What Types of Skills Are Best for a Finance Major?

Studying finance is both challenging and rewarding and when preparing to do so, it’s important to assess your skill set and understand whether the major is a good fit for you. You should also ask yourself these important questions: What types of abilities will I need to possess to be successful if I pursue a finance degree? Are they inherited or acquired? Can I get better at these skills through time?

Here are some of the most common skills you’ll need as a finance major:

Problem-Solving Skills

As a finance major, you’ll constantly be asked to change the status quo of a situation given a set number of variables. Companies often ask, “How do we enhance performance and minimize resources within this period of time?” To answer these questions, you’ll need to assess what can be done differently, spot trends within industries and evaluate potential opportunities.

Quantitative and Statistical Analysis Skills

Finance is driven heavily by numbers. If math and statistics have been areas of strength for you in the past, you’re likely to thrive as a finance major. In order to understand and analyze data, link concepts and derive conclusions based on these findings, you will need a strong mathematical foundation.

Microsoft Excel Skills

Having strong Microsoft Excel skills goes hand in hand with analyzing data. This is because working in finance involves putting together financial models that can be used to test out an investment strategy or financial decision. To build up your Excel skills, you’ll need to spend time learning the various features and functions of the program and then practice creating models, charts and pivot tables.


Creativity is often an underrated skill when it comes to finance. This skill is often thought of as something that’s prominent in the arts, but it’s also a common trait of those who succeed as finance majors. In your classes, you’ll be asked to come up with unique solutions to problems or even implement proven solutions in unique ways. You’ll showcase your creativity through how you report the data you study and how you answer any pushback you might receive on concepts your present.

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate your analysis, findings and conclusions is really important as you head toward a career in finance. This is because in any finance-related position, you will need to effectively talk through complex data to show how various aspects of the business may be impacted. As a finance major, you’ll be put through a series of different projects, both individually and in group presentations, to hone your communication skills and prepare you for a potential career path within the industry.

While there are other traits to being a successful finance major, these are a few that you will need regardless of what specialization or industry you end up pursuing.

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 Top 10 Things You Should Look For In An Internship.