Career Options in Finance

Have you ever wondered if a career in finance is fitting for you? There are so many fields to choose from within the financial sector. Perhaps you’re already majoring in finance and wondering about your options. 

Choosing a suitable career is a big decision and finance offers more possibilities than most fields.

The sooner you can narrow down your field, the more successful you’re likely to be. Preparing for a career in investment banking will require a different plan than one for a career in financial planning. If you’re interested in portfolio management, taking a corporate job is likely to be a mistake.

It’s not always easy to change fields in the world of finance, so it will be worth your time and effort to thoroughly research the areas that interest you before you make a decision.

Deciding if finance is the right field for you:

  1. The requirements and qualifications can vary widely. Professional designations are required for some positions. These designations can include Chartered Financial Analysts, Certified Financial Planner, and even licenses issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. MBAs and PhDs are quite common. 
    • Investigate the requirements for your chosen field. Some of the requirements can require significant time and expense to attain.
  2. Investment banking is lucrative and competitive. Many different types of organizations offer investment banking services. Some specialize in investment banking, but most large banks also have an investment banking division.
    • There are many fields within investment banking, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity, underwriting, and venture capital.
    • The hours are very long, but the compensation can be spectacular. However, the competition for these jobs is incredible.
    • MBAs from prestigious business schools dominate this area of finance. You can be successful with lesser educational credentials, but it will be even more challenging.
  3. Trading jobs typically consist of buying and selling stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. These positions are commonly found in commercial and investment banks, brokerage firms, mutual funds, and hedge funds. Even though those in trading positions are very well paid, the job itself can be quite stressful. 
    • The regulatory requirements for holding these jobs are constantly changing. Most traders typically buy or sell, but not both. Excellent math skills and quick thinking are required.
    • You could come across some traders who are doing it without a college degree. But many traders also have an MBA or a Ph.D., especially in the more sophisticated fields.
  4. Analyst positions are among the most common. ‘Analyst’ is a very general term without an accepted definition. Typically, financial analysts research investments and provide opinions about their quality to customers.
    • A college degree is usually required, and this position is commonly held by those just out of college.
  5. Corporate jobs are also common. Any large corporation also employs finance employees. In this setting, the main role is determining and maintaining a profitable financial structure for the corporation. This includes the amount and the structure of the company’s debt.
    • Knowledge of accounting and being a master of spreadsheets is helpful
  6. There are numerous other options. Financial advising, portfolio management, and financial media positions are a few of the other options in this field. Finance is one of the largest employment fields with a huge amount of variety. 
    • If you have the correct educational background for the role you prefer, you can almost certainly find a position that appeals to you.
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There are numerous jobs available in finance depending on your interests, experience, and education. As with any other field, the best-paying positions tend to have the longest workday and the most competition. For example, it’s not uncommon for a beginning investment banker to work 80+ hours a week, every week, for the first couple of years.

Consider your options carefully, pick a position that allows you to get your foot in the door, and find your success in the finance industry.

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