Monday, August 13, 2012

What to major in to land a job as Financial Analyst

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Finding a Financial analyst job in a top investment bank is a dream for many college students, but many of them are quite confused about the choice of major to reach their objectives.
First, you have to know that there is no predetermined major that will lead you to be a financial analyst, although majoring in finance will obviously help me more than majoring history, but it will more depend on your grades and extracuriccular activities, internship, CFA (Certified financial analyst) etc.

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Here are some common majors to become a financial analyst:
-Finance
-Financial Engineering
-Economics
-Statistics
-Engineering
-Mathematics

As you noticed quantitative majors are highly appreciated by investment banking and a large part of entry level financial analysts are from those majors, moreover programming skills such as VBA are huge assets in the financial industry and would help you if you decide to pursue a master in financial engineering or computational finance.
If you are majoring in finance, you will hear (on a daily basis) people  talking about the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), this is one of the most important test for financial analysts, it  is approved by investment bank all over the world and human ressources are highly looking for CFA certification. The CFA is divided in 3 levels of increasing difficulty, and requires quite heavy self-studying, some people (including me) believes that a CFA can be equivalent to a master or MBA degree.
 The best would be that you take the CFA level 1 during the last year of your program, as CFA exams are held only twice a year for level I and II and once a year for CFA level III.

Networking, Networking, Networking, you got it? this is one of the most important part, you would be pissed off if one of your school mate who has much lower GPA than you land a financial analyst job in the top firm of the industry, it could be you if you manage to network with people during your internships, on linkedin, friends of your parents (there is nothing to be ashamed of, the competition is tough).


The formula to become a financial analyst:

Good GPA+CFA+VBA+NETWORKING = Financial Analyst

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