What can I do with a major in finance?


There are seven primary areas of employment for finance majors. This list is not exhaustive, but it provides a good sense of career directions. Find more details about typical positions and tips for each of the areas below.

Refers to the financial activities of a private business, such as accounts payable and accounts receivable and higher-level strategic financial analysis.

Typical positions/specialized areas

Financial analyst

Accountant

Cash management

Credit analysis and management

Controller/finance director

Payroll

Financial reporting

Investor relations

Treasurer

Chief financial officer

 

Tips for corporate finance students

  • Develop strong computer skills, including Microsoft Excel, Access and PowerPoint, as well as analytical skills.
  • Pursue advanced study of financial accounting.

Refers to a range of activities including underwriting, trading securities (stocks and bonds), providing financial advisory services (such as mergers and acquisition advice), financing of deals, and managing assets. Investment banks offer these services to companies, governments, non-profit institutions, and individuals.

Typical positions/specialized areas

Sales and trading

Research

Mergers and acquisitions

Equity and debt

Advisory services

Underwriting

Tips for investment banking students

  • Focus on academics; a high GPA is essential.
  • Research financial markets and money centers. An entry-level job may require geographic flexibility.
  • Apply for the Jennett Finance Scholars Program.
  • Gain relevant summer experiences and leadership experiences.
  • Network with alumni who work in the industry.
  • Be prepared to work significant overtime, start at the bottom and pay your dues.
  • Develop strong analytical and communication skills.

The jobs available at commercial banks vary significantly according to the scope of their operations. Positions could range from sales to trading at mega-banks (such as Citibank and Bank of America), or loan officer or credit analyst at smaller, regional banks.

Typical positions/specialized areas

Bank examiner

Loan officer

Branch manager

Sales

Programmer

Trust officer

Commercial lending

Mortgage loans

Trust management

Capital services

Mergers and acquisitions

Operations

Credit scoring

Tips for commercial banking students

  • Get experience through internships, part-time jobs or summer employment in a financial services firm.
  • Develop strong interpersonal communication and client-interaction skills.

Asset management companies manage the money of their clients to achieve specific financial objectives within guidelines under which the investment pool is organized.

Typical positions/specialized areas

Fund accountant

Economist

Buy-side or sell-side research analyst

Quantitative analyst

Portfolio/fund manager

Tips for asset management students

  • Work toward CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation.
  • Focus on academics; a high GPA is essential.
  • Research financial markets and money centers. An entry-level job may require geographic flexibility.
  • Apply for the Jennett Finance Scholars Program.
  • Gain relevant summer experiences and leadership experiences.
  • Network with alumni who work in the industry.
  • Be prepared to work significant overtime, start at the bottom and pay your dues.
  • Develop strong analytical and communication skills.

Real estate finance is both an industry and a career within larger financial services organizations, such as commercial and investment banks. Generating or evaluating a real estate finance deal involves many of the same types of financial analyses as a public stock offering, debt issuance, large commercial loan or merger.

Typical positions/specialized areas

Residential brokerage

Commercial sales

Appraisals

Property management

Real estate portfolio management

Tips for real estate finance students

  • Gain relevant experience through internships, summer jobs or part-time positions.

Research how to become a real estate broker through the National Association of Realtors.

Financial planners help clients make decisions about long-term financial issues. Stock brokers advise clients about investing in individual stocks and bonds.

Typical positions/specialized areas

Sales

Customer services

Operations

Portfolio management

Tips for personal financial planning students

  • Gain experience in sales. Top candidates are highly motivated and entrepreneurial.
  • Research the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation.

Insurance of various types underpins every aspect of modern life. Risk management is a broad field that involves identifying, assessing, and quantifying business risks. An aging workforce in the insurance industry has created tremendous demand for competitive, high-growth, challenging careers in insurance and risk management.

Typical positions

Adjuster

Claims adjuster

Examiner

Loss control

Agent

Risk consultant

Appraiser

Broker

Property casualty underwriter

Surety underwriter

Actuary

Producer

Account manager

Tips for insurance students


Read about the finance major at the School of Business.

View salary data for recent KU finance graduates.


General tips for finance students

  • Attend finance-specific career events and the Business and Accounting Career Fairs each September.
  • Read the Wall Street Journal.
  • Join student organizations that will facilitate career exploration.
  • Network with finance professionals working in target organizations or roles.
  • Develop strong analytical, accounting, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Explore various professional designations and licenses relevant to finance career paths.