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6 Popular Careers in Finance

Careers in finance is an important aspect to understand, as deciding to take up education in finance is easy, but deciding which role to choose and, based on that, which degree to pursue is challenging. A program such as the Global Master of Science in Finance (Global MSF) from the Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management at Northwood University will prepare you for jobs higher up the corporate ladder and provide you with global opportunities all around. 

What are the different careers in finance?

A career in finance may sound daunting, but it is undeniable that this industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected 7% growth in this sector from 2021 to 2031. However, simply stating “careers in finance” would be extremely ambiguous, as this field offers numerous career options in every industry. Let us explore some of the important ones. 

  1. Accountant: One of the most popular job options within the finance field would be an accountant. The main role of an accountant is to maintain financial records, organize, analyze, and prepare financial statements. There are often separate job profiles specifically for public or private entities. Public accountants suggest and submit reports to reduce expenses and boost revenue. There are large corporations that help solely focus on public accounting and hire a large number of accountants, while also every other organization also needs an accountant to fulfill their accounting needs. The average salary of a Public accountant is $60,153 per year according to Indeed.com
  2. Financial manager and controller: Financial managers are responsible for maintaining financial records but at the same time they are also responsible for developing long-term financial plans for the organization. On the other hand, the role of a financial controller ensures that the financial health of the company is maintained. Financial managers often focus on analyzing reports and finding ways for profit maximization. They also supervise budgeting and reporting teams. On average, the salary for a Financial manager and controller position is $103,124 per year as mentioned on Indeed.com.
  3. Risk manager: The job of a risk manager is to identify potential market risks and recognize bad investment outcomes. They primarily use quantitative and qualitative analysis to make strategic plans to minimize risks and maximize returns for the organization. There are other jobs that do similar work such as financial risk manager, digital risk manager, etc. According to Indeed.com, $93,108 is the average salary of a risk manager
  4. Private wealth manager/asset manager: Personal wealth managers provide advice on overall personal short-term and long-term financial management. This includes money and investment management, portfolio management, long-term investment plans, asset management, etc. On the other hand, an asset manager’s work is a little more focused and directed toward maximizing overall returns on investments. According to Salary.com, a wealth manager earns around $84,535 per year on average. 
  5. Portfolio manager: Portfolio managers oversee investment portfolios for organizations or retail clients. They primarily focus on investment strategies, specific investment decisions, and executing those strategies for the clients. Portfolio managers often specialize in specific types of assets such as equities, stocks, fixed income, etc., while some focus on multi-assets strategy. Portfolio managers are hired by portfolio management firms, investment companies, financial institutions, investment banks, commercial banks, and money management firms. The average salary of a portfolio manager is $80,679 per year and can go as high as $143,423 according to Indeed.com
  6. Insurance agent or adviser: Insurance is a very important aspect of our everyday life and made compulsory by many local and national governments. An insurance advisor advises on the amount of insurance if necessary for an individual and how it will help with the tax return, while an agent helps you with the actual process of getting insured. They also acquaint you with the different types of insurance available for you and your family. The average salary of an Insurance agent or adviser, according to Indeed.com is $57,671 per year. 

What are the skills required for a career in finance?

Careers in finance are considered one of the more technical careers. They require a number of different skills but there are definitely certain skills that are sought after. These skills include;

  1. Accounting skills: Accounting is a sub-field in finance. But some level of accounting is a requirement in all careers in finance. This helps in preparing and maintaining balance sheets, managing cash flow, and documenting financial documents. 
  2. Data management skills: Financial jobs often include a component of analyzing past investment and spending records and forecasting, data management skills are a must. 
  3. Cashflow management skills: Cash flow management primarily involves keeping track of costs, investments, losses, and profits. Someone working in finance also makes suggestions to regulate cash flow and ensures cash is kept in reserve for necessary expenditures. 
  4. Mathematical skills: Even though most calculations are now done on computers, a person working in finance should be well-versed in mathematics. This helps them understand what formulas to apply and understand the technicalities of any calculation. 

Above mentioned are the core skills for a finance professional but there are many other skills that are necessary for pursuing careers in finance, such as communication skills, analytical thinking, business acumen, problem-solving skills, etc.   

What are the benefits of careers in finance?

A career in finance offers different kinds of benefits. Some of them are;

  1. Substantial remuneration: As you saw above, even an entry-level position in finance offers a substantial income. A job in the finance sector also ensures stability and regular income with growth prospects. 
  2. Job security: No company, private or government, can avoid dealing with finances. A person who has pursued finance can apply for a job in any industry, giving you plenty of opportunities for jobs to opt for and ensuring financial protection. 
  3. Diversity: There are different types of jobs that one can apply for within the field of finance. Giving a person opportunities to explore and still stay in the same field. It is important to note that different jobs can be pursued by doing a general finance degree such as an MS in Finance. 
  4. Balanced life: Some careers in finance gives you opportunities to work from anywhere in the world. Calculations and forecasting can be done by sitting anywhere with a computer and necessary records. Giving you time for your family and other priorities. 

What are the qualifications required?

Careers in finance require quite straightforward qualifications, generally in the domain of finance. Let us take a look at the basic requirements. 

  1. Bachelor’s degree: Even for entry-level positions, the basic requirement is a bachelor’s degree in finance or economics. This helps you cover the basics of finance and introduces you to the world of finance. 
  2. Master’s degree: To ensure climbing up the corporate ladder in finance through the course of your career, a master’s degree is required. It prepares you with the necessary expertise and experience to work even at the executive level. Various master’s degree programs have different features that can be applied in various ways in your career. Some of them are 
    • Master of Science in Finance (MS in Finance) from the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB): This program focuses on fundamentals of finance as well as financial management. It provides you will tools for risk management, financial engineering, banking, corporate finance, real estate, and portfolio analysis and management. Additionally, the GWSB MSF program qualifies as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) designated program for Optional Practical Training (OPT) purposes, which offers the potential for international students to work in the US for a total of 3 years before transitioning to a work visa (H1-B, etc.)
    • Master of Science in Applied Finance (MSAF) at the GW School of Business (GWSB): This program provides an in-depth curriculum will help you extend your comprehension of the subject and build your professional understanding to put you on the right track. It provides you will world-class leadership skills, strategic problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of advanced methods for analyzing financial data in order to work at a global level. The program also qualifies as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) designated program for Optional Practical Training (OPT) purposes. That offers international students an opportunity to work in the US for 3 years before transitioning to a work visa. 
    • Global Master of Science in Finance (Global MS in Finance) from the Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management at Northwood University: The Global MS in Finance is engineered around the most advanced financial theories, quantitative models, and industry practices. It will prepare you to meet requirements across a broad range of modern career opportunities in finance. Also, participants seeking the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) professional designation, will benefit from the Global MSF program curriculum with concepts that may assist with preparing for the exam. This program offers international participants a chance for OPT (Optional Practical Training) program upon the completion of their MSF degree.
  3. Professional certification: If you are someone seeking specific jobs also opt for certification such as CFA charter or CPIM certification. This is purely optional for a career in finance. 

If you are someone who is thinking of pursuing a career in finance, remember to understand the different roles and pick the right degree, to ensure success. 

FAQs

The highest-paying job in finance would be the position of a CFO. CFO stands for chief financial officer which is an executive-level position. The average salary of a CFO per year is $420,300 as of November 23, 2022, according to Salary.com. A good educational degree such as the Master of Science in Applied Finance (MSAF) program at the George Washington School of Business (GWSB) helps you prepare for a position like CFO.

Choosing a career in finance should be based on your interest and affinity. Different jobs require different strengths, analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the roles and responsibilities in different jobs would help in choosing the right career for you.

Jobs in finance can be broadly divided into 4 types. These are banking and related services, investment management, corporate finance, and insurance services.

It is forecasted that there would about 980,200 openings in finance and accounting each year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Considering this a degree in finance is quite sought after by everyone trying to pursue a career in finance.

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