The finance industry is expansive and there are plenty of options to choose from. In fact, there are so many directions you could take it may be hard to narrow down a specific career path. If you’re majoring in finance you might know you like working with numbers and making data-driven decisions, but maybe you’re not sure what career that translates into. Finance majors gain valuable skills throughout their education including budgeting, credit analysis, investing, project management, and problem solving among others. A finance major is very versatile and gives you a strong background for many different positions. We’ve rounded up 10 career path examples that a finance major could choose to follow.
1. Budget Analyst
Budget analysts can work in many different industries including government agencies, private and public institutions, and universities. The primary responsibilities in the role are evaluating the financial impact of different business ventures and communicating their findings to the staff. Therefore this role also involves strong communication skills and would be great for someone who enjoys talking with many people and presenting in front of a group. This position also involves skills in problem solving, creative thinking, and quantitative modeling, so it helps to be proficient in Excel.
2. Fund Administration and Management
There are numerous career paths under the umbrella of fund management and administration that any finance major could follow. One company that encompasses many of these positions is HedgeServ. HedgeServ is an independent fund administrator that handles a variety of services like integrated risk & portfolio management, tax support, regulatory & compliance reporting, and supporting investment strategies. As a finance major you could be qualified for positions like Middle Office Associate, Treasury Associate, Jr. Security Master analyst, or Private Equity Accounting Associate. These positions look for candidates that are strong with excel, have an understanding of the financial markets, and possess soft skills like being a motivated team-player.
3. Financial Writer
A path you might not have considered as a finance major is actually going into a writing career. Usually financial writing positions require a comprehensive knowledge of the finance industry and the terminology. Students who only major in writing, journalism, or communications often do not have a strong enough background in finance to qualify for these positions, so a finance major with strong writing and communication skills could be well-equipped for the job. A great way to try out this role is working on your school newspaper or another campus publication and writing some articles about the finance industry.
4. Investment Banker
A position in investment banking could involve work like facilitating mergers, taking a company public, brokering trades, and underwriting new debt and equities. At entry-level, the role would most likely include duties like organizing deal materials, industry research, and analyzing past performance to help inform an organization’s decisions. Investment bankers often get to be part of some of the most highly-regarded work in the financial industry and get to work with all different types of professional entities from individuals to large corporations. This career path is a good fit for those who have strong analytical skills, a strong work ethic, and can thrive in intense working environments.
5. Commercial Real Estate Agent
A lot of a real estate agent’s job is facilitating the finances of buying and selling property. A commercial real estate agent deals with this on a larger scale, and can evaluate the budget and financial state of a business in order to show them the best property recommendations. This job requires strong skills in negotiation, analysis, research, and interpersonal abilities. Skills in marketing or advertising can also be helpful in this role, as part of the job is creating attractive listings that target the right audience.
6. Accounting Assistant/Junior Accountant
While some jobs will require a degree in accounting in order to be qualified for the position, there are many accounting roles open to anyone with a related field of study like finance. Some common responsibilities in this role could be data entry & analysis, suggesting resource utilization, and creating financial reports like balance sheets and profit and loss statements. This is a great position for someone who is data-driven, extremely organized, and great with numbers. This is also a role where it would be helpful to have some background in the industry before graduation like an internship or campus position.
7. Junior Tax Associate
If you want a career path with a lot of stability, one thing is certain – there will always be jobs in taxes. Common responsibilities for a tax associate include reviewing fiscal systems, researching tax law, and corresponding with tax authorities. State and federal tax law is always evolving and it’s important to stay on top of those changes for this kind of role. This position can be a great jumping off point for a lot of higher level jobs in the future and is a great place to start for someone right out of college.
8. Financial Analyst
Being a financial analyst is a more traditional role for a finance major, so it’s a great option if you loved your finance classes and are passionate about the industry. Especially with this role, it’s important to stay up to date on finance news and market trends, as that’s usually a part of the job’s responsibilities. Some other responsibilities include preparing balance sheets, analyzing budget estimates, and researching technical and cost data. This role is great for someone with strong interpersonal skills because there is usually a lot of communicating between departments involved and consulting on different projects throughout the company.
9. Insurance Underwriter
An insurance underwriter evaluates potential clients for insurance, deciding the risk factor of every applicant. They work behind the scenes alongside insurance agents, who are actually in contact with the customers. This is a strong decision-making role, as the underwriter decides whether the applicant receives insurance or not and at what cost. Usually they use software that compiles available data about an applicant, calculates what their rate should be, and the underwriter makes the decision from there. This is a good fit for someone with strong attention to detail, who is analytics-focused, and computer savvy.
10. Personal Financial Advisor
As a personal financial advisor you would be working with individuals who are seeking help with their budgeting, taxes, and/or investments. Therefore it’s important to have great communication skills in this role, and be able to explain financial matters in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand. Advisors also help individuals plan for the future which can include retirement funds, insurance, or overall long-term financial goals. This position can potentially require additional licensing or certifications like the certified financial planner (CFP) designation, which is common.
All of these careers are well within reach for finance majors and just show how versatile a finance degree can be. Internships can be a great way to give different career paths a test drive while you’re still in school, and can show you what parts of the industry you do or don’t like. The key is to use your finance major in combination with your other strengths, whether it be in writing or sales, to find the best position for you.