Is a Career in Financial Management Right for Me?

There are numerous factors to consider in deciding whether a career in financial management is right for you. Careers in finance tend to be lucrative, and demand for qualified professionals is consistently high. In addition, positions in the finance sector require an advanced set of skills and knowledge bridging finance and broader management functions.

The University of South Carolina Aiken (UofSC Aiken) online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Finance program is designed to help degree candidates develop this integrated expertise. If you are interested in pursuing a career in financial management, earning this specialized MBA can give you the know-how and competitive edge needed for success in the field.

What Skills and Knowledge Are Needed for a Career in Financial Management?

Financial managers need to be highly skilled in all financial matters related to their role. Much of their work is rooted in functions like accounting, financial and statistical analysis, investments, risk assessment, forecasting and preparing financial statements and reports. All of this requires advanced mathematical, analytical and organizational skills.

Financial managers draw insight from financial analysis and apply it to effective financial planning and decision-making across business functions. This requires advanced problem-solving and strategic decision-making skills. It also relies on extensive knowledge regarding the many financial functions of an organization, including all aspects of investing and financing activities.

While these technical, quantitative and strategic skills are essential, an article on the profession from Indeed notes that financial managers need a plethora of skills beyond those typically associated with finance topics and wealth management.

Financial managers work closely with other people. They manage teams, report to upper-level management and stakeholders, regularly interfacing with other departments (such as marketing, human resources, business development and IT teams). All of this requires management, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, as well as an understanding of organizational behavior and motivation.

In corporate environments, a financial manager can also be a cross-functional role that bridges various business operations. Hence, financial managers can benefit from knowledge and skills surrounding areas like marketing management, operations management, business analytics and information systems.

How Can a Finance MBA Help Me Develop This Set of Skills and Knowledge?

In UofSC Aiken’s finance MBA program, students develop their understanding of financial management by studying financial analysis and corporate finance, accounting, quantitative methods and economics. Degree candidates also explore the essential roles information systems and analytics play in finance and accounting today. Students learn these subjects by applying topical knowledge and analysis to strategic decision-making in financial management settings.

UofSC Aiken’s finance MBA program is also comprehensive and designed to prepare degree candidates for high-level management positions. Students develop the breadth of skills and knowledge needed for such jobs through coursework on organizational behavior, marketing, operations management and business analytics.

What Do Career Prospects Look Like for Financial Management Professionals?

As financial management is fundamental to any organization’s success, career prospects for financial managers are vast.

These professionals may choose to work in the financial sector. According to Investopedia, “The financial sector is a section of the economy made up of firms and institutions that provide financial services to commercial and retail customers.” Work in this sector could focus on real estate, insurance, commercial and investment banking and much more.

Financial managers could also work in corporate finance, managing a business’ finance and investing activities. With experience and education in advanced business management, financial managers could potentially ascend the corporate ladder to executive-level, chief financial officer (CFO) positions.

Notably, the need for financial management is not limited to the private sector. Governmental agencies, nonprofits and nongovernmental agencies also employ financial management professionals to oversee economic operations. Financial managers may also choose to work independently as financial advisors, private wealth managers or business consultants.

As a whole, the financial management profession is growing and lucrative. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for financial manager employment is projected at 17% from 2020 to 2030. Financial managers made a median annual wage of $134,180 in 2020.

As to top-level corporate finance roles, Salary.com reports the median base salary of CFOs as $397,448 as of October 2021. Of course, bonuses and additional compensation can also add substantially to this figure.

If income and advancement potential are among your professional goals, a career in financial management could be a good option. The variety of prospective environments, industries and organizations requiring financial managers also attracts individuals to the profession. The unique combination of analytical thought, financial savvy, organization and interpersonal interaction that financial management requires can be engaging and rewarding.

Learn more about the University of South Carolina Aiken’s online Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Finance program.

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