What Is the Difference Between an MBA in Finance and a Master’s in Finance?

The difference between an MBA in Finance and a Master’s in Finance is that the first offers a broader view of business management, but the second degree focuses on one functional area.

A Master’s in Finance program may offer a specialization, so it’s a good choice for students who want to primarily focus on financial processes and systems. The MBA degree will provide practical instruction across multiple business disciplines and teach students about management, entrepreneurship and executive leadership.

MBA vs Master’s in Finance

Master of Finance degrees usually take one year to finish and applicants usually have to complete an internship. MBA programs will take two years, but they generally require candidates to have three to four years of work experience in a related field. Most Master of Finance programs do not have work experience requirements, so the participants will usually be younger. MBA programs are geared towards working adults who want to transition into leadership positions. Master of Finance programs appeal to students who want to quickly jump start their careers after their undergraduate studies.


MBA programs come with steeper tuition costs compared with Master of Finance degree programs. However, they are designed for working professionals, so they will most likely offer more flexible attendance options. This includes evening, online and weekend classes. Most MBA programs use a combination of online discussions, on-campus activities and weekend seminars. Master of Finance programs place very little emphasis on leadership skills and leadership potential, but MBA programs are specifically designed for future business leaders. Quantitative skills are very important in Masters of Finance programs because graduates must develop analytical and technical skills in finance.

Degree Specializations

Master of Finance degree often exclusive degree track specializations. For example, a mathematical finance track will focus on the areas of math, statistics, economics and numerical analysis. Other specializations include statistical computation or managerial econometrics. A financial engineering track will cover financial theories, engineering methods, mathematical tools and programming practices. Comprehensive finance is a general track that involves everything from calculus to behavioral finance to derivatives pricing to corporate finance.

Additionally, these multidisciplinary finance specializations may be sponsored by different departments, like economics, business, engineering and mathematics. Almost all degrees will emphasize financial and accounting management tools and techniques. MBA programs may offer tracks related to statistics, economics, accounting and global finance. They will most likely focus on all aspects of money investment, collection, disbursement, borrowing and fund-raising management. A Master of Finance degree will teach students how to create and analyze financial reports, but an MBA program will teach students how to transform the analysis into actionable insights and recommendations.

Both MBA and Master of Finance students are prepared for careers in trading, auditing, economics, controlling, capital markets and investment management. Graduates may find work in commercial banks and handle lending and mortgages, or they may oversee large financial institutions and monitor individual branch office functions. In the end, the difference between an MBA in Finance and a Master’s in Finance is the individual’s career goals. Learn more about the advantages of both of these degree programs here.