A Brief Overview
Now that you have an idea what the right job for you could be, it may be time to dig a little deeper. The next important phase is to research different career paths that will likely suit your personal aspirations and goals.
In this article we will summarize the types of business and finance careers you could apply for and will provide you with a complete list of the job opportunities in the industry you can then choose from.
Which path to take?
Selecting the right business and finance career path and making informed career decisions requires reliable information about the opportunities that a given occupation may provide. It also requires some basis for comparison with any alternative trajectories and some criterion to judge against.
Way too often young people (or recent graduates) jump into a career that does not enable them to achieve their professional goals. And considering the number of years of education and the effort put into developing industry-specific skills, we find this disquieting. Therefore, in an attempt to prevent this from happening any further, we compiled a description of some of the most popular career choices among young Business and Finance graduates.
An excellent way to start your research is to look at our detailed guide on Business and Finance Careers. It will allow you to become familiar with several interesting opportunities and compare them with regard to whatever criteria are important to you. Preliminary research is critical; it is the first step towards the right choice.
We also strongly recommend you talk to some of your senior friends who already have a job in Business and Finance. Try to understand whether someone is heading in an interesting direction and if you would like to pursue that as well. No need to be shy, we have all been there… Ask for their help, and they will be happy to answer your questions.
Okay, Business and Management students, like other graduates, often ask themselves the BIG questions like: “What kind of career can I have with a business degree?” Granted, you may not be able to do brain surgery, but there are a ton of other opportunities more suitable to you.
Given that a business degree provides you with skills that are valuable in various types of workplaces, there are several options readily available to you upon graduation. Here are some.
#The Problem Solver
This one is for those of you who love to use their skills and experience to solve problems, as well as develop and execute objectives. You can impact short and long-term goals through market analysis and evaluation of commercial strategy. This is a challenging and highly interesting position. You will be involved with things like:
Resolving financial issues
Researching Regulatory factors
Conducting Business analysis in strategic issues
Conducting competitive and industry analysis
#The Decision Maker
Management positions also generally involve a great deal of problem solving and you will actively participate in the decision-making process on daily basis. Good management is about obtaining the best possible output for a given quantity of input. Typically, you will be assigned specific responsibilities in a particular area and in return you will have the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge.
These are some examples of management positions and what they typically entail:
Operations Management – designs and controls of the business processes of production to create the highest level of efficiency and to maximize the company’s profits.
Project Management – plans, executes, and controls projects from their beginning until completion.
Supply Chain Management – coordinates materials’ orders, manages the production process, and negotiates with manufacturers and suppliers of the company.
Logistics Management – meets customers’ demands by planning, controlling and implementing effective movement and storage of goods & services from origin to destination.
Human Resources Management – finds, recruits and trains the right job applicants for a company.
#The Concept Creator
If you see yourself enjoy growing a brand, a product, or an idea, or if you have done it before and had a lot of fun, then a career in Marketing may be the right choice for you. Have a browse through some of the more reputable marketing positions we have shortlisted and see if any sound like the right choice for you:
Brand Manager – ensures consistent and optimal concept creation, communication strategy, promotions, pricing and advertising for a brand or product.
Marketing Communications Manager – creates, manages and oversees advertising and promotional plans.
Digital Marketing Manager – optimizes the internet and social media channels for marketing purposes. Combines traditional marketing with cutting-edge virtual marketing practices.
Project Marketing Manager – builds the vital bridge between engineers and the business team in tech companies.
Public Relations Manager – is responsible for a company’s reputation. Communicating with media, influencing clients’ opinion and establishing key business partnerships are among a PR Manager’s most important day-to-day activities.
Retail Manager – responsible for the daily to long-term operations required to achieve financial success of a business or a store.
Sales Manager – in charge of implementing marketing manager’s plans, analyzing trends and results and overseeing the sales operations of a company in a particular geographical region.
Before jumping into the Finance careers section, it is important to note that the Finance industry itself is multifaceted and offers many positions which can cater to a wide number of skills and interests. Financial services include multiple sub-industries encompassing niche opportunities. That said, the key to individual success in Finance is research. Once you engage with the field you can find and then secure the opportunity that best matches your skills and interests.
#The Money Supervisor
As every business needs people who can manage its money, corporate finance is really strong among business and finance careers. And if the business is large and growing, then the need for people who can become tightly specialized in the nooks and crannies of the company also grows. That said, there are several main job positions that build up Corporate Finance:
Accounting Department – responsible for reviewing a company’s financial position and producing financial statements for external stakeholders. Accountants balance the books, as well as track costs and sales invoicing and payments.
Internal Auditing – provide assurance and consulting, regarding business practices and operations. The main task of this function is to control the effectiveness of operations.
Performance Analysis – perform calculations regarding a company’s financial development and margins. Investigate profitability at a client, product, location, and brand level.
Production Planning & Control – responsible for calculating logistics, production, and delivery costs of the firm’s products, ensuring optimal utilization of production capacities. This position involves quantity and quality control, and workforce and production equipment scheduling.
Financial Planning & Analysis – forecast demand of the firm’s sales, building a detailed budget, reporting and analyzing to plan the company’s investments and strategic initiatives.
Financial Analysts – finance professionals analyze financial performance, provide project cost calculations and assessment of capital investments and deals.
Note that it is often the same person who usually runs these last two divisions – the company’s CFO.
#The Money Lender
The commercial banking services of today have significantly overgrown the traditional “deposit-taking, credit-giving” model, and as such the industry offers some very interesting job opportunities for Finance graduates. Modern commercial banks perform a number of differentiated functions, any of which can catch your interest:
Retail banking (Consumer Banks) – provision of financial services by a bank to a private individual.
Corporate banking – financial services offered by a bank to a business corporation.
Risk management – responsible for forecasting financial risks and designing plans to minimize those risks.
Structured finance – the department responsible for transferring risk by complex legal and corporate bodies. Financing of large scale projects.
Cash Management – optimizing clients’ operating cash flows and providing short-term investment opportunities.
#The Money Maker
These types of companies deliver advisory services and help their clients when they must raise debt or equity capital. There are a number of service lines within investment banking, but these are the four core areas of activity:
Capital Markets – work with clients to raise debt or equity capital; report the company’s story to the market and find suitable investors.
Advisory – merger & acquisitions advice for corporate clients; advise them on deal feasibility, structuring, financing, etc.
Trading and Brokerage – trade with financial securities at own account or on behalf of clients.
Asset Management – manage client investments, trying to ensure optimum risk-return results.
Having in mind the prestigious position Investment Banking occupies in the Finance landscape, it is understandable why going into this line of work is one of the preferred career choices for graduates today. And even though the competition is tough, the rewards can definitely be worth it.
#The Buyer of Small Firms
Private Equity firms raise money from investors (high net worth individuals and institutional investors) and make active equity investments in private companies. They collect money and buy companies, which are later sold. This constant money movement makes Private Equity a very interesting profession for somebody who is excited by fast-paced back-and-forth (or at least wouldn’t get sea-sick from it). Unfortunately, PE firms have a reputation of only hiring people with 2 or 3 years of experience, but there are exceptions to the rule. So if you are a Finance graduate who knows what they want, and you do not fear a couple of “Thank-you-but-we-are-interested-in-somebody-with-more-experience” notes, then absolutely go for it. This can be a very high-reward position.
#The Risk Player
Hedge Funds – investment vehicles offering high rates of return at the expense of a considerable level of risk. A really good knowledge of financial markets, perfect intuition, and outstanding quantitative skills are essential for succeeding in this job.
Insurance – insurance companies or individual brokers sell life, property, health, automotive or other types of insurance contracts. An in-depth financial analysis in forecasting is involved in this job position.
#The Precious Adviser
Okay, so this field offers a lot of opportunities for both Business and Finance students. As a consultant, you can choose to work for many different types of clients and assist them on a wide range of topics.
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you need to be a jack of all trades. If you choose to do so, you can specialize in a number of more tightly defined fields.
For example, you can do consulting on management topics (so, reorganization, efficiency, strategy) by starting a career with a management consulting company.
Another option would be, of course, to focus on financial topics (like auditing, corporate finance services, valuation and due diligence services, etc.) if you start in financial consulting.
So, consulting is a very challenging career path, but it offers a steep learning curve. Working with multiple firms and having to respect tight deadlines guarantees that you will learn a lot, and fast.
Finally, an honorable mention within the consulting career path, the Tax Advisers. These guys provide consultancy services to clients, advise them on how to pay their taxes in the most efficient way, and offer an in-depth knowledge of tax legislation and finance. Tax advising is at the intersection of figures and law, and because taxes never stop changing, this is an excellent career option for somebody who likes being on their toes and constantly relearning their job.
Some final advice…
Now that you know more about the various Business and Finance Careers, try to go deeper and learn more about the two or three positions you like the sound of the most.
Do any of your friends work in that particular industry who can provide you with genuine information?
Why not ask some of your teachers about their opinion?
Perhaps they can put you in touch with someone.
Read and stay informed.
Okay, this much is true: there is no way of going into the future to double check with yourself whether you are happy on the career path you are considering of taking. But even though time travelling may still have a few more years until it reaches the shelves of your local supermarket, you can still get a pretty decent idea of how a career may progress if you do a good amount of research. It won’t be like getting a first-hand experience but it will definitely give you a clearer picture to work with. And if the person in that picture seems happy, then there it is – a career path to embark upon.
We hope this article gives you a solid basis as a starting point for your career search within Business and Finance. And once you have a better idea of what you are looking for, allow us to also guide you along the way of where to find the best job opportunities!