How Majoring in Finance Can Set You Up For Success
You’ve played with the idea of majoring in finance but can’t seem to shake the notion that the way finance careers are portrayed in the media and movies is a little far-fetched. You know there’s more to the story and want the behind-the-scenes information on what it really takes to make it big.
There certainly are perks to the profession, but you need a few more pieces to the puzzle before you can see the whole picture. First, how a degree actually helps you, and second, how the industry is doing economically. Save yourself the time spent searching for the missing pieces and let us help you put the puzzle together.
Connecting financial skills with courses
Data from real-time job analysis site Burning-Glass.com shows that employers are seeking individuals with specific financial skills.* First, the bad news: You likely don’t have these skills now. But the good news is that you can gain these skills when you earn your degree. Need proof? Here are the top five skills employers are seeking and the courses that will help you learn them.
- Relevant college courses: Managerial Accounting Theory & Practice; Applications in Corporate Finance
- How they apply: Learning about cost behaviors, economic analysis, time value of money, capital budgeting and more will help prepare you for assessing the financial operation of your future workplace and knowing how to suggest ways to reduce costs and enhance revenues.
2. Financial analysis
- Relevant college courses: Investments & Security Markets; Investment Portfolio Management
- How they apply: You will gain a solid understanding of how to measure and assess the quality of investments and make investment decisions to prepare for sound financial analysis.
3. Financial reporting
- Relevant college courses: Advanced Principles of Financial Management; Statistics for Managers
- How they apply: These courses will help you acquire skills of an effective financial manager equipped with the statistical knowledge to do accurate financial reporting from a managerial position.
- Relevant college courses: Money & Banking; Business Law
- How they apply: You will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of money and financial markets, property laws, estate planning and more, preparing you to know which financial products and investments to sell to a client.
- Relevant college courses: Financial Modeling; Intermediate Financial Management
- How they apply: Study cost models and develop skills in securities analysis and risk management to enable yourself to better predict or forecast market trends.
Career growth & salaries for finance majors
Before jumping into any degree, you need to know if and how the industry is growing, and you need to know if there is opportunity for you to earn a competitive salary. Check out the four finance careers below to decide for yourself if getting a degree is worth it to achieve one of these positions.
Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
Job growth: 9 percent
Median annual wage:** $109,74
Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds and other types of investments.
Job growth: 16 percent
Median annual wage: $76,950
Personal financial advisors give financial advice to people. They help with investments, taxes and insurance decisions.
Job growth: 27 percent
Median annual wage: $67,520
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents connect buyers and sellers in financial markets. They sell securities to individuals, advise companies in search of investors and conduct trades.
Job growth:11 percent
Median annual wage: $71,720
The final piece
As you’ve seen, finance can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative career path. But like most good things, a job in this area won’t just materialize. You need to put in the behind-the-scenes work to make a blockbuster; in order to finish the puzzle, you need to start with all of the pieces.
Getting a degree is often times that over-looked behind-the-scenes work, that first piece often left until the end. But thankfully, it’s never too late. Start putting the pieces together. Build the career you’ve always wondered about and now want more than ever before—begin by earning a degree in finance.
*Source: Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 573, 002 finance-related job postings, July 4, 2013 – July 3, 2014)
**Salary ranges represent national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Ranges do not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.