Is a Finance Degree a Good Idea?

If you are considering entering college with a goal of earning a finance degree, you may wonder if it’s a good idea. A potential finance student should consider a number of factors. If you have a passion for numbers, enjoy solving problems analytically, are curious about the business world and want to obtain a degree that will provide you with a bevy of career options after graduation, a major in finance could be the right decision for you.

What Should I Know Ahead of Time?

If you dislike or are even indifferent toward numbers, a finance degree is absolutely not for you. Not only will you be miserable while you are in school, but your career will be quite unfulfilling, to say the least. Having at least some mathematical background is advisable, as is some rudimentary understanding of economics. No other substantive knowledge is necessary, but a strong quantitative foundation will make your finance-related coursework much more palatable

The Degree Itself

Be forewarned that the path to completing a major in finance is not for the faint of heart. Although it may be fraught with difficulty, the time you invest during college will continue to pay dividends for the rest of your professional life. In order to complete your degree, you can expect to be required to take courses in financial management, corporate finance, financial accounting, managerial accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, statistical methods, business law, financial instruments, international economics, organizational behavior and theory, operations management and macroeconomic theory. If you are looking for a complementary major, a finance degree pairs well with coursework in mathematics, economics, accounting, business management and,if you have any interest in the functioning of financial markets as mechanisms unto themselves, any engineering discipline or sub-field. To make a long story short, a finance degree will pair well with a major in essentially any other quantitative subject.

What Kind of Job Can I Get?

This is probably the most exciting part. A bachelor’s degree in finance will serve as a springboard to a career in any of the following fields:

Financial Management. Financial managers oversee investment strategies for individuals and firms. If you are particularly interested in the stock, bond and commodities markets, financial management should be on your professional radar.

Management Consulting. Management consultants provide creative solutions for firms that are in some sort of financial distress. The top management consulting firms–most notably, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain Capital–are among the most selective employers in the country, receiving thousands of applications for each available position they have. If you can make yourself stand out academically and nail your interview, you could be in line for one of these elite jobs.

Accounting. Accountants review firms’ and individuals’ financial documents to create formal records of them and to ensure that they comply with federal and state laws, as well as generally accepted accounting principles. To enter this field, though, you will need to complete at least a minor in accounting.

Conclusion

To be certain, majoring in finance is not necessarily a good idea for everyone. However, if you are passionate about numbers, and desire a stable career with virtually innumerable professional options, then you would do well to consider a major—and, eventually, a career—in finance.