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MBA in Finance Salary
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If you have an interest in numbers and a penchant for finding patterns in data, you might love a job in finance. Finance is one of the main specializations offered by MBA (Master’s in Business Association) programs, and getting this type of degree can enhance both your job satisfaction and your salary potential.
But school is expensive, and you shouldn’t go merely because you think you can earn more money. Getting an MBA is a big commitment, and will only enhance your career if you are intelligent and intentional about what classes you take, how you apply it to your field, and how you search for a job afterward.
In the following sections, we will discuss what it takes to earn an MBA in Finance, what kind of salary increase you can reasonably expect after earning it, what factors affect salary and what kind of career you might be set up for, and how you should go about finding the best job with the best possibly salary.
If you’re ready to learn more about an MBA in Finance, read on.
You might attend school for a multitude of reasons, including a desire to switch fields, to be exposed to new people and new fields of thought, to support your family or set yourself up for a satisfying lifelong career, or simply because you would like to make a higher salary.
Most commonly, it is some combination of all of these factors. An MBA in Finance can graduate knowing they have a much higher degree of skills to apply to the business field, that they will be useful to a wide variety of companies and organizations, and that they can earn top salaries once they reach executive or officer positions.
If you can see an MBA in Finance contributing to your career, are willing to work hard during the duration of the program, and have the time and money to go to school right now, then this degree might be for you.
Before you decide, let’s discuss what most programs usually look like so you can get a better idea whether one will fit into your schedule right now.
Program Type and Length
Universities across the country offer MBA programs with a concentration in Finance. These programs vary in length and intensity. Some, for instance, are part time programs that allow you to work while you attend school. These usually last longer, anywhere from 18 months to 2 years depending on whether or not you attend in summer. Shorter, more intensive programs usually last a year, though there are also full-time programs that last 2 years.
The specific concentrations of different programs depends on the school, but some common focuses include Entrepreneurial Finance, Corporate Finance and Investments. Your program may have slightly different specialties, or may allow you to concentrate your learning in more than one area, which is why it’s important to talk to the school itself before applying or starting.
Salary Before and After
Your salary after you graduate with your MBA in Finance depends on a few different factors, which we will cover below. For now, let’s take a look at some general figures.
Roughly speaking, you can expect your salary to jump 50 percent upon graduating, says Forbes Magazine. That means if you were originally making $40,000, you will probably make somewhere around $60,000 after earning your MBA and being hired on at your new company (or, in some cases, given a salary increase at the company you stayed at during your program).
While it is difficult to determine exactly how much you would make if you earned an MBA in Finance, some general figures courtesy of Investopedia can give us a clue. If you were to earn an MBA in any field, you would likely earn a starting salary of around $50,000 upon graduating. After four years of work, you would earn closer to $58,000, and after 10-19, you would be earning an average of almost $100,000. In other words, as with any other job, the longer you work, the more you’ll make. The difference is with an MBA, those numbers will be higher across the entire span of your career.
Numbers specifically related to people who work in finance are even more promising. For instance, the average financial manager made roughly $115,000 in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number includes all financial managers, of course, whether or not they have their MBA in Finance, but considering it is an average, is pretty good news. Upon earning your MBA in Finance, you can reasonably expect to hit six figures before your career is out.
Factors Affecting Salary
The above numbers are an average, which means that while you can expect to hit those numbers if you work hard, you may only be able to reach the high end of the spectrum depending on certain other factors:
- Where you go to school: Some schools are more prestigious than others and will earn you a higher starting salary.
- Where you choose to work: Typically the West Coast and the Northeast are the best-paying areas of the country, with the South and Southwest paying least. Other countries may pay more or less depending on their economies.
- Whether you’re in a city or rural area: Jobs in the city, especially big cities with financial sectors such as New York or San Francisco, will more likely pay more than jobs in rural areas.
- How much job experience you had before: If you had already worked in your field for 10 years before earning your degree, chances are good you will net quite a bit more upon graduating than if you were a career switch or had only a couple years’ experience.
- What Finance focus you choose: Some focuses, like corporate finance, will enable you to get higher-paying jobs than others.
- What role you hope to fill: Roles at big companies or in trading positions may earn you considerably more money than other jobs.
Before deciding on a focus, do your research to find out which concentration will help you do the work you’ll enjoy most and which will earn you the highest salary. Shop around for jobs before deciding on a place to settle or a company to work for, so you can at least compare how much you might make before deciding.
An MBA in Finance prepares you for many different careers. Some of the most exciting include:
- Stock market analyst
- Global economist
- Financial officer
- Market trader
- Risk manager
- Corporate financial advisor
- Investment banker
- Hedge fund manager
… and more. Keep in mind that you don’t have to decide on your career path while you’re still in school, or even upon graduating. You can try jobs and see what works for you, then modify your career plan as you learn more about various companies and roles.
Job Hunting and Networking
First, though, you have to get a job. It’s not always enough just to get a degree. If you want to earn the highest starting salary or have the most fulfilling job, there are a few things you can do to help yourself out.
- Update your LinkedIn profile with a professional picture and a comprehensive summary, and fill in all of the work experience and school fields to the best of your abilities. This is where prospective employers and recruiters will look to determine whether you’re a good fit for a job, so don’t skimp on keywords either.
- Talk to professors, mentors and other professionals in your field. Find out the best things you can do to prepare yourself for a job. Volunteer at organizations like the ones you wish to work for upon graduating to fill out your resume, if necessary, and ask respectfully for introductions to important people.
- Go to professional events, such as those hosted by the Association for Financial Professionals. Not only will you meet important people in your field, you may run across people looking for new hires.
Now that you’re ready to meet and greet, it’s time for the interview. Making a good impression while talking to prospective employers is the best way to get the job and salary you want.
There are several tips that can make your interview more productive. First of all, you should always show up a few minutes early, with any requested documents neatly contained in a clean file folder. Shake hands, maintain eye contact and answer all questions to the best of your ability.
When it comes time to ask your own questions, don’t shy away. This is a good opportunity to not only learn more about the company you might work for, but to show you’ve done your homework and are serious about the position. A few to ask might include:
- How long do people typically stay at this job?
- What are the most common duties and difficulties?
- What are the prospects for growth in this position?
- What kinds of perks do you offer?
- Is there anything else I can do to make myself a better fit for this position?
It’s also helpful to know what you want to make going in. Use a tool like Payscale to determine how much you’re worth, then present that to your employer as a range so you can adjust as you find out more about the position.
Following the above steps doesn’t guarantee you anything, of course, but if you are intentional in how you approach schooling and the subsequent job search, chances are good your MBA in Finance will change your career – and your life – for the better.