Majoring in Finance
The Finance Profession
While accounting is the study of how money is tracked, finance is the study of how money is managed. A degree in business administration -finance concentration may be good preparation for use in a variety of fields including investment banking, consulting, corporate finance, investment management, investment advisory services, commercial banking, insurance and real estate
It is important to note, finance professionals also have the opportunity to build credentials through the completion of professional designations and licenses in investments, banking, insurance and real estate - furthering their career opportunities and long-term earnings potential. Common licenses include Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).1
Skills and Characteristics of Finance Professionals
According to Dr. John Halstead, Lead Instructor at Colorado Technical University (CTU), “Finance majors tend to be motivated. The material can be challenging. Successful students have a willingness to work hard.” Dr. Halstead also stresses, “An individual who majors in finance should enjoy quantitative work.”
Though finance is a separate field of study from accounting, finance professionals should have an aptitude for numbers and basic accounting. In finance, you are managing (and spending) others’ money. This is a high level of responsibility and it means you have to have command over the math necessary to understand budgets and a familiarity with the accounting regulations.2
Students who do well in finance programs also typically have the ability to think logically and analyze vast quantities of financial information to draw appropriate conclusions.3 For example, a finance professional may be called upon to understand the financial implications of a company’s complex structure, identify cost-cutting measures, or distinguish revenue growth opportunities.
Finally, regardless of whether you’re an investment banker or a financial analyst, communication skills are essential. When you are managing others’ money, trust and rapport is critical. An easy way to build this trust and rapport is by communicating clearly when providing financial advice. In fact, many companies hire finance professionals who have the proven ability to make complex industry language easy to digest by those with limited knowledge.4
Finance in the Classroom
A business administration - finance concentration degree program is designed to offer students the foundational knowledge and skills to begin in the business finance industry and focuses specifically on theories and practices related to financial accounting, investment allocation and risk management. Finance concentration students have the opportunity to develop their understanding of marketing, international business practices and international finance. Course content for business administration - finance concentration majors covers a wide range of topics including banking, analytics, and business development. There is also a great deal of computer work and an emphasis on learning technology applications for finance.
Types of Finance Degrees
Associate's Degree in Business Administration – Finance Concentration
An associate's degree in business administration – finance concentration is an efficient way to build a foundation in the fundamentals of financial services including banking, insurance options, tax planning and investment strategy. Students receive instruction in accounting principles, money markets, investment strategies and global economics – all geared toward real application in the business world.
Curriculums will vary from one program to the next, but possible courses include Personal Finance, Principles of Finance, Money and Banking, Business Statistics, Commercial Credit and Principles of Insurance.16 Students who earn an associate’s degree in business administration–finance can apply for professions that include: Brokerage Clerk, Bookkeeping Clerk and Stock Broker.5 For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for stockbrokers is projected to increase by 10% between 2014 and 2024.6
An associate's degree can also be a building block for a bachelor’s degree. In many instances, earning an associate's degree means you may have satisfied most of the general education requirements necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration - Finance Concentration
A bachelor of science in business administration - finance concentration degree program is designed to provide students the foundational knowledge and skills to begin in the business finance industry. A concentration in finance focuses specifically on theories and practices related to financial accounting, investment allocation and risk management. Students in business administration – finance concentration programs have the opportunity to develop their understanding of marketing, international business practices and international finance. The curriculum often covers a wide range of topics including banking, analytics, and business development.
A bachelor’s degree in business administration - finance concentration coursework is designed to provide a solid foundation of essential business administration concepts, theories and practices. Courses in a business administration–finance program typically include Accounting, Global Managerial Economics, Business Law, Spreadsheet Applications, Financial Statement Analysis, Money and Capital Markets, Investments and Risk Management.
After a student has earned a bachelor’s degree, he or she may consider pursuing an advanced degree such as a master’s degree. Most master’s degree students specialize in a field of study related to their bachelor’s degree.
Master’s Degree in Business Administration–Finance Concentration
Master’s degree students usually have at least a couple of years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree. Master's degree students typically study statistics, financial economics, corporate finance, accounting and other subjects to fine-tune their tangible skills.7 Students with these skills are currently in high demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in the area of finance is projected to grow 7% by the year 202417.
When you pursue a master’s degree in business administration–finance concentration, you’ll study a curriculum that’s built on a core set of business administration principles to learn how to evaluate and implement industry-tested financial practices. You’ll further develop your critical and creative thinking skills when assessing and analyzing financial information. Master’s business administration-finance coursework provides a broad foundation of essential business administration concepts, theories and practices.
Core courses in a master’s business administration–finance program typically include Applied Managerial Accounting, Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making, Strategic Human Capital Management, Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Portfolio Management and Financial Management for Multinational Enterprises. Professionals holding a master’s degree in finance typically pursue careers such as Investment Banking Consultant, Management Consultant, Financial Analyst, Portfolio Manager and, ultimately, Chief Financial Officer.8
While a master’s degree is not a prerequisite for a doctoral degree, it can certainly help you prepare intellectually for a doctoral degree program. It can also strengthen your doctoral program application, especially if you are changing your course of study from that of your undergraduate degree.
Doctoral Degree in Business Administration - Finance
As the highest achievement in business education, earning a doctoral degree in business administration–finance concentration is designed to provide students with the opportunity to become experts in the theoretical and empirical aspects of modern and global finance and economics. Graduates of doctoral business administration-finance compliance programs have an in depth education in statistics, financial mathematics and investments. Students also hone their understanding of corporate finance, financial markets and products.9
A doctoral degree in business administration-finance program is a research-driven course of study that usually leads to an upper-level academic and research career. Graduates of a doctoral degree in business administration–finance program should be equipped to pursue high-level positions, and often seek teaching positions in colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for business school professors is projected to grow around 9% between 2014 and 2024.10 Career options available to graduates with a doctoral degree in the field of finance include Private Consultant, Corporate Financial Consultant, Lead Commerce Researcher, Professor of Finance and Government Financial Researcher.11
Careers in Finance
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for financial operations professionals is projected to grow eight percent from 2014 to 2024, which translates into 632,400 new jobs - about as fast as the average for all occupations.12
Popular professions in Finance include:
Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors help people manage their finances by giving advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college planning, estate planning, taxes and retirement. Responsibilities may include researching investment opportunities and monitoring clients’ financial accounts to determine whether adjustments are necessary to improve portfolio performance or accommodate life changes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of opportunities for personal financial advisors is projected to grow 30% by 2024.13
Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals to make smart investment decisions. They typically work in banks, pension funds, mutual finds, securities firms, insurance companies and other businesses where they assess the performance of stocks, bonds and other types of investments, preparing reports and making recommendations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that opportunities for financial analysts are projected to grow 12% between now and 2024.14
Financial managers are responsible for an organization’s financial wellbeing. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies to meet long-term financial goals. Responsibilities may include analyzing market trends to identify investment opportunities and maximize profits as well as reviewing company activity to reduce costs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for financial managers are projected to grow by 7% between now and 2024.15
Studying Finance at CTU
U.S. News and World Report ranked CTU’s online bachelor degree programs among its list for the Best Online Programs for 2017. Our ACBSP – accredited curriculum balances business fundamentals with real world finance principles including financial accounting, investment allocation and risk management.
More detail is available about CTU’s BSBA–Finance concentration program
Related programs you may also want to explore:
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Master of Business Administration–Finance Concentration