So, you’re considering a finance degree, huh? I’ll tell you what, earning one is not easy. Its worth it though, and as you read, you’ll learn what it is and what it can do for you, in a way that you’ll understand.
What Is Finance?
You probably have an idea of what finance is. Something like playing the stock market and swimming in millions of dollars? It can be that, but fundamentally, finance is a common-sense principle. Finance is the management of assets and liabilities to maximize value. Here’s a simple scenario:
A college student takes a $30,000 no interest loan to pay to earn a college degree, with the intent of obtaining a $50,000 per year career.
This scenario has 3 main factors:
1. Assets – In this case, the asset is the degree. It is worth $50,000 per year.
2. Liabilities – The cost of the loan would be the liability: $30,000
3. Value – After one year of working, her total value is: $50,000 – $30,000 = $20,000.
All of finance is finding opportunities where spending money now can make more later. It just gets more complicated as time and risk become factors.
What careers can I get?
So, let’s assume you’ve made it through your four years of college and you’ve got your finance degree. Hooray!! Congratulations!! The hard part’s over. Now comes finding a career. That should be relatively easy.
Director of the Michigan State University Financial Markets Institute, Helen Dashney, stated that you could work in any area from banks, to businesses, to non-profits because everyone needs good money managing. The versatility of this degree is awesome because you can help wherever you want to!
Finance Professor Zoran Ivkovich, of Michigan State University said that careers in finance require different skillsets. Some lean more toward sales while others lean to high level technical skills. Two careers that he cited that illustrate the diversity of finance, and that have high projected growth are personal financial advisors and financial analysts.
If you’re a more one-on-one kind of person, being a personal financial advisor would be more suitable for you. In this job you’d be helping people plan for their future. You’d help with planning for retirement and education. Skills that would be paramount, and set you apart in this job are speaking, interpersonal, and sales. The median salary for this career is $90,000. If you considered advancing, you could get certifications and a master’s degree and become a private banker. Those people make millions of dollars per year because they manage the extremely rich.
If you’re a natural born genius with a gift to do math and create modeling algorithms, then being a financial analyst would afford you awesome opportunities. You would analyze companies and stock prices to find which stocks are selling at bargain prices and buy them. Computer skills, math skills and decision-making skills are good for these careers. The median salary in this area is $81,000. If you get good, advance, and become an executive director, you could make on average $350,000.
So here you are. You have an idea of what finance is and what you can get out of a career. Now that you know what its about, its up to you to decide if a finance degree is for you!