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Finance Career Overview: Quick Facts

Financial analysis, investment, money management, and more: which finance career is most compatible with your interests?

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What Finance Career Professionals Do

Finance is a diverse field with a wide range of opportunities for those who want to help people—or companies—succeed financially. The umbrella term covers jobs like financial manager, financial analyst, personal financial advisor and financial examiner, as well as many careers in the insurance industry.

Finance specialists stay abreast of economic developments, tracking and predicting changes in the economic climate in order to increase profit. Their solid money skills are the backbone of any successful operation or personal investment plan.

In addition to general skills such as critical thinking and fostering innovation, finance professionals must be decisive, and know how to express their financial insight in ways that others can understand.

Whether you want to become a personal financial advisor, work for a large Wall Street firm or for a small, local company, you'll need many of the same skills to work in finance.

Below are some of the common tasks that finance professionals perform, regardless of where they work:

  • Analyze market trends to increase profit
  • Monitor financial details to comply with legal requirements
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Research and recommend investments
  • Review company reports and suggest new financial efficiencies
  • Study and forecast economic trends

Skills and Aptitude

Financial analysts start with hypotheses about investing money and then test them in the current economic environment. To do this effectively they need great inductive reasoning skills so they can see patterns that others might miss. Their deductive reasoning must also be stellar so that they can draw accurate conclusions based on their previous experience. Drawing on experience is what truly sets apart great financial analysts from merely good ones.

Some other qualities that are helpful for finance professionals are math and accounting, problem-solving, project management, data analysis, and an understanding of financial planning and management.
If you've thought of working in the world of finance, check below to see what other skills you'll need and what personality types tend to succeed.

You are…

  • Tech savvy
  • Enterprising
  • A team player
  • Goal oriented
  • Highly organized

You should have…

  • Strong people skills
  • Attention to details
  • An interest in organizational systems
  • Negotiation skills
  • The ability to focus

If this sounds like you, check out some of the exciting careers for graduates of finance programs:

  • Commercial Credit Analyst
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Equity Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Manager
  • Financial Services Sales Agent
  • Investment Manager
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Securities Analyst
  • Stock Broker

And these are not the only jobs you can get with a finance degree. There are literally hundreds of different job titles, from market researcher to bank manager and comptroller, among others.

Graduates of finance programs work in insurance, real estate and investment, and there are alternative careers too. Some of these alternatives are urban planner, contract administrator, labor relations manager, and more, but these are more common if you get a double major with a concentration in finance. Make sure to customize your studies by choosing elective courses that will prepare you for the finance career that interests you most.