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What are the Career Prospects for a Masters Degree in Finance and Analytics?

15 Apr
Man stands over financial papers while holding a pen and calculator

When you think of financial careers, banking is typically the first role that comes to mind. However, a Master of Science in Finance and Analytics allows you to work across many industries and choose from various professions.

Corporations increasingly look to financial leaders to interpret data and help make decisions about long-term goals, capital improvements, and revenue-generating opportunities. This post will examine five in-demand jobs and look at salary ranges, daily tasks, required skill sets, and leadership opportunities.

Financial Analyst

Investment firms, banks, insurance agencies, nonprofits, and stock brokerages hire financial analysts to assess corporate and client financial data and give recommendations. Along with crunching numbers, analysts must stay on top of the latest trends, prepare financial models, and possess persuasive communication skills. The median salary range is $81,590 per year, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth of 5% per year through 2029.1

Daily job duties can run the gamut from tracking equities and stocks to assessing risks stemming from potential investment opportunities. Financial analysts may take on advisory roles by specializing in a specific sector to provide clients with in-depth industry investment insights. Others may spend their time meeting with executives and clients to help them understand various recommendations and strategies.

Although an MS in Finance and Analytics may help you stand out and get an interview, you'll need to demonstrate the following skills to secure a position:

  • Knowledge of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
  • Ability to communicate effectively with corporate leadership and clients
  • A talent for assessing huge datasets and turning them into actionable tasks
  • Attention to detail for computing equations and evaluating risks
  • Understand how to use financial modeling and analysis to break down complex topics

Financial Manager

A financial manager is a flexible position that's in-demand by companies in all industries. This role reports to upper management, corporate stakeholders, and chief financial officers. Positions in large corporations focus on long-term planning and strategic analysis, while smaller companies use financial managers to monitor and prepare reports for client accounts. The median pay for a financial manager is $129,890 per year, and the rate of growth is 15% per year through 2029.2

Outside of developing and presenting financial reports, financial managers interact with solicitors, auditors, and bankers. Individuals may specialize in superforecasting, risk management, or insurance. Moreover, job candidates can stand out by showcasing information technology skills on their resumes, such as knowledge of Azure DevOps, Jira, or structured query language (SQL).

The skill set for financial managers is diverse because managers require interpersonal talents, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities. Employers also look for candidates that:

  • Understand contract language for vendor and government documents
  • Know how to use statistical modeling software
  • Can assess and implement compliance policies
  • Demonstrate leadership capabilities
  • Embrace independent work but understand how to address executives
  • Evaluate financial data, cash flow scenarios, and future earnings and expenses
  • Are familiar with financial management systems

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

A chief financial officer is a c-level position available in both smaller companies and large corporations; it's also a role that may take more time and experience to earn. CFOs oversee all financial and accounting aspects and employees while developing strategies to increase revenue and manage risks. The median salary is $184,460 per year, executives tend to have at least five years of experience in related occupations, and the growth rate is 4%.3

CFOs require an excellent grasp of financial and analytical concepts. However, leaders also must demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and have experience managing employees. CFOs focus on forecasting, negotiations, business planning, and budgeting. Additionally, other c-suite executives look to the CFO to provide recommendations for top-level decisions and explain plans in layman's terms for external stakeholders and partners.

To secure a chief financial officer position, individuals need a master's degree and many years of job experience. Moreover, a CFO's skill set should support responsibilities, such as:

  • Leadership skills to direct accounting and finance teams
  • Oversight for processes of preparing budgets, forecasting, and reports
  • An understanding of I.T., H.R., and finance policies and procedures
  • Technology know-how for management, communication, and financial systems
  • Presentation skills for small meetings and large conferences

Private Wealth Management

Private wealth management or personal financial advisors manage the financial assets of individuals. Although the highest paying positions often mean working with high net worth people, you may work for a corporation that assists retirees or people who received a large financial settlement. The median salary for personal financial advisors is $87,850 per year, and the growth rate is 4%.4

Personal advisors require both business-centric and client-centric skills to complete a wide range of tasks, such as tax planning, stock investment advice, setting up family trust funds, and recommending financial products or services. Daily tasks often include one-on-one client meetings where the advisor must present recommendations, listen closely to their concerns, and explain the subject matter in simple terms.

Skill sets may differ according to position, with some roles concentrating mainly on relationship building while others oversee back-office administrative tasks and investments. However, all private wealth management or personal financial advisors will:

  • Assist with business development and execution
  • Review diverse client financial situations, goals, and requirements
  • Provide general advice and help plan for life changes
  • Explain the benefits and risks of all financial decisions
  • Meet with potential clients and demonstrate the value of advisory services
  • Research and prepare data for performance reports

Furthermore, advisors must stay up to date on the latest regulatory and tax changes that may affect clients while understanding how an industry or economic trends may affect various investments.

Chief Analytics Officer (CAO)

An MS in Finance and Analytics allows individuals to move into many executive jobs, including a chief analytics officer's role. A CAO reports directly to the chief executive officer and oversees the organization's data. CAO's have experience in several areas, including statistical analysis, finance, and marketing. Leaders must assess data quality, business intelligence, and ensure processes comply with regulatory requirements in the finance sector. The median salary for top executive jobs is $184,460 per year, and the growth rate is 4%.3

Although a deep understanding of data analytics and data science is imperative, the CAO is also often responsible for collaborating with executives and building campaigns to get employees at all levels to back data-based policies, processes, and technologies. Job candidates must possess knowledge of artificial intelligence (A.I.), machine learning (ML) and be comfortable working with a vast range of technologies.

With a focus on digital transformation, many organizations are adding a CAO position to:

  • Use data to develop business intelligence models and identify opportunities
  • Work with chief information officers to build a secure infrastructure for collecting and storing data
  • Oversee data warehouses and ensure compliance with data regulations
  • Leverage visualization and reporting tools to explain complex topics
  • Manage technology implementation

Secure Your Future With an M.S. in Finance and Analytics

As business leaders prioritize big data and digital transformation goals, a Master's degree in Finance and Analytics is critical to securing future roles. By combining deep knowledge of finance with in-demand analytics skills, job seekers can choose from various interesting and well-paying positions.

If you're ready to expand your opportunities and increase your worth, consider how an Online MS in Finance and Analytics from a well-respected and well-positioned university like Santa Clara could help you achieve your goals.

1. Retrieved on April 7, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm
2. Retrieved on April 7, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm
3. Retrieved on April 7, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm
4. Retrieved on April 7, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm