7 Careers You Can Do with a Finance Degree Other Than Banking

7 Careers You Can Do with a Finance Degree Other Than Banking

Finance is one of the most popular choices for postgraduate business study, with the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) reporting that 23 percent of potential students would consider a master’s in finance degree in 2018, topping the table for master’s programs (according to data from Poets & Quants). Many finance graduates have one field in mind: banking. With great wages and fantastic opportunities for progression, it’s easy to see why banking remains so popular. However, there are many other jobs suited to those with a finance qualification, so whether you have an undergraduate finance degree, a finance masters or an MBA specializing in finance, read on to find out seven careers you should consider…

1) Management Consultant

Management consultants help organizations solve problems, improve business performance, create value and maximize growth. They identify solutions for business troubles and make suggestions for changes to implement. Management consulting can be an extremely rewarding career for job satisfaction and remuneration. Consultancy suits people who thrive off variety, as days can be exciting and unpredictable – for example, you might be needed at client sites at the last minute, there’s a lot of travel, and you will meet a huge range of interesting people. Competition is fierce, and applicants with MBAs or business master’s degrees will find it considerably easier to get into the field.

Typical salary: According to figures from Indeed.com, the average consultancy salary in the US is US$83,408 per year. However, MBA graduate salaries can be considerably higher, with Wharton’s MBA class of 2018 reporting a median salary of US$150,000.

2) Trader/Stockbroker

A stock trader either works for themselves or for a firm, buying and selling stocks. Traders may also buy and sell bonds, metals and other financial instruments. Trading is a fast-paced and high-pressure career, best suited to those with bold, dynamic personalities. Hours are very long, usually starting early for the opening of international markets. Traders have very little supervision so this career will suit you if you’re individualistic and self-disciplined. Traders who perform poorly will find themselves out of a job very quickly – it’s a cut-throat environment, but with the potential for very high rewards.

Typical salary: According to Indeed.com, the average trader salary in the US is US$95,126 per year, but salaries of up to US$196,917 are reported.

3) Accountant

Accountancy is always a popular career path for finance graduates. Accountants are employed by companies and individuals to assist with financial business issues such as taxation, analyzing profit and loss, budgeting and detecting fraud. Very close attention to detail is essential, plus communication skills to convey complex financial information to colleagues, senior management and clients. In-house accountants prepare profit and loss statements, accounting reports and key information for annual reports, plus other financial tasks. Alternative career paths in accountancy include forensic accounting, tax advisors and chartered accountancy.

Typical salary: According to US News, accountants in the US made a median salary of US$69,350 in 2017. The best paid 25 percent made US$91,770 that year.

4) Financial Manager/CFO

A financial manager or CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is responsible for providing financial guidance and support to clients and colleagues. Employers come from a wide range of industries in both the public and private sectors. In larger companies the role may be more concerned with strategic analysis, while in smaller businesses you might be responsible for the collection and preparation of accounts. Other responsibilities can include managing budgets, arranging new sources of finance and liaising with auditors to ensure annual monitoring is carried out. Financial manager/CFO are senior roles so will require progression within a company.

Typical salary: According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a financial manager in the US is US$84,109 per annum, but salaries as high as US$208,000 are reported.

5) Actuary

Actuaries evaluate, manage and advise on financial risk. They use financial and statistic theories to assess the likelihood of a particular event and the possible financial costs. With this knowledge they can design creative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events occurring and decrease the impact of undesirable events that do occur. The study of uncertain future events by actuaries are of special concern to insurance and pensions companies, but actuaries can work in a wide range of sectors. They are highly skilled individuals and as such are often in high demand. Work is high-pressured and you may be expected to work overtime frequently.

Typical salary: Actuaries tend to receive very good remuneration, with Indeed.com reporting that the average salary for an actuary in the US is US$112,085 a year, but it can be much higher, with salaries of US$240,000 also reported.

6) External Auditor

External auditors examine financial records and other data to provide businesses, investors and regulators with a clear idea of how they’re performing, plus recommendations for improvement. Their work can be split into two distinct areas – a financial audit, examining a company’s financial statements and records, or a corporate/non-financial audit to help companies solve specific business problems. There are many companies who employ external auditors, most famously the ‘big four’ accounting firms: Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC; however, there are many other mid-tier and smaller firms also providing rewarding employment.

Typical salary: Indeed.com reports the average salary for an external auditor in the US is US$60,658, although salaries of up to US$141,000 are reported.

7) Financial Analyst

Financial analysts collect and analyze financial data to guide the investment decisions of their employer – this could be an individual, a corporation, a non-profit organization or the government. You’ll recommend the best course of action when identifying challenges and need to stay aware of market trends and investment opportunities in your specialist area. A career as a financial analyst will suit data-focused and computer literate finance graduates, with great strategic thinking skills and an affinity for statistics. Other related roles include credit analysts and budget analysts.

Typical salary: US News reported that financial analysts made a median salary of US$84,300 in 2017, with the best-paid 25 percent making US$114,980 that year.

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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