University finance majors see big uptick
The finance major in local colleges and universities continues to see an influx of students, particularly within the investment realm, and business schools point to Miami’s budding financial scene as a determining factor.
“It used to be largely banking and international banking,” said Stephen Morrell, professor of economics and finance at Barry University. But now, with the wealth management and investment side of the city growing, students are becoming more aware of that, he said.
Within the finance major itself, the investment side garners more interest, Mr. Morrell said. Within investment, he’s observed an uptrend of students studying to become security analysts and portfolio managers.
As more financial firms gain a foothold here, students’ financial interests continue to peak, said Eugene Anderson, dean of the University of Miami School of Business. Dean Anderson said finance is one of the fastest-growing areas at his business school.
Anuj Mehrotra, vice dean of graduate business programs and executive education at UM’s business administration school, said there’s been an increase in the private wealth management sector.
Even if students pursue other majors within business, such as accounting, marketing or economics, finance studies usually sneak their way in. Mr. Morrell said he’s seeing plenty of students at Barry double-majoring, for example, in accounting and finance, or coupling finance with a minor such as statistics.
The universities respond to the increased demand with programs like Barry’s Student Managed Investment Fund, which offers the opportunity for students to invest real money as well as educate younger students in financial literacy.
UM launched a master’s of science in finance last year, Mr. Mehrotra said. This year they received four to five times more applications for the program, he said.
“There is an increase in demand for these specialty master’s programs in areas of finance and business analytics programs,” Mr. Mehrotra said. “There’s also a demand from many of recruiters as well as many opportunities for students in the job market in [those areas].”
Dean Anderson agreed, saying financial firms are hiring again.
At UM, about 50% of students seeking a master of business administration pursue finance as a concentration area, while 20% pursue business analytics.
Florida International University has one of the largest master’s programs in real estate in Florida, with demand growing for the university’s international real estate graduate degree.
At FIU’s College of Business, an accounting minor adopted last year has been increasingly popular with finance majors. Within the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs, demand is increasing for financial software courses.
Big data and business analytics are trending upward too, Mr. Mehrotra said.
Although Miami Dade College does not offer a full, four-year undergraduate degree in finance, it has seen growth in degrees within banking, said Thania Rios, associate dean of the school of business.
At a more advanced level, research in neuroscience is being applied to the investment field at Barry – essentially studying brain reactions and decision-making when markets go well or turn sour.