Fortunately, there are many ways to specialize a financial degree. This is because the worlds of finance and accounting have many fields that need specific training and knowledge. Therefore, students must simply choose a school that offers the financial specializations program of their choice. Below introduces four of the most popular ways to specialize a degree in finance.
The easiest way to specialize a finance degree is to choose accounting. Accountants are widely sought after financial experts who work in every industry. Having a financial degree with accounting specialization is a great way to offer employers both skill sets. For example, finance degrees teach statistics, financial markets and micro- and macroeconomics. However, accounting classes will include taxation, financial reporting and financial knowledge management. In the end, the graduate will be prepared to make sensible finance decisions, uphold high ethical values and properly maintain financial documentation. Most accountants obtain Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credentials, especially if they are required to submit signed financial documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A corporate finance specialization will prepare the graduate to start their career as a corporate accountant and work their way to to being a corporate finance manager. As a corporate accountant, the graduate will prepare and document multiple financial forms. A corporate finance specialization will train the graduate to properly analyze data, manage accounts, maximize profits and minimize costs. They will contribute to process improvements, strategic planning and performance management. Corporate finance heavily relies on accounting information systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Financial grads will most likely move on to acting as a corporate finance manager that executes recommendations from reports and information from accountants.
Investment is understandably one of the most popular concentrations for finance students. The most popular concentrations include investment banking and securities management. This is because graduates will go on to become financial advisors, investment bankers and hedge fund managers. All of these positions enjoy high salaries and exciting business opportunities. As an added benefit, investment specializations normally include an investment internship. An investment specialization will allow the graduate to start entry-level work as a floor broker and eventually work up to a financial manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that entry-level securities, commodities, or financial service agent jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s will be necessary for career advancement. Investment brokers and bankers must be registered as firm representative with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and pass a number of exams in order to obtain an investment license. These include FINRA Series 6, 67 and 73.
As mentioned above, the BLS recommends a master’s degree for obtaining a higher level financial job. An MBA with concentration in finance is a great way to specialize a financial degree. Students must have a bachelor’s degree that includes coursework in advanced statistics, economics, calculus and financial accounting. The MBA will cover advanced investment topics, such as bond, equity and fixed income markets. It will also cover financial economics, quantitative portfolio management and capital structure theory and budgeting analysis. BA programs specializing in finance will cover complex topics that prepare the graduate to excel in financial operations and management. Classes will include game theory, hedge funds, venture capital, bankruptcy management and mergers and acquisitions.
Related Resource: Specialize a Marketing Degree
Clearly, there are many academic paths that financial students can take, including accounting, corporate finance and investment banking. Students who choose to specialize a financial degree will not regret this smart career choice.