Students are near receiving a Business degree but not sure what is the desirable career path? Students often chose career path base on passion, family history in the profession, make much money, know someone in the profession or interests learned from coursework. The truth is that student does not know that until he or she is in their first job and boss. The first career boss will either break or build the career.
My first job in U.S. after receiving a Bachelor Degree in Finance was a Billing Analyst at CIGNA Group Life Insurance division (a 3rd party administrator). Diane was an alumnus who recruited me. In 1990, the computer is still really new in many offices. Diane allowed me to try different ways to get the job done. I decided to program the billing system to send out the letter to each insured for detail monthly billing. Diane soon recognized that I was more than a Billing Analyst and should consider pursuing in Financial System instead. I worked for Diane while I was in graduate school. Diane was an excellent boss and excellent example to help me discover what my talent is in Finance. I went to work for ABB Nuclear Power after CIGNA as Financial System Analyst primary focusing on forecasting sales and government proposals. Again, I was leveraging my financial knowledge to develop many proposals over the years successfully. Both CIGNA and ABB are a public traded company. I was blessed to have Diane and Ken (at ABB) as my boss. They both encourage and guide me into the financial career.
This article is intended to take students who are major, minor or have interests in Finance and a desire to be in financial career path. There are two major paths 1) Corporate Finance and 2) Consumer Finance.
Corporate Finance is related to management from Financial Statements, Capital investment forecasting to financial re-engineering. In Corporate Finance, public traded company is quite different from the privately held company. The public traded company is firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla, Delta Airline, etc. The function in the Corporate Finance is complicated from the regulatory compliance.
However, privately held firms are as challenging compared to public traded firms. Some privately held company is as large as a public traded company. For example, companies like Chick-fil-A, Dell, Pricewatercoopers (PWC), Publix, Deloitte, Enterprise, Fidelity, Meijer, Loves Travel Stops, etc. are all household name in U.S. The amount of audit to satisfy the bank can be arduous tasks for many corporate finance teams.
To be successful in Corporate Finance career path, consider obtaining two professional licenses that can position students into Chief Financial Officer. Certified Treasury Professional https://ctpcert.afponline.org/ or Financial Planning & Analysis Professional http://fpacert.afponline.org/.
Consumer Finance area has become very needed in the past decade or so due to the demand. Additionally, there is a shortage as Boomer generation leaving the industry. There are two paths in Consumer Finance 1) Institutions and 2) Retail.
In Consumer Finance Institutions there are a. Product Manufactures b. Institution Investors c. Investment Banker d. Customer Service and f. Centralized Financial Planning. In Product Manufactures further break into life, annuity, property & casualty products such as the Prudential and Statefarm. Mutual Funds companies such as Vanguard and Putnam. Well known Exchanged Traded Funds company like Blackrock. 401(k)/Pension platform like TIAA-CREF servicing medical and higher education professionals. Institution Investors would be like a Hedge Fund firm with top two U.S. firm like Bridgewater Associates and AQR Capital Management. Top three Investment bankers are JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Here is a link to investment banking career path.
In Consumer Finance Retail, there is a. insurance agencies b. Investment advisors and c. financial planning. The agents or advisors sell financial products that are affiliated with product manufacturers to consumers. When you get your auto insurance from Statefarm, that is an insurance agency. When you buy an annuity from Edward Jones, that is an advisor. When you need to get a comprehensive financial plan developed, you can buy service from Lincoln Financial independent advisor or TIAA-CREF retail advisors.
To succeed in the Consumer Finance, consider Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) https://www.cfainstitute.org/ or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) https://www.cfp.net/. CFA can be an investment banker that can cross between Corporate Finance and Consumer Finance.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of opportunities in Finance career path. Students can have a rewarding career when culture fit is right. I spent 15 year is the Corporate Financial System before I ventured into Consumer Finance specialized in succession planning for the privately held business. Perhaps I am one of the few that cross both Corporate and Consumer Finance. I am grateful that I had fabulous bosses in the past that shaped my career. If you are a Ball State University student and like to have a phone consultation, please schedule the meeting at https://chien-bsu.acuityscheduling.com/. Best of luck to you.
About Author: Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, PMP®; Chia-Li “like JOLLY,” Succession Strategist of Value Growth Institute, dedicated to helping private business owners increase their company equity value. She is the award-winning author of the books Show Me The Money and Work toward Reward. Chia-Li is an Instructor & CFP® Program Director at Ball State University and Adjunct Faculty of the American Management Association. Her blog and newsletter were named a Top Small Business Resource by the New York Times You’re the Boss blog. Schedule your appointment today!