What do you study in finance?

The business world is an intense and competitive field. A degree in finance can help develop skills that can be used in a number of business situations and jobs. Graduates with a degree in finance will be able to work for a number of private, public and nonprofit organizations. Higher level degrees with a focus on finance, like an MBA or a master’s degree in finance, will set you apart in a aggressive industry.

The education received through a BA in Finance program helps to establish a strong foundation for students to take into careers. Some tracks that finance majors often choose to focus on include International Finance, Capital Markets, Risk Management and Corporate Finance. These tracks explore a niche in the finance industry and create a well rounded finance and business education. More broadly, a finance degree will teach students to analyze the fluctuations and changes in the growth and flow of money, the value of money, and return of investments. People working in finance usually use this information to help understand the risks of their investments, the best places to invest their money and for how long, the best rate for a loan, and even the best place to get insurance.

Some classes taken over the course of the degree to help get to this point might include:

  • Personal Finance
  • Accounting
  • Fundamentals of Marketing
  • Principles of Business
  • Ethics
  • Business Marketplace
  • Statistics
  • Organizational Change

But more important in some ways than what classes a student takes are the skills and competence a finance major develops over the course of their program. Not only should each student be learning the basics of budgets, the money market, credit analysis, the global economy, loans, and investments, each student should be learning how to put that degree to work for them. What are their strengths and interests? Would they be more suited to try teaching finance than practicing it at a firm or independently? Finding out how their new knowledge fits with their personality is one part of success.

Those who graduate from a finance program often find themselves working in careers like banking, financial planning, investment planning, money managing, insurance and real estate. Anyone who is going into finance should be sure to take a combination of classes – from their core finance classes to minor classes to social science and psychology classes – to help them build the perfect skill set for the job they’re trying to acquire. For instance, a financial planner often works with people, helping them decide how to manage their assets, like their retirement or savings. While a solid understanding of finances is crucial to that planner’s career, they also need to have a sound set of people skills and ability to build relationships. A good college program – a good career counselor available at a college, perhaps, will be able to help student’s see the importance of building both skills.

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