To earn a business finance degree, you will typically have to start out by obtaining a high school diploma or an equivalent credential for admission to college. You can then decide whether you want to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree and whether or not you want to go on to seek graduate-level education as well. In general, you might improve your chances of landing a job by earning at least a bachelor's degree, but earning a graduate degree may translate into more opportunities. Course requirements will depend on the program you choose but will likely include such topics as financial management, statistics, accounting principles, and principles of marketing.
In most places, you'll need some preparation before you can earn a business finance degree. Typically, you'll need a high school diploma or its equivalent to gain admission. While there are no specific high school courses you'll have to take to gain admission to this type of program, you may find classes in economics and public speaking particularly helpful for building a foundation you can use in college. Additionally, classes that help you build written communication skills may prove helpful not only for writing admissions essays, but also for earning the degree you seek and succeeding in your chosen career.
Once you are ready to enroll in a business finance degree program, you have a couple of initial choices. You can earn an associate's degree, which will usually require a two-year education commitment, or you can earn a bachelor's degree, which will generally require about four years of education. If you plan to seek an entry-level position in business finance, you may find a bachelor's degree more desirable since many employers prefer to hire candidates who have at least this level of education. The classes you can expect to take in an associate's or bachelor's degree program include those in accounting and marketing principles, statistics, and financial management. Programs may also include financial analysis, business communication, and business math classes.
While you can begin a career in business finance with an undergraduate degree, earning a master's or doctoral degree may improve your chances of securing the job you want, give you more opportunities for advancement, and provide more potential for earning higher pay. Generally, you can earn a master's degree in business finance in just a couple of years after earning a bachelor's degree. Earning a doctoral business finance degree, however, may require a commitment of at least a few additional years of study. Either of these graduate degrees can help you meet your goals, but a doctoral degree will likely afford you the most opportunities.
The courses you will take as you pursue a graduate degree in business finance may depend on the school in which you enroll and the particular program you choose. Some examples of the types of topics you will cover include business integration skills, data analysis, global marketing, and strategic planning. You might also take courses that cover such subjects as microeconomics, corporate finance, and econometrics.