Should I Get an MSF/MBA Dual Degree?

| Ashley Robinson Updated on July 18, 2022

Should I Get an MSF/MBA Dual Degree?

Are you ready to discover your MBA program?

MBA/MS finance dual-degree programs allow students to earn a master of science in finance (MSF) degree and a master of business and administration (MBA) degree at the same time. Since this is a graduate-level program, students need bachelor degrees before they can enroll.

MSF degrees teach advanced financial theories and skills needed for a career in finance. MBA degrees are more generalized and teach a wide variety of business skills, from leadership and management to business operations.

Completing an MBA/MS finance program can prepare students for careers focusing on the financial side of business. People with this dual degree can work as chief financial officers (CFOs), investment bankers, or portfolio managers.

Keep reading to learn more about the MBA/MSF joint degree, including program expectations, the return on investment (ROI), and potential careers.

Why Enroll in an Online MS in Finance/MBA Dual Degree Program?

In general, students can earn a joint MBA/MS finance degree in 16 months to 2.5 years, instead of the 3-4 years it would take to earn both degrees separately.

MBA/MS finance programs can cost between $99,920 and $145,120. Tuition prices may vary depending on whether a program is online or if a student qualifies for in-state tuition.

Online programs can help students save money by taking classes remotely. Online programs can give students more flexibility by allowing them to complete coursework on their own schedule.

Both in-person and online MBA/MS finance programs give students a more in-depth financial education compared to a standard MBA degree. MSF/MBA students can develop skills in:

  • Research and Analysis: Students use data to build financial analyses, which help companies make informed financial decisions. Students also learn how to interpret data to create market forecasts and provide knowledgeable recommendations.
  • Portfolio Management: MBA/MS finance students learn the ins and outs of building a portfolio of investments that meet short- and long-term goals. Students also learn the skills they need to successfully manage portfolios, including how to allocate assets, diversify investments, and rebalance portfolios as needed.
  • Strategic Thinking: MBA/MS finance students learn how to make smart, forward-thinking decisions that can help their company succeed.
  • Communication and Networking: MSF/MBA programs teach students how to share information and ideas clearly. MSF/MBA programs also impart effective networking skills.

What to Expect From an MSF/MBA Dual Degree Program

Because it is a joint degree, MBA/MS finance students will earn two diplomas once they graduate.

MSF/MBA students take classes in two different programs and have to satisfy the requirements of both to earn their degrees. On average, it takes 31 hours to earn an MSF and 42 hours to earn an MBA in an MSF/MBA program.

MSF/MBA programs often let students count some courses toward both programs’ credit requirements. For example, the University of Arizona counts 18 MSF degree credits toward MBA coursework.

As a result, students might complete a dual degree MBA/MS in finance program about 1.5 years sooner than earning each degree separately.

Degree and Concentration Options

Not every school offers MSF/MBA programs, so students should check if a university has an MSF/MBA program before applying.

Some MSF/MBA programs also offer learning tracks, which allow students to build knowledge in specialized areas of business or finance. Some include:

  • Qualitative Track: This focuses on building students’ mathematical and technical skills, like interpreting data and performing risk analyses.
  • Quantitative Track: This focuses on developing financial strategy and business-oriented skills, like managing corporate finances and creating flexible operating models.

Even if a concentration is not available, most programs allow students to take electives in MBA/MSF subfields. For instance, students who want to work in real estate may take elective classes in commercial real estate investment to build their skills.

Curriculum for MSF/MBA Dual Degree Programs

MSF/MBA students take a mix of graduate-level finance and business courses as part of their degree. These classes prepare students for careers in both the finance and business sectors.

Examples of courses MSF/MBA students may take include:

  • Corporate Finance: This class introduces students to business finance and modern financial theory. Some course topics include corporate capital budgeting, capital asset pricing, and market efficiency.
  • Valuation and Modeling: MSF/MBA students learn how to establish the valuation of companies, including accurately implementing valuation frameworks. Course topics include price multiples, leveraged buyout analysis, and discounted cash flow techniques.
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management: This course introduces students to logistics and how it helps businesses meet both supply and demand. Topics include segmental positioning, logistics strategy, and customer accommodation.
  • Data Analytics in Finance: This class teaches students how to use Python, a programming language, to analyze financial data. MSF/MBA students learn the basics of programming, portfolio theory, and how to implement financial models using Python.
  • Analysis of Financial Institutions and Markets: This course introduces students to domestic and financial institutions and the different markets within them. Topics include how exchange rates and interest rates work, as well as how central banks and governments impact market conditions.
  • Finance Strategy: MSF/MBA students learn how to combine financial, analytical, and communication skills to create effective financial strategies. Coursework includes understanding value creation, legal and ethical concerns, and global market impacts.

Admissions Process

Each university has a different admissions process. While some schools ask for one application, others may require students to apply to both the MSF and MBA programs separately. There may be minimum GPA requirements as well, often around 3.0.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree before they can apply for an MSF/MBA program. Many programs require students to submit GRE exam scores or GMAT scores as part of admission. International students may need to take and pass English proficiency tests, like the TOEFL, as well.

Some programs may require prerequisites. Those can include math classes, like statistics or calculus, or an introductory finance course. Finally, most applicants submit transcripts, letters of reference, and a personal statement or essay as part of their application packet.

The ROI of an MS in Finance/MBA Dual Degree Program

The return on investment (ROI) of an MS in Finance/MBA dual degree refers to whether students get more value from their degrees than they paid for them. Figuring out an MSF/MBA’s ROI can help learners decide if it is a good investment for them.

Calculate ROI by determining the cost of an MSF/MBA. Along with tuition and fees, consider other expenses like housing, transportation, and loans. Factor in lost wages, since students may not earn a full-time salary while enrolled.

Next, list the benefits of an MSF/MBA program and compare them to the costs. For example, according to Payscale, the average base salary for someone with an MSF degree was $80,000 a year as of July 2022. During that same period, Payscale reports that the average base salary for people with MBAs was $92,000.

Consider if an MSF/MBA dual degree will create additional value through higher-paying future career opportunities. Factor in less-tangible benefits of an MSF/MBA program, including networking or internship opportunities.

MSF/MBA Career Opportunities After Graduating

Graduates from MSF/MBA programs can pursue careers in finance and business. They may also look for careers that combine aspects of both degrees.

The following list includes examples of potential careers for MPH/MBA graduates.

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO): CFOs are high-level executives that manage the finances of a company or business, including tracking expenditures and complying with laws and regulations. Payscale reports that as of July 2022, CFOs earn an average salary of $140,450.
  • Investment Banker: Investment bankers help clients raise money, which can include issuing stock, helping a company go public, or even negotiating the sale of a business. As of July 2022 Payscale data, investment bankers earn an average base salary of $101,300 as of July 2022.
  • Portfolio Manager: Portfolio managers handle investment portfolios. They create investment strategies and manage the day-to-day tasks to meet a portfolio’s financial goals. Portfolio managers make an average base salary of $90,860 per year as of July 2022, according to Payscale.
  • Private Wealth Manager: As a private wealth manager, MSF/MBA holders help wealthy individuals invest their finances and meet their financial goals. Payscale reports that the average base salary for private wealth managers as of July 2022 was $68,020.

Common Questions about MSF/MBA Dual Degrees


How much does an MSF/MBA dual-degree program cost?

MBA/MS Finance programs can cost between $99,920 and $145,120. These prices can fluctuate depending on the length of the program and if the program is in-person or online.

How much money can I earn with an MSF/MBA dual degree?

According to Payscale, as of July 2022, people with MSF degrees earned an average base salary of $80,000. During that same period, Payscale reports that MBAs earned an annual base salary of $92,000.

With that said, salaries fluctuate depending on the position and industry. For instance, joint degree MBA/MS finance holders can become CFOs. According to Payscale, CFOs have an average base salary of $140,450 per year.

Is an MSF/MBA dual degree worth it?

Determining whether an MSF/MBA is a good value involves calculating the return on investment (ROI). Start by figuring the total cost of an MSF/MBA program, including tuition, housing, and lost wages due to being out of the workforce. Then compare those expenses to the potential benefits of an MSF/MBA program, including possible increases in lifetime salary and job opportunities.

What is an MSF/MBA dual degree?

An MSF/MBA dual-degree program allows students to earn a master of science in finance degree (MSF) and master of business and administration degree (MBA) simultaneously. Students will graduate with two separate degrees that qualify them for careers in business or finance.



Featured Image: GaudiLab / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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