Masters of Science in Economics or Finance or Accounting
The Masters of Science in Economics / Finance / Accounting is a degree for those seeking to learn specific skills relevant to economic or financial spheres. The degree is generally one-year and made up of narrowly focused courses in either economics or finance. The degree enables students to quickly develop expertise in a single field, and thus to move more quickly up the ladder in that field.
Some courses may overlap with an MBA program that has a finance concentration, but the MBA also provides more time for exploration outside of a single interest area and the development of more comprehensive leadership and management skills than the Masters of Science does. For some, the broader focus of the MBA may be helpful, for others, who already have gained management training or are interested in a PhD, or are just starting out, the Masters of Science might be a better choice.
The Masters of Science attracts people at a different point in their careers than MBA, EMBA or part-time MBA degrees.
· On average younger than the full-time MBA student, candidates are not necessarily required to have work experience. Thus it attracts more recent college graduates.
· Not as interested in learning to manage. The degree is more academically focused, teaching skills that are relevant to a particular track.
Though certainly varying from program to program and degree to degree, post-graduation many go into banking, some to economics, or development economics, and some to PhD programs.
Also of interest, in Europe the Masters of Science in Economics or Finance is considered particularly valuable and almost a more traditional path than the MBA. Graduates of Masters of Science programs are seen as skilled but also more flexible in terms of management style and thus companies can train individuals as they see fit.
Your first year of business school is likely to be a busy one. Adjusting to a newplace, meeting new people, learning new things, and opening new doors will make it an exciting, even thrilling experience. Yet, the best way to ensure that you will enjoy your first-year of business school is through preparedness. There are essentially three key ways in which to prepare, and thereby easily clear some of the main hurdles of the first-year.
1: Math Prep
Before you arrive on campus, you should focus on academic preparedness for the Math aspect of business school. If you feel a little weak on your quantitative skills prior to beginning your MBA, you are not alone. Approximately a third of MBA entrants need a full Math review course before they begin classes, and an additional third are weak in some area—whether accounting, statistics or excel spreadsheets—and need to spend some time working on it in the summer prior to beginning school. This does leave an additional third—these engineers, accountants or “traditional” candidates, who have been working in the finance industry prior to starting their study. If you fall into this category, you are unlikely to need much additional quantitative before your first-year classes begin. There are also diagnostic tests you may consider taking if you are uncertain of whether or not you are ready for MBA math.
o Many business schools offer a math camp or quantitative review to students prior to entering the fall semester. Check with the school you will be attending to see what summer programs they offer. (It’s also a good networking opportunity.)
o GMAC sells a Quantitative review program called MBA Survival Kit, including 4 CDs covering finance, accounting, math and statistics skills. Each CD may be purchased separately. Available for $60 each or $155 for the complete set.
o MBA Math is an online math review course modeled on the Math Camp at Dartmouth University’s Tuck Business School. It’s available for $99.
o Seek out a program that is approved or recommended by the school you are going to attend. Many schools offer their own Math Camps during the summer.
o If you do fall into a category like “career-changer” (those out of practice in terms of quantitative skills), take a course. Not doing so will leave you in a position of having to catch up with your classmates, many of whom are accustomed to using analytical or quantitative skills daily. Not taking the time to review will make your first-year a much less pleasurable experience—academically, professionally, and socially.
On Wednesday we discussed various loan and scholarship options for funding a B-school education. But what happens after you graduate and you must begin to repay those debts? Today we offer a few insights into managing your debts once you have earned your degree.
Loan Payment Plans
Schedule your loan payments around your budget. You can be in control of your repayment plan.
Debt management is an intractable issue associated with financing one’s education. Most loan providers are flexible in that a payment schedule can be worked out based on the graduate’s income; different providers will have different options and it is vital that these be understood. In some cases payment can be extended to 25-30 years after graduation. Sallie Mae, a major loan provider, requires on average a 10-year payment schedule with principal and interest fees due every month.
In some cases, an MBA can be tax deductible. This must be understood on a case-by-case basis, but typically if the student can prove that their MBA education supplements the career that they are currently engaged in, then their education can be tax deductible. For example, if a non-profit executive pursues and MBA in non-profit management, they could write off their fees. If a software engineer does the same they will not be able to prove that their MBA will enhance their ability in their current position, and they will not be able to write off their fees.
Today’s post is dedicated to US students looking to finance their MBA studies or non-US students looking for ways to fund a program of study in the US. The process of finding aid, whether it be need or merit based, can be trying although not impossible for students everywhere. In the end, you will need to decide if financing a business education is a good investment for you.
- Need-based Loans in the US
Both US and non-US students have the opportunity to apply for need-based loans. The process and loan providers are different for each group, however. One of the first places to look is a federal loan such as the Stafford loan, which has an 18,500 USD limit. The Stafford is available to US and non-US students but for the latter is more challenging: A non-US student must have a cosigner that is either a permanent resident or a US citizen. Some schools, such as MIT Sloan, will even commit themselves as a student’s cosigner.
The Stafford loan is a good first step because of the generally low interest rates associated with a federal loan vs. a private loan. In fact under a subsidized federal loan, the student pays no interest accrued while in school.
- Merit-based Scholarships
Research other opportunities that your MBA program of choice offers. Merit based scholarships are a possibility and should be researched despite the difficulty and competition associated with scholarships. In many cases, non-US applicants will be placed in the same pool as US students, which increases the competition. This should not be a deterrent because if a student is not granted the scholarship they may be put into an applicant pool for a different scholarship by the organization that will be granting them the aid.
Many programs also offer Teaching Assistant positions or fellowships. Each school is different, so again, check with your programs of choice.
Some MBA program have impressive financing options. For example,Wharton has a daunting price tag at 40,000 USD per year, but students typically secure summer internships at where they can make between 10,000 and 40,000 USD. Wharton also allows the student, either US based or international, to borrow up to 130,000 USD with varying interest rates to finance the student’s education and living expenses for the two years that they will be studying. Thomas Caleel, director of MBA admissions and financial aid at Wharton describes the school as “need-blind.” Their admission is based on merit exclusively yet the school guarantees financing for any student.
- Special Opportunities for non-US students
For non-US students, the International Education Financial Aid website offers a robust database for research financial aid and scholarship opportunities. The Institute for International Education has a similar database. Additionally, one can investigate via the US State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural affairs program called Education USA. This program is a network that provides information on studying in the US and importantly, includes information of getting aid.
- Acquiring financial aid takes persistence, focus, and organization. Look at the website of the school you are interested in and get detailed information on the financial aid services they offer.
- Remember: First look into a federal loan, and then do research on private loans to receive more aid. If you are not based in the US and require financial aid, research opportunities listed in the sites above.
- Be organized in your debt management. If it is possible, go visit the school’s financial aid offices.
- Realize that an MBA is an investment. The average salary of a MBA holder after graduation is 88,600 USD per year. It is difficult to put a price tag on the friendships, knowledge, and networks you will develop in B-School. Is this an investment you want to make?
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