Finance and Financial Management Services

Overview of Finance as a College Major

While many students with business, accounting or economics degrees enter the world of finance, the finance program equips you with the most specific and in-depth financial knowledge needed to pursue a financial career.

Finance programs typically fall under business at most colleges and universities and, therefore,  you likely will be required to take many general business courses such as statistics, economics, business law and human resources. In addition you will need finance-specific courses that provide knowledge of financial concepts, theories, terminology, practices and principles.

Finance Curriculum

Colleges and universities differ when it comes what finance courses they offer or require students to take. However, there are general similarities in the subject matter and include topics such as:

  • Corporate finance
  • Financial analysis and modeling
  • Ethics
  • Statistics
  • Insurance
  • Financial decision making
  • Banking
  • Financial and estate planning
  • Cash management
  • Real estate

Education Levels Available for a Finance Degree

The minimum level of education in the field of finance is a Bachelor's degree. However, if you’re goal is to move into financial management, you’re better off with a Master’s degree; specifically, an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Consider choosing the MBA with a concentration in finance (the most popular) or a Master of Finance degree.

Doctorate degree programs focus on gaining a greater understanding of leadership, financial methods and concepts, high level decision-making, and finance in today’s business environment. In addition, there are a variety of certification programs you might consider, including the CFA (Certified Financial Analyst).

And if you are considering entering the securities industry, keep in mind that you will likely need to obtain licensure from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Skills Developed through a Finance Degree Program

The study of finance isn’t all about book and classroom learning, however. There are a great many skills that you will develop as you pursue a degree program in finance:

  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Spreadsheet and database development
  • Development of financial and management reporting tools
  • Mathematical aptitude
  • Research methods and statistical analysis
  • Understanding fund acquisition and allocation
  • Forecasting and analysis
  • Strategies for creating shareholder value
Where to Obtain a Finance Degree

Very often finance and insurance are considered a combined industry because they both focus on financial transactions. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 3 out of 10 financial managers work in the finance and insurance industries.

The expectation is that there will be “keen” competition and average growth (about 8 percent) for financial managers. On the other hand, the growth rate for financial analysts is expected to be faster than average (20 percent).

While your choice may be to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar college or university, you might also want to consider getting your finance degree through one of the many online college opportunities.

Career Opportunities for Finance Majors

Very often students confuse accounting and finance programs, believing they are the same or similar. However, while accounting focuses on keeping records finance focuses on analysis of those records. Therefore, as you consider what program of study you would like to pursue, keep in mind that there are differing career opportunities.

In the case of finance majors, a few of the opportunities you have to choose from include analyst (financial, budget, credit, and investment, to name a few), commercial or investment banker, cash manager or a bank manager. Careers such as these are available in real estate, insurance, banking, corporate offices, brokerage firms or even the government.

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