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5 career paths for finance professionals

Sep 2, 2022
5 careers for finance professionals to consider

By Arial Starks

There are a couple of ways business school can prepare someone to enter the world of finance. Some make a career switch by pursuing an MBA with a concentration in finance to break into the industry. Others take a more direct route by earning a Master of Science in Finance after completing their undergraduate degree. Cherrie Wilkerson, Faculty Director, MS Finance Program, and Jack Eyre, Director, MS Finance Program, break down 5 career paths finance professionals can explore after graduation.

Jack Eyre

Jack Eyre

1. Investment Banking

One of the most popular career paths MS Finance graduates pursue is investment banking. Investment bankers are often client-facing financial advisors to large corporations. These professionals help clients grow financially through facilitating financial reorganizations, mergers, and acquisitions. 

“Often students will use investment banking as a vehicle for a couple years to then get into greater ventures like private equity, venture capital, and tech,” said Eyre.

56 percent of the Vanderbilt MS Finance class of 2021 went into investment banking after graduation.   

2. Financial Consulting

Cherrie Wilkerson

The Vanderbilt MBA program with a finance concentration is a great avenue for finance professionals to begin a career in financial consulting. Whether financial consultants and/or advisors work with individuals or organizations, their objective is to assist clients with managing and making decisions concerning their finances. 10 percent of the Vanderbilt MS Finance class of 2021 went into the financial consulting industry, while 19% of the MBA class of 2022 landed jobs in financial services.

3. Investment Research

An MBA or MS Finance degree will equip finance professionals with the skills needed for a career in investment research. Investment researchers typically work with large corporations, where they study and evaluate a client’s financial statements and economic trends. Jobs within this industry, such as equity analytics, can require professionals to present their findings with the public via interviews and special reports, so excellent written and oral communication skills are essential to their success. 7 percent of the Vanderbilt MS Finance class of 2021 works in investment research. 

4. Business Analytics

Earning a finance degree provides finance professionals with the tools they need for a career in business analytics, like a strong foundation in statistics. Business analysts help their clients identify areas within their business that can be improved through building models to predict future business outcomes. This industry requires professionals to have a solid understanding of market forces.

“Students leave the MS Finance program with the quantitative ability to analyze any situation, regardless of what field you are in, so those skills like data analytics are broadly applicable,” said Eyre. 

5. Entrepreneurship

One way finance professionals can really get creative with their career path is by creating one. While it is not required that you earn a business degree to be an entrepreneur, business school equips entrepreneurs with the foundational business principles they need to successfully launch and run a business. Vanderbilt MS Finance and MBA graduates have gone on to launch their own ventures. 

“If businesses fail, it’s often because of cash flow or because they don’t meet the capital they need to stay afloat,” Wilkerson said. “Being astute on the finance side of things can really help you avoid those big pitfalls.”

To learn more about the industries Vanderbilt MS Finance graduates enter, click here. 

To learn more about the industries Vanderbilt MBA graduates enter, click here

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