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Career Prospects for MS in Finance and Analytics Graduates

09 Jan
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 graduate finance degree like the Santa Clara University online Master of Science in Finance and Analytics allows you to work across many industries and choose from various professions.

What Can You Do with a Master's in Finance?

For starters, you can boost your career prospects and gain the tools to help top companies achieve more.

Corporations are increasingly looking to financial professionals to interpret data and help make decisions about long-term goals, capital improvements, risk management, and revenue-generating opportunities.

This post will examine five in-demand finance jobs that a master's in finance and accounting can help prepare you for, looking at average annual salaries, daily tasks, required skill sets, and leadership opportunities.

Corporate Finance: A Lucrative Field for Those with a Master's in Finance and Accounting

In the ever-evolving world of business, the modern technology fueling data collection and interpretation is bringing forth new and more effective solutions for all types of businesses, including leading corporations.

Once simply a way to present facts and figures, business analytics has grown into a must-have methodology that can help companies anticipate outcomes and inform decisions: Business analytics drives today's organizations forward by providing actionable insights based on detailed data analysis thereby creating opportunities that can boost overall performance.

As corporations and businesses strive to keep pace and outperform the competition, technology and analytics have evolved into essential tools for ongoing success. To effectively leverage these tools, modern businesses need employees who know the latest and greatest skills to drive them not only forward, but ahead of any competition.

For those interested in breaking into this dynamic field and becoming a highly sought-after hire for big companies, an online master's in finance and accounting from accredited universities and business schools—including SCU Leavey School of Business—may provide the knowledge and skills that can help them achieve their career goals.

Top master's business analytics programs can also provide students with opportunities to learn from experienced professionals and develop a deeper network with colleagues and industry leaders who are utilizing advanced business analytics.

By completing online courses from reputable, ranked universities, while they continue to work, online students can show current and potential employers they are committed to advancing their education and career development simultaneously. This may help give them an invaluable career path advantage.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts don't just work in the finance industry. Investment banks, insurance agencies, and other financial institutions, along with stock brokerages, corporations across industry sectors, government agencies, and nonprofits hire financial analysts to assess corporate and client financial data and give recommendations.

In addition to analyzing financial risks and opportunities, analysts must stay on top of the latest trends, prepare financial models, and possess persuasive communication skills.

Daily job duties can run the gamut from tracking equities and stocks to assessing financial 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 you may be able to qualify for an analyst role with a bachelor's degree, a graduate finance degree can help you stand out and get an interview. You'll also 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 Analyst Average Salary

The median salary for a financial analyst is $95,570 per year, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth of 9% per year through 2031.1

Financial Managers

A financial manager is a flexible position that's in demand at companies in all industries, not only in a financial institution. This role reports to upper management, corporate stakeholders, and chief financial officers. Positions in large corporations focus on long-term financial planning and strategic analysis, while smaller companies use these financial professionals to monitor and prepare reports for client accounts.

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 who:

  • 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

Financial Manager Average Salary

The median salary for a financial manager is $131,710 per year, and the rate of growth is much faster than average, 17% per year, through 2031.2

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 corporate finance and accounting operations and employees while playing a key role in strategic financial decisions and developing strategies to increase revenue and manage risks.

CFOs require an excellent grasp of financial and analytical concepts, as well as keeping the pulse of market trends. 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 from the corporate finance perspective 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

Chief Financial Officer Average Salary

The median salary for a CFO is $179,520 per year, executives tend to have at least five years of experience in related occupations, and the growth rate is 6%.3,4

Private Wealth Management

A private wealth manager, or personal financial advisor, manages 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.

To succeed, a personal financial advisor needs 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 current on the latest regulatory and tax changes that may affect clients while understanding how industry or economic trends may affect the financial health of various investments.

Private Wealth Manager Average Salary

The median salary for private wealth managers is $94,170 per year, and the growth rate is 15%.5

Chief Analytics Officer (CAO)

An MS in Finance and Analytics allows individuals to move into many executive jobs, including the chief analytics officer's role.

A CAO reports directly to the chief executive officer and oversees the organization's data. CAOs have experience in several areas, including statistical analysis, finance, and marketing.

Leaders must assess data quality and business intelligence, and ensure processes comply with regulatory requirements in the finance sector.

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.), and 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

Chief Analytics Officer Average Salary

The median salary for chief executive jobs is $179,520 per year, and the growth rate through 2031 is 6%.3,4

Get More Than Just a Finance Degree With Our M.S. in Finance and Analytics

As companies increasingly rely on big data to achieve great success, a Master's degree in Finance and Analytics is critical to securing lucrative roles and career endurance.

SCU Leavey School of Business combines robust academics with a Silicon Valley-charged curriculum to get you ready for a world-class business career in corporate finance settings and investment-focused organizations

The Online MS in Finance and Analytics from Santa Clara University is a great way to sharpen in-demand business skills and build a powerful Silicon Valley Network. Learn more about our strong faculty of experienced professionals, and consider how their connections and accomplishments can be vital building blocks for your career.

If you're ready to expand your opportunities in the exciting field of finance and data analytics, choosing the Online MS in Finance and Analytics program at Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business could help you achieve your career and financial goals.

For more information, schedule a call with an SCU admissions advisor.