What can I do with a Finance degree?
CORPORATE AND PUBLIC FINANCE
Private businesses of all sizes and types
State and local government entities
Federal agencies including: Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department
Schools and universities
Complete a related internship. Develop strong computer skills, including spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software. Sharp analytical skills are crucial in this industry. Earn an MBA to reach the highest levels of corporate finance.
Corporate Credit Analysis
Capital Services and Mergers & Acquisitions
Originations and Packaging
Credit Scoring and Risk Management
Savings and loan associations
Captive finance companies
Regulatory agencies including: Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, OTS
Develop a solid background in business including marketing and accounting.
Get experience through part-time, summer or internship positions in a financial service firm. Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills in order to work well with a diverse clientele.
Life insurance firms
Property and casualty insurance firms
Complete an internship with an insurance agency. Talk to professionals in the industry to learn more about claims, underwriting, and risk management. Many good, entry-level positions exist in these areas. Initiative and sales ability are necessary to be a successful agent or broker. Develop strong communication skills, as many positions require interaction with others and the ability to explain information clearly and concisely. Take additional statistics classes to prepare for a career in actuary science. Prepare to take the first in a series of actuarial examinations.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING
Multi-line insurance firms
Gain experience in sales. Must be highly motivated and entrepreneurial.
Research how one obtains the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.
Develop a solid personal network.
Real Estate Portfolio Management
Real estate brokers
Apartment and condominium complexes
Real estate investment trusts
Obtain sales experience through part-time, summer or internship positions.
Research how to become a real estate broker through the National Association of Realtors. Develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Research apprenticeships in appraisal.
Corporate Financial Analysis
Mergers and Acquisitions
Equity and Debt
Institutional Bond and Equity Sales
Retail Bond and Equity Sales
Business Sale Transactions
Derivatives, e.g. options
Venture Capital Fund Management
New Venture Analysis
Investment banking firms (Changes in laws have created a fluid situation in this industry; Mergers and acquisitions continue to take place.)
Financial services firms
Insurance firms (The Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999 allowed financial services firms to acquire or build investment banking subsidiaries and vice versa.)
An M.B.A. is required to move beyond the entry-level analyst position in investment banking. Investment banking is highly competitive. Be prepared to work many hours of overtime per week, start at the bottom, and pay your dues.
Develop strong analytical and communication skills. Cultivate personal ambitiousness. Obtain a Series 7 License for both institutional and retail broker sales positions. Work toward the CFA designation.
Portfolio management firms
Federal Reserve banks
Most positions require an advanced degree in economics, finance or business and many years of financial experience.
Quantitative skills are extremely important. Take additional courses in math, statistics, and accounting.
Many positions in finance require the ability to analyze and interpret data.
Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills. Cultivate an eye for detail.
Gain experience through internships, summer and part-time positions.
Read the Wall Street Journal and other financial news magazines to stay abreast of current events and to learn more about the industry.
Join student professional associations in the field of finance.
Several professional designations and licenses, e.g. Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Financial Planner, are available to finance professionals working in a particular area. Earning these designations may help one obtain advanced positions.