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What Can You Do With a Master’s in Finance?

Industry Advice Business

Before starting a master’s degree program, it’s important for prospective students to survey the career landscape and see where their hours of intensive study may lead. Fortunately, for those considering a Master of Science in Finance (MSF), a variety of positions are available to graduates with deep reserves of business and accounting knowledge.

The top jobs in finance for those with an advanced degree span a range of industries and specialties. Any business operating today needs team members who are comfortable handling advanced monetary matters, meaning there are many financial strategy and risk management roles available in the market. What you can do with a finance degree depends on your interests and professional experience, in addition to external factors such as employment outlook.

The following are three of the top jobs in finance that offer potential paths for prospective students to envision in their futures. From analysts to tax experts and risk managers, many professionals depend on strong financial skills to fulfill their responsibilities.

Top Careers with a Master’s in Finance

1. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Median Salary: $104,690

Growth by 2029: 4%

MSF graduates may choose to seek advancement within a company’s financial department, eventually earning the executive title of chief financial office (CFO).

According to Deloitte, the CFO role has become more complex and high-pressure in recent years, as businesses have found their budgetary stability threatened by uncertain conditions around the world. Additionally, today’s CFOs must contend with scrutinous investors and new regulations that often represent inflexible milestones for organizations to reach. Keeping a business steady in such an environment depends on deep, intensive financial knowledge and experience.

While today’s CFO is grappling with high-speed demands and unclear conditions, the rudiments of the role haven’t changed. These executives still need to provide the final word on company budgets and financial reports. Professionals in this role also manage company investments, financing strategies, cost reduction, procurement, and more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for top executives at companies is approximately $104,690 per year. Growth for such roles is proceeding on pace with the general expansion of the workforce at four percent. Prospective financial leaders may find conditions vary widely between small and large businesses across regions and industries, but the connecting thread is a demand for financially savvy professionals who have skills in areas such as risk management and maximizing return on investment.

2. Financial Analyst

Median Salary: $81,590

Growth by 2029: 5%

A financial analyst’s value comes from his or her ability to guide investors to logical choices and away from unnecessary risks. In order to make the right moves, these professionals must rely on a thorough understanding of data. The role of a financial analyst is changing and exciting. The amount and speed of data under analysis have increased in recent years, as the latest tech developments have turned large amounts of unstructured content into fuel for advanced business intelligence models.

Numerous factors guide the world’s markets, and financial analysts must be ready to understand them, from the changes in domestic monetary policy to the shifts in international trade agreements. Additionally, employers seek professionals with knowledge of emerging markets and big data, two factors of growing importance for finance. Robert Half cited such expertise as part of the market’s desire for individuals who have advanced degrees, especially for senior analyst roles.

The skills and knowledge gained while studying for a master’s degree in finance, from the philosophical core of economics to the inner workings of the latest algorithms, are parts of an analyst’s toolkit. Their job responsibilities include assessments of company value via financial statements, investment opportunities, business trends, and archived financial data.

The demand for financial analysts is on the rise. According to the BLS, the number of all financial analyst roles available will grow five percent between 2019 and 2029. That figure is faster than the average four percent growth for all types of occupations in every industry and shows the value associated with making safe and informed choices in investment markets. The median financial analyst salary was $81,590 in 2019.

3. Internal Auditor

Median Salary: $71,550

Growth by 2029: 4%

Businesses must constantly monitor the performance of their internal financial controls and risk management systems, meaning there is great opportunity for auditors. Having an internal auditing team allows organizations to take an unfiltered look at their performance across multiple variables and avoid potentially devastating instances of regulatory noncompliance or governance failures.

Two internal auditors review a report.According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, an internal auditor is responsible for examining multiple areas of a company’s financial well-being. Overseeing everything from information technology control processes to the accuracy of financial reports, auditors must always be alert for violations of internal codes, as well as local and international law.

Businesses understand the value of thoroughly auditing their processes and performing diligent accounting, according to the BLS. The government agency’s latest statistics indicate that companies will increase their contingent of accountants and auditors by four percent over the next decade, as fast as the average expansion for all types of occupations in the workforce in general. Professionals providing auditing and accounting services earned a median salary of $71,550 in 2019.

Turning Your Financial Education into a Fulfilling Career

Professionals interested in advancing or changing their career trajectories frequently seek an advanced degree. A Master of Science in Finance can point individuals toward varied and important career outcomes. Every business needs a competent team to manage its money, and MSF graduates make great candidates for these roles.

Earning a Master of Science in Finance at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business can aid prospective students pondering a future in a more advanced finance-based role. The university, which is accredited by the AACSB, provides professionals with graduate-level knowledge and a management foundation to unlock new opportunities in their careers. To learn more about the suite of graduate business degrees offered at Northeastern, explore our program pages.