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Business finance programs can be pursued as undergraduate business administration degrees, graduate level certificates, professional licensure programs and graduate degrees. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the more popular formats. Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) programs also prepare future financial advisors. Some schools offer graduate level degrees in accounting and financial management.
Undergraduate business administration degrees typically offer a concentration in finance. This is one of the business finance programs available that gives students a broad orientation to the functions of business. In the core courses of this type of program, students learn about the role and practice of accounting, marketing, organizational management and information technology. A concentration in finance exposes aspiring financial managers to investments, strategic financial planning and evaluation, real estate, financial markets, and insurance.
Individuals who obtain years of practical experience in the finance sector may wish to pursue a graduate level certificate in finance. This is a light version of other business finance programs. It exposes students to the fundamental concepts of financial analysis. A graduate certificate may be more useful for a professional who needs to upgrade his knowledge and skills, but does not necessarily need the credentials that come with a full degree program.
Graduate certificate programs in finance typically include a mix of core and specialization courses. Rather than learning all aspects of the business world, students learn the principles of managerial accounting and finance. They may choose courses in certain specializations that pertain to their career goals. Some of these specializations include mergers, derivatives, and tax planning.
One of the highly sought after business finance programs is the MBA degree with a concentration in finance. Many employers in the finance sector consider it to be the stepping stone for a successful career in the field. Similar to an undergraduate business administration degree, students take foundational courses in the core practices of business, including marketing, organizational leadership, accounting and information systems. The MBA degree gives students a chance to look at and solve business case studies from a managerial, strategic perspective.
MBA programs are known for their grueling nature, as students must often apply the theories they are learning through case studies, research projects and capstone courses that involve designing a real solution that can be used in the business world. Students who wish to focus exclusively on accounting and financial management may find a graduate degree in financial management more appropriate. It is one of the types of business finance programs that integrate preparation for professional certification exams, such as the CFP.