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What Career Options are Available for Finance Majors?
Delaware is one of the smallest states in the nation, but its businesses make a huge impact on the world. Since the state has generous tax laws, many firms choose to incorporate under their jurisdiction. Most credit cards are based in Delaware, and many wealthy people choose to have bank accounts there.
In fact, the finance and insurance industry is Delaware's largest sector. Despite Delaware's small size, their finance and insurance industry is the 22nd largest nationwide. Its other top industries such as real estate, professional services, and manufacturing all rank at #38 or higher, as might be expected from such a small state. Interestingly, Delaware has a significant agriculture industry, and it capitalizes on its oceanfront spaces to fuel its travel & tourism sector, as well as commercial fishing.
A finance professional is a businessperson whose career centers on the purely financial parts of business. They take the financial data from a company and analyze it or otherwise seek to understand how the company can increase its position. They may also oversee a company's investments in the stock market, real estate, or elsewhere.
Since finance is a fundamental part of the economy, financial professionals work in a wide range of settings. Some may focus on the real estate market where they might oversee real estate investment trusts (REITs), write mortgages, or trade mortgage-backed securities on wall street. Others may work in corporate finance and help companies make public offerings, receive private investments, or merge/acquire other firms. There are also financial professionals who advise people or institutions as to how they should manage their funds and create wealth.
There are finance professionals at all levels of the economy. Each spends most of their time analyzing spreadsheets or charted data from trusted sources.
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Online Finance Education for Delaware Students
Thus, Delaware is in constant need of highly trained, credentialed finance professionals. To achieve this goal, the Delaware government seeks to support its public colleges and universities in their efforts to build and maintain finance degree programs. Since all types of organizations need to build and maintain financial health, the private sector often pitches in to support students who are working on a business or finance degree. It's not uncommon for a Delaware university to have many finance students that are funding their studies with private scholarship money.
Delaware's finance departments seek out the very best faculty that they can find. They look first in academia to attract and hire financial professionals who have a PhD and are part of cutting-edge research into the field. Since so much of finance is theoretical and abstract, finance is one business discipline that relies on such scholarship. However, Delaware's finance departments also look for professionals with practical experience. Naturally, these instructors must have a graduate degree, but their personal experience can be equally important when it comes to inspiring and enlightening Delaware students.
Finance is a very diverse area. Every company in existence relies on a sound financial well-being to operate on a daily basis. Thus, there are finance professionals in every corner of the economy. Loan officers at a local bank to high-flying hedge fund managers, the world of finance has much to offer.
It is possible to work in finance with nearly any level of degree. Those with an associate finance degree can work as mortgage brokers or in a local bank. However, people definitely find that their salaries rise along with their degree level. Investment banking, for instance, will only take workers with a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level, two-year position. To truly succeed in that field, an MBA in finance is necessary.
Elsewhere in the financial sector, advanced degrees are certainly rewarded, if not absolutely necessary. Financial advisors, for instance, may not necessarily need a degree, but they must be able to pass rigorous tests of their financial knowledge. Accountants can also earn various certifications that open new doors. Some of those credentials require a degree, but not all of them.
Online Associate Degree in Finance (AS)
A two-yearassociate finance degree puts students on the path to success. The introductory courses covered in most community colleges give students a terrific foundation for launching a career in the financial services industry. Employers always appreciate training in finance and will be happy to hire entry-level employees at this degree level.
This degree is perfect for those who know they want to enter the world of business but aren't quite sure how to approach the field. Since finance is integral to every business, anyone with this background can enter many departments and firms at the entry level. Those who wish to advance as a financial professional can always return to complete their studies and those who find that they prefer other fields, management for instance, can enter a bachelor’s program having already completed the core college curriculum.
This approach is also preferable for purely financial reasons. Delaware's community colleges charge far less per credit hour than their four-year counterparts. Thus, those who go on to complete a bachelor’s finance degree will have lower overall costs at graduation.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Finance (BS)
For most business careers in the financial industry, a bachelor’s degree is a requirement. Employers appreciate when students have completed four years of intellectual rigor prior to applying for a position. They especially appreciate when students have focused on a specialty area, like finance. Not only does every firm need a financial professional on the roster, but they also realize that the skills that are imparted in a finance degree are applicable in many fields.
For instance, many finance students essentially become experts at analyzing data. Those finance students who have also studied programming languages, statistics, as well as other business fields like marketing, can start their careers in more of a data-science role. In fact, many finance students start their careers as financial analysts for investment banks. They can always apply those skills to equities trading or other areas where data modeling is vital to success.
Finally, a bachelor’s finance degree can be used to enter an MBA program. Finance is a very popular concentration area for MBA programs, so students can not only broaden their general business knowledge in the first year, but then will be able to dramatically expand their view of finance in their second.
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Online Master’s Degree in Finance (MS)
The financial business world is increasingly full of master's degrees. In fact, it's a great idea for all undergraduate finance students to start considering graduate finance degree programs as soon as possible. Of particular interest, the MBA seems to be the top choice of firms.
An MBA is a great degree because it combined a graduate level dive into business fundamentals for the first year. The second year then allows finance students go deeper into their financial studies. On top of this, MBA cohorts are packed with future business leaders with whom finance students will enjoy networking. In fact, many careers and business ventures are launched as a result of such MBA networking.
Furthermore, an MBA with a finance concentration will help students rise in the ranks of their firm. Most MBA students also receive a raise, if not a promotion, before they even complete their master's finance degree.
Online PhD Degree in Finance (PhD)
Though the business world hasn't sought PhDs in the past, that may be changing soon. This is because the financial world is full of MBAs and professionals who have a master's finance degree. Thus, those who earn a PhD may find that they are distinguished in the field. Furthermore, a PhD offers possibilities that may be truly useful in the world of finance.
Finance students who choose to specialize in, say data science, may find that employers are very interested in their work and research. This is because the world of finance, especially the trading pits, are increasingly full of algorithms that do more of the work than the humans. A PhD in data science may have special insights into how to best program such an algorithm and corner markets before the competition even sees the opportunity.
A PhD in finance is also useful for those who desire a career in academia. While the minimum requirement for a college-level instructor is a master's finance degree, a PhD is what students should pursue. That's because a PhD enables professionals to land a full-time tenure-track position with a top Delaware college or university.
How to Become a Finance Professional in Delaware
Delaware is well-known in financial circles for its taxation policies. This is why so many banks, including credit card companies, place their headquarters in the Blue Hen State. Thus, many Delaware students are interested in launching a career in finance. Even though they may be surrounded by finance professionals, Delaware students should still take time to map out their path to success in the financial sector.
The first thing for a Delaware student to pay attention to is their math skills. Finance is nothing if not mathematical. Complex financial formulas are the basis for many business strategies, trading, and more. Thus, the best thing an aspiring finance student can do is to take as much math as possible starting in high school.
High school students should also seek out introductory accounting courses or any business-related curriculum available to them. These days, many high schools have arrangements with local community colleges that enable third and fourth-year high school students to take college courses that count toward their high school graduation. Any aspiring finance professional should investigate this option. In lieu of actual finance courses, students might consider courses in accounting, upper-level mathematics, or business administration, including management.
In the third year or so of high school, students should start looking for the best finance degree program for them. There are many terrific finance departments in Delaware's colleges and universities. Students should be certain to research their options carefully, though. One of the chief things to look for is a program's accreditation status. The minimum standard for any business or finance degree program should be regional accreditation. Students should also be on the lookout for finance degree programs with national accreditation from agencies such as AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE. These agencies focus only on business degree programs, including finance departments. A resume that touts a degree accredited by one of these distinguished groups is sure to attract a lot of positive attention.
Students should also start thinking about an MBA or a master's finance degree as soon as possible. The business world highly rewards those with a graduate business degree, so this should be a goal for all finance students. In fact, it's very hard to rise into the C-suites without an MBA or other graduate business degree.
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Potential Careers for Finance Graduates
- Public Accountant:
This is perhaps the highest position available in business and finance. Public accountants must complete a full bachelor’s degree and many states require more courses on top of that. Then, they must pass all four parts of the Certified Public Accountancy exam, often considered the most difficult professional exam. Licensed CPAs can sign off on tax documents and are invaluable to any firm.
- Financial Managers:
This position often goes to experienced finance professionals. A financial manager may be a certified public accountant or simply a degreed finance professional. Financial managers are needed to complete tasks such as creating financial reports, budgeting, credit analysis, financial forecasts, market analysis, and managing financial risk. Many financial managers have an MBA.
- Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators:
The insurance industry always needs top-quality claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators to ensure that a company only pays valid claims. Claims professionals may specialize in particular sorts of policies such as automotive insurance, business insurance, or home insurance, among a myriad of other varieties.
- Budget Analysts:
Every business relies on budgets to ensure that they remain fiscally sound. Budget analysts then are financial wizards who are able to assess the firm's accounts and discern how much to allocate to any particular budget. They also understand how to budget funds in a way that makes the most sense for the short and long-term. Budget analysts may also work in the government sector where funds are often limited to set amounts.
- Personal Financial Advisors:
Individuals who want to build or maintain wealth hire personal financial advisors. These licensed professionals need to pass rigorous tests, but they don't necessarily need a finance degree. In fact, individuals are urged to seek out a financial advisor who has earned bona fide credentials.
- Investment Banker:
These bankers are not the same many see at their local bank. Investment bankers work solely with large corporate clients who need services such as issuing stock, receiving private investment, merging with another company, or acquiring new companies. Investment bankers tend to focus on specific industry sectors where they build expertise and a network of professionals with an interest in those businesses.
- Credit Counselors:
These days, most people use credit to accomplish certain life goals. Most degrees are funded with credit, and most car and house purchases are funded with a line of credit. Credit counselors thus help their clients use their credit in the best way possible. Credit counselors are also needed when people run into trouble with their credit.
- Economic Analyst:
These business professionals may work in a variety of environments. Many work for larger financial institutions, such as banks that need to keep an eye on the larger economy to determine how to proceed with the loans they write. Government agencies also need economic analysis to determine the best projects to pursue. For instance, a city government may rely on economic analysis to determine where to build new roads, schools, or fire departments.