Have you recently been considering obtaining a finance degree? Maybe you’ve always found jobs in finance intriguing and would like to pursue them, but before you do so, you want to know the answer to one question, “Is finance a hard major?”
Without further ado, let us answer that question and discuss the interesting details of finance as a major and how you can succeed in it.
What Is a Finance Degree?
A finance degree essentially equips students with a deep understanding of the acquisition and management of investments and money. After acquiring a degree in finance, you will have learned all you need to know to succeed in trading, banking, and economics.
What Do You Learn in a Finance Degree?
As a finance major, you will have obtained knowledge of learning social, entrepreneurial, and economic strategies to give investment advice to your clients and make financial plans for them. Through problem-solving skills, investing, budgeting, and financial planning, you will be able to work with different businesses to design their financial operations.
Is Finance a Hard Major?
Now that you have a better understanding of what a finance degree is and what you will learn should you choose to pursue it, you’ve arrived at the major question: Is finance a hard major?
Well, like any other degree, finance has its challenges and requirements. Some might be easier for you, and some might take up more of your time to finish. To answer this question more thoroughly, let us discuss three main points you should consider when considering finance as your future major and career.
Finance degree entry requirements
Each university will have different requirements that you will need to complete before applying for a finance degree. However, the basic entry requirements are a solid academic background, especially in mathematics, and skills in other subjects such as English, accounting, mathematics, and communications.
Finance degree curriculum
First and foremost, as an introduction to finance, you’ll deal with foundational math and classes in economics. You’ll have courses in economics that will help you gain a better understanding of it and get the most out of your major.
Courses like business ethics and law, accounting, management, corporate valuation, international banking, principles of marketing, and many more, are all courses that you may deal with throughout your years of pursuing a finance degree.
Do you need exceptional math skills?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be incredibly skilled at mathematics in order to succeed in finance or even get a degree in this field. You will, however, need to have a basic understanding of mathematical fields such as probability, statistics, algebra, mental arithmetic, and trigonometry.
Which Skills Do You Need to Succeed in Finance?
Any degree you choose to pursue will require you to have some hard and soft skills to succeed. And finance is no exception. We’ve compiled a list of four of the many vital skills you will need to acquire in order to succeed in finance.
Nowadays, solely knowing the core of finance and business will not be enough for you to succeed. You will also need to think on your feet and find solutions to any problem that might arise. Whether you’re finding a creative solution for your client’s tax problems or modifying the financial plans of a business in order for it to thrive, solving problems within a company will definitely help you grow in your career.
Financial planning skills
Financial planning is another crucial skill you need to master in order to make a name for yourself in the financial industry. Financial planning is essentially looking at your client’s financial goals and helping them create a thorough financial plan on how to achieve said goals.
If you’re skilled at managing and developing a financial plan through your client’s income, investments, and expenses, you will not only hopefully have a client for life, but you’ll also get great recommendations that will definitely help you succeed in your career.
As mentioned above, a lot of your job will entail financial planning to help your clients. This also means that you will need to make smart decisions on how to best weigh out their options and make appropriate decisions for the client’s financial situation. Decisions such as how much or when to save and spend money, comparing prices before purchasing something, and planning for their long-term savings, such as their retirement, are all up to you. For this reason, you will need to make the best decisions possible by doing a lot of research and using all you’ve learned in university to make the best out of your client’s situation.
Cash flow management
And last but certainly not least, a non-negotiable skill in order to succeed in finance is cash flow management. A business uses cash flow management in order to track its business funds and manage its finances. Cash flow management is monitoring, optimizing, and analyzing the cash receipts that a company gets after subtracting the cash expenses. So if you’re skilled at cash flow management, you can help your company make profitable strategies and avoid financial loss.
Benefits of a Finance Degree
Getting to work for a wide range of companies: A significant benefit to getting a finance degree is that your employer could potentially be any business needing financial planning. The good news is that most jobs only require a bachelor’s degree in finance. So you could be working for the likes of many important companies and helping them grow without spending extra years obtaining a higher degree.
Learning the most important soft skills: Aside from learning in-depth about courses such as data analytics and investment strategies, you’ll also be fortunate enough to learn extremely valuable soft skills. Problem-solving skills, research skills, verbal and written communication skills, collaboration, and many more, are all fundamental skills in order to succeed in finance and any other job.
Being part of an industry that is expecting major growth: According to the BLS, jobs in finance and business are expected to grow 7% by 2028, which is much faster than the average of other occupations. There are expected to be 591,800 new jobs in finance and business. So your love of finance will also be rewarded over the years, and you’ll hopefully land a job you love soon after graduating.
The Bottom Line
We hope that by the end of this article, you’ll have learned more about the exciting and rewarding world of finance. As we mentioned before, although it might seem intimidating to pursue a degree in finance, this should not discourage you. Whatever requires a little more hard work is always worth it in the end.
FAQs About a Degree in Finance
What kind of job opportunities are available for finance graduates?
Finance is a broad field, providing graduates with opportunities in a variety of sectors. Graduates can work in corporate finance, commercial banking, investment banking, financial planning, insurance, money management, and real estate, among other sectors. They can also work in both public and private sectors, and for non-profit organizations. Roles include financial analyst, financial planner, investment banker, loan officer, and risk management specialist.
How long does it take to get a finance degree?
Typically, a bachelor’s degree in finance takes four years of full-time study to complete. However, the duration can vary based on the program’s requirements and the student’s pace of study. Some universities also offer accelerated programs that allow students to complete their degree in less time. For further studies, a master’s degree in finance typically takes one to two years, and a PhD can take four to five years.
Are there online programs available for a finance degree?
Yes, many universities offer online programs for finance degrees. These programs are often flexible and allow students to study at their own pace. They can be an excellent option for those who are working or have other commitments. Online programs typically cover the same material as on-campus programs and offer the same quality of education.
Is a finance degree worth it?
This depends on an individual’s career goals. A finance degree can open up a wide range of career opportunities in various industries. It can also lead to high-paying jobs, as many roles in the finance sector are well-compensated. However, it requires a commitment of time and money, and the coursework can be challenging. It is recommended to consider personal interests, career goals, and the potential return on investment before deciding to pursue a finance degree.
What are the differences between a degree in finance and a degree in accounting?
While both finance and accounting deal with the management of money, they focus on different aspects of it. Finance is more about planning and directing the financial resources of a company, while accounting is about recording and reporting on financial transactions. Finance professionals often work on strategic planning, investment decisions, and risk management, while accountants focus on creating financial statements, tax preparation, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.
Do I need any specific certification after completing a finance degree?
While not always necessary, certain finance roles may require or prefer specific certifications. For example, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) can be beneficial for roles in investment banking or analysis. Financial planners often get Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credentials. The need for certifications can depend on your specific career goals within finance.
Is a Master’s degree in finance necessary for a successful career in finance?
A Master’s degree in finance or an MBA with a concentration in finance can certainly enhance your career prospects, particularly for senior or specialized roles. However, it is not a prerequisite for many entry-level and mid-level finance positions. Many successful finance professionals have built rewarding careers with just a bachelor’s degree in finance, coupled with relevant experience and skills.
What is the difference between a finance degree and an economics degree?
While both finance and economics involve the study of money management and the economy, they have different focuses. A finance degree typically emphasizes practical skills in managing money, making investment decisions, and understanding financial markets.
An economics degree, on the other hand, delves deeper into theories and models of how economies operate, focusing on areas like microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics.
Can I work internationally with a finance degree?
Yes, a finance degree can open doors to international career opportunities. Many multinational corporations and international financial institutions seek finance graduates for various roles. Knowledge of international finance, multiple languages, and cultural fluency can also enhance prospects in this regard.
What is the average salary for a finance degree graduate?
The average salary for finance degree graduates can vary widely depending on the specific job role, the individual’s level of experience, the location, and the size and type of the employer. However, finance is known to be a lucrative field, and many finance roles pay above-average salaries. According to recent data, finance graduates earn a median annual wage of $82K.