Students who wish to pursue a degree in finance have many options in terms of possible careers. However, as an aspiring finance student, it’s a good idea to research the area of finance you’d like to work in before deciding on a particular area of focus or concentration. Students should also consider the accreditation of the school they’d like to attend. Where you receive your finance degree can have importance depending on the type of career you hope to pursue. However, some finance professions place more emphasis on prior experience or background knowledge. However, many factors should be considered when seeking a school. Business finance degree majors should consider several variables before making a decision.
Things to Consider...
You’ll want to choose a school that has a good program in your area of concentration – Accounting vs Finance. However, a top school isn’t always a necessity when it comes to some professions in finance. Conversely, finance-based careers like accounting do require more of a focus on prestigious schools if you hope to join a top law firm.
Top Schools that Offer Business/ Finance Degrees
1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
The University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) is hailed as one of the best schools to pursue a degree in finance, hands down. The school is the oldest collegiate school of business, established in 1881. Wharton has also maintained an eighty-one percent employment rate upon graduation. The school also has a large group of alumni with a count of 90K worldwide. Students can pursue joint degrees at Wharton and through the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Students have a well-rounded experience at Wharton through educational ventures and 25 research centers and 150 organizations. A high graduation rate and post-graduation employment rate make Wharton a solid school for the pursuit of a finance degree.
Accreditation: AACSB – the International Association for Management Education.
Tuition: $47,668 per year
Acceptance rate: 9% (2016)
Graduation rate: 96.4%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 81%
2. University of Chicago (Booth)
The University of Chicago Booth is a school steeped in legacy as the second-oldest business school in the U.S. Students who wish to pursue a degree at the University of Chicago Booth have unique options to help catapult their education and career. The Chicago Booth Scholars Program allows students to apply for a Chicago Booth MBA in their final year as an undergraduate. They can also defer admission for two to five years in lieu of professional work experience. It’s a unique opportunity to reflect on different career options and still pursue an MBA later. The University of Chicago (Booth) claims nine Nobel laureates in the Economic Sciences which is more than any other business school worldwide. A high graduation rate and postgraduate employment rate make this university a good choice for a finance degree.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
Acceptance rate: 22.5%
Graduation rate: 94.5%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 87.20%
3. New York University (Stern)
New York University (Stern) is one of the oldest business schools worldwide. Students have the option of pursuing dual degrees at a fast pace. Forty student organizations are available for students to explore educational and extracurricular opportunities. There are also ample job opportunities in the city. New York University (Stern) is well known for helping students to secure post-MBA positions in finance.
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Acceptance rate: 7.6%
Graduation rate: 86.9%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 85.60%
4. Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the oldest universities in New York. It’s also the fifth-oldest university in the United States. Columbia has a reputation that speaks for itself. A degree from this esteemed university is believed to be worth the cost of a Columbia education. For students seeking a finance degree from Columbia, it’s well known for the focus on financial subjects. Investment banking, private equity (PE), mergers, and acquisitions (M&A), and alternative investments are well-known areas of focus.
Accreditation: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (One of six regional higher education accrediting agencies)
Acceptance rate: 6%
Graduation rate: 95%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 78.40%
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) can take pride in the fact that twenty-five percent of Sloan graduates have become CEOs and company presidents. Students can take advantage of globally selective degree programs. Students can take advantage of options to travel and study abroad. Students also have the opportunity to take part in action labs that allow them to try to solve real-world problems. MIT struts business clubs on the national level in addition to year-long contests in the MIT Entrepreneurship Competition for $100K. Students have the opportunity to win cash prizes for outstanding business plans as well.
Accreditation: AACSB: Global Business Education Network
Acceptance rate: 11.6%
Graduation rate: 60.3%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 79.30%
6. Stanford University
Stanford is a private research university and the world’s top teaching university. Stanford’s business program is well known for its focus on creating well educated and employable graduates. In fact, Stanford GSB draws attention from MBA recruiters. Stanford’s close location to the greater university and Silicon Valley are also attractive factors. Another reason why Stanford stands out as a university of choice rests heavily on plentiful financial assistance available to low and middle-class students. Stanford students who want to pursue a degree in finance can receive a top-notch education in addition to substantial financial assistance to make their education affordable.
Accreditation: WASC-Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Acceptance rate: 4%
Graduation rate: 94%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 67.50%
7. University of California-Berkeley (Haas)
The University of California Berkely (Haas) is a public college with ivy league prestige. Students seeking a finance degree can expect to find some of the best business programs available. Berkeley-Haas is also known for five Nobel Prize-winning economists on its faculty which is also a draw for potential finance students. As students near graduation, the school’s location affords students many opportunities for employment with major businesses. Google and Visa are examples of a few businesses in proximity. Finance students will also find plenty of internships and jobs to supplement their education. Students can also take advantage of the [email protected] program which assigns student projects with local and global companies. Berkeley Haas business courses have a global focus that complements the campus research center. Finance students have a good chance of finding employment upon graduation.
Accreditation: (WASC)-The Western Association of Schools & Colleges
Acceptance rate: 13.2% (2015)
Graduation rate: 93.5%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 76.20%
8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ross)
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ross) receives accolades for applying business principles to real-world scenarios as well as its focus on innovation. Students can expect to apply the abilities they mastered in the classroom in highly analytical projects with a variety of companies. Students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in business/finance. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ross) also offers an executive education program and an option for offers dual degrees with other University of Michigan colleges.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance rate: 23%
Graduation rate: 91.2% (For first-time, full-time in 2018–19)
Postgraduate Employment rate: 87.50%
9. University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is one of the oldest public universities in the United States and is considered a public ivy league school. Students seeking a degree in finance can rest assured that they’ve chosen a good school based on the popularity of the school in addition to the graduation rate and postgraduate employment rates. Finance is among one of the most popular degrees at the University of Georgia. Students who attend as freshmen usually stay. This is demonstrated by the 96% freshman retention rate and the 84% graduation rate. Students can expect to graduate with a solid education from a
Research Institute of higher learning. UGA is in the top tier of state universities and colleges. This school stands out amongst schools all over the US and it’s the flagship school for the state of Georgia. The University of Georgia’s is affordable, comparatively speaking, and offers a top-shelf education. This makes UGA extremely competitive compared to other universities.
Accreditation: (SACSCOC)-The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Acceptance rate: 49%
Graduation rate: 84%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 95%
10. Arizona State University (William Polk Carey)
Arizona State University (William Polk Carey) was among the 100 most prestigious universities in the world in 2016 by Times Higher Education. This is the world’s largest academic opinion company. Business/finance heads the list as one of the most popular majors at ASU followed by Business, Management, and Marketing. In fact, according to the Times Higher Education (2018), ASU is in the top one percent of the world’s most prestigious universities. The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University includes 300 faculty and 1,800 graduate students, making it one of the largest business schools in the country. Plus, students benefit from a student-teacher ratio of fewer than 45 students for M.B.A. courses. Classes are kept at a manageable size to encourage group discussions. Students also have the option of pursuing joint degrees paired with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the School of Architecture, and the Master of Accountancy and Master of Science in Information Management programs. The prestige of ASU, small class sizes, and the affordability of the school, make it a competitive choice as a school to pursue finance.
Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Acceptance rate: 84.8%
Graduation rate: 70.4%/ ASU’s retention rate for first-year students is 86.7%
Postgraduate Employment rate: 73.50
Why is Accreditation Important?
The term accreditation and quality might as well be synonymous. Accreditation helps students and other schools determine whether or not a school meets minimum quality standards. This, in turn, creates milestones to strive towards for any school in terms of self-improvement and self-regulation. However, its importance doesn’t stop here. Accreditation also matters when it comes to helping other schools determine the credibility of transfer credits. It also helps employers determine how valid programs of study are and whether a graduate is qualified to hold a particular position. This is one of the reasons why employers may require evidence that an applicant has earned their degree from an accredited school.
Another important detail that deserves attention is the school’s graduation rate. In other words, what percentage of students actually complete or finish their degrees. If this number is low, this can be a bit discouraging for the future student who hopes to finish his or her finance degree and found a lucrative job in his or her field. A low graduation rate means that many started, few finished. Most of us understand that completing a degree is extremely substantial and can often result in the inability to receive more sought after jobs in your field. In essence, an incomplete degree represents incomplete training in your field of concentration. This is why a focus on Tuition, accreditation, and Graduation Rate provides a way of assessing and judging or ranking a school among other schools and programs.
How did the Schools Stack Up?
Three schools emerge as shining beacons among good schools for the pursuit of a finance degree. These schools had higher acceptance rates, higher graduation rates, and lower tuition. Many of these schools stood out amongst other schools because not only were they affordable, they also had esteemed and well-known business programs. Arizona State University (William Polk Carey) had one of the lower tuition rates compared to other universities. ASU also had a highly favorable acceptance rate of 84%. Plus, over seventy percent of ASU students graduate and 73.5 find jobs post-graduation. The University of Georgia is also another stand out university for many of the same reasons. With a comparatively modest tuition rate of $27,450, GSU has little competition. An acceptance rate of 498% also makes this school a plausible choice when it comes to acceptance. Plus, 95% of GSU graduates find a job post-graduation. Last but not least, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ross) has a fairly high tuition rate of $71,048. However. a twenty-three percent acceptance rate can make this university a less than sure choice when it comes to acceptance. However, these numbers can be offset by the school’s high graduation rate and postgraduate employment rate, at 91.2% and 87.50% percent respectively. Students can choose a school that’s easier on the pockets yet high in terms of prestige and educational opportunities. High graduation rates paired with manageable acceptance rates and post-graduate employment make these three schools stellar choices for a finance degree. Give us a call. We’re your one-stop shop when it comes to selecting a school that has a history of success, will meet your unique needs, and educational preferences. We’re standing by. Most of us understand how beneficial it can be to get accepted by a school with higher acceptance rates. Schools that also perform well in terms of graduation rates and postgraduate education serve as clear evidence that students can comfortably pursue a finance degree in an environment filled with successful alumni.
The demand for people with finance degrees is projected to grow by ten percent through 2026. Students with a serious interest in a career in finance must do their research and choose and are of focus or interest that will help them to attain the type of job they hope to secure after graduation. This is one of the many reasons why where you get your degree as well as the programs offered at a particular school or university, should be carefully considered and explored. Tuition cost, accreditation, and graduation rate should all be serious considerations when selecting a school. Each of these areas provides insight into the type of experience, support, and experience a particular university may provide.