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Dreaded Finance vs Accounting question

dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
Okay, so I know that there have been countless questions about the difference between finance and accounting degrees, but here is another one.

My friend graduated with a bio degree and seeing how she hasn't had any luck finding a job, she's thinking about going back to school for masters. Even though she's very passionate about bio, her current focus is to pay back student loans, make some money for a bit, and then fulfill her ultimate goal of managing hospital by getting an MBA 7-10 yrs down the road. After talking to bunch of career counselors she found out that for job placement accounting/ finance will give her the best shot and most programs are one yr long. The questions she is wondering about are as follows:

Will MSF or MSA give her the best shot at landing a job?

Which has a better job market/ better pay? There various answers out there.


She graduated from BU and since she's from the Boston area she's looking at BC/ BU/ Bentley/ Brandies/Babson. I think BC/ Bentley will be her best bet. What are the thoughts?
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Replies to: Dreaded Finance vs Accounting question

  • AoDayAoDay Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    Finance is the more lucrative of the two career paths but it is also highly competitive. Assuming that she is ~22, pursuing an MSF with a science related background is going to be tough in terms of admission unless she performed extremely well academically as undergraduate business applicants will have a leg up. Additionally, if you assume that she studies for the GRE to pursue a Master's degree and goes through applications etc to start by next fall, she will graduate at 25 and then likely apply for entry level positions. If she is looking at a 7-10 year time frame for her MBA she will be pursuing it at 32, which isn't that far off of the average age of 27 for most programs.

    Just so you know, a MSF or MSA doesn't really hold as much weight as Master's degrees in other fields, so recruiting will still be tough. Business careers in general are supposedly "safer" because people envision large companies (people think this means higher chance of employment) and higher salaries, but it also comes with really high competition. Your friend will be competing not just with all of her classmates from grad programs, but also MBAs and undergrads.

    Now there is possibly an extremely good opportunity for your friend in that a lot of investment or consulting companies that focus on biotech or medical companies proactively search for candidates with a background in the sciences for their industry knowledge. If your friend is able to showcase both of her skillsets in bio and finance, she would be an extremely attractive candidate.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,425 Forum Champion
    Offhand I'd say that a top finance job would pay more but would be difficult to get. A solid accounting jobs don't pay as much but are more plentiful.

    And offhand I'd think that with no business background that programs would be 2 years long so your friend should check this carefully. And for finance wouldn't she be getting a MBA? Why would she get another one in 7-10 years? I believe there are specific programs for hospital management so why not just do one now if that is the ultimate goal? I think more research should be done by your friend before making any decision.
  • Jay1811Jay1811 Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    She should not get a masters in fianance or accounting. If she want to move into that field she should get an MBA with an interest that suits her abilities and career goals. It would be much more helpful.
  • dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Thanks everyone for your valuable input. I think she doesn't want to do MBA now due to the length of most MBA programs. Most MBA programs are 2 years long whereas MSF/ MSA programs are only a year long. So it's be less expensive for her and leveraging her undergrad/grad she can get a job. And she was thinking once she's into an organization, make them pay for the MBA and then jump ship to hospitality management.

    Given this, what're the recommendations?
  • AoDayAoDay Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    The majority of companies will not subsidize an MBA or graduate programs. Unless she works at a top tier firm (will also be more difficult given her background) her chances of having it subsidized are even slimmer, and even then the number of companies that are willing to sponsor have fallen drastically. Additionally she will have to continue to work at the sponsored company for a couple years after completion of her degree (so plan on staying at one place for 4+ years).

    All of the MSF/MSA programs that my past classmates have taken were two years except for those who attended graduate programs at the same place they finished their undergraduate curriculum (one year), so I would make sure during the college selection process that she is looking at the right one.

  • dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    That's what I thought too, but she said Vandy, BC, Bentley, and even MIT have one year MSF program and other than MIT all of those schools have one year MSA program.

    But I was just thinking if it'd be worth doing those one year program? Assuming she networks well (let's assume average networking skills) and has good GPA, is there available jobs in finance or accounting? I know finance is kind of competitive.
  • AoDayAoDay Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    Finance and Accounting can be very different, has she ever taken an introductory class in either? Finance will provide broader coursework and analysis that will be more transferrable to an MBA and also allow for more career flexibility.
  • dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    I remember her taking basic micro and macro econs. I think she also took personal finance and accounting 1 since she was few classes ahead. I do think finance is more diverse, but it is also highly competitive. And I've heard finding a job in finance is "very difficult to impossible" sometimes whereas accouting jobs are "easy" to find and "stable" but accounting doesn't offer as much growth as finance.
  • 3rdXsTheCharm3rdXsTheCharm Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    With a Bio background, I cannot see how she could possibly do and MSF or MSA or MAA in one year. She won't have any of the prerequisite coursework. An MBA makes much more sense, especially if she wants to do hospital administration.
  • dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    I think MSA will be tough but MSF has very easy pre-req : calc1, stat1, finance1 and accounting 1. I think based on her classes she can do msf in one year, but I think accounting gives her higher post-graduation employment opportunities which I think is her short-term goal
  • AoDayAoDay Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    True an MBA is broader business coursework and typically more tailored for a career change, but the admissions process typically emphasizes more experienced candidates.

    Going strictly off of the info pages of the schools @dhman2014 listed, a background in finance was not required for candidacy. I guess the OP's daughter is trying to plan for an MBA that will allow her to enter hospital administration and sees an MSF as a way to pick up a career in the near term while also signaling future employers/mba admissions that she is passionate about the change.

    @dhman2014 do you know which path she is more interested in? Making the decision simply based on exit opportunities is a terrible idea because it will affect her school performance which will in turn affect her candidacy for an MBA or career, it would also be a major factor during behavioral interviews (then she will have gone through all of it for nothing). Finance is competitive yes, particularly if you look at the top firms, but it's like that with any white collar industry including accounting.

    I would also suggest that if possible she look especially at the schools that allow candidates to apply with either GRE or GMAT scores (I noticed some of the ones you listed did). Since the GMAT is required for an MBA and are good for 5 years, it would allow her to skip prepping for a 2nd standardized exam if it ends up fitting her timeline.
  • dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    @AoDay It's actually my friend, but nevertheless you make a good point about MBA requiring experience. Is there any particular timeframe for that? - like someone needs at least 4-5 years of experience before going in for an MBA or it'd be ok to do an MBA with short amount of work experience like 1-2 years? If 1-2 years is a good timeframe, I was thinking about telling her to maybe teach at one of the local schools for 1-2 year and then go pursue her MBA.

    She is more interested in finance than accounting from what she told me, but she does want to make sure that she doesn't waste her money and ends up with no job after spending money and a year in school. That's why she said she'd be willing to go through with MSA and be an accountant for 3-4 years as long as there's more jobs/exit opportunities in that field.
  • morrismmmorrismm Registered User Posts: 3,563 Senior Member
    Accounting and finance are very different. I would think most masters degrees in accounting are preparing students to sit for the CPA exam. Each state has different requirements in order to be able to sit for the CPA exam. NY requires a lot more classes in accounting than a finance degree would require. That is why I say they are different.

    I would consider either an MBA with a finance concentration or a masters in accounting. Your friend should proably take the GMAT.

    I agree that work experience is often required before being accepted to an MBA program. Although I think it is a good idea, not all schools require it.
  • dhman2014dhman2014 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    @morrismm Ok so you think for job security purposes it's better to go with an MBA /MSA than MSF? How much work experience is required before applying for MBA? I've heard outside of top 20-25 B-schools MBA is pretty much worthless. Given that she wants to stay in Boston/ Mass after graduation, there are only 2 schools: Harvard & MIT that offer that. Would it be worth going to BC/ Babson for MBA or it's money down the drain?
  • AoDayAoDay Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    Ah sorry, mixed up threads haha. The average age of an MBA student is 27, so the majority of applicants have ~5 years experience. Also why is she not willing to go to school outside of Boston? MBA acknowledgement and recognition isn't a local thing....

    As most of the replies in this thread have already mentioned, an MBA is better for a career change because your friend will receive a more well rounded education in business versus learning the intricacies of finance. But if your friend isn't having any luck finding a job and is a new graduates, that is going to be extremely difficult even with a high GMAT score.
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