Last Updated: April 28, 2021

Career Choices in Financial Engineering vs MBA vs Economics

Choosing a course makes people ponder over the career choices they are making by trying to do the course. And understanding what one wants to do day after day as part of their career allows them to make the accurate choice for themselves. While understanding the work environment they want can help them choose a course, it is imperative that they also access their own talents when it comes to choosing the course.

This page deals with the qualities and credentials that employers look for in candidates. It can aid candidates in knowing which course among Financial Engineering, MBA, and MS in Economics is sought after most by companies and how the duties of their work positions change according to the course they have studied. This deals with the salary specifications doing each of these courses can offer and how while studying similar subjects the title of the degree can impact their careers both beneficially and adversely.

Course Comparison of MS in Financial Engineering, MBA and MS in Economics

Students who are graduating from areas related to Business and Finance in their Bachelor’s will often have the confusion whether they should study further and if they should which course would be ideal for them. The academic opportunities that are obvious for them would be taking an MS in Financial Engineering, taking an MBA, or taking MS in Economics.

While all these courses have subjects that overlap or contain similar content, they deal with the development of different skills in the student which leads them to perform better in certain jobs than others. For instance, if a candidate wants to work at Wall Street and earn over $100K a year, they should procure an MS in Financial Engineering degree or an MBA rather than an MS in Economics. This is because an MS in Economics often only deals with soft skills that are apt for industries like Banking and Consulting whereas an MS in Financial Engineering deals with concepts like algorithmic trading and quantitative jobs that are considered hard skills by the job market.

The odds also work in the favour of candidates with an MS in Financial Engineering since there is an acute shortage of people with this credential when compared to the number of MBA and Economic graduates who graduate year after year. While an MS in Economics can provide the candidate with jobs like being a Financial Analyst, Financial Consultant, etc. people who have an MBA are considered to be eligible for administrative works in companies and after often put in leadership positions depending on their major.

People who have taken MS in Financial Engineering are often hired for positions that used to be reserved for people with doctorates in Physics and Computer Science and hence are an easy shortcut to entering the job market without having to complete a Ph.D. They will mostly have a higher standing if they have already completed quant experience or quant majors in subjects like computer programming and mathematics.

Career after MS in Economics

MS in Economics deals with the theoretical aspects of the business economy and has courses like microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and principles of economics as its core courses in most universities. Students are taught about the workings of the business market and financial topics but the course often focuses more on theory than the practical side of the economy which can be considered a drawback. The course costs an average of approximately $40,000 and is for a duration of 2 years in all.

It is advisable for candidates to follow up their Master’s education with a Ph.D. in order to be considered proficient in the field and to receive high-paying jobs both in the government sector and the private sector. The careers one can aspire to have after graduating in this course are that of a Securities Trader, Financial Analyst, Financial Lawyer (if they can take a Law degree after Economics), and even as postsecondary teachers.

Economists often work in consulting firms of actuary firms which offer them a high pay grade but are involved with a full-time job and dealing with both the financial teams in the company and the different clients that seek business helps. Their jobs involve a lot of research and creating financial models that can bring the company to a better profit margin than what they currently have which can be both taxing and rewarding at the same time.

Career after MS in Financial Engineering

Taking an MS in Finance or Financial Engineering offers the opportunity of working in fields strictly associated with money and expenditure of resources. This is a professional course and hence incorporates a lot of aspects of Economics including its theory and basic practical knowledge which is considered to be the foundation of the course. The course takes a duration of 2 years only and costs approximately $30,000 per year.

Students should be able to apply the theoretical aspects of Economics and place them in larger present-day contexts which will let them solve problems regarding budgeting and money-related business expansions or development. This degree is still not popular in the job market and hence is not considered to be absolutely necessary while applying for jobs but at the same time, having a degree in Finance or Financial Engineering helps students climb up the corporate ladder since it proves that the candidate is well-versed in mathematics, computer science, and economics all at once.

The job positions they can obtain after completing this course are financial engineer, investment manager, risk manager, trading strategist, and even financial manager. They earn roughly around $76,000 to $107,865 in a year according to the position they are in and this rate has been rising due to the recognition the degree has been receiving and its growing popularity in the job market.

Career after Master of Business Administration

Studying MBA has been a trend for students in finance and business-related subjects due to the professional nature of the course and the demand for the title in the job market. This demand has been in place for the last 10 years and has been steadily growing over time. Though the demand is still high, it is to be considered that since 2010 almost 67,000 students are granted a degree every year which puts every candidate in a competitive position.

Candidates with an MBA have to provide evidence of other merits in order to attain coveted positions in the business market and have to prove to be exceptionally skilled in whatever they do. A full-time MBA takes only 2 years in time whereas people are also allowed to do it in an accelerated mode within just 18 months according to their schedule. This course has been a go-to professional course for people who have been working in the corporate industry and want to upgrade their position and salary due to the part-time provision most colleges and universities offer.

They often work as a Business Development Director, a Project Manager, Operations Manager, or as Senior Accountants at different firms according to their academic excellence and practical skills. It is expected that they have soft skills and that they have majored in Finance, Marketing or Human Resources according to which their salary and job descriptions change.

Career Comparison after MS in Financial Engineering, MBA and MS in Economics

While a degree in MS in Financial Engineering and MBA are professional courses and can provide students with a leeway into the job market, just having the degree is often not enough for the same. Professional courses often require the student to have gone to the top institutions in the field. The New York University, UCLA, and UC- Berkeley are a few of the places where their MS in Financial Engineering are valued more than others. As for an MBA, schools such as Wharton, Harvard and Stanford are great choices.

An MS in Economics will put the candidate on the track for a research position in academia or a similar type of position in the industry. In order to earn the highest salaries, candidates will have to get a Bachelor’s in Economics and then move on to taking a professional degree like MS in Financial Engineering. Candidates also have the option of topping up their degree with qualifications like CFA or CPA depending on their interests.

Taking any of these courses lets the candidate enter high-paying career roles that offer normal 9-5 jobs which can provide them with a high-earning clientele and offer them a better status in society. Since the nature of the course takes them directly into the business market it is only fitting that developing and expanding the economy lets them enjoy the benefits of what they reap.

Choosing the Right Degree for the Right Career

The first aspect that candidates have to consider before finding courses that give access to high-paying jobs or comfortable environments is of their own interest. Their interest in the field of study will ensure that the experience of both learning about the field and working in it will let them excel in the field rather than toil in it day after day. Once the factor of personal interest has been considered candidates can consider their career goals in the same field.

People who are interested in concepts like labor, investments, and econometrics ideally will have to take up MS in Economics whereas people who are interested in concepts like budgeting and analyzing the financial workings of companies will ideally prefer MS in Financial Engineering. People who have a liking for leadership goals and prefer to work in the administration departments of companies will have to take up MBA to achieve their career goals.

At the end of the day, whichever course the candidate takes, their performance in the course and dedication in learning and performing tasks will help them achieve what they want to achieve professionally. Taking the ideal course and following the route map can only take a person so far as long as they stay on the path and do not give up despite the fallback they will have to face. All three courses are essentially similar in their essence through their applications are different in the job market and doing one does not stop an individual from attaining other career goals.


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