Careers with a Finance Degree

Finance degree programs are designed to prepare you for a variety of careers in the professional world of finance.



With this degree, you would be prepared to work in the financial department of business enterprises; in investment management; in banking or other financial institutions; or in government agencies concerned with private finance.


As a graduate, you can choose to pursue a wide variety of careers in these fields, such as Investment Banker, Bank Manager or Chief Financial Officer.


Alternatively, you can decide to pursue careers outside of their field, because of the transferable skills you’ll gain. Whichever path you choose, your possible career paths are numerous.


This careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other helpful information related to these career paths. 





Skills You’ll Gain for Careers in Finance

Studies in this field can provide you with a set of employable skills that is specific to the subject matter. These skills apply to careers that are directly related to your degree:


• Knowledge of contemporary financial concepts, theories and analysis

• The ability to identify and analyze financial risk

• Ability to implement and manage resource allocation strategies

• Ability to gather, analyze, synthesize and report financial information

• Knowledge of general economic / financial interrelationships as they affect financial markets and business plans

• Ability to manage the assets and liabilities of a publicly owned business enterprise

• Ability to analyze and manage financial assets using modern portfolio theories

• Knowledge of the workings of capital markets, and the financial institutions that operate within those markets

• Ability to manage corporate assets and liabilities in an international environment 



Relevant Careers for a Finance Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying finance at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen occupations that we feel relate to a finance degree, either because the subject matter of the degree relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained by way of your schooling (not an inclusive list):






Bank Manager

Benefits Officer



Budget Analyst

Business Analyst

Business Valuator

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Chief Operating Officer (COO)


Commercial Realtor


Corporate Lawyer

Cost Estimator

Credit Analyst

Credit Counselor

Credit Manager

Director of Strategy

E-Commerce Manager

Electronic Data Processing Auditor


Estate Planner

Finance Assistant

Finance Manager

Financial Advisor

Financial Analyst

Financial Journalist

Financial Planner

Financial Trader

Forecast Analyst

Foreign Exchange Trader


Grant Writer

Hotel Manager

Insurance Agent

Insurance Underwriter

Intellectual Property Manager

International Bank Manager

International Business Analyst

International Trade Analyst

Investment Analyst

Investment Banker

Investment Banking Analyst

Investment Consultant

Investment Portfolio Manager

Investment Services Assistant


Loan Officer

Manufacturing Executive

Market Research Analyst

Market Researcher


Microfinance Project Officer

Payroll Supervisor

Pricing Analyst

Procurement Forester

Product Analyst

Project Supervisor

Real Estate Appraiser

Real Estate Developer


Restaurant Manager

Risk Analyst

Sales Representative

Small Business Owner

Sports Facility Manager

• Stockbroker

Strategic Planner

Sustainable Housing Policy Associate

Trading Assistant

Treasury Manager

University Professor

Venture Capitalist

Wedding Planner

Wire Transfer Specialist


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



What Types of Employers Hire Finance Grads?

Jobs for finance graduates can be found in both the private and public sectors of industry. The majority of graduates find jobs in the Commercial Banking Industry.


Alternatively, many choose to begin their finance careers in corporations, the insurance industry, or other financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. If you are looking to work in finance you graduate, you should look for work with the following types of employers (please note, this is not a comprehensive list):


• Banks, credit unions and financial institutions

• Colleges and universities

• Insurance companies

• Environmental protection agencies

• Public and private research organizations

• Financial software solution providers

• Financial and management consultancies

• International aid organizations

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government agencies

• National embassies and foreign affairs offices

• National treasuries

• Newspapers and other media

• Non-profit organizations

• Oil, gas and energy companies

• Trust companies

• Utility companies

• Virtually any medium to large sized organization in any industry


Please Note: Some jobs with these employers may require an advanced degree, or a specified amount of previous work experience.





Transferrable Skills You’ll Gain

In terms of leveraging your finance degree into a job outside of the field, it’s not about the type of degree you have, but the skills you’ve gained while earning it.


Because of the transferrable skills a major in this field can teach you, you’ll make a competent employee in almost any industry. And after all, to many employers, the skill set you bring to the table is much more important than the specific field your degree is in.


Transferrable skills you can gain include:


• Written an verbal communications skills

• Qualitative researching abilities

• Time management skills

• Ability to operate within strict timelines

• Ability to think critically

• Ability to recognize quality information



Typical Salary Level of a Finance Grad

The salary you could earn as a finance graduate first entering the workforce can vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The type of job you have, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have


Salary - Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $52,276 CAD* is the average salary earned by Business & Commerce graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2010.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in the Business & Commerce, not specifically for Finance graduates. Unfortunately, similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.






Gain Career Experience Before You Graduate

It can be difficult to get a job without experience once you’ve graduated. Working in an internship, co-op or practicum position is the best way to gain experience for a career in finance while you are still a student. In addition to adding to your resume, these types of work-experience programs have many benefits:


Meeting other people who share the same professional interests

If you are lucky enough to land a work experience opportunity in a career path related to your finance degree, meeting others who share that same interests and passions can be highly beneficial.


• You can see them operate on daily basis

• You can ask them what it is they like about what they do

• You can learn how they got where they

• You can get idea of the dynamics of the environment they work in.


Making your own conclusions about a career in your field

Have you heard that the first few years of a career in finance are dull and unrewarding? Are you worried about pursuing a career in finance during uncertain economic times?


If you have preconceptions of careers in finance that you are interested in, utilize an internship or co-op opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like to work in the finance career of your choice. You will be able to talk to professionals who have been in the industry for varying amounts of time, and through many different economic climates.


Getting your foot in the door with an organization

If you are able to land an internship or co-op work experience position, you have landed an opportunity to make a great impression on an employer who may hire you after graduation.


If you do a great job and show an interest in your work, chances are the employer will offer you a job when you graduate. It makes sense for the employers, because they will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit someone else. If they don’t choose to hire you, they will likely at least write you a letter of recommendation if you’ve done well.


Staying ahead of the competition

Many finance graduates are disappointed to find that despite the fact they have a degree and have sent their resume to every business in town, they are not getting any callbacks for interviews.


These disappointed finance graduates are likely competing against other graduates who have the same degree on their resume with the notable addition of relevant work experience. Finance graduates with relevant work experience will have an edge up on the competition, because employers will be anxious to invest in employees who can hit the ground running.



How Do I Find an Internship?

Your college or university may or may not require you to participate in an internship or other form of work experience program. If it is an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other Business/Commerce department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.


Please Note: If seeking an internship from an outside source, be cautious, as many internship opportunities operate in the grey area of employment law, and are designed to use students as free labour in order to perform mundane tasks.



Finance Scholarships

If you’re a finance major looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to finance, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations

To find out more about careers directly related to your finance degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Association for Financial Professionals

Association of Canadian Financial Officers

Canadian Securities Institute

Finance and Investment Students' Association

Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada


United States

American Bankers Association

Association for Financial Professionals

Financial Management Association

Financial Planning Association



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