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Finance: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Corporate and Public Finance

  • Financial Analysis
  • Cash management
  • Credit management
  • Budget analysis
  • Investment management
  • Investor relations
  • Financial reporting
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Real estate
  • Risk management

Employers

  • Private businesses of all sizes and types
  • State and local government entities
  • Federal agencies including Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department
  • Schools and universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Foundations
  • Hospitals

Information & Strategies

  • 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.

Banking

  • Corporate credit analysis
  • Commercial lending
  • Trust management
  • Capital services and mergers & acquisitions
  • Mortgage loans
  • Originations and packaging
  • Branch management
  • Operations
  • Cash management
  • Credit scoring and risk management
  • Private banking

Employers

  • Commercial banks
  • Credit unions
  • Savings and loan associations
  • Savings banks
  • Mortgage banks
  • Captive finance companies
  • Regulatory agencies including Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, OTS

Information & Strategies

  • 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.

Insurance

  • Claims analysis
  • Underwriting
  • Risk management
  • Sales
  • Actuarial science
  • Loss control

Employers

  • Life insurance firms
  • Property and casualty insurance firms
  • Commercial banks
  • Savings banks

Information & Strategies

  • 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

  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Operations
  • Portfolio management

Employers

  • Brokerage firms
  • Trust companies
  • Financial partnerships
  • Multi-line insurance firms
  • Sole practitioners

Information & Strategies

  • 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

  • Residential brokerage
  • Commercial sales
  • Appraisals
  • Property management
  • Real estate portfolio management

Employers

  • Real estate brokers
  • Commercial banks
  • Appraisal firms
  • Apartment and condominium complexes
  • Developers
  • Real estate investment trusts
  • Mutual funds

Information & Strategies

  • 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.

Investment Banking

  • Corporate financial analysis
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Equity and debt
  • Underwriting
  • Institutional bond and equity sales
  • Retail bond and equity sales
  • Business valuation
  • Business sales transactions
  • Currency trading
  • Derivatives, e.g. options
  • Trading
  • Venture capital fund management
  • New venture analysis

Employers

  • Investment banking firms (Changes in laws have created a fluid situation in this industry; Mergers and acquisitions continue to take place.)
  • Financial service firms
  • Insurance firms (The Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999 allowed financial service firms to acquire or build investment banking subsidiaries and vice versa.)

Information & Strategies

  • An MBA 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.

Money Management

  • Research
  • Trading
  • Marketing
  • Portfolio Management

Employers

  • Portfolio management firms
  • Commercial banks
  • Investment banks
  • Federal Reserve banks
  • Insurance firms

Information & Strategies

  • Most positions require an advanced degree in economics, finance, or business, and require many years of financial experience.

General Information

  • 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.
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Next Steps

Learn about a concentration in finance through North Park's business program.

North Park University School of Adult Learning