MBA (Finance) – is it your cup of tea?If you are wondering whether to pursue a finance specialization in MBA, what are the career options available, how to crack interview of your dream B-school, continue reading to get more insights and make an informed decision before you jump into something called a B-school experience?
Also, with this write-up, the intention is to break the various stereotypes surrounding finance. To discuss a few:
a) Finance is a pure desk job: Finance is not a pure desk job as many perceive it to be. As a finance manager, your role is not just to prepare financial reports and excel work but involves interacting with all departments, communicating with key stakeholders and as one climbs the corporate ladder, being the face of the organization.
b) Finance after Engineering is very difficult: The general perception that you will have an edge if you are from a commerce background and it is very difficult for Engineers to switch to Finance does not always hold true. The best thing about an MBA curriculum is that the learning starts from basics. Though it is a fast paced course with a lot on the plate but with dedicated efforts, you are sure to excel.
Things I need to know about the specialization before making my decision:
Before deciding on the specialization, one needs to know about the course structure, career options, and colleges that offer good finance courses.
An MBA specialization in Finance helps in building careers in accounting, corporate finance, investment management, banking, financial planning, research, and analytics.
The curriculum includes an in-depth study of finance, economics, and statistics-related concepts and the following areas are covered:
Corporate Finance: This elective helps in understanding the action points for managers to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders and maximize their returns. It also covers various analytical tools used to allocate financial resources. This course gives a detailed overview of the capital structure and capital investment decisions of a corporation.In layman terms, all companies need to raise funds (debt v/s equity) and then need to utilize the funds acquired for productive usage and this is what corporate finance covers.
Banking & Financial Services: If a person wants to pursue a career in banking, there is an array of options to choose from based on the interests and knowledge. Banking covers commercial/retail banking, investment banking, and allied financial services. Commercial/retail banking subjects give an understanding of how commercial/retail banks function and the various banking product and service offerings. Investment banking covers concepts related to the creation of capital, underwriting, brokerage services and merger and acquisitions, restructuring, stock placement.
Financial Statement Analysis & Valuation: This course helps in gaining insight on how to analyze financial statements, various valuation techniques used- income approach, market approach, and cost approach. This course aids in almost all career options, be it banking or corporate finance.
Financial Analytics: Financial analytics courses help in gaining knowledge about analytical tools to predict possible future scenarios and take the decision based on past trends.
A career in Finance will involve a lot of number crunching, analysis, and reporting and will require interaction with all departments. Depending on the role, you need to be comfortable with the prevailing laws, financial standards, and economic conditions.
Preparation for a B-School Interview:
Know your prospective B-schools well and prioritize accordingly. Once you have done your homework on the B-school, you know the rankings, course offerings, distinguished faculty and alumni, placement opportunities, cultural and extra-curricular activities; you can align your answer on the question- “Why this B-School?” based on this.
Another common question that will be asked in all B-School interviews will be “Why this specialization?” This is the most important question and needs to be prepared well in advance. However, many B-schools also provide the option to select the specialization post one year of MBA so that you are in a better position to decide after you get a knack of all areas of specialization.
From placement perspective:
1) Will professional courses like CFA, FRM along with MBA help me get a better job and pay package?
– Professional courses like CFA, FRM along with MBA can help in getting better job role and may be a requirement by certain companies. However, MBA covers a varied range of concepts under a very tight schedule and one needs to see whether opting for an additional professional course is feasible or not. Also, once placed, many organizations also sponsor these professional courses if completed during the course of employment. Regarding this, take a decision based on your interest, career goals and advice from faculty, seniors and alumni.
2) Is your B-school grade an important criterion for shortlisting?
– For MBA in Finance graduates, B-school grades can be an important criterion for initial screening for job interviews. Based on your college placement history, you can see the minimum score needed to sit for an interview and at least aim to maintain that throughout.
On an ending note:
Finance is a very interesting field with a lot of career opportunities to offer. Aspire to be the CFO/Director of your dream company and strive towards that. Your journey starts from your B-School itself and makes the most out of it.
About the Author:
Yojana Ranasaria is a Finance Manager currently working in the hospitality sector and an alumnus from IMT Ghaziabad. She likes traveling, reading on diverse topics and is a food enthusiast.