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Global Employability

Careers in Finance – a Guide

As long as businesses exist, there will be a need to manage their finances. And as long as there is a need, there will be a demand for skills that service that need. Finance is one such skill or qualification which, even in a post-COVID world, will always be in demand.

True that the pandemic has been devastating for a large part of the world’s population, but this is also the time when those who are thinking of a career change can add to their skills.

Why Finance?

Like stated earlier, Finance is critical to an organization’s survival and can be a great career option, as it spans several industries. Globalization and increasing reliance on technology, data usage and market research has opened up newer avenues in the areas of finance, where currently, there is a dearth of skilled professionals. According to the latest Occupational Outlook Handbook of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the  business and finance occupations are expected to show a growth of 7 percent for the period 2018-2028, the rate being faster than the Median of all other occupations, leading to additional 5.91,800 newer jobs. The statistics show that in spite of economic downturn, finance is one corporate sector which is continually evolving.

What are the top career options for a Finance Graduate?

Finance graduates develop ability to read and interpret spreadsheets and financial statements. The top jobs according to the latest Occupational Outlook Handbook of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are as shown below:

FINANCIAL ANALYST

Financial analysts conduct research on stocks, bonds etc., construct financial models and conduct deep quantitative analysis. They can build on their financial training to delve deep into financial statements and financial data, present analysis which help companies take on major investment decisions like expansions, mergers, etc.

Job and Skills Outlook 

  • Median annual salary – around $85,660
  • Entry-level Education – Bachelor’s degree in Finance
  • Recommended additional certifications like CFA

Glassdoor UK rates financial analyst jobs as one of the highest paying entry level jobs with median annual base salary of £28,717 in 2019. According to Glassdoor India, the average base pay for financial analyst position is ₹ 5,00,000 per year.

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Financial Advisors normally advise companies regarding their financial conditions, including consulting on taxation, investments, insurance etc. Personal financial advisors advise clients relating to their personal investment decisions like buying or selling of bonds, stocks etc.

Jobs and Skills Outlook

  • Median annual salary – $ 87,850
  • Entry-level Education – Bachelor’s degree in Finance
  • Recommended certifications like CFA, CFP

Glassdoor UK lists the salary of Financial Advisors with average base pay of £40,337 per year. As per Glassdoor India, Financial Advisor average base salary is at ₹3,67,000 per year.

FINANCIAL MANAGERS

Financial Managers are instrumental for the creation of financial reports, taking investment decisions and long-term financial plans for a company. They work across different industries like banks, investment firms, etc.

Jobs and Skills Outlook

  • Median annual salary – $ 129,890
  • Entry-level Education – Bachelor’s degree in Finance
  • Experience of 5+ years in a finance role like financial analyst, accountant etc.

Glassdoor UK shows annual median salary for Finance Managers at £51,165 indicating the great demand for such jobs. Glassdoor India’s salary average base for Finance Managers is at ₹13,42,000 per year, indicating that this job profile has great demand in India.

CREDIT ANALYST

Credit analysts are responsible for evaluating the financial prudency and credit rating of the loan applications and the risks attached to offering finance. With the boom in Fintech and advances in technology, there is a lot of scope of credit analysts as a viable career option.

Jobs and Skills Outlook

  • Median annual salary – $ 73,650
  • Entry-level Education – Bachelor’s degree in Finance

According to Glassdoor UK , credit analysts are seen to earn average base pay of £45,292 over a year. Glassdoor India puts average median salary for credit analysts at ₹7,78,000 per year, the demand for this profile is increasing due to the booming fintech sector in India

INVESTMENT BANKER

Investment Bankers have a diverse role play ranging from consulting clients on various financial decisions like manage financial assets, trade securities etc., for raising money for business operations. Their roles may include that of portfolio managers, financiers etc.

Jobs and Skills Outlook

  • Median annual salary – $ 64,120
  • Entry-level Education – Bachelor’s degree in Finance
  • Recommended CFA certifications

Glassdoor UK gives great weightage to investment banking positions showing the average base pay at a high of £77,000 per year. The position holds great value in India also, as according to Glassdoor India, the median annual salary for investment banker is at ₹8,18,,000.

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Chief Financial Officer is the top executive position in Finance where they devise strategies and laws; and lead a company in meeting its financial goals and overall development. Their responsibilities include identifying growth trends to bringing in innovation to the table for churning out success stories for the organization.

Jobs and Skills Outlook

  • Median annual salary – $ 184.460
  • Entry-level Education – Bachelor’s degree in Finance
  • Experience of 5+ years in key senior finance roles as finance manager etc.
  • Recommended CPA, MBA certifications

Glassdoor UK shows the median annual salary for CFO’s £1,29,710. CFO’s earn a very high salary in India as according to Glassdoor India, the average base pay for the position is at  ₹44,92,000 per year.

So, how should one kick start a career in Finance?

Choose the right program for you 

A bachelor’s degree in finance is the minimum requirement which is expected out of a finance graduate. However, to move up the corporate ladder, getting additional degrees like MBA is sure to land lucrative job opportunities in the finance arena as sectors like Wall Street. The university where you choose to do your MBA has a lot of bearing future job opportunities, so go for reputed universities.

Top 10 Universities for MBA Programs

According to QS Global MBA Ranking 2020, the top 10 global MBA programs are as listed below

Wharton University, Philadelphia, U.S.A
QS Global Rank – 1

Start Month/ Duration
21 months

International
Students 33%

Avg.
GMAT 732

Average Salary (Post 3 months)
$135,000

Fee (USD)
> $120k

Employed (Post 3 months)
95%

Start Month
May

Accreditations
AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA

Accreditations
AACSB

Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford, U.S.A
QS Global Rank – 1

Start Month/ Duration
September/ 24 months

International
Students 33%

Avg.
GMAT 732

Average Salary (Post 3 months)
$145,559

Fee (USD)
$110k – $120k

Employed (Post 3 months)
88%

Average Work Experience
5

Accreditations
AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA

Accreditations
AACSB

INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
QS Global Rank – 3

Start Month/ Duration
Jan, Aug/ 10 months

International
Students 96%

Avg. GMAT
710

Average Salary (Post 3 months)
$110,400

Fee (USD)
$90k – $100k

Employed (Post 3 months)
82%

Average Work Experience
4

Accreditations
AACSB,  EQUIS, AMBA

Scholarship
Available

MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, USA
QS Global Rank – 3

Start Month/ Duration
September/ 24 months

International
Students 38%

Avg. GMAT
728

Average Salary (Post 3 months)
$126.436

Fee (USD)
> $120k

Employed (Post 3 months)
95%

Average Work Experience
5

Accreditations
AACSB,  EQUIS, AMBA

Accreditations
AACSB

Harvard School of Business, Boston, USA

QS Global Rank – 5

Start Month/ Duration
September/ 24 months

International
Students 37%

Avg. GMAT
730

Average Salary (Post 3 months)
$137,293

Fee (USD)
> $120k

Employed (Post 3 months)
89%

Average Work Experience
4

Accreditations
AACSB

London Business School, London, U.K
QS Global Rank – 5

Start Month/ Duration
August / 21 months

International
Students 90%

Avg. GMAT
701

Average Salary (Post 3 months)
$106,837

Fee (USD)
$110k – $120k

Employed (Post 3 months)
93%

Average Work Experience
5

Accreditations
AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA

Scholarship
Available

Additional Certifications

Economic recession has made employers scout for candidates who have strong business analytical skills supported by strong finance fundamentals. So, one should opt for additional certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Financial Planner (CFP), Financial Risk Management (FRM) to make a mark in the corporate sector.

Today to become a finance professional, apart from the basic knowledge in finance and its related subjects, there is also a need to have additional skills, like:

  • A keen insight for innovation
  • Great management skills
  • Business acumen
  • Marketing know-how

Finance has been evolving and is continually embracing newer developments like data science to get the numbers analyzed faster and in a more efficient manner.

A post Covid world fueled by the economic recession and industry burnout, would necessitate the need for efficient finance professionals, to come up with innovative fiscal measures to get the organizations and economy back on track at a much faster pace. With the world going into an emergency mode, due to the Covid crisis, there is a need for greater support and measures required from the finance sector to help boost the economy. Banks and financial institutions would have a major role to play in mitigating the after effects of the Covid pandemic even long after it is gone. Opportunity in the time of misfortune has been created for finance professionals who should make full use of the same by rising to the occasion.

This means finance professionals would have to work out ways and means to set the ball rolling and provide adequate support to rebuild the economy. The professionals would have to upskill themselves in the digital services to meet the ongoing challenges as work from home is here to stay till the Covid situation stabilizes.

Date added
15.07.2020

Filed under:

Global Employability

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