The two best career paths for finance students

selective focus photography of three books beside opened notebook

Since the last financial crisis, in 2008, many of us have realised the importance of finance. While the market is not perfectly predictable, that doesn’t mean we can’t make informed choices about it. Finance careers are not merely about making money, but figuring out various ways to stay afloat in a chaotic climate. Considering the ramifications of poorly managed financial systems, we can even say there’s a human element behind proper financial management.

Finance firms have recognised the importance of obtaining top talent from higher education. As Business Insider notes: “There’s an arms race for the best talent at dozens of universities each year. To be clear, no one’s at fault. Private firms ought to be doing their utmost to maximize their own well-being. In this case, that means getting on campus, spending time and money, and fighting it out for the top educational prospects in the country.” To that end, we should wonder what finance students can do with their degree.

Banking

There are various kinds of banking paths, from commercial to investment. With commercial banking, there is a focus on what most of us know: savings, credit, cheque accounts and so on.

As Small Business Chronicle notes in their definition of commercial banking, bankers handle relationships. Indeed, “managers get to know their clients and their business needs by building and maintaining ongoing relationships.” This means research and application, with knowledge about the industry in general and the client’s position specifically.

Everything from retirement annuity management to a child’s first savings account is part of commercial banking.

Investment banks differ in that they facilitate buying and selling of stocks, bonds and other investments. They also help companies go public via IPOs (initial public offerings).

Brokering

Perhaps one of the biggest career paths, and one that tends to be more client-facing is being a broker. What’s wonderful about the broker-dealer career path is how much variety is on offer. They fulfil several important functions, which include, says Investopedia: “providing investment advice to customers, supplying liquidity through market-making activities, facilitating trading activities, publishing investment research and raising capital for companies”.

While you’ll still use all your skills from studying finances, there is a big emphasis on understanding people. People drive the market, but the market is also driven by people. Being at the centre of this powerful relationship can bring a lot of fulfilment to students of finance.

These are two of the most popular career paths, among many, for finance students. You are almost guaranteed stability and a sense of accomplishment with either one.