MBA or masters in finance – which is right for me?

MBA or masters in finance – which is right for me?

Looking to boost your financial expertise and advance your career? Enrolling on an MBA or masters in finance could be a great option for you.  But which qualification will unlock the development and career opportunities you have in mind? And what is the difference between MBA and MSc Finance courses exactly?  In this blog, we’ll outline the main distinctions between the two to help you make the right choice.  

MBA or masters in finance – which is right for me?MBA vs MSc Finance 

1. Work experience requirements  

 The headline rule is that you can enrol on an MSc Finance course without work experience, but you MUST have this to be accepted on an MBA course.  

Compare the entry requirements for our online Master of Business Administration (MBA) and MSc Finance and Strategy courses to give you an idea of the typical experience you’ll need for both degree programmes. 

For Manchester Met’s MSc Finance and Strategy:
– A UK honours degree (2:2 or above) in a Business, Finance or Economics related subject or an international equivalent
OR an equivalent qualification such as ACCA F1-F9
OR a minimum of 3 years relevant work experience

For Manchester Met’s MBA:
– A UK honours degree (2:2 or above) or an international equivalent PLUS a minimum of 3 years relevant work experience
OR significant management experience (10 years or more) and a record of achievement in business and leadership
ALL applicants must be a minimum of 25 years of age

2. Course focus 

An MBA is a general management masters programme, designed to build your business acumen across a range of key areas.  

MBA units will likely include: 
– Finance 
– HR Management 
– Marketing 
– Operations 

The broader curriculum of an MBA will therefore provide you with a holistic understanding of management that you can apply in leadership positions across various industries. 

In contrast, an MSc in Finance has a concentrated focus on the world of finance and will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a leader in this field.  

Units might include: 
– Corporate Finance 
– Reporting 
– Risk Management 
Financial Technologies 

To be clear, you will still learn about management best practices – both MBAs and MScs will give you the tools to become leaders – but the course content for a masters is geared towards those forging a career in financial departments and industries specifically. 

Our online masters in finance and MBA courses at Manchester Met illustrate this. 

For example, as part of the MSc Finance and Strategy course, you analyse and work on real-world case studies from financial institutions to put your theoretical learnings into practice. This is the case for all students on the course, whether they currently work in finance or not.  

However, on our online MBA, you focus on case studies from a range of sectors. This allows individuals from various backgrounds to learn management theory that they can be apply across business areas and sectors.   

That’s not to say you can’t specialise with an MBA, however.  

For the Professional Project unit on Manchester Met’s online course, students conduct an in-depth research project on a chosen area of study, offering the chance to demonstrate the skills and expertise acquired throughout the course, with the option to conduct this for their workplace. If finance is your forte or the function you’d like to support in your organisation, this is a way to zone in on this area and sharpen specific skills.  

MBA or masters in finance – which is right for me?3. Industry contacts 

Networking is critical to attaining leadership positions in the modern business world. 

Developing meaningful professional relationships not only ensures you keep your finger on the industry’s pulse and learn from your peers’ processes and innovations, but it also allows you to acquire useful contacts for future job opportunities or collaborations. 

Studying an MBA or masters in finance offers a great way to boost your business connections – but the professional make up of your new network will vary depending on the course you opt for.  

Because of the broad focus of an MBA, you’ll study with people working across various disciplines and industries globally, from finance to sport, engineering to education and more. This will allow you to build a varied network of business leaders which may be useful for accessing a range of perspectives and potentially facilitating a future career move into a new industry.  

On the MSc Finance and Strategy course, however, you will study with finance professionals from around the world, allowing you to grow a more niche global network. If you know that finance is the field for you, this programme allows you to make specific connections with like-minded people that can deepen your understanding of this discipline and the financial industries. It may even open doors to highly relevant job opportunities in the future.

Decision time: MBA or masters in finance 

So, is a masters in finance better than an MBA, or vice versa?  

Hopefully, this blog has reassured you that one course isn’t ‘better’ than the other – each simply offers different opportunities to students. The decision of which to choose ultimately comes down to you, your previous experience, what interests and inspires you, and your career aspirations. 

If your goal is to graduate with a broad awareness of management across disciplines and sectors, an MBA might be the best fit. However, if you want to gain management skills within the specific realm of finance, a masters in finance is most likely the route for you. 

If you are interested in enrolling on either our online MBA or MSc Finance and Strategy courses – both delivered by Manchester Met’s triple accredited business school – register your interest via the course pages and an Enrolment Advisor will be in touch to answer your questions.