The field of Finance is vast and ever expanding. Its applications are extensively dynamic and range from banking to investment to real estate. They say finance has some of the sharpest minds (and the biggest bucks too!). Even after recessions and setbacks, it has always returned with a bang. Now some of the biggest companies are on the lookout for new employees and there are a number of career choices in this line of work. So if you have an interest in this amazing subject and want to establish your career in it, then you’re definitely on the right track. But before you start applying, you need to explore the different alternatives that are available and be familiar with what work each role will demand. Here are the top career options in finance:
1. Commercial banking:
A career in banking is a very vast and lucrative. Commercial banking includes sub sectors like retail banking for individual consumers and corporate banking for businesses. In a nutshell, these banks take deposits from some customers and use the funds to provide credit to other customers. The bank basically earns from difference in the interest rates for borrowers and depositors.
In a commercial bank setup there are a variety of possible posts you can apply for. These include tellers, sales executives, loans and mortgage officers, trust officers, credit analysts and branch managers. Apart from these, there are also opportunities in securities, cash management, card operations and more. The job mainly comprises of maintaining client relations, completing transactions, preparing financial reviews, credit management, negotiating loan agreements, etc.
You will need a minimum bachelor’s degree to apply to a bank along with the specific skill sets for the post. Skill sets are business understanding, good math ability and detail oriented outlook for the work to process smoothly. Along with these, you also need to have good people skills to maintain best relations with customers. The expected salary at entry level would start from $40,000. If you have an MBA you can expect a little more; starting around $70,000.
Data Source: Careers in Finance
2. Corporate finance
Corporate finance is a much sought after discipline in the finance field. The main objective of this area of finance is to optimize the value of the company in capital markets and facilitate growth and progress. This is mainly achieved through increasing shareholder value by efficiently allocating financial resources, managing funds and short-term borrowing and lending.
The significant tasks for an associate will include accounting and finance. This consists of financial decision making, maintaining compliance to financial laws, drafting business plans, proposals and tenders, managing treasury and cash reserves. It will also involve capital budgeting, investment analysis, financial accounting and management.
Graduates who are good with numbers i.e. quantitative analysis as well as problem solving can apply for corporate finance positions. You must be updated with corporate trends in finance and be able to understand business strategies. Candidates must also have the ability to work in a dynamic environment, pay attention to detail and adapt easily to change. The salary should be above $50,000 for a small firm at entry level associates and goes up according to the position, size of firm and work experience.
Data Source: Careers in Finance
3. Investment banking
One of the most popular choice among finance graduates, investment banking remains a very alluring field. The primary goal of investment banking companies is to raise capital by provide financial services, underwriting and issuing as well as purchasing securities, in particular. They provide services for mergers and acquisitions, trading derivatives and securities, privatizations, managing assets and also offer professional advice to firms for investment services.
The buy and sell sides are both handled by investment bankers along with helping a company to reform its debt and equity, if needed. Day to day tasks will focus on researching markets and gathering information, develop financial solutions, provide investment advice and create legal documents. You will have to assess deals and risks involved, simulate outcomes using financial models and work closely with financial experts, accountants and lawyers.
For investment banking, you need to be good at both analysis as well as research. Understanding of business models and financial statements is a must. If you wish to get into trading, you will require the technical skills more, but if your aim is for analytics you will need to have a strong mathematical ability. Communication and people skills also assist in maintaining and improving relations with clients. A bachelor’s degree in economics, business studies, math or finance will be great for this field. Salary expected to start from $70,000 at entry level for analysts and would be a little more at associate level for MBAs.
Data Source: Careers in Finance
4. Private Equity
This is one of the most interesting and challenging fields to build your career in. Some of the brightest and talented individuals work at elite private equity firms. It involves investing and acquiring equity securities from companies and their re-investment. The difference here is that these are equities that may not be listed in public stock exchange and hence are dealt with privately. There is a huge amount of capital raised and handled here which is then used in investment strategies like venture capital, growth capital, leveraged buyouts, etc.
Analytical skills are essential for this field; you should be able to analyze and interpret complex data. Tasks will be financial modeling, analysis, market research, sourcing and closing new deals, monitoring management accounts and more. There will be a huge amount of responsibility involved; hence you should be able to work efficiently under pressure.
You need to possess decision-making skills, quantitative analytical ability, financial acumen and leadership skills. Private equity firms (both big and small) will recruit Investment Banking Analysts, management consultants, and MBAs. It is difficult to get in at undergraduate level straight out of college, but a degree from a reputed business school along with a finance internship in PE may help you make the cut. Salaries start from an average of $100,000 for first year analysts/associates and will go up with experience.
Data Source: Job Search Digest
5. Financial planner/ financial advisor
This job title is self-explanative. A competent financial planner advises and creates financial plans for his clients. There is a considerable amount of scope for these professionals in investment, retirement, tax planning and other fields. It is a very interesting as well as satisfying career as it involves assisting individuals in their financial security and growth.
Primary responsibilities are analysis and research, monitoring trends in the market; ascertain clients objectives, expenses, taxes, insurance coverage; future forecasts of revenue, expenditures and other areas; investment planning, opening account for the clients, sale of financial products keeping client updated with financial legislation and services; and lastly coordinating with lawyers, accountants and trust officers to accomplish the financial goals.
Certain crucial skills are necessary for the role of financial advisor. You must have thorough knowledge of investment areas, real estate planning, insurance products and coverage and retirement planning. A bachelor’s degree in finance discipline will be required and there is a certification available by Certified Financial PlannerBoard of Standards. A master’s degree will be an added bonus to establish your career in this field. Good math skills, accounting ability and excellent communication skills are other essential requirements. Annual pay for a financial planner will be around $50,000 but it will vary considerably according to the field and the experience.
Data Source: United States Department of Labor
There are a multitude of opportunities in the world of finance each with a host of benefits and advantages which make the future of the finance industry shine bright. Apart from the ones listed here, there are openings in real estate, taxes, retirement planning and insurance, too. But a word of caution, the finance industry can be highly competitive, so be prepared to put your best foot forward.