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How to Break Into the Finance Industry

by Olufisayo

Entering the field of finance has been a common pursuit since the early days of commerce. Over the past few decades, it has evolved with leaps and bounds.

This has attracted even more attention, as it became a career that promised a lucrative wage. Due to the current economic climate and increased competition, it has become difficult to enter the finance industry. Fortunately, it is not impossible. By putting in your time by pursuing a higher education and seeking internships, you can enter the finance industry.

You may also be able to enter this lucrative industry by training in a supporting discipline, such as human resources or IT.


Education Requirements and Internships

According to Investopedia, a resource for all things financial, most financial institutions and companies require a four-year degree in a business administration or related field. Investopedia further states that continuing your education with a master’s in business administration (MBA) is ideal for many job postings. For example, you will not require an MBA in order to sell securities. However, in order to become a financial analyst an MBA is typically required.

Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a tried and true way to enter the financial industry. While it is a long road to becoming a CFA, it will provide you with prestigious credentials that can secure a lifelong career. In order to become a CFA, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Four years qualified work experience, or a combination of education and acceptable experience. The CFA Institute defines which type of experience is qualified and acceptable.
  • Successful completion of a CFA prep course.
  • Must pass the three-tiered CFA exams.

After you have successfully completed your education requirements, be prepared to put in your time as an intern prior to gaining your ideal career. Well-paying positions are highly sought after. Employers will value your internship experience. Internships can often directly lead to a full-time position within the organization as well.

Job Availability and Salaries

There are many careers within the financial industry. Each position has its own salary and requirements. Below are examples of several popular financial positions. All of the statistics and data are from a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Financial Analyst – This broad position typically assesses the performance of stocks, bonds and other investments. A financial analyst provides advice to business and individuals about investments. Their average salary is $75,000 and this field is anticipated to grow by 23% by 2020.
  • Financial Managers – This highly sought after position is responsible for the financial well-being of an organization. They create financial reports and direct long-term financial strategies. With an average salary of $103,000, this competitive position is only expected to grow by 9% by 2020.
  • Top Executive – Perhaps the most sought after position by those interested in finance, a top executive is responsible for the strategies and policies of an organization. While they have a promising average salary of $101,000, they are only anticipated to grow by 5% by 2020. Be prepared to put in some time in lower positions before becoming a top executive.

Supporting Disciplines

Gaining any form of employment within the financial industry is well-worth your effort. Even if you do not have an interest in working directly with investment decisions or finances, you can find employment. Companies and organizations in the financial industry require supporting disciplines to operate.

  • Human Resources – The human resources department is responsible for recruiting employees, developing internal policies and providing conflict resolution. They are required in every major company and organization. An entry-level position as a human resources specialist pays an average of $53,000 and will grow by 21% by 2020. A degree in human resources is required for human resource positions.
  • Information Technology – As businesses have grown and integrated technology with their operations, there has been a dire need for information technology specialists. This varied field typically will require an information technology degree.  You can seek employment as a security analyst, network architect or programmer. The average salary for these positions is $75,000 and they are expected to grow by 22% by 2020.

The Finance Industry is Waiting

Learning how to break into the finance industry can promise a lifelong career that creates a comfortable living. Begin by pursuing directly applicable degrees and put in time as an intern. You may also pursue a supporting industry, such as human resources or IT. The finance industry is waiting for the next group of financial prodigies – are you ready?

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Adam October 6, 2012 - 4:48 AM

There are many career options in the field of finance, things to consider is possessed degree in finance in order to succeed in your career also focus on your career

IVA October 17, 2012 - 2:46 PM

This was helpful, thanks for posting.

Raul October 19, 2012 - 8:43 PM

I know several people that work in the IT departments of various finance giants and they all say their jobs are pretty great, which I don’t doubt.

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