Top 3 Criteria for Selecting Finance MBA Programs

Finance MBA programs are often in high demand among prospective students. But how do you determine which features are most important when focusing on finance MBA programs? According to faculty and staff within George Mason’s MBA program, the top three criteria for selecting finance MBA programs are faculty and curriculum (including elective courses), availability of resources outside of the classroom, and location.

Faculty and Curriculum

What you are learning and who you are learning it from are the most important features of any graduate program. It’s important that faculty are not only well versed in the theoretical applications of their discipline but also that they have practical experience in the field. Mason MBA faculty are deeply engaged in the regional, national, and global business communities, acting as consultants to government, business, and nonprofit clients. The faculty’s academic expertise combined with real-world experience provides a bridge in the classroom from academic theory to business practice.

In addition to faculty, the curriculum for finance MBA programs should be reviewed to ensure it provides in-depth coverage of key areas within finance including managerial or corporate finance, investments and portfolio management, financial markets and institutions, international finance, and real estate finance are integral to your success. In addition to the core courses, Mason offers a variety of finance electives for those specializing in finance.

Resources Outside the Classroom

We all know that education is not learned solely inside the classroom. When reviewing finance MBA programs, it is important to weigh the availability of resources outside the classroom too. At Mason, there are many opportunities to learn outside the classroom, including the global residency program, mentorship opportunities, and employer events, all of which contribute to growing your business network too. A recent global residency focused on microfinance projects in the Philippines.

Our finance students have access to Bloomberg terminals which provides them access to real-time financial market data and company and industry information.  These terminals are used by many of the top financial agencies, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as on trading floors around the world.  These resources offer a large amount of data, which normally students would never have access to.


Location is a strong factor to consider for finance MBA programs. Programs close to metro areas offer unique opportunities for students to have access to major corporations and financial institutions, whether they choose to continue to work and attend graduate school part-time or do an internship while attending graduate school. These opportunities are more prevalent if the finance MBA program chosen is located in a major metropolitan market.

At Mason, students have access not only to Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., but Baltimore, Maryland is also a short ride away. In our area, employment opportunities for finance professionals are available in a wide range of organizations, including many corporations (Marriott, Hilton, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, LivingSocial, etc.), financial institutions (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac), and government agencies.

When researching finance MBA programs, it is important to carefully compare the faculty and curriculum, outside resources and location of all programs you are considering in order to choose the program that will offer you the best finance education.


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Jackie Buchy

Since 2011, I have served as the assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University's School of Business. In my role, I work with prospective graduate students to identify and select the best graduate program to meet their career goals.

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