Want To Become A Budget Analyst? How An MBA Can Help

Budget Analyst

Managing a budget can sometimes be a difficult taskeven when it comes to your personal finances. It’s no surprise, then, that large companies require skilled individuals to analyze, manage and make important decisions based on finances. That’s where a budget analyst comes in.

MBAs with a strong foundation in business and finance may be interested in a career as a budget analyst, a role which requires many of the same skills gained while pursuing an MBA. With the opportunity to work in a wide variety of settings, budget analysts have many doors open to them when choosing how to apply their education.

What Does A Budget Analyst Do?

A budget analyst is responsible for managing a company’s financing and ensuring that the budget is on track. Typically, an analyst helps to prepare budgets and also predict future budgetary needs by analyzing past spending and greater economic trends. Budget analysts, which are employed by a variety of industries ranging from government, healthcare, finance and more, can be an integral part of a company’s growth and profitability.

On a day-to-day basis, budget analysts will likely work closely with a variety of departments throughout a companyand even with stakeholdersto ensure that the budget is staying on track. They will also be responsible for looking at budgetary data in order to make recommendations on where to spend money and where to make cuts. Depending on the organization, budget analysts may also take on additional duties such as preparing annual reports or providing technical analysis.

Top Skills For A Budget Analyst

Budget analysts must have a strong background in finance, as this will encompass a large part of their duties. They should also be strong analysts, with the ability to look critically at a company’s budget/finances to solve problems and evaluate next steps. Strong communication skills are also ideal for a budget analyst, who will need to communicate effectively to both listen to a company explain their needs and restrictions, and also explain their analyses and recommendations back to the organization. Budget analysts should be detail oriented, considering the tremendous financial stakes of making even a small mistake in this role, as well as having an ability to present their technical and analytical findings in a way that is easily understandable to others.

Education And Salary For A Budget Analyst

It is generally required for a budget analyst to have a bachelor’s degree, but many employers prefer candidates to also have advanced education in the form of an MBA or other master’s degree. To work in a government organization in an entry-level position, only a bachelor’s is requiredbut an MBA will most certainly give candidates a competitive edge. Requirements for private institutions will likely vary.

Many budget analysts roles begin as entry-level but offer the opportunity for advancement. According to the Department of Labor Statistics, budget analyst jobs are predicted to grow 3 percent between 2014 and 2024. Considering the ever-present need for companies to manage and evaluate their finances, it doesn’t look like the budget analyst role will go away any time soon.

In 2014, the DLS put the median pay for a budget analyst at $73,840 per year. This had increased from the 2012 median wage of $69,280, revealing an upward trend in salary.

Best MBA Programs For A Career As A Budget Analyst

University of San Francisco School of Management

At the USF School of Management, students have opportunity to earn a dual MBA and M.S. in Financial Analysis. With the added benefit of saving both time and money by completing two degrees at one time, students may choose to pursue either a full-time or part-time MBA to pair with their M.S. degree. The program provides students with the strong financial and quantitative background required for a role as a finance or budget analyst while the MBA offers leadership and entrepreneurial skills for taking your career to the next step.

Booth School of Business – University of Chicago

The Booth School of Business offers MBA students the chance to concentrate in Analytic Finance, focusing on financial theories, financial valuation and providing students the necessary quantitative tools for looking at financial data and developing real-world solutions. Booth, which offers the largest number of advanced finance classes at any business school, also provides a robust co-curricular program, giving students the opportunity to expand their network by joining clubs such as the Hedge Fund Group, Investment Banking Group or Investment Management Group.

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About the Author

Alanna Shaffer

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.

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