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How to Get into Finance According to Experts

How to Get into Finance According to Experts main image

A career in finance is one of the most popular paths amongst MBA graduates. In fact, a degree in this field prepares MBAs for roles across the finance sector by allowing them to sharpen their skills and make invaluable connections with industry professionals.

And there’s more – the financial services sector boasts some of the highest salaries in the world for MBA grads, with an average of US$130,001.

If you’re thinking of starting a career in the finance sector, here’s what you need to do to land your dream job.

Research the roles you want to work in

The finance sector provides financial services to a wide range of individuals and organizations worldwide. You might want to land a job at financial firms such as banks, investment houses, real estate brokers or insurance companies, or you may want to land a position within the financial department of non-industry organizations – either way, you’re spoilt for choice.

Here’s a breakdown of the main sectors that are ideal for a post-b-school career.

  • Investment services: A career in investment services may include working in the stock market, with hedge and mutual funds, or managing portfolios for individual and corporate clients.
  • Banking: The banking industry is quite vast and features organizations like commercial banks, credit unions, community banks and fintech firms.
  • Insurance: Insurance is a key component of the finance industry. B-school grads can land jobs as representatives for insurance firms or as agents and brokers for a wide range of clients, from banks to individual businesses.

Understand the skills financial recruiters look for

Finance isn’t for everyone. The hours are long, there’s a lot of socializing involved and – most importantly – candidates must possess a specific set of skills to set themselves apart from the crowd.

If you want to break into some of the more top-tier firms such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, here are the main skills you’ll have to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the financial word
  • An understanding of numbers
  • Persuasiveness
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Leadership

Look into doing an MBA

If you want to land a top-tier position, such as financial director or CFO, your best bet is doing an MBA. This is because this level of degree will give you the strong, industry-specific skills needed to manage high-stake situations – unlike an MSc in finance, which prepares students for more general, junior roles.

Dr Elaine Garcia, Senior Program Leader at London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), said: “Holding an MBA is a useful additional qualification to have on your CV for jobs in finance, as employers will often be looking at candidates that have evidence of leadership abilities or relevant experience, and an MBA provides this.

“An MBA also provides evidence that a candidate has a range of transferable skills such as the ability to research, be objective, work to deadlines, critically consider a topic and work with others.”

While courses vary from school to school, finance-heavy MBA courses include essential classes such as corporate investment management, portfolio management, investments, securities analysis, borrowing and fundraising and international finance.

However, if you have your eyes set on a specific position or company, experts recommend doing a specialization in finance to accelerate your career.

Dr Alison Watson, Interim Head of the School of Business and Management at Arden University, said: “A finance recruiter will look for specialisms, therefore they’ll probably search for an MBA with a themed route attached. This suggests specific skills and knowledge development within the financial sector.”

Elaine added: “Holding a specialized MBA can be an advantage to your future career, as being able to demonstrate skills and knowledge within your niche area can help you get recognized above other candidates.”

Gain some professional experience

While an MBA can help you impress recruiters right off the bat, industry-relevant work experience is extremely important too.

Before and during your MBA, make sure you do some networking and see if you can land an internship or get some work experience in the finance sector.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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