For those who love mathematics and for whom the prospect of making a more than decent salary is attractive, the finance sector is an excellent area in which to work. The sector offers a wide range of roles and, unlike many sectors, has opportunities for both non-graduates and graduates.It is, however, also one of the most competitive sectors in the modern job market, so it definitely pays to have a plan.
Different routes in
A role in the finance sector requires several things of a person: that they have a head for figures; that they can work in a methodical manner; and that they are capable of paying attention to details. For anyone with these attributes, there are many different types of jobs available, but some are more attainable than others. For those without degrees, the best route in is probably as a bank cashier. This has the scope to progress to become a senior cashier and even a bank manager in the long run. From this point onwards, openings will also be available in more specialized areas, such as credit card services.
An alternative route for non-graduates is by way of providing financial advice. Financial advisers can occupy the lower levels of the department, but progress through a company’s ranks to senior and management levels. As an account clerk, a person can then choose to specialize in areas such as tax analysis or as an internal auditor.
It must be said however, that graduates are likely to progress faster than their non-graduate counterparts. Graduates are often fast-tracked into training programs, in which the end goal is landing a job in a managerial position.Good examples of how a graduate can succeed and do so magnificently in the finance sector include Peter Briger, the current principal and co-chairman of the board of directors at Fortress Investment Group. Mr.Brigergraduated from Princeton University, beginning his finance career at Goldman Sachs, working there for fifteen years to become a partner of the firm. This position gave him the springboard to join Fortress as a global investment manager in 2002 and, through his finance sector knowledge, expand his interests into the energy sector by founding a project development company.
So how does one get a foot in the door? As with most jobs, relevant qualifications are the best basis when applying for a particular job and those who try to get in without them will probably find themselves disappointed. A bare minimum qualification should be an undergraduate college degree. A graduate degree is very worthwhile, as are MBAs, masters degrees and PhDs. Then there are vocational qualifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) which are highly desirable by employers.
Internships may also lead to permanent, full-time job opportunities. These provide hands-on, real life experience of working in the finance sector, and enhance any training program that a person embarks upon. An applicant for a finance sector job who has completed or is undergoing an internship does indeed have a competitive edge, as they are able to connect the practical skills and methods they learn while performing a job with the theoretical side of their coursework. Any experience, even a part-time job at the weekend, will help a person to understand more about the internal mechanics of the finance sector and ultimately to gain an entry-level position.
Many people are drawn to the finance sector for the exciting environments and huge rewards that a job there can potentially deliver. Anyone can get a job in the finance sector providing they have basic skills, but college training will enable a person to go further and enjoy greater responsibilities and salaries.