Career Opportunities for Finance Majors

Being a finance major presents you with plenty of interesting opportunities to learn about business models and financial markets while also building new skills. But with so many opportunities, you may be wondering what kind of job you can get with a finance degree. With finance being such a broad category, there are many career paths you can choose.

Here are some of the most common career opportunities for finance majors:

Investment Banking

Investment banking is often regarded as one of the more prestigious jobs you can get with a finance degree, especially from a compensation standpoint. In this role, you’ll be working on financial modeling and valuation analysis, helping companies decide on business opportunities that are right for them. These decisions can range from whether a company should merge with one company, acquire another or raise additional funding for a strategic initiative. This is a great role for someone who is interested in helping companies make strategic decisions about their assets and someone who is comfortable working long hours. This is because investment banking analyst hours are known to be quite grueling, especially for entry-level roles.

Management Consulting

Management consulting is also highly regarded as one of the more prestigious careers to embark on after pursuing a finance degree. Management consultants usually have project-based work where they analyze certain situations their clients are facing and advise those clients on what business decisions they should make. Most of this advice comes from extensive financial analysis based on the client’s current situation, similar situations previous clients have faced and current market opportunities. This is a great career path for someone who is interested in making recommendations on business decisions but not necessarily being a part of the implementation of those decisions.

Investment Management

Investment management analysts often deal with the markets and managing their client’s assets. These opportunities could range from managing the assets of wealthy individuals (through private wealth management) to managing a company’s retirement plans, pension plans or even foundation plans (which is known as asset management). Analysts in these roles often act as the support role for more senior advisors, where their tasks could be researching different investment decisions, preparing pitch decks or formalizing performance reviews. This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who is very numbers-drive and passionate about helping clients reach their financial goals.

Corporate Finance

Corporate finance roles vary widely depending on the company and division you’re in. Frequently, corporate finance jobs deal with analyzing financial decisions that affect the company internally. For example, offering advice on whether the number of employees in a company should be increased or decreased, strategizing how to decrease a company’s operational costs or determining the return on investment (ROI) of certain proposed initiatives. This is a great role for someone interested in helping with the inner working of a company and contributing to the decision-making process.

Risk Management

When firms think about maximizing return (or increasing investment), they must do so while minimizing risk (or loss). This is where risk management teams come into play. They offer advice on maximizing returns by forecasting market risks, assessing probability of bad investment outcomes and using statistical analysis to ensure that the business side of the company is acting and implementing their strategy within reason. This role is a perfect fit for someone interested in statistics and analysis.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Finance Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work.

How to Become a Financial Analyst

The financial services industry is a broad field with lots of career opportunities. If you’re a business or finance major, or just interested in exploring this field, you might be thinking about becoming a financial analyst. What is a financial analyst? It’s someone who carries out financial analyses and makes business recommendations based on these analyses. Although analysts typically work for banks or insurance companies, this role can be found in almost every industry so it’s a great way of combining a numbers-driven skill set with some of your other passions.

Here are the steps you need to take to become a financial analyst.

1. Know the different types of financial analyst positions

Your day-to-day activities as an analyst will vary greatly depending on what industry you choose to work in. For example, analysts working in investment banking will largely be reviewing financial statements and creating financial models while analysts working for an insurance company might be more focused on creating and analyzing budgets. By knowing what industry you want to work in, you’ll be able to get a better sense of what the position will look like and the unique challenges and benefits associated with that particular kind of role.

Pro Tip: Even within a particular industry, there are different kinds of analyst roles. For example, if you’re working as an analyst in investment banking, you could be working for a buy-side firm (where you’ll be doing research on stocks owned by the company) or for a sell-side firm (where you’ll be evaluating securities for a particular industry). In order to find a role that fits you, it’s important to know not only the specifics of the industry but also those of the firm you’ll be working for so be sure to do some extra research on any company you’re applying to.

2. Take relevant classes and read as much as you can about the financial services industry

Building your knowledge of the financial services industry is not necessarily difficult, but it will take some time. If you’re a business, finance or accounting major, you’re likely already taking classes that will be directly relevant to this industry but it’s important to supplement this knowledge with additional reading on sites like DealBook and Investopedia. This is especially important if you’re not currently majoring in a related discipline since it will give you a good overview of the industry and help you decide whether it’s something you want to pursue.

Pro Tip: If you’re not a business or finance major, don’t worry. You can still build up your knowledge base by taking some accounting or economics classes to supplement your education. This is a great way of learning more about the field while still primarily focusing on classes related to your major.

3. Develop your skills by taking on an internship

Doing an internship is important for several reasons such as building relevant skills and gaining professional experience. It’s also a great way to learn more about a particular industry and to get a sense of whether you want to continue working in that industry after graduation. Since analyst roles vary depending on the field you choose to work in, having hands-on experience of a particular role will go a long way towards helping you pick an industry that’s right for you.

4. Build your professional network

Having a strong professional network is important in any field but it’s especially important in the financial services industry which relies heavily on networking throughout the recruitment process. To build a solid network that will serve you well throughout your career, it’s important to attend networking events, stay in touch with managers from your internships and to develop strong bonds with peers in your intern class.

Pro Tip: Another great way to build your professional network is by reaching out to alumni working in your field and setting up an informational interview. Most alumni are very happy to set time aside to have these meetings with students and recent grads from their schools and as an added bonus, you’re likely to find out about additional job opportunities.

Being a financial analyst can be as wonderful as it is challenging, giving you the opportunity to learn a lot very quickly and to gain a big-picture understanding of how businesses function. The best way to find out if being an analyst is right for you is by doing an internship and testing out the role first hand. And if you want to build some skills and confidence before applying for that internship, we recommend diving right in by looking at the quarterly earnings of several public companies and seeing how they’re performing. Even better? If you’re able to do so, we recommend putting aside a small amount of money and investing in some stocks. This will help you get your feet wet in the world of finance and it will also help you talk about investing like a pro.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as If You Could Invest in One Stock, Which Stock Would it Be?

Investment Banking vs. Management Consulting: How to Decide

For ambitious college students who are interested in a challenging and exciting career, the choice often comes down to two industries: investment banking and management consulting. Why these industries? Beyond their high earning potential and their reputation as intriguing fields, the two share a number of traits such as the fact that they offer excellent exposure to different business models and a chance to learn about what makes companies profitable.

Here are some things to consider if you’re deciding between these two fields.

How do the investment banking and management consulting career paths compare?

Investment banking generally begins with a summer internship followed by a two-year entry-level role as a financial analyst. For those who stay in banking, this is typically followed by another two to three years as an associate before moving up the ladder to VP and managing director. Similarly, most consultants start out in a business analyst role for their first two to three years before moving on to an associate or senior consultant role.

Although the career tracks for banking and consulting follow a similar path, it’s important to note that investment bankers are much more likely to do an internship before applying for an entry-level role. This is because banks do the bulk of their recruiting during internships. Consulting firms, on the other hand, don’t put quite as much emphasis on internships, though an internship is definitely recommended for anyone interested in pursuing a consulting career.

What are the different skills you need in each industry?

The skills needed for these industries are also quite similar though there are some notable differences. For example, although both industries rely on analytical, numbers-driven approaches to problem-solving, investment banking focuses on the financial side of business and therefore requires strong Excel skills and a solid understanding of financial modeling. Consulting, on the other hand, focuses on the operational aspects of business and requires strong PowerPoint skills as well as the ability to communicate effectively.

Pro Tip: Because of the huge overlap in skillsets, we recommend focusing less on your specific skills and more on your interests. For example, if you’re interested in the financial aspects of business, then banking is probably the industry for you. On the other hand, if you’re interested in the operational side of business, then consulting is most likely a better fit.

What does work-life balance look like in these industries?

If there’s one thing consulting and banking have in common, it’s their reputation for long hours. In fact, both industries are known for having some of the hardest-working people around. So what do those hours really look like and which industry offers more of a work-life balance? It depends. Although investment banking is generally considered to have longer hours (with 75+ hour weeks being common), it typically involves very little travel. Consulting, on the other hand, generally has more reasonable hours (typically around 60 hours a week) but can involve as much as four days of weekly travel. When deciding between these industries, it’s important to determine your comfort level with traveling and also your willingness to trade shorter hours for less time at home.

How do investment banking salaries compare to consulting salaries?

Investment banking and consulting are both lucrative fields, but when it comes to earning potential (at least in the first decade), banking comes out on top. This is because entry-level salaries for management consultants typically start at $63,000 (including bonuses), whereas entry-level roles for bankers typically start at $100,000-$125,000 (including bonuses). Although significant salary increases are standard in both fields with each year of additional experience, it’s not until consultants and bankers reach partner/managing director levels that their salaries start to even out at the $500,000 and above mark.

With exciting opportunities for learning and advancement, investment banking and management consulting are both great career paths. The only way to know which one is right for you is by taking on an internship and experiencing these fields firsthand.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Write a Resume That Stands Out and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About Yourself.

Why Investment Banking is a Great Field for Recent Graduates

Investment banking is a popular field for recent graduates, particularly among business and finance majors. Although it’s definitely a competitive field, a lot of its appeal comes from the fact that it’s also a field with a lot of opportunities and a high earning potential. If you’ve already gotten a general idea of what investment banking is and how you can become an investment banker, then you’re probably interested in what you can get out of it and how this can shape your career path in the long term.

Here are some of the reasons why investment banking is a great field for recent graduates.

You’ll learn a lot very quickly

Due to its fast-paced nature, investment banking offers a lot of opportunities for learning and skill building, particularly in the areas of business and finance. From the moment you start your first entry-level job (or internship) you’ll be exposed to a lot of information about financial trends and markets, as well as information about what makes businesses sustainable. Beyond that, you’ll also be able to learn soft skills like communication, self-confidence and the ability to handle critical feedback. These are skills that can take years to develop in other professional industries and learning them quickly means that you’re likely to advance much faster in your career as a result of having these experiences.

Your earning potential will be among the highest of any recent graduate

If you’ve done your research on investment banking, then you know that it’s a field with a very high earning potential. In fact, as an entry-level financial analyst, you’ll start off earning anywhere from $100,000-$125,000 (including bonuses) in your first year. After two years in a financial analyst role, your earning potential will go up to $150,000 to $250,000 and will increase significantly with each year of additional experience. By the time you become a vice president or managing director, you’ll be earning upwards of $650,000.

You’ll develop transferrable skills that you can use in any profession

Although many investment bankers choose to stay in the industry and progress through the career track from financial analyst to managing director, other bankers decide to move into related areas of finance like private hedge funds or they choose to leave finance entirely to run or advise startups. Regardless of what you decide to do later on in your career, the skills and business savvy you develop as an investment banker will help you transition into almost any other professional industry. This is great news for entrepreneurs who are interested in running their own businesses but want to build up their knowledge and skill set first.

You’ll develop a strong professional network

Having a strong professional network is incredibly important as you move through your career, and being able to build that network early on will serve you well for years to come. As an added bonus, because investment bankers often move into other fields as they advance in their careers, you’re likely to come across former colleagues no matter where you end up.

Starting an investment banking career as a recent graduate is a great way to develop general business knowledge and skills that can transfer to any other professional industry. So whether you’re a business major or a history major, there’s likely to be an entry-level opportunity that’s right for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Strengths?

How to Dress for a Job Interview at a Bank

Whether you’re interviewing for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job in banking, there are a few things you need to know about the dress code that will help you put your best foot forward.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when deciding what to wear.

1. Know what’s appropriate in the industry.

Many bank positions require you to interact with clients all day long, so you’ll want to make sure you maintain a professional look at all times. In general, the banking industry is known for its upscale, clean look. In the past, a three-piece suit was required. Nowadays, things are a bit more relaxed, so you’ll want to wear something that falls within the realm of business casual.

2. Pick a conservative outfit that fits your style.

Men should wear a dress shirt, slacks, dress shoes and properly matching accessories, such as a tie and belt. If you do decide to wear a suit or blazer, make sure that you choose one with dark, muted colors.

Women should stick with a suit — slacks or a skirt on bottom, a blouse and a blazer on top. A classic black dress will also work, and can, depending on the style, be paired with a colorful blazer. If you’re going to go the dress route, avoid anything without sleeves. Go light on jewelry since subtle details are best for interviews.

As far as colors go, neutrals are best. You can add a pop of color with accessories such as jewelry for women or a vivid tie for men. If you’re traveling far for your job interview, go with lightweight, breathable fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily.

3. When in doubt, ask questions.

Potential employers want you to excel in the interview, so asking the right questions is a great way to set yourself up for success. Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager (or the recruiter who set up your interview) what would be most appropriate to wear for your interview. This simple question will ensure that you start off on the right foot.

Pro Tip: Don’t skimp out when it comes to footwear. Believe it or not, people really notice them. Good-looking, polished shoes convey attention to detail, so be sure to wear your best pair.

By picking an outfit that’s appropriate for the interview and fits your style, you’ll be sure to impress the interviewer while being comfortable and confident.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get an Entry-Level Job with No Experience and find answers to common interview questions such as How do I get an Internship?

Types of Internships for Accounting Majors

While accounting might seem like a straightforward major, there are many different types of accounting you can focus on. Below are four of the most common types of accounting internships, what each one entails and specific skills you might need for that particular internship.

Corporate accounting intern

Corporate interns work within a larger organization to assist on a variety of financial tasks. In your role, you could be performing profit analysis, working on costing and pricing, preparing budget and forecasting documents, creating cash applications and collections, and preparing tax information, certificates and filings.

Tax accounting intern

Like other accounting interns who deal with taxes, tax interns spend a lot of time on a client’s tax preparation and filings. One thing that sets tax interns apart from other accounting-based interns is that they work very independently. Because they spend a lot of time working alone, tax interns must be self-motivated and detail-oriented so that they feel confident when presenting their work to supervisors.

Audit accounting intern

Audit interns work with a team to help with the planning, implementation and reporting of audits. Because these interns work with others within the auditing team and within an organization at large, it’s especially important to have strong interpersonal and connection skills.

Financial accounting intern

Financial accounting interns may be assigned to do a variety of tasks depending on the size and scope of the company they work for. Responsibilities could be helping with creating and fact-checking an organization’s financial statements, working on tax documentation or auditing a company’s various departments and their budgets.

Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship, getting exposure to as many areas of the accounting field as possible is a great way to set yourself up for success after graduation.

Next, learn more about this college major such as Journalism and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Should I Intern as a Senior?

What Types of Skills Are Best for a Math Major?

If the idea of working on problem sets, finding solutions and solving real-world problems appeals to you, becoming a math major might be right up your alley. But what are the key skills you’ll need to rock the math major and feel confident in your career prospects?

Here are four skills that all of the most successful math majors possess.

Strong quantitative skills

Fact: You can be a math major unless your number-crunching, quantitative and logic skills are extremely strong. Majoring in math is not for those who did “okay” in math classes in high school; you need to be confident in your abilities to solve problems.

Organizational skills

Math majors take a lot of notes in classes, so you’re going to have to think of an efficient system for note-taking on many different subjects and also organizing the notes you take. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get lost if you can’t keep track of the notes you’ve written or the problem sets you’ve finished; successful math majors are able to keep all of their documents straight.


It may seem like a strange skill for a math major, but think about it: You’re spending hours upon hours every day working on difficult problem sets, and it’s easy to get frustrated and give up.

However, math majors need to be able to stay calm and ask for help when they need it, and the most successful people in this major are those who are able to remain calm when a problem doesn’t make sense, try out different strategies to find a solution and turn to others if the answer isn’t obvious.

Problem-solving skills

Right up there with patience is the importance of having a problem-solving mind, one that desires to find the solution to any problem and will work tirelessly to find it.

The great thing about majoring in math is that your calculations and equations can solve big real-world problems, but you have to be curious, ready and willing to take on new challenges, many of which won’t have obvious solutions right off the bat.

Next, learn more about this college major such as Finance and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for in a Company