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Choosing between an MBA and PhD in Finance: Top 10 Things to Consider

Having an advanced degree has become a necessity in the professional arena today. However, it is not always a simple decision for Finance students. On the one hand, they could opt for an MBA in Finance, which could help their careers in blossoming, but on the other side is the option of enrolling a PhD course in Finance. Both have their own sets of benefits, but there are various factors that need to be kept in mind before choosing one or the other. So here are the top 10 things to consider while choosing between an MBA in Finance and a PhD.

1. Career Choice

The first and foremost consideration for you has to be the field which you want to enter. If your interest lies in the world of academia, then a PhD would be much more appropriate. For example, if you wish to move into core academic research, then a PhD would be the way forward. On the other hand, if you are looking at the business side of things, then an MBA would suit you much better. Ultimately, it should be your choice of career that should determine your course of study.  

2. Timeframe

Most MBA Finance degrees are limited to a two year timeframe. On the other hand, a PhD might require you to invest a significantly longer period of time. Additionally, the possible effort required for a PhD is often much more compared to an MBA in Finance. Merely choosing your topic can be a tricky aspect of a PhD, while MBA courses are much better defined in terms of their modules. A PhD degree is also dependent on your thesis being accepted, while this is not the case in an MBA in Finance where the rules are much more lenient.  

3. Cost Involved

Another aspect that needs to be considered in comparing the two has to be the cost involved. While an MBA in Finance is expensive in itself, obtaining a PhD degree can prove to be much more expensive without university grants. Such grants are not available to students in every case. Without the grants, the investment required for a PhD can be too much to bear for individuals who are not from a wealthy background.  

4. Practical Experiences

An MBA in Finance would teach you a lot about the corporate world. This includes the ability to handle tricky situations in the workplace, the ability to adhere to tight deadlines, as well as the soft skills that are needed in order to get work done from others. All such skills are invaluable for your career in the long run. On the other hand, if you wish to focus on the theoretical, then a PhD would be a more suitable avenue for you to pursue.  

5. Ability to Switch

Furthermore, an MBA in Finance also gives you the ability to switch fields and industries at a later stage in your career. This is because there are so many spheres of work within Finance, such as investment, taxation, research, treasury, etc. On the other hand, a PhD might restrict your options in terms of switching from one field to another. This holds especially true when your research is limited to a particular field of study. It becomes quite hard to venture outside that particular field.  

6. Wage Factor

If you are looking to make more money in the future, the prospects are brighter for an MBA in Finance. This is because the theoretical research of a PhD limits your ability to grow professionally. By pursuing an MBA degree in Finance, you have the option of becoming a successful entrepreneur or to join a multinational organisation where the wages can be lucrative. On the other hand, if you are pursuing a PhD then the wages in that particular field can be limited.  

7. Location

Almost all full-time MBA Finance courses require you to attend classes throughout the duration of the degree. This means that there is little chance of you working remotely in order to achieve your degree. Whereas during a PhD, your physical presence is not required on campus on a daily basis. You could visit the campus occasionally and continue your research elsewhere.  

8. Collaboration

In terms of collaborating with others, an MBA in Finance will provide you with more opportunities. This is due to the fact that there are numerous group projects during an MBA degree. Throughout these projects, you have to communicate, deal with your team-mates and create synergies with them. This is not possible during a PhD since in most cases you are working alone on projects. Also, working on a PhD alone can require you to collect a lot of market data individually, whereas an MBA in Finance allows you to work in groups.  

9. Enrolment Criteria

The enrolment criteria for an MBA in Finance is usually much more relaxed compared to a PhD. For pursuing a PhD, you need to be enrolled on a post-graduate degree, which is not necessary for an MBA. Further, most MBA colleges around the world will take international students based on your entrance test scores. For you to enroll onto a PhD programme, you need to have a consistent academic performance throughout and also have degrees in relevant subjects all the way through your career.  

10. Mental Strength

Enrolling in a PhD degree can be extremely challenging for you in terms of mental strength. This is because the degree can be extremely taxing and can include numerous revisions of your work. There are multiple cases wherein a student even has to tear up his/her entire body of work and start afresh. Such drawbacks can be extremely hard to deal with. On the other hand, an MBA in Finance is not that tough on you. In fact, there are various MBA degrees which have special modules to lighten up the burden on their students. This ensures that the fun factor remains alive.

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