The role of finance is central to carrying out the development and growth activities of an economy. We have compiled a list of career options after finance degree to help you understand the industry requirements.
You would need to earn a bachelor’s degree and understand the fundamentals of financial management. It is ideal to have some background in economics, management, mathematics, accounting, and auditing.
You can also work for a few years and then specialize in a particular field. Study programs in finance usually include project work and internships as a part of the curriculum. These avenues can provide a significant head start, presenting several opportunities for learning and networking.
Senior-level finance jobs would require you to combine your professional insight with technical expertise and managerial skills. MBA (Finance) and MS (Finance) are two of the most sought-after courses for aspirants in this domain. Moreover, there are several certifications for those who want to uphold a standard of practice in their professional career. Learn more about MBA in finance and career options.
These include Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification, and others.
With this perspective, let us move on to some distinguished career options after a finance degree and delve into the job specifications, required qualifications, desired skill sets.
Table of Contents
Top Career Options in Finance
1. Public Accounting
Accounting is an extensive field of study and practice, comprising a variety of financial services. Broadly, it is concerned with recording and maintaining the flow of money for a public entity or private company. Public accountants also give suggestions and deliver reports to cut down expenses, boost revenue, and improve financial health.
As an accountant, you can work in-house to help organizations get their finances in order, understand the soundness of their investments, and make projections to achieve long-term goals. Employment opportunities may arise in the commercial or private sector as well as in select accounting firms.
The Big Four firms, namely Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC, collectively offer the largest share of professional services in public accounting. They provide assistance in auditing and attestation, tax consulting, business advisory, internal control, and governance to their corporate and government partners globally.
Graduates in Commerce and Business Administration can consider a CPA qualification to become an internationally licensed accountant. Degrees like Master of Commerce (M.Com.) and MBA (Finance) are also recognized as a testament to candidates’ academic knowledge in the area. When you are going for coveted job positions, higher education can help you differentiate your profile from the competition.
2. Corporate Finance
Corporate finance is a sub-division of finance that provides funds for business activities. It deals with funding sources, investment decisions, and capital restructuring. The critical job functions in this profession include:
- Balancing risk and profitability
- Analyzing and forecasting economic trends
- Reviewing company reports and suggesting improvement measures
- Maximizes value of stock
- Managing funds and selecting investment portfolios
- Performing tasks related to financial risk management
Corporate finance professionals are hired in junior and senior capacities depending on their educational qualifications, acquired skills, and interests. You would be expected to have a knack for numbers and apply the same for managing money, maximizing return on investment, introducing smart solutions for budgeting, etc.
Also, leading corporate advisory firms recruit finance graduates to expedite mergers and acquisitions of businesses. Large organizations prefer to hire MBA talent for mid-senior level positions and above.
3. Investment Banking
Investment banking finds a place among the most prestigious career options in finance. It is also a lucrative path in terms of professional growth and salary package. Investment bankers are responsible for tasks related to financial remodeling. Their work involves working with data and numbers and introducing decisions that improve business operations. These practitioners must have an interest and insightful knowledge of financial markets and economic trends.
Other job profiles can range from trading and stockbroking to asset management to equity research. Stockbrokers are professional traders or registered representatives who buy and sell shares on behalf of their clients. Asset managers determine what investments should be made with the view of growing their clients’ portfolios over time and mitigating risk. Careers in equity research involve ascertaining certain investments’ value to help individuals and institutional investors make investment decisions.
Investment banks generally hire interns and prospective associates from top-tier educational institutions. An MBA (Finance), and sometimes a Law degree, can be beneficial in entering this field. If you are looking to pursue a specific career path such as stockbroking, you can opt for short courses or diplomas in stock analysis or stock market research. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) also offers such formal credentials.
4. Portfolio Management
Portfolio management is a fusion of commerce and science as it requires knowledge of business, mathematics, and analytics. As a portfolio manager, you do not pore over individual investments but look at the overall investment mix of your clients, who may be institutions or individuals.
Also, it would be your job to guide organizational policies on investments and decisions regarding asset allocation. It is crucial in portfolio management that employed professionals work to maximize profits at a negotiated risk. This would require conducting a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis in the domestic and international markets across areas like growth vs. safety, debt vs. security, and so on.
Education in Economics, Business Administration, or Accounting is ideal for these types of careers. It is also recommended to get training in statistics and refine your mathematical skills to pursue portfolio management jobs. Demonstrated experience in financial asset management or working with investment institutions can be work to your advantage. Besides, you would need excellent communication and interpersonal skills to handle requests from clients and customers.
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4. Risk Management
Risk management professionals are competent in identifying market risks and recognizing poor investment outcomes. Their primary duty is to maximize returns and minimize risks strategically. For this purpose, they apply their mathematical prowess and analytical reasoning skills and advise their clients on various business matters. The job roles can be divided into:
- Financial Risk Manager
- Enterprise Risk Manager
- Supply Chain Risk Manager
- Operational Risk Manager
- Digital Risk Manager
Risk management is an in-demand profession in India with companies like SBI Life Insurance, LIC, Bajaj Allianz, and PolicyBazaar recruiting for various positions, including analysts, managers, consultants, and advisors.
If you are seeking work in risk management, you should consider completing an advanced degree like an MBA or PG Diploma in Risk Management. Also, check out the certificate courses offered by the Risk Management Association of India (RMAI).
5. Financial Planning
Individuals and companies require the services of financial planners to secure their current and future financial stability. A career in financial planning would entail reviewing financial statements and cash flows and creating methods for saving and investing in matching the clients’ needs.
You can choose to concentrate in a specific area, viz. wealth management, tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, investment growth, etc. Here are a few places that employ financial planners in India:
- Wealth management and financial services firms
- Knowledge Processing Organizations (KPOs)
- Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs)
- Asset Management Companies (AMCs)
- Finance Journalism
A postgraduate degree such as MBA (Finance), MS (Finance), or MA (Economics) is preferable for obtaining employment as financial planners in established organizations.
6. Commercial Banking
Commercial banks provide a host of services to individuals and businesses. The offerings range from savings and current account facilities to debit and credit cards to personal, home, education, and other loans. Commercial banking also includes analysis of financial statements, competitive positions, and industries.
There are several types of roles, each one requiring different skill sets in the banking sectors. The most popular posts include credit analyst, banking associate, account manager, trust officer, bank teller, mortgage banker, and branch manager.
The primary duty of bank personnel is to maintain relationships with the bank’s existing customers and find new clients to keep the business running. For this, they need to deliver effective and customer-friendly services and remain proactive in improving the bank’s day-to-day functioning.
Commercial banking is considered an attractive career choice for many aspirants due to the decent pay packages and working hours. An undergraduate degree in Business and Commerce can qualify you for an entry-level position like a credit analyst. Many BFSI sector recruiters also hire data science professionals for analyst jobs. You can build your profile with an MBA degree and advance to business development and client-facing roles like account management.
Moreover, financial services are rapidly evolving in the current technology-led world. So, your career choices need to be future-oriented. Let us look at some latest innovations in the Fintech space.
- Payment banks are fostering financial inclusion and digital payments
- Artificial intelligence and cognitive analytics are powering data-driven decisions
- Blockchain implementations are set to transform banking and financial markets
- Robotic process automation or RPA has the potential to address case backlogs
- The need for cybersecurity solutions to eliminate intrusions and attacks has multiplied
With big players like ICICI and Axis Bank exploring opportunities in emerging tech, it would be wise to take up a course that empowers you with the current developments in fintech. Here, an MBA in Digital Finance and Banking could prove useful for you. Fintech has also opened up new jobs in software development. Learn how MBA in digital finance and banking helps your career.
7. Compliance and Internal Control
Compliance services engage managers and administrative officials to ensure that all procedures and activities adhere to applicable laws, ethical practices, and standards. Companies want to avoid any harm to their reputation and finances on account of regulatory non-compliance. Therefore, the job of compliance officers is critical to support effective business performance.
They can be employed in diverse environments as international University offices to look after components like grants, gifts, and contracts. As for financial compliance departments in corporate firms, these professionals protect investors and maintain transparency. Their job functions directly contribute to the reduction of financial fraud and system risk.
Typically, accounting and law graduates opt for a career in financial compliance services. Getting an advanced finance degree like a specialized MBA can improve your chances of landing attractive internships and placements.
Must Read: Top 15 Highest Paying Finance Jobs in India
Before you opt for a postgraduate degree or certifications like CFA or FRM, it would be best to evaluate your options and chalk out a strategic plan to realize your personal and professional objectives. If you feel that you need to work on your analytical and business intelligence skills, accredited programs in Data Science or Business Analytics could work for you.
However, if you intend to qualify for a job promotion or develop your leadership skills, you may go for a Global MBA and select your desired specialization. You can complement your degree or diploma with other relevant credentials and licenses.
With this, we have explained different career options in finance and detailed the ‘hows’ of attaining job-ready skills. Use this information to restructure your plan and move ahead with a willingness to learn and grow!