There has been rapid growth in the finance industry in the past. To make a career in the same, one has to get a suitable degree such as B. Com, CPA, or MBA in finance and then can choose a career in any of the different areas in the field. This field requires people with expert knowledge and a certain skill set to fill in the shoes. This trend of continuing focus on expertise in specific functional areas of finance has made it much more difficult to choose a career in finance. Here is an overview of some of the most popular career roles in finance and what it takes to be successful at them.
This is one of the top careers in finance. Investment bankers usually facilitate brokering of major transactions for large institutional clients, including Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As), underwriters for equities, or debt securities to raise major capital and corporate restructuring, among other things. It is one of the most preferred career choices in finance for the kind of recognition accorded and rewards earned in terms of big pay packages and bonuses. It is an intensely competitive field requiring financial expertise, excellent negotiation skills, and high confidence.
Most large investment banks prefer to hire top MBAs with the desired skill set. With 75 to 100 work hours a week, it is considered among the poorer choices regarding work-life balance. However, working with a large firm in one of the financial hubs, including New York or London, remuneration and growth prospects would easily be among the best.
This career in finance, i.e., Commercial banks, offers a host of retail banking services to businesses as well as individuals, including checking and savings accounts, issuing debit or credit cards along with a line of credit depending on the creditworthiness of the client. Some of the most popular roles in the commercial banking sector include loan officer, trust officer, mortgage banker, bank teller, and branch manager. Usually, different skill sets might be required in keeping with the nature of the specific role. Growth prospects are good in commercial banking, with moderately decent pay packages for professionals in higher or more technical positions. Work hours are usually among the best, especially with public sector banks.
This career is primarily concerned with the management of all financial activities of a company. This is much broader in scope than investment banking, representing only a sub-domain of corporate finance. It not only deals with raising major capital through M&As but also actively engages with every form of decision-making related to investment, capital management, and other activities that help maximize the strategic growth of an organization.
Corporate finance professionals could have widely differing work roles; hence, the required skill sets would also vary. Some common openings include financial analyst, tax manager, treasurer, and chief financial officer (CFO). CPA (Chartered Public Accountant) could be a useful designation for accounting-related roles, and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) could be advantageous for aspiring financial analysts.
Risk management has emerged as one of the key areas of interest, which involves identifying and managing different forms of financial risks. A risk management professional could be engaged in broad-based financial risk analysis in different scenarios or working on financial risk modelling, predictive financial analysis, and other technical aspects of financial risk management. The remuneration is among the industry’s best and work hours are usually decent. FRM (Financial Risk Manager) and PRM (Professional Risk Manager) are two of the standard financial risk management certifications, which could greatly benefit risk management professionals.
Equity Research is one of the top careers in this field. It involves the comprehensive analysis of stocks, including financial modelling and valuation, to help decide the worth of a certain investment. The work of an equity research analyst helps individuals, as well as institutional investors, make critical investment decisions. This is one of the most valued career roles in finance, which requires insightful knowledge of financial concepts, a good amount of patience, and a high level of ethics to carry out professional responsibilities as desired. Perks are undoubtedly among the best and work hours are good enough to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Asset managers help manage the wealth of High Net-Worth Individuals (HNIs) and institutional clients. They identify suitable avenues of investment for their clients to help realize their wealth creation goals and develop and implement long-term investment strategies to achieve the same. Perks are among the best in the industry as the demand for skilled asset managers continues to rise, and work hours are much better, making a good work-life balance possible. Professionals with CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) or CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) could be the best fit for the role.
It would be wise to chalk out a career plan before opting for any financial certifications like CFA, FRM, PRM, etc. Depending on the academics and professional’s work experience, a suitable career in finance can be chosen to acquire or enhance a certain skill set for a specialized role to build a great career in the same.
It is always best to plan and prepare for a more specialized career role, potentially leading to higher career growth. However, the choice should be based on balancing relevant factors to successfully align one’s skill set, areas of professional interest, and career goals.