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London Business School | Mr. Global Graduate Scheme
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Stanford GSB | Ms. Startup Poet
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Harvard | Ms. Transformation
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GRE ..., GPA ...
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Landing Your Dream Job or Internship – The Best of Ivan Kerbel

career ladder 1

MBA vs. MS: Which is better?


I don’t know if MBA is correct path for me for my goal to be financial analyst. An MBA teaches you management not finance. Although, when I search for financial analyst job, a lot of employers preferred an MBA, not MS in finance. Your thoughts?

Ivan Kerbel

I think deciding between an MBA and an MS in Finance can be a true quandary.

My best advice is to start at the “end point” and work backwards. What kind of a job would you want 5+ years from now that allows you to engage what you love about working with numbers, is the next order of complexity beyond the bookkeeping and accounts management you’ve been doing, and also compensates you well enough to balance the investment in graduate education?

If the answer is not immediately obvious, I recommend looking at the LinkedIn profiles of and contacting people working at the sorts of financial institutions you’re interested in … drawing up a list of prospective employers is a good idea, in any case, because it can help you decide whether to pursue one type of educational program over another (does company X recruit at school Y, and just for MBAs or for Finance MAs, or solely for undergraduates, etc.?) You can reach out and ask to have conversations — what in business school are known as “coffee chats” — with people whose work you’re interested in. (I would do that with at least 5-6, if not 10-12, people, at a range of organizations, before deciding on a grad school path.)

In the process, you may also discover that there are ‘management rotational’ or ‘leadership development’ programs at certain companies that function as a training ground, in lieu of school, for promising employees who have an aptitude and passion for a specific type of work, but who need to acquire more skills and knowledge before they can be granted managerial responsibility.

Whether you are speaking with prospective employers, with students, faculty, or staff at the schools you’re considering, or with your current work peers and friends, building in several months of careful due diligence can prevent you from spending time and effort in a degree program that may not help further your career in the way that you want.

[Check out How MS Programs Remade Fordham]