Career Center

 

 

 

CAREER TRACKS

Finance

 Get Started

Whether you are just starting to explore, or have committed to a career in Finance this Career Track offers tips, tools, and action steps to move your career search forward.

The first step in beginning your career journey is to assess your interests, skills, strengths, goals, values, and self to better understand your story and give you career direction.  Then, we can help you reflect on your story and create career exploration goals.

Interests: Know your interests, as they may help to align you with organizations and possible job titles representing a match based on your likes/dislikes. Use these tools below to clarify your interests and possible career ideas based on interests.

  • Career Cruising - Career Cruising can help you assess your interests, values and skills and recommend career options, graduate programs or career paths that may be a fit for you.

  • MyNextMove - Explore career options and interests by keyword or industry, or take their short assessment to find potential career matches based on interests.

  • Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - The SII is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to people in general and to people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.

Values: Know your values, as they may help to align you with potential work environments and organizations that match your passion(s) and core belief(s). Use these tools below to clarify your values and identify possible career ideas based on your values.

  • Imperative - This on-line tool will help you evaluate how you can bring meaning and authenticity to your work, as you identify your passion and core values, around work. The initial assessment is free, and can be brought to an appointment with us, for more conversation.

Skills/Strengths: Know your skills and strengths, as they may help to align you with well suited job titles, work tasks and work environments. Use these tools below to clarify your skills/strengths and possible career ideas based on your talents and skills.

  • Career Onestop - Take this short skills assessment to learn more about your skills and how they match up to potential career ideas.

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. It is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding personality differences and is widely used to understand people in terms of their decision-making styles, preferences for communication and work environments, and for career development and exploration.

Want some coaching on where to begin?  Not sure which Career Track is right for you?  Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”. We’ll be happy to talk more about your Career Track options and explore your interests and skills together, in a coaching relationship.

 Explore Your Track

Sometimes referred to broadly as banking and financial services, the field of finance is vast and multifaceted. Students attracted to a career in finance are often interested in managing currency and capital, understanding how markets are made, helping an organization increase profits/decrease losses, and examining what factors impact a global economy.  

Majors areas of the financial sector include:

  • Accounting
  • Commercial and Investment Banking
  • Hedge Funds
  • Investment and Wealth Management
  • Private Equity
  • Sales and Trading

A detailed look at each of these areas can be further explored on Vault.com

Here is some information to get you started:

Finance is a field centered on numbers! As such, anyone exploring this area as a career path, should first have some quantitative ability and interest. Other relevant skills/abilities include:

  • Curiosity for how markets are made
  • Understanding financial concepts (eg. profits, expenditures, assets, mergers, etc.) that increases with experience/exposure to the field
  • Communication and ability to work in diverse teams
  • Project Leadership
  • Comfort with quick mental math
  • Time management and delegation
  • Resourcefulness and comfort with calculated risk
  • Attention to detail
  • Self-motivation and ability to thrive in competition
  • Calculations and formulas in Excel

It is helpful to remember that finance is both a function and an industry and a financial position need not only be set on Wall Street.  When exploring positions, also consider the organization’s size and setting.

An entry level role in finance is most often referred to simply as a “Analyst.” Other entry level titles include:

  • Cost Analyst/Consultant
  • Portfolio/Fund/Asset Manager
  • Financial Sales/Planner
  • Retail, Commercial, Corporate, or Investment Banker
  • Trader/Junior Trader/Trader Trainee
  • Junior Risk Analyst
  • Sales Strategist
  • Wealth Management Advisor
  • Business Development Associate

Want to understand what the major questions facing this field are, and if those are of interest to you?? Make sure to add a few of these titles to your regular reading list:

  • The Economist
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Morning Brew
  • Bloomberg
  • Investopedia

Armed with some background information and ideas, connecting with professionals can offer next level insights and answer more specific questions.

Networking Resources on The Career Center website

  • Campus Resources 
    • Ready to explore your interest in finance further? Classes with a focus on math, statistics, accounting, economics, and other quantitative concepts are a great place to start. You may also consider doing some personal investing to better understand the markets.
    • There are many student organizations on campus with finance as a focus. Below are some groups you may consider joining. See Maize Pages for a complete list of UM student organizations:
      • Michigan Business Club (MBC)
      • Michigan Economics Society
      • Michigan Alternative Investments
      • Michigan Interactive Investments
      • Michigan Commodities Group
      • Hail Investment Group
      • Business Professionals of America
      • Apex Trading Group
      • Diversified Investment Group
      • Global Investments Club
      • Wolverine Capital Investments
  • LinkedIn Groups
    • LinkedIn Groups - Beyond just joining Linked-In, groups are a great way to expand ones network, contribute to a community, and get questions answered.  Checkout these groups geared toward Finance.  See what the members are doing, participate in discussions, uncover resources, and even ask your questions.
  • Professional Associations
    • Want to know more about the "big picture" of the finance industry, what issues are trending, where and how people do their work in this field? Professional assosciations offer great insight. 
      • Association for Financial Professionals
      • Society of Financial Service Professionals
      • American Bankers Association
      • National Bankers Association
      • National Organization of Investment Professionals
      • Managed Funds Association

Get Help

Want some coaching around navigating your Career Track?  Interested in talking with a Career Coach about your exploration of a Career Track?

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Explore Your Career Track; Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend a Career Crawl/Workshop related to your Career Track.

3,2,1 

You have been exploring your Career Track, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your career exploration questions.

3   -  What are three take-aways from your exploration of this Career Track?

2   -  What are two questions that you have/ what are you questioning now?

1   -  What is 1 specific action step you plan to take, to answer your 2 questions?

 Launch Your Job or Internship Search

Internships are essential

While early experience is key in any industry, an internship in finance is essential for those hoping to land an offer upon graduation. Internships are the primary pipeline for full time employment, especially at large banks.  Financial recruitment happens almost simultaneously with the start of the fall term.  Firms traditionally give full time offers to their preferred intern candidates prior to the start of the fall term.  

Start early - in the year and in your time as a student

If you are a first or second year student, attending information sessions hosted by companies on campus (listed on Handshake) will acquaint yourself with the financial recruiting process. Dress for these events is business casual. Come prepared to introduce yourself to company reps and learn their about their hiring needs. Be on the lookout: some sessions are focused specifically on underclassmen. Large banks often also have programs targeting first and second year students which might be described as “exploration” or “first look” weekends. Many firms are increasingly open to sophomore interns.

Juniors and seniors planning to engage in on-campus recruiting should start preparing during the prior summer. Use the time to engage with professionals, know more about the industry and the role you see yourself playing. Practice interview questions, be aware of early deadlines, and know which companies are coming when.

Condensed hiring cycle

For some students it can feel like all the financial companies come in the same 4 week period of the fall term. And this is somewhat true! Organizations are aware of their peers’ presence on campus and do what they can to gain a competitive advantage on candidates. Most banks will host several on-campus events, a first-round on-campus interview, and final rounds on-site at their office. These finals rounds are often referred to as “Super Days’ where top candidates are flown out to be considered for positions.

On-campus vs. off-campus hiring cycles

While on-campus recruiting plays a heavy role in hiring for the financial industry, it is important to remember this still represents only a fraction of the available positions in this sector. Small firms without the staff to travel to campus may hire on a more as needed basis. Networking and leveraging connections from prior internships can be especially important for students looking to work for organizations with less structured hiring cycles.

A referral from a contact goes a long way when looking for a job. Utilize the groups you have been contributing to on LinkedIn as one valuable referral source.

  • Wall Street Oasis - industry specific job content, much of it is free but note the job board is a paid subscription
  • Onewire

Your resume should be neat, well-organized, and no more than a page. Be sure to emphasize experiences that speak to the necessary and relevant skills for the position. Want more tips? Check out this video on resume writing from The Association for Finance Professionals (http://www.afponline.org/pub/res/topics/AFP_Topics__Career_Development.html)

The following resume is from a Michigan graduate who is now working in this area.  This are the resumes they used as a senior, which helped them secure interviews and ultimately employment in the field.

pdf icon Download PDF

Interviews for financial positions are likely to include a mix of both behavioral and technical/math questions. Trading firms often also include a math assessment as part of their interview process. Students may also occasionally see business cases included in the evaluation.

For tips on Nailing 9 Wall Street Interview Questions and other Finance Interview hurdles, check out Vault.com


Visit The Career Center website for more information on resumes, interviewing, and networking.

Get Help

Want some coaching around launching your Career Track?  Interested in gaining experience including securing Internships or looking for Jobs?  

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Launch Your Career Track; Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend a Career Crawl/Workshop related to your Career Track.

3,2,1

You have been launching your job/internship search, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your job/internship search questions.

3   -  What are three take-aways from exploring the resources in "Launching Your Job/Internship Search"?

2   -  What are two questions that you still have/what are you questioning now?

1   -  What is 1 specific action step to help answer your 2 questions?

 

 

Photo Credit: Tiago Gerken