What Types of Master of Finance Programs Exist and What are They Called?
A master of finance prepares you to work in the world of finance by taking an analytical approach to money and numbers. The primary curriculum includes accounting, economics and investment analysis. While a bachelor degree is required to be accepted into a master of finance program, incoming students do not have to have a background in finance. The common bachelor degrees for master of finance students include economics and accounting, one can just as easily begin the program with a general studies BA or background in business.
- Master of Finance (M.Fin)
- Masters of Science in Finance (MSF)
How Do I Earn a Masters in Finance Online?
Earning your master of finance online is a process that requires time and money. Do not trick yourself into thinking that because you aren’t taking the traditional route, obtaining your masters will be easier. Juggling a full-time job or family (or both) when obtaining your masters of finance means you have to be dedicated to your education and put in the same effort you would if you were attending a classroom every day.
First find a program that is the right fit for you. Like searching for a standard college, you want to do research on the school, the program you’re interested in and the professors who handle the classes. Some instructors have limited experience with online courses, so it’s important you find teachers that are well-versed in distance learning and understand that it is different than a classroom setting. Ask your school advisor about professors and how long they have been teaching distance learning courses to get an idea of their experience. Also inquire about the school’s career program. How involved is the school in setting up students with internships? This can make a big difference for those with little work experience in the financial realm. Attending a program that has a department dedicated to this or professors who help students with the job hunt are invaluable tools to have once you graduate.
The most important thing to look for when looking for a masters of finance program is to make sure the school is accredited. This is a must because when you are done with school it will determine how valuable your degree is to your career. A masters of finance degree from an unaccredited school will not increase your career or earning potential. Ask your school advisor about the organization that accredits that school. It should be a regional or national organization and the school should be reviewed periodically. Check this site for a complete list of accredited schools and their programs in the United States. There are many traditional colleges who offer online courses and degrees. It is not worth your time or money to deal with unaccredited schools that may not work in your favor once you are done with your masters of finance degree.
Things to Consider Before Earning a Masters of Finance
Make sure you have enough time to handle the course work you are signing up for. If you are an adult student who is returning to school for the first time in years, you may be starry eyed and think you can take on a full load of classes. Think again. Unless attending school is the only thing on your plate, you are probably better off taking one or two classes, as you get back in the groove of studying, keeping up with lectures and reading and taking exams. It is best to set yourself up for success, so never sign up for a full load of courses when you have other obligations such as a full-time job or a small child to care for. Speak with your school advisor when registering for courses to get an idea of the amount of study time involved and come up with a schedule that works for your lifestyle.
Learn how to manage your time. You’re signed up for classes, but now what? It’s time to get out a planner and start figuring out how you will spend your time. Like an exercise plan, the best way to succeed is to create a routine and stick to it. The great thing about online courses for a masters degree is it allows you to choose when you are learning material and studying. If you operate best between 11pm and 3am, then that’s the time you should set aside for learning. Remember to take breaks and study in a quite place such as the local library or at home when few are home or being noisy. Setting up shop in a local coffee shop is usually a bad idea since it can get hectic with noise and crowds and you don’t want to feel rushed when learning.
Explaining an Online Masters of Finance to Your Employer
Employers are slowing warming up to online degrees. For those with a masters of finance online degree, many employers understand that post-baccalaureate degrees are simply easier to obtain through a distance learning program. They give students the flexibility that’s needed to work and take care of family while continuing their education. You may not have to explain your online masters of finance to your employer. It should appear on your resume, as should your school’s name and the year in which you completed your degree, but it is not imperative you state it was an online program.
If asked about this, never lie. Tell your potential employer why an online masters of finance degree program suited you and how you benefited from the program. Show that what you learned makes you as qualified as the person who went to a traditional school and explain that is showed you how to utilize time wisely. Many employers will be impressed at the dedication it takes to return to school with other major commitments on your plate, so you should never feel inferior because of your online degree.
Hidden Costs of Earning Masters of Finance Online
Subscriptions – A masters in finance is one degree where subscriptions to publications like the Wall Street Journal are common necessities. It allows you to follow the market and keep in the loop with the industry you’ll work in. The good thing is online subscriptions are usually cheaper than hard copy subscriptions and give you access to the entire newspaper. You can also consider splitting the cost of the online subscription with someone in your class, since all that’s needed is the username and password to access the online publication.
Supplemental reading – All professors have an idea of the literature that encompasses what a student should know to work in finance. Sometimes this is outside reading materials that aren’t part of the program’s curriculum, but are still required reading from the instructor. If you can obtain the ISBN number of the books in question, you can search for the books online using a site like Amazon or half.com. You can also check your local library and borrow the book. Make copies of any pages you may need access to after turning the book in.
What are Classes Like When You Study Online?
Obtaining a masters in finance online takes the same time commitment and hard work as earning one in a conventional university setting. While the way class is taught is different, the principles are the same and at the end of the program you will be just as prepared for a career in finance as someone who took traditional courses. After registering for classes, you will be given material on how to create an account on the school’s web platform. You’ll have a username and password that is used to access your course information. In some cases this will be the same for all of your classes, but some schools do use different platforms depending on the subject. Either way, know most schools have user friendly web platforms that make it easy to navigate your way through online courses.
Your course syllabus will be available online. This will guide you through the lessons and give you an idea of the pace you should work at to be ready for quizzes or exams. Like conventional college courses, some professors choose to take many grades via class work and quizzes while others focus on a small number of exams to determine a student’s grade. Some classes will also have a messageboard designated for students enrolled in the online class. In some cases this messageboard is simply a tool for students to interact and ask questions on material, while in others, posting on the messageboard will count as a participation grade. Your professor will make it clear on the syllabus how he or she breaks down grades, so you will know if participating on the class messageboard is integral.
Exams are usually set for a certain day or number of days (a window of three days) where students log in and take the test. Grades are sometimes visible as they become available, allowing you to gauge your progress in the class.