What Can You Do With a Master of Finance Degree?

Updated December 9, 2022

A master of finance degree is a practical program for anyone looking to make a career change or increase their potential earnings. In today's job market, it could give students access to specialized knowledge and offer career advancement opportunities in the finance industry, finance roles or other management positions. In this article, we discuss what jobs you can get with a master's in finance, what it involves, its benefits and some of the highest paying jobs available to someone with a master's in finance.

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What does a master of finance program involve?

A master of finance degree offers direct preparation for a career in corporate finance, financial analysis, investment and financial planning. These are career paths that often require financial training beyond what is found in a business administration degree. Each master of finance degree sets its program varying in length and coursework. Here are the most common expectations from a master of finance program:

  • Time: Most master of finance degrees take two years to complete. Accelerated programs allow some people to complete the degree within a year or less.

  • Core courses: The curricula typically includes courses covering the fundamentals of finances, including topics in corporate finance, financial modeling, pricing and risk management.

  • Electives: Some programs allow students to choose electives in a specialization. Common specialization areas include capital markets, banking and financial services, insurance and international business.

Related: Your Guide To Careers in Finance

Benefits of a master of finance degree

The most traditional program for business students is usually the master of business administration (MBA). However, a master of finance degree has the following benefits:

  • Targeted specialization: Instead of having a broad focus covering the many aspects of business management, a master of finance degree offers a more targeted background with extensive knowledge of finance specifically. A master of finance degree allows students to choose specializations like portfolio and risk management, financial analysis or quantitative finance.

  • No experience required: Many MBA programs typically expect or require applicants to have years of business-related experience. The master of finance degree can be more flexible, allowing students to enroll after college or with internship experience.

  • Faster program: The master of finance degree can be completed faster than a traditional MBA. Some master of finance degree programs takes a year or two to complete.

  • Less saturated market: Today, many candidates now have an MBA. Having a master of finance degree may help a candidate get noticed, assuming the specialization is relevant to the job.

Related: Q&A: Master's vs. MBA

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12 master of finance Jobs

Below you will find 12 high-paying jobs for someone with a master's degree in finance. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed Salaries, click on the salary link by each job title below:

1. Financial analyst

National average salary: $71,635 per year

Primary duties: A financial analyst works with businesses and organizations to make investment recommendations based on financial data. They analyze business environments and a company's financial status to create forecasts based on operations and market trends. Financial analysts often have a background in finance, business or accounting.

Related: Learn About Being a Financial Analyst

2. Wealth manager

National average salary: $77,724 per year

Primary duties: Also known as a wealth management advisor, a wealth manager offers financial and investment advice primarily to individuals. They also provide tax planning, estate planning and accounting services for clients. Wealth managers often work as brokers on behalf of clients buying and selling stocks and other financial assets.

Related: What Is Wealth Management?

3. Forensic accountant

National average salary: $80,480 per year

Primary duties: A forensic accountant, also known as an investigative accountant, conducts audits and investigations into the finances of businesses and individuals to identify potential fraudulent crimes. They may analyze bookkeeping practices, testify as expert witnesses and provide consultation services to detectives or other entities. Forensic accountants may also help calculate and quantify damages sustained by parties involved in legal disputes by analyzing and interpreting financial information.

Related: Learn About Being a Forensic Accountant

4. Investment banking analyst

National average salary: $88,197 per year

Primary duties: An investment banking analyst works mostly at investment banks providing financial services. They analyze market conditions to determine opportunities for future gains, look into different banking transactions and create presentations to investment bankers or clients. Investment banking analysts use financial data to elaborate recommended portfolios for different clients and market opportunities to grow existing portfolios and find diversification opportunities that suit their clients' investment goals.

Related: How To Get Into Investment Banking

5. Personal financial officer

National average salary: $91,931 per year

Primary duties: Also known as personal financial advisors, they assess the financial needs of individuals and help them with tax laws, decisions on investments and insurance inquiries. They work alongside their clients to prepare for short- and long-term goals that range from paying student debt to saving for retirement.

Related: Learn About Being a Financial Advisor

6. Portfolio manager

National average salary: $100,122 per year

Primary duties: A portfolio manager works with individual clients or organizations to create and manage investment allocations. They direct all trades the portfolio makes and make all final decisions on the securities involved. Portfolio managers work alongside analysts who research various securities and the institutions that issue them. When working with individuals, they operate within the client's level of risk, factoring in their risk preferences, return expectations and market conditions.

Related: How To Start a Portfolio

7. Finance and insurance manager

National average salary: $111,644 per year

Primary duties: A finance and insurance manager, also abbreviated F&I manager, works within the finance department of a dealership to find car purchase financing for customers. They work alongside financial lenders and use their understanding of aftermarket options and warranties to help their clients get the best interest rates. They may also be responsible for training sales teams and meeting sales goals at the car dealership.

Related: Learn About Being a Finance Manager

8. Corporate controller

National average salary: $115,057 per year

Primary duties: A corporate controller is responsible for all daily accounting operations within a company. They supervise payroll, the accounting department and all accounts payable or receivable. Corporate controllers help develop strategic financial decisions that can help a company achieve its short- and long-term financial goals. Part of their role involves producing periodic financial reports, maintaining accounting records and controlling budgets to mitigate risks. The controller typically reports to the company's chief financial officer and works closely with the accounting department.

Related: Learn About Being a Controller

9. Actuary

National average salary: $116,436 per year

Primary duties: An actuary manages financial risks for businesses. They work for and with banks and insurance companies to design plans that protect the company from financial loss. Actuaries also help design insurance policies, determine coverage and the price for the policies. Often, actuaries participate in developing policies and strategies that assess risk in different areas of business. Typically they are a part of a larger team of business managers and financial analysts.

Related: Learn About Being an Actuary

10. Valuation manager

National average salary: $131,747 per year

Primary duties: A valuation manager focuses on auditing financial statements or property values in the real estate industry or for financial companies. A valuation manager is responsible for overseeing everyday operations, ensuring department functions and assisting clients with their financial decisions.

Related: Business Valuation: Definition and How To Calculate

11. Chief financial officer

National average salary: $134,080 per year

Primary duties: A chief financial officer (CFO) oversees a company's capital structure and provides direction on investing the company's money effectively. CFOs are responsible for general business and accounting tasks, as well as regulatory compliance of financial reporting. They also present and report financial updates to employees, shareholders, the board of directors and the management team members.

Related: Learn About Being a CFO (Chief Financial Officer)

12. Vice president of finance

National average salary: $163,940 per year

Primary duties: A vice president of finance oversees a company's financial records. They also project future financial investments and develop financial strategies to help the company achieve long-term goals. In large companies, the vice president of finance operates under the chief financial officer and both are responsible for the accounting department.

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