If you love mathematics and are excited about the ways that it impacts the business world, then you likely majored in finance during your university years. Finance is an excellent degree choice that offers challenging work in a variety of industries. While you know that many finance-related careers come with generous salaries, it’s good to reflect on some of the highest paying careers for finance majors before you make any employment decisions as a newly minted finance graduate.
#1 Financial Managers (Median Yearly Salary-$127,990)
A financial manager primarily employs cash management strategies and directs company investments to reach the organization’s strategic and economic goals. You’ll regularly direct preparation of financial reports according to company and industry standards as a financial manager. You’ll also use your research and analytical skills to find future growth opportunities. The ideal results of your work should be optimized company resources and robust financial performance.
Financial managers need to know how to prepare budgets, understand financial statements, and analyze budget variances. Financial managers need excellent written and verbal communication skills since they regularly present and defend capital investment initiatives to company board members, executives, and colleagues. All industries need financial managers.
The role of financial manager isn’t for a novice. Most organizations want finance degree graduates to have at least five years of experience in the finance field before they will consider them for financial manager jobs. This career is perfect for finance professionals who decided to return to school for a finance degree after working several years in more junior-level finance jobs. Since financial managers oversee numbers and people, most hiring managers prefer to see candidates who graduated from finance degree programs that included leadership training courses within their curricula.
The median annual salary of today’s financial managers is well earned and commensurate with the job’s high level of stress. If you’re hoping to find a job that has a lot of telecommuting options, you’ll want to skip the role of financial manager. However, finance graduates who have C-suite ambitions will use the role to prepare for Chief Financial Officer positions.
#2 Economist (Median Yearly Salary-$104,340)
Economists evaluate economic issues that relate to the production and distribution of raw materials, goods, and services. They present their findings to government agencies, corporations, and academic research organizations. Their work helps public and private groups to forecast important aspects of their operations such as job availability in specific sectors, labor shortages, and natural resource scarcity. You must have these top skills to work as a successful economist:
– Qualitative and quantitative analysis
– Verbal communication
– Critical thinking
Check out this example of how economists influence society. Economists collected data about students who were enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree programs years ago. Their findings indicated that there would be future shortages in domestic STEM talent. As a result, education departments around the country invested heavily in early childhood education STEM programs, and they partnered with industry to create real-world learning opportunities to prepare grade-school children for rigorous college STEM curricula. Other government agencies used the findings to justify pushing through more lenient visa requirements for immigrants who work in STEM-related fields.
Economists have great career prospects in many industries that include healthcare, construction, education, and energy. Most employers allow finance majors to compete with economics majors for entry-level economist jobs. The government is one of the largest employers of junior-level economists. To gain access to senior-level economist jobs, you’ll need an advanced degree in a finance-related field. Seasoned economists have more telecommuting job opportunities, and they find work at corporations, non-profit think tanks, and research universities.
#3 Financial Risk Manager (Median Yearly Salary-$99,949)
The modern marketplace is rife with opportunities, but poor investment decisions can lead to financial disaster. This is especially true for start-ups and small businesses. Business operators use the services of financial risk managers to find and avoid fiscal pitfalls that derail profits and growth. You’ll find financial risk manager jobs in the banking and financial services sectors. Some companies are large enough to employ financial risk managers as in-house experts who support corporate financial managers.
Financial risk managers detect fiscal risks in corporate operations, and they analyze threats that appear in the market. These threats include disrupting technologies and innovative competitor products that appear in the market. As a financial risk manager, you’ll stay aware of new regulations that could impact your company’s market position. Finding risks is not enough for financial risk managers, however. These business professionals also present senior leaders with the best ways to reduce or eliminate identified financial risks based on analysis of company financial records and market research data.
Problem solving, communication, and quantitative analysis are the skills that financial risk managers need to do their jobs. If you land a financial risk manager job, you’ll become comfortable with the latest valuation tools and employ the statistical models that you studied in your finance degree course work. You can find financial risk management jobs in many industries such as financial services, manufacturing, and retail. Depending on your job, you could spend most of your day evaluating statistical reports at your desk, or your company could send you on frequent trips across the country to help financial team members and decision makers in other offices. Many financial professionals take jobs as risk managers to gain the needed experience to later become financial managers.
#4 Personal Financial Advisor (Median Yearly Salary-$88,890)
Economic conditions change rapidly, and many people feel overwhelmed about planning for future financial security. Personal financial advisors help to reduce anxiety by offering investment advice to people who are just beginning their careers as well as those who are ready to retire. These financial professionals hold positions of trust, and their highest professional priority is their clients’ best interests. As a personal financial advisor, you must meet U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority licensing requirements to work with clients.
After consulting with clients about their current situations and long-term goals, personal financial advisors help clients to generate plans that keep them moving forward financially. This often involves creating portfolios that include a mix of stocks, bonds, insurance products, and mutual funds. Depending on your license, you’ll buy and sell investment products for clients’ portfolios. You’ll also do periodic reviews of client portfolios to make sure that chosen investment products are still relevant. Although most personal financial advisors have finance degrees, some hold accounting and law credentials.
Great pay and the opportunity to help people to take control of their financial futures aren’t the only attractions to the personal financial advisor career field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career is expected to grow at a faster rate than other jobs that the agency tracks. As a personal financial advisor, you can work for financial services companies or as a self-employed consultant. Since many of your clients work during the day, your schedule must be flexible enough to accommodate night and weekend work.
#5 Financial Analyst (Median Yearly Salary-$85,660)
While personal financial analysts help the public to make sound investment decisions, financial analysts give corporations, financial institutions, and government agencies investment advice. When you see a successful company go public or hear an announcement about a new expansion, you must know that these big wins didn’t happen by accident. Most of the time it takes more than a great product and marketing prowess to carve out a firm position in a competitive market. Financial analysts give organizations an edge by offering forecasts that are based on company and industry financial data.
As a financial analyst, you’ll work with senior leaders to generate policies that optimize company budgets. You won’t rest on your laurels. When you have historic data, you’ll do variance assessments to make sure that your company’s expenditures lead to achievement of its strategic objectives and financial goals. After evaluating sets of financial data, you’ll discover trends that support decisions about expansion into new markets or product development. As a financial analyst you’ll need these skills:
– Quantitative analysis
– Written communication
– Verbal communication and presentation
– Computer application and database
As a financial analyst, you’ll develop strong interpersonal skills as you work with colleagues and management at all levels to present analytical findings. You can expect to work in teams or independently to gather business intelligence data, create financial models in spreadsheet programs, and generate reports. While your finance degree is a great calling card for a job in this career field, consider earning a credential such as the Certified Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst to prove your commitment to professional development and to stay ahead of the competition.
#6 Investment Banker (Median Yearly Salary-$85,000)
An investment banker works with corporations and government agencies to raise money in the capital markets; he or she also acts as an advisor during merger and acquisition initiatives. For example, a company identifies an opportunity to grow through a manufacturing plant expansion. It doesn’t have the liquid assets to pay for the initiative up front, or they’ve decided against draining their cash reserves to make the effort happen. A company such as this one could opt to issue bonds or stocks to get large amounts of money for its project. Government agencies frequently sell bonds to raise funds for expensive construction projects such as new roads, bridges, and municipal buildings. Leaders of these corporate and public organizations rely on investment bankers to administer the stocks and bonds according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules.
Investment banking jobs are notoriously challenging. You’ll need these skills to be a successful investment banker:
– Financial modeling and analysis
– Presentation and communication
As an investment banker, you’ll price stocks and bonds using valuation models. If you price investment products too high, you won’t get the demand for them that your client wants. When you price the items too low, you lose money for your clients. Your performance directly impacts your overall pay in the form of bonuses. While the yearly base pay for entry-level investment bankers starts at $85,000, some junior analysts reach base salaries of $100,000 per year at top firms. Performance bonuses allow them to nearly double their salaries. You can expect to stow away your social life for a few years and hang on to your ethics training. It’s not uncommon for new investment bankers to work in excess of 40 hours per week, and you’ll frequently encounter challenging projects that demand smart, ethical solutions.
#7 Statistician (Median Yearly Salary- $84,060)
Statisticians use theoretical or applied statistical methods to gather, test, analyze, and summarize data for reports. Their findings are used to improve products, service outcomes, and business decisions in many industries such as healthcare, government services, financial services, education, and even sports. Every industry values statistical skills since each company relies on facts to make informed decisions.
As a statistician working in the healthcare industry, you’ll help medical organizations to check the costs and effectiveness of their products and services by analyzing data that’s been measured or observed. The results of your work help the healthcare industry to assess the general conditions of health for regional and national populations. The industry uses these statistical findings to justify investments in certain healthcare initiatives. If healthcare agencies find that there has been an alarming upswing in Type 2 diabetes in children, they may use your statistical findings to justify funding for educational programs that advocate for healthy eating options for children.
Love sports? The statistician career field offers entry into professional sports such as baseball, basketball, football, and hockey without breaking a sweat. The data points that you gather about the game give coaches, team owners, players, and their fans a birds-eye view of how a player performs in a specific area of his or her sport. Earned run averages, runs batted in, and assists per game are popular data points that statisticians calculate. Besides being fun trivia fodder, industry insiders use these statistics to negotiate player salaries, justify endorsement deals, and initiate trades.
As a statistician, you’ll enjoy great pay while working in relatively low-stress environments. Statisticians who work for the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that job growth rates in this career field will rise faster than ones in many other career fields in the near future.
#8 Budget Analyst (Median Yearly Salary- $76,220)
A budget analyst organizes funding for public and private agencies. He or she gathers data about program activities to support funding proposals and creates spend plans for funded programs. When an organization’s leaders want to implement a new product or service, they consult with budget analysts to create funding requests for the new items. Budget analysts give recommendations about program funding that align with company goals, industry standards, and government regulations.
Nothing causes budget analysts and their bosses more anxiety than inaccurate reports. When a budget analyst requests funding for a program’s labor, equipment, materials, and maintenance, he or she must check program data for accuracy and completeness. A budget analyst who asks for project labor funding for three technicians risks having the project start late or not at all if the project really needs four technicians to do the work. Besides careful attention to details, budget analysts need these skills to survive in their career field:
– Spreadsheet data modeling
– Oral communication and presentation
– Mathematics and quantitative analysis
– Ability to focus under pressure
As a budget analyst, you’ll have opportunities to work in many industries such as information technology, engineering services, defense, and education. If you work in the private sector, you’ll help companies to save money in specific business areas and improve profits through data analysis initiatives. As a public sector budget analyst, your work will optimize budgets for improved program performance. A budget analyst’s job duties usually vary with experience. Seasoned budget analysts in corporations give reports to C-suite executives while their peers in government service often present financial information to law makers.
#9 Logistician (Median Yearly Salary-$74,600)
Each time that you buy a fresh salad from the grocery store or score a stylish pair of shoes from your favorite retailer you benefit from the work of logisticians. The supply chain includes the processes and methods that move goods from suppliers to consumers, and logisticians help to manage supply chain activities. Logisticians are sometimes called supply chain managers, and they often work for national and global shipping companies.
As a logistician, you’ll perform activities that require attention to detail as well as big-picture strategies. You’ll direct supply purchases, schedule transportation, and coordinate storage at warehouses. You’ll also use interpersonal skills to cultivate productive, lasting friendships with suppliers, customers, and freight distributors. Your objectives are to move the right goods to the proper places in prompt and cost-effective ways. Technological advancements allow you to find and fix supply chain issues in real time. You’ll use customer relationship management and inventory management software programs to streamline supply chain operations. Short, fast-moving supply chains save time and money.
Besides finding logistics jobs at shipping firms, you’ll locate work in manufacturing companies and in the government. Your finance degree helps to qualify you for many entry-level logistics positions, but you’ll want to get certifications to move up in this career field. The American Production and Inventory Control Society offers these professional logistics credentials to those who pass its exams and have the required combination of education and experience:
– Certified in Production and Inventory Management
– Certified Supply Chain Professional
– Certified Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution
While job growth for logisticians is about average in comparison with all other industries, the work environment for most logisticians is very fast paced. You’ll need analytical, communication, and on-demand problem solving skills to be a successful logistician.
#10 Credit Risk Analyst (Median Yearly Salary- $71,520)
Credit scores impact people, companies, and nations in many ways. A person with a good credit rating will have an easier time landing their dream job and getting a nice apartment. A company that demonstrates fiscal responsibility attracts investors for its projects with ease. Many economists believe that a nation’s credit rating impacts the country’s cost of capital and stock market yields. Credit risk analysts are financial professionals who assess the credit ratings of people, organizations, and securities products.
As a credit risk analyst, you’ll evaluate the credit histories, financial conditions, and economic environments of these entities. You’ll use the data to assign a credit risk rating that impacts interest rates and terms of loans. If your analysis finds that a company is in moderate economic straits, you may recommend tougher terms or additional fees for money that your company lends to that business. If you determine that a company has a high probability of timely loan repayment, you could suggest increasing its credit line. In short, your job is to protect lenders against high risk loans and seek out new investment opportunities.
When lenders regularly make poor decisions about creditworthiness, they risk bankruptcy. To avoid this, they employ credit risk analysts to dig into the details about the credit risks related to people, companies, and investment products. As a credit risk analyst, you’ll find out if a corporate borrower has adequate cash flow to pay bills and expenses by examining the company’s financial statements. When you assign credit scores to individuals, you’ll use automated, algorithm-based tools that account for the person’s loan repayment history, current spending levels, and past bankruptcies.
Although you’ll find the highest paying credit risk analyst jobs at securities investment firms, banks, credit unions, and asset management firms also offer challenging work. Here are some skills that you’ll need to master this job:
– Quantitative analysis
– Verbal communication and presentation
– Computer spreadsheet and database