Chapter 1: Getting a Feel for Finance
When you think of a career in finance, visions of Wall Street, complete with a high pressure, high stakes role, and sweating, yelling, red-faced traders could come to mind. And while this certainly could be the job environment for a few who choose to develop a career in the field of finance, it’s not for the vast majority of those working within the financial industry.
There are all sorts of roles and career paths you can explore with a degree in finance. You might decide to work for a major corporation. You could feel that forging your own path with a sole proprietorship might be more fitting for your interests and career goals. You could even use a financial education to get started in a field that has the potential to move into other areas once you’ve got your foot in the door with a finance role. That’s one of the benefits that many people with a degree in finance discover — the freedom to not only just find work but to find the type of work they want in the field of their choosing.
A World of Opportunity
From the government and Fortune 500 companies, to major league sports teams and the “mom and pop” style businesses on Main Street America, the options for work and the need for skilled professionals with an education in finance remains strong in just about any sort of economy. High unemployment or low, blusterous economy or slow, there is often a demand for those who can handle financial matters for a variety of organizations big or small.
According to a Yahoo Finance article entitled 10 college degrees that yield high-paying jobs,
“Not surprisingly, finance is one of the highest-paying college majors. Lippe says college students majoring in finance and who have played a finance role in on-campus organizations will have a leg up over the competition.
“(Students) need to talk numbers. They need to explain, ‘I had X dollars in my budget that I was responsible for, this is what we did with those dollars and this is the impact on that organization,'” Lippe says. “Telling that financial story will make you stand out from someone saying, ‘Hey, I was a member of the finance club, and I was in it for four years.'””
Dating back thousands of years, most any modern civilization has had a need for those who have knowledge of financial subject matter. Whether as accountants, money managers, tax preparers, stock brokers, financial analysts, or bankers, those with acumen for handling and understanding money have found they are often in demand. And the great part about having the ability to handle finances is that even if you end up never working one day within the financial industry per se, you could still recognize any number of benefits from your education within your own personal finances when it comes to things like obtaining a mortgage to buy a home, using credit cards, paying off debt, making investment decisions, planning for retirement, and handling similar aspects of your personal and financial life.
Contemplating the Future
Therefore, if you’re thinking about majoring in finance for college, it’s more than just the financial industry that you should be contemplating as your working world once you graduate. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Getting a finance degree isn’t just something you snap your fingers and magically get. There can be a lot of hard work and tough classes to get through first, so making sure that you’re up for the challenge before undertaking your finance degree work is important to getting on the right track from the start.
Through the coursework involved in obtaining a degree in finance, you could find yourself undertaking a variety of topics and subject matter. Not only might you be taking classes related directly to finance such as accounting, financial management, corporate finance, banking, economics, and international finance, but you may also get classes like statistics, marketing, real estate, negotiations, management, and related coursework that while not necessarily viewed solely as finance coursework, can play an important part of your success once out in the working world. This variety in coursework can help to make you a more well-rounded person when it comes to your education and open even more doors when it comes to the types of roles available to your and the number of industries in which they are opened.
The following guide will hopefully help make your decision regarding whether a finance degree is right for you just a little easier; or if not easier, at least assist you in making a more informed decision as you contemplate your educational and work future.