Financial Versus Ethical Decision Making in a Masters of Finance

The last five or six years have not been great for the reputations of those in finance. Be it Wall Street scandals or corporate finance meltdowns, finance and ethics are under closer scrutiny than ever before. If you want to go into finance, it is still a good time – jobs are still out there. If you are pursuing higher education, though, you should use that opportunity to consider the ethical impact of financial decisions.

Recent Events and You

Those going into the financial sector are under much more ethical scrutiny than in the past. Whether those outside the field are becoming more savvy as to the amount of power wielded by those in finance or the fact that recent scandals have shed light on some of the more unsavory practices of corporate finance, more people are looking at those with financial responsibility than ever. As such, it is next to impossible for any individual pursuing a degree to consider the field one of simply numbers. One must take the time to examine not only how one can fulfill his or her fiduciary duty, but what makes an individual a model financial citizen. Doing so, as you might imagine, is more complex than many realize.

Broadening Your Scope

One of the better ways to consider ethical decision making when pursuing a master’s degree is to make sure that you keep yourself open to unique course opportunities. Most schools that offer a finance course will offer at least one course of financial ethics, usually to those finishing the degree. While these courses are invaluable, it might be wise to consider ethics courses outside the finance department if they can help you to fulfill your credit requirements. Having the ability to look outside your field for ethical guidance may help you as you pursue your career in finance.

Within the Field

There are many great opportunities during class to discuss the ethical ramifications of certain actions, a fact that teachers and students alike should consider. You should always be on the lookout for an explanation to the “why” of an action, not just the “how”. This can help to keep you grounded in the real world even as you explore theory and allow you a chance to stay ahead of the curve set by your peers.

If you want to pursue a master’s of finance, you need to think about the real world. Balancing numbers is not enough – you have to realize that those numbers represent very real parts of human lives. If you can balance your ethics and duty, you can excel. If you cannot, though, you might be caught in the same problems as some of the former leading stars of the financial world.