Home Online Business Blog Career Paths for Online Master’s in Finance Graduates

Career Paths for Online Master’s in Finance Graduates: Corporate Finance, Asset Management and Financial Consulting

20 Nov
Working together in the boardroom

Innovative financial technology has reshaped the banking and investment landscape. Corporations, governments and individuals increasingly rely on digital tools to manage and grow their money. For instance, many businesses use artificial intelligence to predict changes in the stock market, while robo-advisors make investing more accessible to consumers.1

These technological shifts have contributed to the growing demand for skilled finance professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 900,000 new positions will open annually in business and finance.2 Online master’s programs in finance help students develop the skills needed to start or advance careers in this industry. This guide explores career paths for corporate finance graduates and the benefits of enrolling in an online master’s program.

Understanding Corporate Finance

Corporate finance is a branch of finance that focuses on how corporations approach capital structuring, funding sources, investments, tax planning and accounting decisions.3 This discipline has two primary goals: 1) to create informed business strategies that increase shareholder value and 2) to mitigate risk.4

Corporate finance involves many financial practices and principles, including:5

  • Capital Budgeting: The process of selecting tangible and intangible assets to purchase in hopes that they will generate future cash returns
  • Capital Structure: An organization’s ratio of equity to debt
  • Corporate Governance: A system of policies and ethical parameters that guide financial decision-making

Finance professionals are pivotal in the financial planning and management of a corporation's financial assets and operations. They help organizations maximize shareholder value and navigate ethical decisions.5

Core Skills Developed in Online Master’s Programs in Finance

The specific curricula for online Master of Science in Finance (MSF) programs vary by school. However, most programs teach similar advanced skills that graduates can apply in a broad range of positions.

Here are a few skills you can expect to learn in an online MSF program:

  • Financial Analysis and Modeling: The use of economic, mathematical and statistical techniques to analyze financial data and predict potential outcomes of decisions6
  • Investment Analysis: Assessing the benefits and risks of investing in a particular asset or project7
  • Portfolio Management: Strategically assembling portfolios of stocks and other assets to meet financial goals and reduce risk8

Additionally, an MSF program can help you strengthen soft skills often used by financial managers and other professionals, such as communication and organization.9

Finance Careers for Online Master’s in Finance Graduates

You can use the knowledge and skills you gain during an online MSF program to pursue numerous careers in corporate finance and related areas. Below, we explore eight popular career paths.

Financial Analysis

Financial analysts help businesses and individuals evaluate and enhance their financial performance. They assess historical and current financial data and predict future trends. They also recommend investment strategies and guide financial decisions.10

Professionals can specialize in many areas of financial analysis, such as fund management and securities analysis. They may work for various employers, including hedge funds, insurance companies and research houses.10

The BLS projects that the employment of financial analysts will increase by 8% between 2022 and 2032.11 Many analysts advance to portfolio managers and fund managers.9

Financial Consulting

People who work in financial consulting are often called financial planners or personal financial advisors. These specialists help individuals and organizations achieve financial goals and make strategic decisions. Their responsibilities may include:12

  • Choosing investments and insurance plans
  • Providing tax advice
  • Creating budgets
  • Educating clients about financial services

The growing need for experts who can assist with retirement planning has led to a higher demand for personal financial advisors and financial consulting professionals overall. The BLS forecasts that the employment of personal financial advisors will increase by 13% between 2022 and 2032.13

Investment Banking

Many finance graduates work in investment banking as securities, commodities and financial services sales agents. These professionals help individuals and organizations buy and sell stocks and commodities. They also arrange and execute deals, such as mergers and acquisitions.14

People who work in investment banking often need to find clients and manage relationships.14 Strong customer service and communication skills can help you succeed at these tasks.

According to the BLS, the number of jobs for investment banking sales agents will increase by 7% between 2022 and 2032.15 Many agents get promoted to handle larger accounts as they gain experience. Others become portfolio managers or branch office managers.16

Treasury Management

Treasury management refers to overseeing and managing a business’s investments to promote growth. Financial managers and financial consultants who specialize in this area have many responsibilities, such as:17

  • Issuing stocks or bonds
  • Making investments
  • Planning mergers and acquisitions
  • Guiding financial decisions

Corporate Financial Management

Corporate finance managers coordinate financial activities within organizations. They analyze financial data and use their insights to implement financial strategies. Additionally, they ensure compliance with regulations and tax laws.17

Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS forecasts that the employment of financial managers will increase by 16%.18 These experts can specialize in many areas, including financial control, credit management and insurance management.17

Risk Management

Graduates who specialize in risk management help companies minimize the likelihood of financial losses. They assess potential risks affecting a financial institution or business's investments, such as commodity price changes and currency fluctuations.17

Asset Management

Asset management involves buying and selling mutual funds and other investments on behalf of clients. Professionals in this area have many job titles, such as fund accountant, asset management and financial advisor.19

Private Equity Management

Private equity management refers to executing and overseeing investments in privately held corporations. Responsibilities often include:20

  • Closing deals between companies
  • Acquiring and selling portfolio companies
  • Helping acquired companies improve performance

Keep Up With the Latest Industry Trends With an Online MSF

Prepare for high-powered corporate finance careers with William & Mary’s Online MSF program. You’ll gain advanced financial knowledge and skills as you take courses like Advanced Corporate Finance, Investments, and Real Estate Investments. Our curriculum includes case analyses, simulation exercises and other hands-on learning experiences to help you gain confidence and leadership abilities.

As a specialized credential, the Online MSF can make you more competitive in your career in as little as 15 months. Get started by speaking with an admissions outreach advisor.

  1. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9707245/
  2. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm
  3. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from investopedia.com/terms/c/corporatefinance.asp
  4. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from mdpi.com/1911-8074/16/6/297
  5. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from erenow.org/common/principles-of-corporate-finance/1.php
  6. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from federalreserve.gov/supervisionreg/srletters/sr1107.htm
  7. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from nist.gov/el/applied-economics-office/manufacturing/capital-investment-analysis
  8. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from investor.gov/introduction-investing/getting-started/asset-allocation
  9. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-4
  10. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-2
  11. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-6
  12. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-2
  13. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-6
  14. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-2
  15. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-6
  16. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-4
  17. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-2
  18. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-6
  19. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/careers-in-asset-management
  20. Retrieved on November 7, 2023, from uspec.org/career-in-private-equity