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Is a Masters Degree in Finance worth it?
Whether you are a seasoned professional already working in finance or a newly-minted college graduate interested in working within the financial sector, you can benefit from an advanced degree to set yourself apart from your peers. Many opt for an MBA, but if you are focused on working in finance, a Master of applied finance or a Masters in international finance can certainly open doors for opportunities to adopt a specialisation within multinational banks, big corporates, investment firms, or at consulting companies.
What to expect from a Masters in Banking and Finance
Depending on the institution, a Masters in Banking and Finance generally takes one or two years to complete. Programmes are structured to give qualified recent graduates the skills they need to obtain mid- to senior-level positions within the financial sector, and for established professionals to update their skills to advance their careers, or even to make a switch to another specialisation. The course of study can be more general at the start, with students deciding on a specialisation later on, whereas some postgraduate programmes offer specialised modules right at the start.
Most Masters in Banking and Finance programmes include lectures and coursework on finance, as well as seminars and workshops to delve further into the subject matter.
Entry requirements for a Masters in Banking and Finance
Some programmes require students to complete a thesis or develop a project to put the skills learned in the classroom to practical use. Students may also benefit from events where they can hear from industry professionals about what it’s like to work in their field of interest. Other programmes allow students to earn professional accreditations like the CFA, which have a huge breadth of content much like the more academic masters degrees.
Candidates for a Masters in Banking and Finance are usually established professionals who generally have at least two years of work experience within finance. However, some schools are willing to take in recent graduates who majored in finance, business, economics, or mathematics. Most prospective students must also take the GMAT or GRE prior to admission. For specialised programmes, there may be an additional requirement involving proficiency tests, and students may be required to take language proficiency tests if the language of instruction is not in their native tongue. Finally, a few programmes also require completion of preliminary courses to establish a basis for their graduate studies.
Masters in International Finance
A Masters in International Finance focuses on the cutting-edge and dynamic developments within international corporate finance, M&A, asset management, and valuation models. This particular postgraduate programme, depending on the institutional provider, usually has a more internationally-oriented focus and it would usually invite students to engage in critical thinking and independent analysis on a more global scale. It is generally considered a rather intensive postgraduate course, but certainly very rewarding, when it comes to impressing potential employers on your CV and in interviews. The Masters in International Finance is highly recommended if you seek to work within the realm of international financial operations and if you like working on transactions which span multiple jurisdictions.
Master of Applied Finance
With a Master of Applied Finance, students can acquire advanced expertise in quantitative and qualitative finance, funds management, and in financial planning. There would usually be a range of elective modules offered as part of the Master of Applied Finance course, thereby broadening the breadth of exposure for those engaged in the course.
Upon completion of a Master of Applied Finance, graduates can easily work in a variety of areas, including superannuation, stock market trading, managed funds, merchant banking, insurance, or venture capitalism. These postgraduate programmes are usually distinguished from other similar courses by placing a greater emphasis on technical knowledge and the impact of sourcing, raising, and managing finance within a business environment. (And if, having read the article above, you decide that you might want to reconsider and see what is most suited to you, there are many other academic programmes discussed here.)