Why Major in Finance?
Majoring in finance is a good option for students who want to have numerous job opportunities after graduation. Finance is the management of money, and since nearly every business seeks to make money, you could say that finance is the backbone of any business. The annual PayScale College Salary Report often ranks finance as one of the most lucrative majors, particularly at the MBA level.
Educational Requirements for the Finance Field
Some entry-level positions, such as bank teller at a small bank, may only require a high school diploma or the equivalent, but most jobs in the finance field will require you to hold a finance degree. An associate degree is the minimum requirement, but a bachelor's degree is more common.
If you would prefer to work in a more advanced positions, such as management positions, a specialized master's degree or MBA degree will help you achieve that goal. These graduate-level programs allow you to delve deeply into the topic of finance and acquire advanced experience in the finance field. The highest degree that finance majors can earn is a doctorate degree. This degree is best suited for individuals who want to work in research or education at the postsecondary level.
Programs for Finance Majors
Almost every business school, as well as many colleges and universities, offer finance programs. If you have a career path mapped out, your best bet will be to search out finance programs that churn out the type of graduates your desired employers look for. You may also want to compare some of the different finance programs that are out there. For example, you could earn a general finance degree or a finance-related degree. Examples of finance-related degrees include:
- Accounting Degree - Accounting is the study of financial reporting and analysis.
- Actuarial Science Degree - Actuarial science is the study of how math and science can be applied to risk assessment.
- Economics Degree - Economics is the study of production, consumption, and wealth distribution.
- Risk Management Degree - Risk management is the study of risk identification, assessment, and management.
- Taxation Degree - Taxation is the study of tax assessment and preparation.
Coursework for Finance Majors
Business majors who specialize in finance will study many different things over the course of their academic career. Exact courses will depend on the school and the student's area of focus as well as the level of study. For example, a general finance program at the graduate level will touch on many different finance-related topics, while an accounting program at the undergraduate level will focus more heavily on accounting.
Most finance programs are designed to develop and improve critical thinking and problem solving skills. Some of the courses that nearly all finance students take at some point in a degree program include:
- Mathematics - Basic math and more advanced math.
- Statistical Analysis - Statistics, probability, and data analysis.
- Financial Regulation - Finance regulation at the local, state, federal, and international level.
- Valuation - Evaluation and appraisal of worth.
- Risk and Return - Trade-off in investment decisions.
- Ethics - Principles that should guide and govern behavior in the finance sector.
Careers in Finance
After graduating from a quality finance program, business majors should be able to secure at least entry-level employment with banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, corporations, and a variety of other organizations. Possible job titles include:
- Finance Officer
- Financial Advisor
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Controller
- Financial Planner
- Insurance Underwriter