The Online Master of Science in Finance (OMSF) program will welcome its inaugural cohort of students for the Fall 2021 academic session. The OMSF is the latest course to launch from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business’s Center for Online Learning. The Center currently offers an online Master in Business Administration (OMBA), Master of Science in Business Analytics (OMSBA), and Master of Science in Marketing (OMSM) through its portfolio of degree offerings.
The OMSF aligns with the Center’s strategic goal of delivering accelerated, specialized master-level business programs built from the ground up using market demands to dictate the content and skill development to benefit working professional students and employers alike.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to fill an identified need in the marketplace. When our team looked at gaps in advanced degree offerings, there was a clear need for a finance program tailored to working professionals who required an online platform to achieve their academic goals,” said Pam Suzadail, the Center’s Associate Dean and Executive Director.
The OMSF is a 32-credit program centered on four pillars – principled value creation; financial modeling, analysis, and decision-making; global financial strategy; and effective communication of complex financial information and strategies. The program will offer three start dates per year – August, January, and May – and can be completed in as few as 16 months.
Students will take six core courses focused on the principles of strategic finance, investments, and corporate finance topics. They will then have the option to fulfill their two-elective requirement by pursuing courses in real estate; behavioral finance; or money, banking and financial markets. All students will be invited to partake in an optional one-credit Residency Weekend experience hosted at Miller Hall on William & Mary’s campus in Williamsburg.
Development of the curriculum was enabled by generous financial support from Mason School partners and alumni, and invigorated by the world-class faculty from the Economics & Finance Department.
“We have some strength in our real estate faculty so we leveraged their expertise to create a real estate track for students who are interested in learning more about the financial side of the industry,” said Professor Scott Gibson, K. Dane Booksher Professor of Finance and Economics & Finance Area Head at the Mason School. “All ten courses were developed by full-time or just-retired full-time faculty members. This program was a great opportunity for them to realize the vision of the class they always wanted to create and hoped to teach.”
Each class will offer multiple opportunities for students to hone their leadership and communication skills through collaborative group work, and will include real-time feedback from fellow classmates and the professors.
“Having effective communication skills is vital to being a successful leader,” said Gibson. “As the finance person on a team in a real-world business setting, you have to be able to communicate with other non-finance folks so we are going to help develop those skills.”
Ultimately, Gibson says, the OMSF is geared towards early-to-mid-career professionals who realize they have some gaps in their knowledge and skills that are vital for career advancement in corporate finance, investment management, real estate finance, commercial banking, consulting, and more.
He explained, “an example would be someone who came up on the sales side of commercial real estate, and as they are increasingly exposed to development and investment opportunities, they realize they need more financial analytics skills. Or someone who rose through the accounting ranks on the path to become a CFO, but wants a better understanding of investment and financing strategies. Another could be a professional working in money management who is looking to round out their knowledge on how to perform more in-depth investment analysis or construct proper portfolio diversification for certain classes of investors.”
“This program is targeted for the working professional who has a job they like and perhaps cannot afford to leave it, or they have a family at home and the opportunity cost of going to school full-time is not a viable option. It provides the flexibility they need to take courses whenever and wherever they want to,” said Gibson.