A young business man looks at his tablet device.According to a recent survey by CollegeAtlas.org, 33% of online students enroll in business programs, which makes an online business degree the most popular type of online college degree.1 When you look closer at the popularity of graduate business degrees, you can see that a paradigm shift is occurring. The MBA degree, long the gold standard for business professionals, is making room for a growing roster of specialized master’s degrees in finance, accounting, marketing, communications, human resource management, and other business disciplines.

The popularity of specialized master’s degrees is easily explained by the same CollegeAtlas.org survey:

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  • Eighty percent of online students are working adults. Of that percentage, 60% work full time. Balancing work, family, and school is a challenge. A faster, more targeted master’s degree saves time—a priceless benefit.
  • Forty-six percent on online students said their main motivation for enrolling was to advance their current career. Specialized master’s degrees like the online MS in Finance degree from Walden University are laser-focused, teaching an in-demand set of real-world skills to help students perform at a higher level and advance their careers faster.

To understand the differences between an online master’s in finance degree and an online MBA, compare these features:


MS in Finance

MBA with a specialization in Corporate Finance

Student’s Objective

To deepen real-world knowledge of finance and gain higher-level financial skills; to prepare specifically for CFA® or CFP® certification exams.

To gain high-level skills and a broad understanding of different facets of business administration and leadership with a specialization in finance.


ACBSP accredited

Credits 30 semester credits 39 semester credits
Course Load 10 courses 14 courses
Finance Courses 10 courses 4 courses
Capstone Course YES YES
Prepares Students for CFA and CFP Exams YES NO
Completion Time 20 months 24 months
Based on Walden University’s online MS in Finance degree and MBA degree with a specialization in Corporate Finance.
Some MBA and master’s in finance degrees at other on-campus and online universities may require more than 39 semester credits and may take longer to complete.
Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable.


Dramatic Job Market Growth for Finance Professionals

The demand for financial professionals is outstripping the supply, said Roberto Castaneda, program director for Walden University’s MS in Finance program. “It’s almost as if finance is a hidden diamond in the rough,” he explained. “Never before has demand for a profession increased exponentially like the finance profession.”

The job market for finance professionals is booming; for example, demand for financial analysts is projected to grow 11% through the year 2026.2 Castaneda outlined three main factors driving the robust growth:

  1. Growth of international companies as well as domestic companies that want to export their products. More companies need finance professionals who work easily in a global marketplace. Financial professionals have an in-demand skill set that transcends borders.
  2. Aging of baby boomers means that a very large segment of the population will need the sound advice of a financial planner to prepare for and enjoy a successful retirement.
  3. Whether the stock market goes up or down, the financial professional can help maintain sustainability.

Unique Features of Online MS in Finance Program

Walden’s MS in Finance degree program provides three specialization options, each focused on different competencies:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®)
    This specialization prepares students to sit for the internationally recognized CFA® exam through coursework and a capstone simulation experience in which they answer past exam questions.
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)
    This specialization prepares students to sit for the CFP® exam through coursework and a capstone simulation experience in which they answer past exam questions. Students gain the tools needed to advise clients and managers on decisions about investments, insurance, retirement, and estate planning.
  • Finance for the Professional (Self-Designed)
    This specialization prepares students to advance in their organization by designing a program to meet their unique goals. Core coursework explores best practices in corporate financial management and analysis, business risk assessment, and investment strategies that transcend international borders.

Walden’s MS in Finance program emphasizes risk management, financial analysis and problem solving, analytical skills, investments, and portfolio analysis—a fully integrated set of high-level skills needed by most, if not all, businesses throughout the world.

Walden University, an accredited institution, has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners for more than 45 years. Today, more than 47,800 students from all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or certificates online at Walden.

Explore Walden University's online business management degree programs and position yourself for success. Earn your online business degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your life and schedule.

Source: www.collegeatlas.org/41-surprising-facts-about-online-students.html
Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm

National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Walden’s BS in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and PhD in Management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The MS in Accounting and BS in Accounting programs are also accredited by the ACBSP and have earned the organization’s Specialized Accounting Accreditation. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.ncahlc.org.

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