If you’re intrigued by the financial markets, stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles, and you also like to think about numbers, then a finance major is worth considering. Read on to learn about the top jobs for college graduates with a finance degree.
Skills Acquired by Finance Majors
Finance majors develop analytical skills in order to dissect financial statements and appraise the financial standing of companies, municipalities, and other entities. They can assess the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of business problems and evaluate the financial implications of corporate and individual actions.
Graduates with a degree in finance also acquire the ability to deal with spreadsheets and with other software used to process and represent financial data. They learn to present financial information to clients and colleagues with varying levels of financial sophistication.
An academic background in finance can be applied to a broad range of careers in virtually every industry. Before arriving at a final career direction, consider your unique combination of skills, interests, values, and personality traits.
Top 10 Jobs for Finance Majors
Here are some options to consider as you explore careers related to a finance degree.
1. Financial Planner
Finance majors learn about a variety of investment vehicles, and this knowledge can help financial planners to advise clients about how to manage their finances. Finance majors can decipher trends in the securities markets and apply this perspective to their planning sessions.
Financial planners must crunch numbers and apply principles of accounting in order to devise plans suitable for individual investors. They also need to inspire trust in people and promote their services. Therefore, finance majors with strong interpersonal skills and persuasive abilities will be most likely to succeed in this profession.
2. Financial Analyst
Financial analysts research stocks, bonds, companies, and industries to assist bankers, investors, and corporate finance officers with mergers, acquisitions, and stock/bond offerings, as well as corporate expansions and restructuring. They can capitalize on their finance major training as they dissect financial statements and other financial data.
Financial analysts build financial models and conduct complex quantitative analyses. Financial analysts also produce reports detailing their findings and present their analyses to other members of the banking or finance team.
3. Investor Relations Associate
Finance majors with strong writing, organizational, and communication skills can thrive in this role. Investor relations professionals prepare and present financial information about their company or corporate clients to investors, analysts, and business media.
Investor relations professionals must digest, interpret, highlight, and present information from financial statements. The analytical and software tools developed through their finance major training facilitate this process.
4. Budget Analyst
Budget analysts apply principles of finance to projects and proposals in the business, educational, governmental, and not-for-profit sectors. They analyze budgets and evaluate the financial impact of continuing ventures and new ventures.
Budget analysts must have refined communication skills because they interview managers in order to gather information for proposals. They also train staff regarding the budget development processes for their organization. Finance majors develop the essential analytical and communication skills needed to become a successful budget analyst.
Actuaries play a leadership role in financially oriented businesses such as insurance, banking, rating agencies, and accounting firms. The finance graduate with strong mathematical skills is ideally positioned to calculate the likelihood of various events and to assess the financial consequences for those outcomes.
Just like the finance major, actuaries manipulate software to perform calculations and represent their findings. They present their recommendations to managers at their firm and convince others of the soundness of their decisions.
Finance majors learn to construct, interpret, and critique financial statements while completing the accounting component of their studies. Thus, they become capable of carrying out complex accounting work in financially oriented industries.
Students of finance develop a number of accountancy skills as they learn to analyze business problems with precision and attention to detail, which prepares them for the world of accounting. Just like accountants, finance majors learn to present financial information to clients and colleagues by using charts, graphs, and other visual aids.
Entry level accounting jobs can be gateway jobs leading to corporate financial management positions, or leadership positions with non-profits and government agencies.
7. Credit Analyst
Credit analysts evaluate the financial standing of loan prospects and assess the risks involved with offering them financing. Finance majors learn to appraise the financial viability of entities and interpret their financial records and data. The investigative mindset of a finance major would enable the credit analyst to scrutinize the legitimacy of financial information furnished by clients.
Finance majors analyze trends in industries that can impact the ability of organizations to generate the income necessary to repay loans. They have the communication skills necessary for credit analysts to extract information from prospective clients and convey their analyses to colleagues.
Lawyers in many areas of practice, including divorce, product liability, civil litigation, corporate, labor, and securities law, benefit from a knowledge of finance. Attorneys who investigate financial irregularities must read and understand financial statements. Lawyers in civil cases need the skills to estimate appropriate compensation for settlements.
Research and analytical skills developed by finance majors enable attorneys to prepare their cases. Presentation skills and knowledge of presentation software help attorneys to deliver arguments and prepare exhibits.
9. Commercial Real Estate Agent
Finance majors with strong verbal skills and a sales orientation should consider a career as a commercial real estate agent. Commercial real estate agents analyze the business plans and financial status of clients in order to recommend appropriate spaces for their enterprises.
When listing a property, brokers must estimate the value of the property based on its financial potential for prospective buyers. Agents advise clients about options for financing property acquisitions and launching new businesses.
10. Business Teacher
Finance majors hone the communication and presentation skills that are essential to the teaching profession. Business teachers tap a broad knowledge of business as they instruct high school students about the fundamentals of accounting, management, marketing, and investments.
Work in banking and money management services such as saving, investing and retirement plans. Careers range from customer service, financial advisers and analyst positions.
Typically, banking and money management services careers thrive in commercial banks, mortgage companies, savings and loan establishments and credit unions. Government agencies and companies also require financial services professionals to manage their portfolios and statements and also to audit and regulate other institutions.
The banking and financial services field is large with many opportunities for growth. In order to get into the banking and financial services field, most positions require a bachelors degree in finance or business related field. Banking and financial services professionals can expect to work in an office or banking environment. They typically work Monday to Friday work hours, but may need to work overtime when necessary. They should enjoy working with numbers, have strong analytical skills and excellent communication abilities to work with customers, clients and stakeholders.
Professionals involved in financial services research, plan and lead financial plan activities to invest and manage resources for companies and organisations. They must be able to interpret financial statements and predict future market changes to recommend beneficial investments and manage financial funds. Financial services professionals such as financial managers manage the cash flow for companies and organisations, overseeing the preparation of financial reports and working with investment strategies.
Individuals seeking a career in banking and financial services may gain experience first in customer service positions in banks, lending institutions and credit card companies. They can also work in account services, facilitating account transactions for banks and loan service organisations. They may then move on to sales positions where they can provide information to investors about stocks, bonds and retirement funds and assist customers with mortgage loans. Financial analysts typically work for investment banks, insurance companies, mutual fund organisations, and pension and securities firms. They provide analytical expertise to the company or organisation on investment predictions and strategies. Overall, banking and financial services is a strong and powerful industry to be in.