corporate finance, commercial banking, investment management), and/or training in areas like corporate restructuring, risk analysis, and capital markets. Students may then have an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have accrued in a final capstone project that addresses a real-world issue in business finance.
An MBA finance specialization generally includes between two and six courses in various topics related to finance. The table below provides an overview of courses that may be part of a finance specialization.
|Investment Analysis & Portfolio Management||The methods used by professionals to analyze investment opportunities, calculate risk, and plan investment strategies involving stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments.|
|Short-Term Financial Management||Working capital, liquidity, inventory management, banking relationships, accounts payable systems, and other factors that impact the financial position of a company in the short-term.|
|Capital Markets||The use of quantitative tools to assess market performance, structure investments, and predict future trends.|
|Cost Analysis, Profit Planning, & Control||Strategies for enterprise financial planning, including methods for estimating future costs and profits, and the use of control mechanisms to accommodate these variables.|
|Corporate Financial Management||An overview of contemporary issues in corporate finance, including investment funding, debt restructuring, and risk management.|
Applicants to online MBA programs must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and provide undergraduate transcripts as part of the application process. In addition to transcripts, applicants may be required to submit some or all of the following: a short personal goals statement; written responses to one or more essay questions; two or more letters of recommendation; and GMAT test scores. Some programs have a minimum cumulative GPA threshold for applicants, while other programs with selective admissions may weigh undergraduate GPA along with other factors, such as GMAT scores and/or prior professional experience. There are also programs that recommend or require students to have taken certain undergraduate prerequisites (e.g., mathematics, statistics, and/or economics/business courses).
Admission criteria for an MBA in finance is typically the same as the criteria for admissions to a general MBA program. However, potential applicants should check with each program to determine specific admissions criteria before applying.
As with other types of MBA programs, there are several structural components of an online program that potential applicants may want to consider before applying. These variations in formats may affect the relative convenience and flexibility of particular programs, and they can be important considerations for students who have work or other significant commitments outside of school while enrolled in an MBA program. They include the method of online instruction (synchronous vs. asynchronous); part-time vs. full-time enrollment; and whether or not the program requires students to attend on-campus sessions. For a deeper examination of these format variations, refer to our general page on Online MBA Degree Programs.