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Why Study a Finance Related Degree?

Feeling a little perplexed about which subject you should dedicate the next three or four years of your life to studying? Alas, it’s not always an easy choice! If you’ve got that little voice in your head and that gut feeling in your stomach telling you you’re destined for a finance career, it really is worth considering studying a finance related degree. But why should you?

Understanding of the financial markets

Commercial awareness and knowledge of how the financial world goes round is a big must for all employers in the finance industry on the lookout for their next graduate intake.

A degree such as business studies, accountancy, finance or economics will give you a solid grounding in how the financial markets work. It will put you at an advantage, particularly when you get into internships in the industry with its expensive jargon and complicated concepts.

Quantitative skills

The ability to grapple with statistics and possess quantitative skills is a general requirement for a number of roles in the finance industry, from actuarial jobs to financial analysis, technology roles and data analysis.

A finance related degree and subjects such as physics, engineering and computer science usually have a component of quantitative skills development – something that’s instantly appealing to employers.

Aptitude for a numerical subject

A knack for numbers, puzzle solving and logical thinking form a huge part of many roles in the finance industry. You won’t be able to avoid calculations, statistics and number crunching in a finance related degree, so prospective employers can already be safe in the knowledge that you’re familiar with key things like this.

Specific skills

Some roles, such as within technology for instance, cry out for a specific skills set that their graduate intake must categorically possess before they get started. They may ask for knowledge of certain coding languages or applications for example.

Some finance subjects may provide the opportunity to get to grips with things like this. Computer science and some engineering and physics courses definitely will, and banks, finance firms and professional services firms alike will certainly keep a beady eye out for graduates from these subjects.

Placement years

Never underestimate the sheer force of a placement year! A sandwich placement is a brilliant way to really crank up your commercial awareness and get ahead of the game developing some of the specific skills finance employers are looking for. It’s quite common for business and finance related courses to have sandwich years as an option – and it’s often possible with a non-finance related course too – so check this out when you’re doing your course research.

Not keen on a finance related undergraduate degree?

Of course, it’s not 100% essential to have studied a finance related degree to find your way into the industry. You’re going to spend three or four years on the same subject, so best be sure that you’re following your genuine interests…or else you could be in for a pretty dull time study wise!

Finance career areas such as accountancy are not exclusive; you will be able to get into it no matter what your degree discipline is. However, be wary: if numbers and logical thinking isn’t your strong point then you should think twice before pouring your heart and soul into some areas of this industry. You may be better off investigating roles in HR, research, marketing or sales, rather than the serious number-cruncher positions which need top maths brains on a daily basis.

By Jos Weale, Editor, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com