A business degree in finance can lead to lucrative career opportunities. Finance can be studied at both the undergraduate and graduate level, usually as an area of specialisation within a business administration degree program. Those holding a degree in finance at the graduate degree level typically assume careers with earning potential that can exceed six figures.
Investment bankers typically help government entities like a local municipality or large companies like corporations to secure financing in order to offer various securities. For instance, corporations that wish to have an initial public stock offering will rely upon an investment banker to raise funds and underwrite a stock offering. A career in investment banking usually requires a degree in business, but those having a concentration in finance are more likely to obtain employment because of the strong emphasis upon securities and investment in most finance programs. A bachelor's degree may suffice for employment in some instances, but a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree will likely hold more weight than a bachelor's degree. Several years of experience may be required as well; this can usually be obtained through internships or working in junior or entry-level positions. According to payscale.com, the average investment banker made between £40,581 and £88,036, as of September 2010.
Financial managers make the important financial decisions in large investment firms, corporations and banks. In most cases, financial managers play the role of the visionary in that they develop investment strategies for the long-term while directing the company or firm through short-term financial goals as well. Although a bachelor's degree can be considered adequate preparation for a career as a financial manager in some sectors, large corporations and firms tend to prefer candidates with an M.B.A. degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that most companies are moving toward this trend of hiring applicants with an M.B.A. degree. The bureau also notes that experience can play a role that may even supplant that of formal education. Bank managers, especially, will often work their way up through the company's organizational structure to obtain their position. According to BLS statistics, the median annual salary for financial manager across various industries was £64,564, as of May 2008. This figure excluded annual bonuses and other performance-based incentives.
If financial managers often play the role of the visionary, the financial analyst often plays the role of the cartographer. By analysing data and financial trends in the economy, financial analysts provide reports that analyse the ability of the company to navigate the financial landscape. Reports often include analysis of current trends and forecasts of future trends as well. Financial analysts can come from various educational backgrounds with degrees in accounting, economics and finance. A bachelor's degree in finance can be adequate to obtain a position as a financial analyst. Master's degrees are typically not required, but may enhance a resume. Regardless of the degree, financial analysts must have strong quantitative skills and must be able to conduct independent and group research. Work in this field may require additional licensing due to SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) regulations. In May 2008, the median salary of financial analysts was £47,547 prior to bonuses and incentives, according to BLS figures.
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