Who is an effective financier? The one who is able to find the best ways to control the company’s money, bringing wealth and prosperity for both, the company and himself; or the one who received his Master degree in Finance and consults his granny about her spending?
Actually, it can be both. But if you really want to build a successful career, a Finance degree from university is not enough. In search of multi-skilled well-rounded candidates, company executives want people who are educated from an early age, and in school, to pay more attention to strategic decision-making and communicative skills, as they realise that this background is better formed outside the finance curriculum.
What you really need
The problem is that business schools and company employers have a huge gap between their expectations and reality. This means that a typical MBA graduate does not always have all the skills, that are hunted by the executives for their particular projects. Even though nobody expects a newbie to become a fully-formed consultant starting from day one. However, many employers admit that it would be great if potential candidates showed higher communication, negotiation, leadership and intercultural skills.
Finance Professors of Duke and Berkley, John Graham and John O'Brien, made their own suggestions regarding useful courses that will help young specialists to become strategic candidates instead of just walking academic resumes. Here they are:
- Math. College algebra will teach you how to solve equations in complicated financial markets. Statistics will help to evaluate the likelihood of various outcomes and to understand the movements of a company’s stock.
- Accounting. Financial and management accounting courses will teach you how to deal with financial transactions, operate the company’s budget and monitor its performance.
- Economics. A course in Macroeconomics will give you an understanding of financial market’s impact on the overall economy. Microeconomics will give you the vision of companies’ and customers’ relationships and behaviour as a whole, and will help you understand how different financial decisions affect a company’s success.
- Psychology. Understanding the thought processes and human behaviour mechanisms are essential to comprehending movements in financial markets. This course will teach you to examine the situation from different perspectives before taking some crucial steps. Behavioural finance will help you understand the investors’ behaviours that are associated with market anomalies, determine the investors’ mistakes and the ways to correct them.
- Writing. Technical writing will teach you to formulate your ideas clearly. You’ll be able to properly organise your purposes and explain yourself in various reports, and business letters.
In addition to these five, business consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and technology consulting firm, recommend undergoing two more important courses:
- Communications. Today public speaking becomes an integral part of any profession that involves communicating with people. The course will teach you to present reports and explain the meaning of various numbers to colleagues. It will help you with team management and relationships. You should also take up a corporate communication course or strategic PR, and be ready to solve corporate reputation challenges if they emerge.
- Ethics. After a series of unfortunate happenings and scandals, some business schools have suggested adding Ethics as a mandatory course to their Finance curriculum. The course will teach students how to behave properly in the intense business environment.
You’ve probably had already understood that the life of Finance students is not so easy and presupposes a huge amount of additional work and knowledge. To build a successful career, you’ll have to learn how to take effective business decisions and make your company richer. And we hope that all the courses that we discussed will help you to get your dream job and to prove yourself as young, but brilliant financiers.