If you are thinking about a degree in finance for your undergraduate degree major, you might be in for a rewarding and lucrative career. While it might be tempting to assume that a major in finance will lead only to a career of numbers-crunching, in reality, various careers in other aspects of finance and financial management are possible with a finance degree.
Financial analysts, like economists, analyze financial trends and how a business is performing so they can offer advice and guidance on major financial decisions. Financial analysts may make recommendations about investment strategies and long-term financial goals. These recommendations are typically based on how they perceive the financial data with which they are working. Financial analysts typically analyze various types of investments, such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds to evaluate their performance and potential for economic gain. Analysts work for corporations, banks, financial services firms and even for the government. In addition to obtaining a bachelor's degree, financial analysts typically obtain licensing through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts made a median salary of $73,150 in May 2008.
Financial managers are responsible for the long-term economic growth of their company or firm. They are responsible for planning and implementing plans that ensure this growth. Financial managers review and analyze financial reports produced by individuals, like financial analysts. They also utilize cash management strategies and help make investment decisions on behalf of a company. The BLS notes that financial managers' job titles can vary by the function they perform. Some serve as cash managers, others as credit managers and yet others as branch managers for financial firms. The bachelor's degree in finance can open up careers in this field, but the BLS notes that the master's degree is becoming increasingly important for management positions. The median annual salary of financial managers was $99,330 in May 2008.
Stockbrokers and other financial services providers are individuals who work on behalf of clients to help them with both long- and short-term financial goals. A stockbroker is a financial services sales representative who may advise clients to buy stocks in certain companies or other securities like bonds and mutual funds. Some financial services representatives are referred to as financial advisers or financial planners. A degree in finance can provide suitable preparation for individuals wanting to work in this field. Like financial analysts, stockbrokers have to be licensed by passing an exam regulated by FINRA. The median annual salary for financial services representatives, according to the BLS, was $68,680 in May 2008.
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