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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. Our blog is dedicated to helping you explore your future career possibilities and how to make the most of your college experience.

Master’s in Finance Jobs

Master’s in Finance Jobs: 7 Advanced Opportunities for MSF Degree Holders

Driven. Motivated. Tireless. They’re all apt descriptors of your personality. You have a vision for your career, and it’s not just about advancing your personal agenda. You know that by pursing your professional aspirations, you have an opportunity to positively impact those around you.

That’s exactly the kind of mindset that strong financial leaders need. It just so happens those qualities also come in handy for anyone interested in earning a Master of Science in Finance (MSF). While you’re interested in the prospect of going back to school, you want to make sure you’re making a well-informed decision.

Looking into some potential career opportunities is a good place to start. With a master’s in finance, jobs that once seemed unattainable could soon be within reach. Start exploring some of your options here.

Master’s in finance jobs: 7 compelling career opportunities

You may wonder how much of a difference pursuing an MSF can really make. We used real-time job analysis software to investigate how educational qualifications impact employment options for financial professionals. While only about 2 percent of postings require candidates to have a master’s degree in finance, 23 percent of employers prefer that job seekers have this credential.*

Keep that in mind as you peruse this list. It’s certainly not a full rundown of the directions you could take your career, but it should help you understand some of the rewarding opportunities out there.

1. Personal financial advisor

Personal financial advisors help clients manage their funds by discussing financial goals and providing advice. These professionals educate clients about different investment options and the corresponding risks, monitor clients’ accounts and help plan for anticipated expenses like retirement. Personal financial advisors who work for people who have a significant amount of money to invest are called private bankers or wealth managers. Their approach is slightly different with these clients than it is for the general public.

There are a number of certifications personal financial advisors may need to obtain depending on their exact role. And while a master’s degree is not required, it can help you move into a management position and even help attract new clients.

Earning potential: The median annual salary for personal financial advisors in 2018 was $88,890.

2. Senior financial analyst

In a general sense, financial analysts help guide organizations’ investment decisions. They regularly check relevant news and market movements, study economic and business trends, analyze financial data, examine financial statements and prepare reports.

While senior financial analysts perform many of the same functions as their entry-level counterparts, they have significantly more responsibility. Financial analysts who’ve advanced to a senior role, often through a combination educational attainment and work experience, tend to work more directly with company management and also serve as a mentor for junior analysts.

Earning potential: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t break out salary information by different levels within a specific role. But consider that financial analysts in the 75th percentile during 2018 earned an annual salary of $116,360.

3. Investment fund manager

Navigating the investing world is intimidating to a lot of people – and for good reason. It takes a lot of research and a thorough understanding of the way markets work to feel confident in your decisions. This is why both individuals and institutions opt to work with investment fund managers.

These professionals develop investment strategies and manage trading on behalf of their clients to help them achieve the greatest possible return. A big part of the job is understanding different clients’ tolerance for risk. Most firms that hire investment fund managers prefer to see candidates with an advanced degree and credentials like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Earning potential: The median annual salary for investment fund managers in 2018 was $107,480.

4. Financial manager

Sometimes called finance managers, these professionals are tasked with keeping their organization financially healthy. They ensure the organization is meeting legal requirements, prepare financial statements and forecasts, supervise other employees, analyze data to find ways to minimize costs and assist management in making financial decisions.

Financial managers typically start their careers as accountants or as analysts. They advance by accumulating experience, and many employers prefer that candidates have a master’s degree in finance or a related field.

Earning potential: The median annual salary for financial managers in 2018 was $127,990.

5. Controller

You can think of a controller as the highest-ranking accountant at an organization. They oversee the financial reports an organization prepares, manage accounting staff, ensure assets are used appropriately and set budgets. They also assist with audits when needed.

Though a background in accounting is certainly useful for becoming a controller, these professionals often benefit from learning the basics of business leadership and financial management. Additionally, controllers need to be excellent communicators to work effectively with both leadership and the employees they supervise.

Earning potential: The median annual salary for controllers in 2018 was $127,990.

6. Director of finance

Though similar to controllers, directors of finance are a step above. They make strategic decisions and develop policies that are designed to strengthen or maintain the fiscal health of their organization. They oversee all finance staff, develop budgets, offer financial guidance to company leadership, ensure the organization meets legal requirements and develop internal audit procedures.

Note that not every organization will have a director of finance on their team. It depends on the company’s size and goals.

Earning potential: The median annual salary for directors of finance, which are categorized under treasurers and controllers, in 2018 was $127,990.

7. Chief financial officer

The chief financial officer (CFO) at an organization is effectively the leader of all financial operations. They make important decisions and provide direction with the goal of helping the company be financially successful. But a CFO isn’t just a big ideas person. These executives need to be able to analyze past performance, stay on top of the current financial conditions and forecast future outcomes.

These C-suite financial leaders clearly have a lot of responsibility. Because of this, you shouldn’t expect to land this position immediately after obtaining a master’s in finance. Employers typically seek candidates with at least 10 years of experience, including five years serving in a management role. That being said, obtaining that advanced degree is certainly a step in the right direction for any aspiring CFO.

Earning potential: The median annual salary for CFOs and other chief executives in 2018 was $189,600.

Take the first step with a master’s in finance

Perhaps you’re curious about one or more of these advanced finance roles. They’re all promising options for people who want to be able to positively impact fellow coworkers. And for candidates with a master’s in finance, job opportunities like these certainly become more attainable.

Maybe you’re beginning to feel more certain that pursuing a graduate-level education is the logical next step on your finance career path. If so, it may be time to start looking at your educational options. The University of St. Thomas (UST), for example, prepares students for success by providing experiential learning scenarios and flexible class schedules to meet working adults’ needs. On top of teaching the valuable technical skills you need to pursue a finance career, UST also emphasizes a well-rounded education that helps you develop as an ethical professional with integrity.

To learn more about how a degree could help you achieve both your personal and career goals, visit our Master of Science in Finance program page.

About the Author — Staff

AvatarThe University of St. Thomas is the only Catholic, liberal arts university in Houston, Texas. We have 35+ undergraduate majors including STEM, Nursing, Business, Education and Pre-Med. Located in a vibrant urban environment just minutes from downtown and the famed Texas Medical Center, we welcome students of all races and religions to our diverse and collaborative campus.

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