The Best Electives for an MBA in Finance

The Best Electives for an MBA in Finance

When you enroll in an MBA program with a concentration in finance, you expect to take courses that cover the technical aspects of the field. However, even though graduate school tends to be more focused than a bachelor’s degree curriculum, there is still room for elective courses in most programs. Employers want to hire well-rounded individuals who can manage the challenges of the modern business world, and that usually means that you need skills and experience beyond the strictly technical aspects of finance.

This doesn’t mean, though, that you should enroll in any random course just to get the credits. The focused nature of the best online MBA programs means that your elective choices are a bit more refined than they might have been in college. In other words, the courses outside of your core requirements should be at least somewhat related to your goals and the degree you’re earning. And to get the most out of them, you should consider taking courses in the following subjects.


Many graduate students in finance are under the mistaken impression that they don’t need to develop their writing skills, as they are unlikely to need them in the workplace. Nothing could be further from the truth. Employers want to hire individuals who can communicate well both orally and in writing, and a technical writing class can put you in a good position to demonstrate skills in the latter. It’s likely that at various points in your career you will need to write memos, letters, reports, and other documents (such as white papers or blog posts) so it doesn’t hurt to sharpen your skills in this area.

Public Speaking and Presentation

Again, communication skills are in high demand, so if you aren’t confident in your ability to speak in front of an audience, take a course that will give you the strategies you need. Many schools are now offering courses specifically geared toward making presentations both in person and online. These are useful if you aren’t comfortable with presentation software or equipment and want some experience in this area. Many financial services companies develop webinars or have other online meetings, so knowing how to use this technology and make the most of it is a valuable skill.


A growing number of business schools include ethics courses as part of the core curriculum for all students, but even if you aren’t required to take one, you should add one to your degree plan. Many companies have moved beyond the notion of not breaking the law equating ethics, and seeking more professionalization of business practices in this area. Coursework that challenges you to understand the ethics surrounding the finance profession and gives you the skills to make ethical decisions will be useful throughout your career.

The Best Electives for an MBA in Finance


Studying human behavior can help those working in the financial field to better understand the thoughts and actions that influence the way markets move and how people think about money. This is especially important for those hoping to work directly with clients as a financial advisor or manager, as psychology plays a significant role in how people approach money – and how you structure your recommendations. Some schools have even started offering courses specifically devoted to the psychology of finance (or behavioral finance) to help provide insight into this area.

Critical Thinking

Like ethics, many business programs have started adding critical thinking courses to their core curriculums. Understanding how to analyze and evaluate arguments and create solutions to problems that take all possible angles into account is vital to success in the financial world. A critical thinking course will teach you how to think in a logical manner, and ask the right questions to reach better conclusions.


If you plan to hang your own shingle at any point – in any type of business -coursework in entrepreneurship can help provide the foundation you need for a successful business. From writing business plans to managing staff, entrepreneurship classes help you start off on the right foot and make good decisions for your business.

These are just a few ideas for the most valuable electives to choose for your MBA. Other good options are to choose classes from other concentrations, such as marketing or global business, that will give you a foundation in those areas that you can use to pursue other career paths if necessary. Whatever you choose, though, make sure it aligns with your goals and that it adds to your skill set and helps you get the most from your grad school experience.

Advantages of an Advanced Degree

I graduated with an advanced degreeIt’s no secret that education is one of the largest investments someone can make during their lifetime so it’s important that they properly understand what they’re getting into.  With the time and money it takes to get an advanced degree, like a masters in communication it’s understandable that many people are wondering if it’s worth all the work.

Is an advanced degree worth it in the long run?  If you’re looking to beef up your resume and get a better chance at landing a good career, gaining an MBA is an incredibly good idea.  While having a bachelor’s degree certainly isn’t a bad idea and it definitely helps you out in the job market, it still doesn’t quite compare to the effects an advanced degree has on a person’s career.

Those students who go on to specialized programs like the MBA Program in Wisconsin will see a much better chance at getting a successful career offer than those who didn’t.  In fact, many steady jobs will require an advanced degree just to apply for them these days and those who have gone on from the bachelor’s program will usually be chosen over those who haven’t.

Likewise, those with an advanced degree will more than likely see a higher salary than those without one.  The figures themselves will vary depending on profession and what program you’ve gotten your degree from, but in general, those with MBAs are slated to make at a few more hundred dollars more per week according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The earning potential for those with MBAs is quite a bit more than those without one, which already makes obtaining an advanced degree well worth the time and money that it requires to get one.  Although the money it will take to effectively pay down the student loans that have been accumulated will be higher than if you were to only have a four-year degree, you’ll still be making a profit.

Additionally, those with advanced degrees are more likely to land stable jobs and move up into higher management positions.  Because advanced degrees are still considered to be slightly rare among employees, they are treated as something of a unique commodity among many employers.  They will typically be chosen for the long term positions over their bachelor degree counterparts.

They will also be more likely to be moved up the corporate ladder if they have an advanced degree, which means it’s also a good idea for those who currently have a bachelor’s degree to eventually consider expanding their education.

Many careers and job positions on the upper part of the ladder require some kind of advanced education and although it is possible to move upward just based on seniority if the company wants to promote from within, you are much more likely to be considered for the promotion if you’ve already got the education required.

Getting an MBA is an extremely wise investment on anyone’s part who is looking to better their career and be able to grab stable positions that wouldn’t otherwise be open to them.  Those who have already gotten their bachelor’s should always be looking for ways to improve their education experience for their resume as they will see quite a bit more luck on the job market if they do so.  The increased salary and more available positions will heavily offset the work and money required to go through the program.

Photo Credit