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The Undergraduate Student Guide to The Finance Career Path

by | Mar 24, 2021 | Accounting

Are you working towards your financial-related degree? Do you know what you need to find an entry-level finance career after graduation?

Basics of a Finance Career

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A finance career is a lucrative career because it is high-paying quickly out of college. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that finance jobs, such as financial analysts have a growth rate of five percent from 2019 to 2029. Therefore, the availability of finance careers should have a great outlook. Although, it is important to finish college with a great resume for finance. 

The perfect undergraduate finance resume will have a quality business school Business Administration Bachelor’s degree in progress, a GPA over 3.5, a well-known company internship, and high-level soft and hard skills.

10 Best Business Schools for Finance by US News

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If you are interested in finance, these universities have the best finance programs according to US News. Add these to your application list!

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • New York University
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • Boston College
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • University of Virginia

The Financial Career Path

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According to Corporate Finance Institue, the finance career path is broken into four career options sections: Institutions, Corporate Finance, Public Accounting, and Banking. Understanding these can help you identify which area you are the most interested in.

Institutions

Institutions work on the “buy-side” of finance. Typically, institutional work is saved for finance veterans because they need knowledge on selling before doing the buying. 

Sections of Institutions: Private Equity, Portfolio Management, and Research.

Corporate Finance

Corporate finance is the organizing of funds for a business’s different activities. They must understand and predict economic trends, review company reports and improve upon them, handle funds, and pick investment portfolios. 

Licenses and Certification for Finance: Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Sections of Corporate Finance: Corporate Development, Investor Relations, Treasury, Business Intelligence, and FP&A.

Public Accounting

Public accountants help corporations and individual people with financial tasks such as executing cost-effective decisions by building financial statements, analyzing financial records, filing income taxes, and providing overall accounting advice. 

Licenses and Certification for Public Accounting: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with them being different per state

Sections of Public Accounting: Valuation, Transaction Advisory, Due Diligence, Consulting

Banking

There are many options for working in banks. To work in a bank, you should be service-oriented, honest, trustworthy, organized, and basic computer skills. These roles are high-paying, safe, and reliable jobs. 

Licenses and Certification for Banking: Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Financial Risk Manager (FRM), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). Chartered Mutual Fund Counsellor (CMFC)10 Best Business Schools for Finance.

Sections of Banking: Commercial Banking, Sales, Trading, Research, and Investment Banking.

11 Companies With Great Financial Internship Programs

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Finance positions can be competitive at times, therefore, those with finance internships will be given a priority since they have prior experience. But what companies have the best finance internship programs to get experience with? 

  • Blackstone Group
  • J.P. Morgan
  • PwC

To learn more about PwC directly from interns, listen to this podcast!

  • Morgan Stanley
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Northwestern Mutual Financial Network 

If interested in being an intern but developing that into a full-time role, listen directly from an employee at Northwestern!

  • UBS Investment Bank
  • Quicken Loans

Skills for a Finance Career

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These skills are great to have in finance, so remember to include them within your resume and cover letter!

Soft Skills

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Marketing 
  • Sales
  • Tenacity
  • Project Management
  • Relationship-Building and interpersonal skills
  • Ethics: The Certified Planner Board of Standards has a Standards of Professional Conduct. You will NEED to have this if you want to a Certified Financial Planners. 
  • Competitive personality
  • Stamina
  • Verbal communication
  • Detail-Oriented

Hard Skills

  • Knowledge on how to create financial reports
  • General Business Breadth 
  • Statistical Analysis Skill
  • Trend analysis
  • Market assessment
  • Financial planning
  • Risk management
  • Microsoft Office, especially Excel

If you are interested in the best finance full-time jobs, read more about them on the Scholars blog and listen directly from finance professionals as guests on The Internship Show.

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Join The Community

Want early access to insights, content, and news about your dream employer? Join our community! We send one email per week so we won't clutter your inbox.

Congrats! You've taken the step to gain early access to information about your dream employers.

The Report Card: January 2021

Download this month's employer branding report to keep your company up to date.

Enjoy the news!

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