MBA Careers at a Glance: What Is Corporate Finance?

Group of people meeting with finance director

Completing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be an important step toward career advancement, especially since graduates are often eligible for significant salary increases. This bump in annual earning potential is largely credited to the knowledge and skills MBA graduates gained by completing advanced coursework.

MBA curriculams are designed to provide candidates with a number of transferable skills, including enhanced leadership and analysis capabilities, intellectual creativity, communication, and critical thinking. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in corporate finance often find that choosing a concentration that aligns with their future goals offers a strong return on investment.

As part of an MBA program, the finance concentration entails coursework in financial decision-making, portfolio management and investment performance, dividend policies, and risk management to provide graduates with core competencies in these areas.

What Is Corporate Finance?

Those who are considering this career path but still wondering “what is corporate finance?” may be interested to learn that professionals in this field are charged with managing an organization’s financial and investment decisions.

Namely, individuals in corporate finance are responsible for evaluating their firms’ short- and long-term investments and financial planning strategies to inform decision-making and maximize shareholder value. They regularly make critical decisions, such as whether to propose certain investments, how an organization should pay for them, and whether shareholders should receive dividend payments.

Employers may give preference to applicants who hold an MBA and are able to address key questions about the effectiveness of a firm’s strategies, along with how to incorporate risk management policies to maximize shareholder return.

Trends in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking

Today’s global financial markets are rife with change. The ways in which consumers think about finances and the ever-changing technologies that are transforming the way the marketplace functions are rapidly evolving.

A March 2018 Forbes article highlights some of the biggest changes that the modern-day financial world is facing, such as higher interest rates, increased transparency in business credit, and President Trump’s tax reform.

The ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) and automation software are helping to generate and analyze data, along with how computer programs are facilitating banking and financial services (also known as fintech), are also at the forefront of today’s financial trends.

The field of investment banking is undergoing rapid change. A 2019 Deloitte report found that the industry is under enormous pressure to find ways to overcome lackluster profits and the geopolitical uncertainty resulting from Brexit and trade wars.

Those questioning if a career in corporate finance is right for them need to understand that success in this field requires that they remain abreast of current, emerging, and future trends in investment and finance.

Career Paths After an MBA in Finance

MBA graduates with strong financial and analytical skills may find they have a number of career paths available to them. Positions in financial analysis, investment banking, management consulting, and account management, in both the public and private sectors, are available to qualified candidates. Cost analyst, corporate controller, and real estate officer are other occupations that may be within reach.

This wide range of career opportunities is largely linked to MBA graduates’ enhanced capabilities in analytics, quantitative analysis, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.

It should be noted that the average annual salary for corporate finance professionals is $72,219, according to March 2019 data from Glassdoor, and top earners take home $116,000 per year.

Accordingly, many find that the augmented job opportunities and earning capabilities available to graduates of this type of program make pursuing an MBA in finance a worthwhile endeavor.

Success in Corporate Finance 

Working professionals who want to advance in their current careers or jump-start a change should know that success in the field of corporate finance requires core competencies in a number of skill sets.

Job applicants will need to demonstrate they have technical knowledge, sales and marketing skills, and the ability to effectively manage professional relationships. Attention to detail, enhanced organizational skills, and project management capabilities will also be paramount.

The online Master of Business Administration program at Ohio University has been designed to provide candidates with the skills they’ll need to advance in their careers. The 100% online curriculum is comprehensive, challenging, and flexible.

Discover how Ohio University’s Online MBA program can equip you to succeed in the world of corporate finance. Visit our website today to learn more.


Deloitte, “2019 Banking Industry Outlook”

Forbes, “10 Biggest Changes Expected in the World of Finance in 2018”

Glassdoor “Corporate Finance Salaries”

Investopedia, Corporate Finance

Investopedia, “Top 7 Non-Financial Skills Required in Finance”

Ohio University, Online Master of Business Administration

SG Analytics, “Top 5 Investment Banking Trends in 2018”

U.S. News & World Report, “4 Key Career Benefits from MBA Programs”