Given the variety of Master of Business Administration (MBA) concentrations available, it makes sense to do some research before pursing an advanced degree. Some MBA programs do not offer concentrations, but a growing number of them do. For instance, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) offers seven online MBA programs including six MBA concentrations and a general online MBA. Sorting through MBA options can be challenging, but it may mean the difference between a satisfying career and an unrewarding one.

Many MBA degree applicants already have a focus in mind when they are researching programs. In fact, most MBA program applicants enroll with a substantial amount of work experience under their belts. As a result, many of those students have already chosen a concentration: They are already earning in a particular field and look for the MBA to enhance their existing careers or afford them more career versatility.

For others, though, the choice is more difficult. There are already many MBA concentrations to choose from, and programs add more concentrations all the time to keep pace with new technologies and roles. However, an online MBA in finance has always been among the best concentration options.

MBA in Finance vs. Master’s Degree in Finance

Before discussing the benefits of an MBA in finance, it is helpful to differentiate it from another degree: the Master of Finance. An MBA is just that: a master’s degree in business administration. A focus on finance means that while the program emphasizes finance overall, it is a degree in business administration. MBA programs are designed to equip graduates with a broad skill set and knowledge base including many aspects of business operations and management. That is, an MBA graduate with a concentration in finance has a broader range of employment options than the student with a master’s in finance.

Another distinction between an MBA in finance and a Master of Finance is the time-to-completion. MBA programs usually take around two years to complete, while a Master of Finance takes around a year. However, some MBA programs offer accelerated courses, which means students can complete the degree in less time, and many students opt to pursue the degree online while they continue working in their fields. For example, TAMU-CC offers an accelerated online MBA program with a concentration in finance. Students can complete the program in as little as one year by taking two courses at a time.

The differences in pay graduates experience is also notable. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAT) 2022 Corporate Recruiters Survey, the median 2022 starting salary for recent MBA graduates in the U.S. was $115,000, compared to $110,000 for graduates of a Master of Finance program. Finance is known as a relatively high-paying MBA concentration.

Top-Paying Concentrations

Determining the best MBA concentrations in terms of pay is a bit tricky. This difficulty is due to the various names different MBA programs give their concentrations. One school may call an MBA concentration “Strategy” while another school calls a similar program “Strategy and Administration.” However, finance concentrations usually mean top-of-the-list salaries in terms of the salaries graduates can expect, no matter what a given program calls it.

Taking a look at the typical career advancement trajectory for graduates of an MBA concentration can be a good way to judge which concentration can help you reach your income goals. Finance MBA grads have a great deal of professional opportunities — many of which are notoriously lucrative — across industry borders. Here are a few common professional roles for finance MBA grads with median salaries in 2021, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Beyond Pay

Given the satisfaction with the program, career opportunities and pay that those with an MBA in finance earn, many students are opting for this route over all others. While there are advantages and disadvantages to every concentration, finance remains one of the best MBA concentrations to pursue.

Learn more about the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi online MBA with a concentration in Finance program.