Financial Careers Opportunities
A career in finance isn’t all about money, though it’s close. For the business graduate, earning a degree is just the beginning. What’s left is to take a closer look at available career options and then to measure which industry sectors have the greatest need for new professionals.
The financial services industry is multifaceted, offering a variety of positions that cater to a number of different skills and interests. The industry has multiple sub-industries that encompass niche opportunities. Key to individual success in the field is research. Researching possibilities will help you locate and land the financial job that has the greatest compatibility with your skills and interests. The same is true for professionals seeking a change in scenery who want to give a new sector a shot.
Below are some common career paths in the financial services industry.
Corporate Finance Occupations
Corporate finance jobs involve working for a company in the capacity of finding and managing the capital necessary to run the enterprise. This is done while maximizing corporate value and reducing financial risk.
The functions you may implement while in such a position include:
- Setting up a company’s overall financial strategy
- Forecasting profits and losses
- Negotiating lines of credit
- Preparing financial statements
- Coordinating with outside auditors
More sophisticated corporate finance jobs might involve mergers and acquisitions activity, such as calculating the value of an acquisition target or determining the value of a division for a spinoff. Corporate finance positions can be found in companies of all sizes, from large international entities to small startups. Additional corporate finance positions include financial analysts, treasurers, and internal auditors.
Commercial Banking Careers
Commercial banks, which include large entities to local institutions, offer a range of financial services, from checking and savings accounts to IRAs and loans. Career options available in this sector include bank tellers, loan officers, operations, marketing, and branch managers.
Talented professionals can advance from a local branch job to a position in corporate headquarters. Such a promotion would expose you to a number of other areas, such as international finance.
Investment Banking Jobs
Some of the most glamorous – and intense – financial careers are jobs in investment banking. Investment banking jobs deal with facilitating the issuance of corporate securities and making these securities available for investors to purchase, all while trading securities and providing financial advice to both corporations and wealthy individual investors.
Typically, investment banking firms have a number of divisions and groups with many different objectives and responsibilities. Working in a traditional investment banking firm would allow you to interact with issuers of securities, mergers and acquisitions professionals, or the trading desk, which trades stocks, bonds and other securities in the secondary market.
Hedge Funds Opportunities
Hedge funds are largely unregulated private investment funds whose managers can buy or sell a wide array of assets and financial products. Because of the mystery that surrounds this type of entity, hedge fund jobs are also considered by many to be somewhat glamorous.
Typical hedge fund jobs include:
- Financial analyst
- Regulatory compliance officer
- Quantitative analyst
- Marketing manager
- Portfolio manager
Private Equity, VC Careers
Private equity professionals help businesses find capital for both expansion and current operations. They also provide financing for a number of corporate business transactions, such as managed buyouts and restructurings.
At times, a private-equity job may involve working as an interim executive at a struggling company, where your success helps determine the fate of the company.
Venture capital professionals (VCs) spend most of their time with startups or small, fast-growth companies. Venture capital firms evaluate the pitches by founders and small-company leaders to determine if the firm will make an investment. Sometimes referred to as “vulture capitalists,” VCs are known to structure deals that favor the investor, not the company receiving funding.
The hope of the VC is that the funded company will someday go public—that is, make their stock available on the public stock market. Venture capital is a tough business wherein the failure rate is high, but the rewards, if they are realized, can be huge.
Financial Planning Positions
Financial planners help individuals develop plans that will ensure their present and future financial stability. Typically, they review a client’s financial goals and generate an appropriate plan for saving and investing that fits the client’s individual needs. The plan may focus on wealth preservation or investment growth and may even include estate and tax planning.
Most financial planners work in either large, nationwide groups or smaller, locally based firms. Some planners charge flat fees, others a percentage of assets under management, receiving commissions on the products they sell (such as mutual funds).
Generally, financial planners with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation are the most in-demand, as they must obtain three years of financial planning experience, pass several exams (including a two-day, 10-hour case-study exam) and meet continuing-education requirements.