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A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance is a dynamic, well-respected degree that gives students the financial management skills and expertise they need to work in a variety of industries, including banking, government, tech, and nonprofits.

The job outlook is strong for individuals with a background in finance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there will be, on average, 911,400 new job openings per year in the business and finance sector through 2032. There are several lucrative, fast-growing positions that MBA in finance graduates are qualified for, including:

Depending on the course requirements and student’s experience level, most students can earn an MBA in finance in 1-2 years of full-time study. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual tuition for graduate programs during the 2021-22 academic year was $12,596 at public institutions and $29,931 at private non-profit colleges.

How to Choose an MBA in Finance Degree Program

Choose your area of study

The first step in finding a suitable MBA in finance program is clarifying your educational and career goals as well as your practical needs. Establishing priorities early in the process can help you narrow your options to programs that align with your interests and needs.

First, consider whether an MBA in finance is the right degree for you. MBA programs give students a foundation in multiple areas of business practice, including management, economics, communications, and marketing, before focusing on finance concepts and skills. Meanwhile, Master of Finance (MFin) and Master of Science (MS) in Finance programs concentrate specifically on advanced finance topics, with less of a general business emphasis.

You’ll also want to think about what level of MBA program is appropriate based on your educational and professional background. Some MBA in finance programs are open to all students, regardless of their undergraduate degree and prior work experience. Others are designed for students who studied business or finance at the undergraduate level and have several years of professional experience in a related field.

In terms of practical needs, this is a good time to determine if you’ll attend school full-time or part-time. Consider how classes will fit into your schedule. Can you attend classes during regular working hours, or do you need a program that offers evening and weekend classes? If attending a program in person is challenging, you can also consider online MBA programs that have more flexibility.

Research schools and programs

After establishing your priorities and parameters, you can start exploring potential MBA in finance programs.

When researching programs, here are some questions that can help you determine if the program is a good fit:

  • What is the curriculum, and does it align with your interests and goals?
  • Who are the faculty members, and what are their qualifications?
  • What networking opportunities are available to students?
  • Is there an internship or other experiential learning component?
  • What support services are available to students?
  • What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available?
  • What type of accreditation does the institution and program have?

Ensuring that the programs you’re considering are accredited is essential. A school’s accreditation status can impact your eligibility for financial aid, future employment, and further educational opportunities. Schools in the U.S. can be regionally or nationally accredited, with regional accreditation being the more widely recognized accreditation status. MBA programs can also have programmatic accreditation through agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Students can verify institutional and programmatic accreditation through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s database.

To learn more about schools and programs, visit their websites, contact admissions counselors and program representatives, and attend in-person or virtual open houses and information sessions when available.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements and procedures vary by school. When researching MBA in finance programs, review the school’s admissions website or contact their admissions office to get specific information about how to apply. Find out if the program has any specific eligibility requirements, such as an undergraduate degree in business or finance, a minimum undergraduate GPA, or a minimum amount of professional experience.

Common application requirements for an MBA in finance program include:

  • Completed application and required fees
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary schools previously attended
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Personal statement
  • GRE or GMAT scores

The GRE and GMAT are standardized tests for graduate students. There are multiple opportunities throughout the year for students to take these exams and various ways to prepare for them, including self-paced study or prep classes. Because these exams can be challenging, students should account for the time that may be needed to retake the exams if they don’t achieve their desired score on the first try.

Select your program

Admissions to MBA programs can be competitive, especially at top-tier business schools. Therefore, many students choose to apply to multiple programs to increase their odds of acceptance. However, your own preferences and interests should be the main guide to how many applications you submit. If you’re accepted to multiple MBA in finance programs, compare your options to the priorities you outlined in step one to help you decide which program is the best fit for you.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

If you haven’t already gotten information about the total cost of your program and what financial aid resources are available, now is the time to do so. This information is usually available on a school’s website, or you can contact their financial aid office to speak to a financial aid counselor.

Students who want to be considered for need-based aid such as federal student loans, grants, and institutional scholarships must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges use the information from this application to determine eligibility for aid based on financial need. Graduate students are eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans through the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program.

You can also explore need- and merit-based scholarships and grants from external sources, including professional associations, nonprofits, and community and religious groups that award scholarships and grants. If you’re planning on working while earning an MBA in finance, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits. Due to the desirability of MBA skills, many employers offer financial assistance to help employees earn this degree.

Best 50 Accredited MBA in Finance Degree Programs

Best MBA in Finance Degree Programs

University of Pennsylvania Wharton Finance

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

NYU Stern

UCLA Anderson School of Management

University of Michigan

Harvard Business School

University of California - Berkeley

Northwestern University

Duke Fuqua School of Business

Washington University in St. Louis

Carnegie Mellon University

UF Warrington College of Business

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Emory University

The University of Texas at Austin

University of Virginia

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Rice University

Vanderbilt University

University of Connecticut

Temple University

University of California, Davis

University of South Carolina

University of San Francisco

Yale School of Management

University of Rochester

University of Notre Dame

MSU Broad College of Business

University of Maryland

Northeastern University

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

This list features some of the best MBA in finance degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. The programs on our list are accredited by agencies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), both reputable organizations that assess business programs for educational excellence.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for on-campus students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of MBA in finance degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an MBA in Finance Degree Program?

An MBA in finance is a versatile degree that covers foundational and advanced concepts and skills in finance and business. Students can use this degree to help them enter the finance industry or prepare them for high-level management and executive positions. Nearly every industry employs finance professionals, including banking, healthcare, government, nonprofits, and tech.

Students in an MBA in finance program will typically start with core courses in general business topics like management, leadership, communication, and economics before moving on to specific courses in financial management, accounting, analysis, and more. Most MBA in finance programs include an internship requirement, so students get hands-on experience in a real-world setting prior to graduation. Some programs also have a capstone project requirement, where students synthesize the theoretical and real-world knowledge they gained in the program.

MBA in finance programs typically require 36-60 credits and can be completed in 1-2 years of full-time study. Longer programs tend to be more comprehensive and cater to students who have little or no business background. Executive MBA programs, which are designed for professionals who have five or more years of work experience, tend to be shorter but more rigorous, focusing on advanced business skills and practices.

Potential courses you’ll take in an MBA in finance degree program

  • Financial Accounting: Acquaints students with the process used to construct and understand the financial reports of organizations and helps them develop an understanding of the decisions that must be made in the financial reporting process and the ability to evaluate and use accounting data.
  • Portfolio Management: Presents advanced material relevant for portfolio managers, including the money management industry (mutual funds, pension funds, hedge funds), modern techniques for optimal portfolio selection, liquidity and transaction costs, properties of asset returns, and more.
  • Microeconomic Analysis: Addresses economic analysis and optimal decisions, consumer choice and the demand for products, production functions and cost curves, market structures and strategic interactions, and pricing and non-price concepts.
  • Financial Markets and Institutions: Studies financial institutions, financial crises, and the design of financial contracts, with an emphasis on the economic role of various types of debt contracts and the strategic effects of the bankruptcy and reorganization process.

MBA in Finance Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an MBA in finance degree program?

Before applying to an MBA in finance degree program, it’s helpful to consult with admissions counselors at the schools you’re considering to get more information about specific application procedures, requirements, and deadlines. Admissions counselors can review eligibility criteria, which vary from school to school. Some programs are designed for advanced-standing students who have prior education and work experience in business or finance, while others are open to students of all educational and professional backgrounds.

Colleges typically accept applications and supporting materials online through an admissions portal. Applications for an MBA in finance programs typically require official transcripts from all postsecondary schools attended, letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and GRE or GMAT scores.

Admissions to MBA in finance programs can be competitive, so it’s important to be aware of application deadlines and enrollment dates. Some programs enroll new students multiple times throughout the academic year, while others admit new students once or twice per year. Submitting your application and supporting documents on time will help ensure your application is considered for your desired start term.

How much does an MBA in finance degree cost?

The Education Data Initiative reports that the average cost of an MBA degree is $56,850. However, the cost of an MBA in finance depends on factors like the college’s status as a public or private institution and whether students are considered in-state or out-of-state at public colleges.

For example, an MBA from Harvard University, a private institution, costs $231,276, while an MBA from Binghamton University, a public school, is $22,620.

The amount of financial aid a student receives will also impact what they pay for their MBA in finance. Scholarships, grants, work-study, employer tuition assistance benefits, and other forms of aid can reduce the out-of-pocket costs that students must pay.

For the most accurate information about a program’s cost, contact the school’s financial aid office to speak to a financial aid counselor.

How long does it take to earn an MBA in finance degree?

MBA in finance programs can vary in length based on the number of credits they require. Programs designed for more experienced students may require fewer classes and can typically be completed in one year to 18 months of full-time study. More comprehensive programs that cater to students without a business background require more credits and may take 2-3 years to complete.

Attending a program part-time will also increase the amount of time it takes to earn an MBA in finance, as part-time students take fewer credits each term. Conversely, students who have previously earned credits from another MBA program or who are awarded credit for work experience may take less time to complete this degree.