MSF students can specialize their graduate degree by taking all of their elective courses in one of the below areas of focus. It is not required for students to elect an area of focus, but for students with a strong interest in one area or who are targeting a specific career, choosing an area of focus can be an excellent personal marketing tool.
Financial analysts perform economic and business research, assist in pricing and selling products, and make recommendations to clients or employers regarding investments and financial decisions. This area of focus is perfect for students looking to enter into an engaging and lucrative career. The financial analyst area of focus equips you with the in-demand technical skills required to succeed as a financial analyst and prepares you to pass the CFA level 1 exam. Common job titles are financial analyst, research analyst, data & reporting analyst, pricing analyst, risk analyst, investment analyst, financial consultant, and business analyst.
A coveted position within the financial industry, portfolio managers oversee investment portfolios for banks, funds, individuals and corporations. This area of focus teaches you both the art and science of investment and portfolio management decision making, including relevant strategies to optimize investment performance while mitigating risk.Common job titles are investment management specialist, investment analyst, asset management analyst, portfolio analyst, and investment manager (also called a portfolio or fund manager).
For those with a passion for financial decision making, the corporate finance area of focus concentrates on the effective use of financial resources associated with running corporations, with a goal to maximize value for shareholders. This specialty provides you with the skills to evaluate a company balance sheet and make decisions regarding capital investment, financing, capital structure, dividends, and other critical elements required of those working in today’s corporate finance market. Common job titles are financial analyst, associate support analyst, business analyst, strategic planner, director of finance, controller, treasurer, and CFO.
For students interested in focusing on start-up companies, the MS Finance program offers a specialization in venture capital that teaches you about early-stage funding for businesses that don’t have access to traditional financing. This area of focus prepares you to excel in complex tasks, including evaluation of businesses with little or no operating history and making informed financing and investment decisions. Common job titles are analyst, associate, corporate development, business development, and research associate.
The financial information systems area of focus allows students with interests in both finance and information systems to gain the skills needed to analyze data and make financial decisions. This specialization prepares you to effectively work in information systems within organizations and to play a leading advisory role. In great demand for financial market traders and sales people, skills in data, analytics and technology allow financial information system students to keep up with real-time activities that enhance financial information exchanges. Common job titles are business analyst, risk consultant, data strategist, project manager, finance data manager, finance systems analyst, CFO, and CIO.
Financial forensics is a rapidly growing field in which financial and legal professionals work together to resolve disputes, many of which center around valuation. Examples range from divorce and bankruptcy cases to litigation between major corporations where billions of dollars are at stake. Professional responsibilities include preparing expert reports for civil and criminal cases, offering expert testimony in litigation and identifying fraudulent activity. Common job titles are analyst, associate, specialist, financial investigator, consultant, quantitative analyst, valuation analyst, investment valuation analyst, and portfolio analyst.
Designed for those who don’t have a clear focus initially or who are looking for something less specialized, the general finance area of focus accommodates students with broader interests in finance. This area of focus includes electives that cover a wide range of topics including valuation, corporate finance, investment and portfolio management and risk management. This is such a broad area that there are multiple applicable job titles. Please see our career services for more information.
Looking for something else? Did your employer send you back to school to learn something specific? The custom area of focus provides the flexibility to meet a broad range of professional needs. Simply submit a proposal that summarizes your desired area of specialty. If approved, we can assist you in preparing a program of study tailored to your specific needs.