The American economy has largely away from manufacturing and into financial businesses. One only needs to look at the effect of failures in the American banking sector on the entire world to understand how important finance is in this country. This year more students are flocking to government and policy making careers instead of going into financial careers. This means that as the economy begins to swing into gear again, there will be a greater demand for careers in finance. While competition has been fierce for finance careers in the past, the current downturn presents an opportunity to more easily break into the field.
Finance offers many careers for graduates with a Business Administration in Finance degree. They can be financial analysts, bankers, portfolio managers, financial researches, CFOs, financial instrument sales people, stock traders and insurance underwriters. They will find work in banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, lenders, investment firms, consulting firms as well as in the public sector.
Financial professionals benefit from certain skills important in the field. Among these are communication, problem solving, critical thinking, organization, negotiation, team work and interpersonal skills. Financial professionals spend a lot of time gathering information and analyzing data. They must understand financial markets, economics, banking, insurance and investments.
Most securities firms have a large sales force that accounts for most of its revenue. Salespeople may be retail brokers, working directly with the public, offering financial advice and selling financial instruments. These individuals are often called account executives. Others work in an institutional setting, selling securities and developing client relationships with large mutual funds and pension plans. There are also those who work in Private Client Services (PCS) offering wealth management services for the wealthiest individuals.
Salespeople benefit from strong interpersonal and communication skills. Selling is less about pushing a product and more about connecting with others on a personal level and answering their questions. The most successful sales people spend very little time pitching, instead probing customers for their preferences and dislikes to help them find the best product to fill their needs.
Accountancy allows for great flexibility and many individuals work from home or open their own accounting firms. Accounting is a popular option for parents who wish to have a stable career while remaining home with their children. With a Master’s in Business Administration, students can become corporate controllers, preparing reports to summarize a company’s financial situation. These individuals will oversee auditing and accounting departments as well.
Investment banking is an exciting career where the profession works as an intermediation between corporations and potential investors. This high powered career requires strong financial analysis, communication and interpersonal skills. The investment banker will oversee the issuance of bonds and assist in the execution of merger and take over strategies for large corporations. Those entering this field should expect to work long hours, travel frequently and meet with clients all over the globe.
A financial analyst’s job is to examine financial statements and other documents to come up with investment strategies. They are sometimes called investment analysts or securities analysts. They must have a strong understanding of statistics and often work with software and spreadsheets in analyzing information. They will summarize their findings in reports to banks, corporations, insurance companies, stock brokers and government agencies. They may work on world economics, pension funds or the value of securities. The work of a financial analyst supports others in the financial field, such as stock brokers, who use the information to determine when to buy and sell securities and to highlight the benefits of particular securities when selling them to individual investors.
Financial advisors must evaluate how companies and industries are performing financially so that investment firms and other businesses can make sound decisions in their investments. Daily tasks will include gathering data for financial reports, analyzing social and economic information, analyzing market conditions, examining detailed financial records, creating diagrams and charts to present statistical data and making presentations on their findings.
These professionals will advise companies on tax laws and insurance as they relate to investments, suggesting the best financial alternatives available. They may also work as financial planners for individuals, developing short term and long term investment strategies. In this role, financial advisors must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to consult with clients in securing the data needed to analyze the financial situation and prepare a plan the will help the client meet financial objectives.
Loan Officers perform the same duties as a mortgage broker, but they work for a lender, rather than as a third party brokering a deal. The loan officer will assess the borrower’s needs, and then match them with the best loan that the lender has to offer for that situation. This professional orders property appraisals and runs a credit check, gathering all data for the loan underwriter will need to decide if a loan will be granted.
Although collections is not the first choice of career for many entering finance, it can be a rewarding, reliable and stable job. These individuals track past due accounts and work towards collecting payment. Strong interpersonal skills are a great asset in this field, helping to secure more unpaid debt than those who are unable to connect with borrowers on a personal level. In many cases, collectors will work with those in other financial departments to find ways to mitigate losses and get accounts current.
Finance offers many other careers, such as budget analyst, bank teller, treasurer and a wide range of careers in investing, banking, insurance and lender. This broad field will offer more stability to those who enjoy number crunching, but even those who are more sales minded can survive difficult times be adapting to change and maintaining strong interpersonal skills.