MBA or Master of Finance?Once upon a time, an MBA was the only choice for those aspiring for career in business and the finance sector.Many people who want to proceed to postgraduate studies related to finance sector often end up in dilemma as to what to opt for: MBA/ M.Com./ MS in finance. In our previous article on MBA vs CA: Who make better chief executives? we discussed how an M.Com or specifically a CA qualification can fare for your future endeavors. Today, let’s contemplate the question: whether to be a Master of Finance or to pursue an MBA degree.Making a career choice is never easy especially if the number of choices is large. Similarly, for a person who wishes to have a successful career in financial management, the choices are numerous (and often overlap in their training methodology). Thus, Choosing a financial management program that best suits your aspirations can be challenging. This is also complicated by the fact that these programs offer similar high paying careers in the future and prepare students to handle administrative positions in business, banking and financial industries.The difference between these programs is: An MBA equips student with broader knowledge base and helps in becoming a multiplayer. A Master of Finance program is a finance oriented super specialisation. Those who wish to be in one field only can adopt the Master in Finance program but those who like frequent challenges and out of routine task can benefit from the MBA.A Master of Finance takes only a year to complete. Applicants have to complete internship program in order to qualify. Similarly, MBA applicant should have atleast prior work experience (preferred). Most of the Master of Finance students tend to be younger than MBAs. Individuals spend more on tuition cost for MBA program. The Master of Finance is more economical to jump start careers in a short span of time.Considering the number of MBA in the job market, employers prefer diversity and invest in Master of Finance qualification.Deeper look into both the courses: Masters in Finance (M.Fin):The Master in Finance is a course designed around financial theories, mathematics, quantitative aspects of finance, financial reporting and market analysis. This focuses on the detailed understanding and application of financial conventions.Career opportunities:Graduates of a Master in Finance will undoubtedly find an increase in the amount of compensation. Due to the narrow focus of qualification, jobs like: stock trading, consultants, risk managers, investment analyst, etc. await such a candidate. Further, jobs in equity firms, asset management company, advisory services, research, security analysis, portfolio management and brokerage firms are designed to hire such candidates.Because M.Fin. degree is a full-time study course, it requires rapt attention and campus attendance. An MFin can also be useful to supplement financial leadership skills with specialist capabilities. But the career movement is limited within business finance sector only.Duration and Fee structure:A Master of Finance degree is a one year take course (with or without the internship program and varies from University to university). The range of fees is significantly lower than most international MBA qualifications. Master of Finance degrees requires just bachelors degree with or without any prior experience.For students looking to focus specifically on finance field, the Master of Finance degree is the best way to approach job. So if you find an MBA program abroad too expensive for your benefit, opt for an M.Fin. Similarly, those already an MBA and wish to give themselves an extra streak can seek out the course. Masters of Business Administration (MBA):MBA is an exciting opportunity and amalgamation of broad spectrum of subjects like: accounting, economics, communication skills, management, quantitative aspects and entrepreneurship. Add to the list brilliant specialist electives and you have an unbeatable (and ever sustaining) combination.As an MBA you can bring fresh ideas, lateral thinking and many more innate qualities that make you an indispensable asset to the organization. MBA students demonstrate capacity to manage a project or direct a team. Goals made during an MBA program include cultivating the remarkable leadership skills.It is important to understand the global and local business forces especially after the crisis of 2007. To bail out a business is not an easy task, an MBA must be able to foresee both challenges and opportunities out of a particular event. Business schools look at MBA candidates who are willing to invest time in understanding global scenario, economic, demographic, political and technological developments. MBAs are expected to predict the business policies across the globe, risk assessment and damage control measures.MBA is a learning program that prepares one to be a good planner and manager. But there exist some basic ground rules that an MBA should be aware of. It is expected an MBA to be clear in vision and the roadmap the candidate is expecting to chart with his MBA (in order to ensure that the best candidate is selected). If the student seeks an immersive and optimal experience they should definitely apply for regular MBA. This opens the vistas to co-curricular and extracurricular activities – including clubs, conferences, group discussions, brainstorming sessions, industrial visits, research experience, focus groups and student managed events, thereby creating a large network of ideal (and well placed) friends in different sectors.In India, The duration of Executive MBA program is similar to the regular one yet a few of the above stated professionals prefer to adopt this program in place of a regular MBA program due to resource constraint. In India, all major universities offer Executive MBA course. Some universities like ICFAI University, Madras University, Amity University, etc. Even offer an MBA through distance learning process.Also this type of course (E-MBA) is suitable for the managers along with assistant managers, who already enjoy holdings of middle level position. These professionals work to enhance and upgrade their managerial skills through the course. An Executive MBA from IIM is worth considering for it can increase chances of securing a higher designation/role in the present organization (immediately after completion).Career opportunities:MBA graduates earn package depending upon the quality of the MBA school, work experience, brand image, soft skills and current job title. Because of the wide spectrum of business skills learned on the program, MBA graduates are suitable at any and all capacity. From banks, voluntary work to start-ups, MBAs are everywhere due to their mettle.Duration and Fee structure:Full-time MBA is a two year course that offers wide spectrum of learning experience starting from case studies to managerial development through role-play. However, prior work experience or managerial experience is preferred. Fee structure varies from University to university. Owing to the variety of MBA aspirants the entry requirements are dynamic. An MBA is the best way for students to learn and assess broad range of business opportunities and skills.As discussed before, There are two ways of earning an MBA: a full-time programa part-time program.Although both result in an MBA, a full-time student in India cannot work for the 24 months that he is in b-school. These programs are popular as learning is exponential.Conclusion:Graduates of both the programs can expect a quality education that can help in furthering their career paths. The job prospects for the course are equally lucrative and only trade-off lies in the spectrum of available opportunities (which turn out in favor of MBA). Further, if you have a penchant of teaching then MBA works out in your favor.