This is the second in our three-part series on entry-level finance and accounting jobs to consider for recent or soon-to-be graduates with 4-year accounting or finance degrees. In part one, we covered entry-level jobs in the field of accounting and the insurance industry along with the median income for these jobs as estimated by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). Here we will discuss opportunities available in the finance and banking niches. The final post will review other jobs in the private and public sectors.
Entry-Level Finance Jobs
If you plan to head to Wall Street or work for a top firm in the finance industry there are a wide variety of entry-level positions to consider. Some of the best jobs often go to candidates with MBAs, but prior experience in the finance industry might get you a shot at positions with the top firms.
Money manager. If helping organizations manage different types of investments, investment pools or mutual funds appeals to you, look into entry-level money manager opportunities. Money managers typically specialize in a specific type of investment or program such as investment portfolio management, portfolio sales or hedge fund analysis. The BLS didn’t provide a median income for money managers, but compensation is based on performance. So if you work hard, know your niche and do your research, a money manager job could net you well into the six figures over time.
Financial advisor or financial planner. Would you prefer to work with individuals versus corporations? Then a financial advisor job might be up your alley. Personal financial advisors help people decide where and when to invest their money over the short- and/or long-term, much like financial analysts do for corporations. Median Income: $64,750.
Stockbroker. Along with your 4-year degree, you’ll need to have thick skin, enjoy squashing the competition and excel at networking to succeed in the highly competitive securities industry. Successful stockbrokers earn a healthy living but on-the-job stress can take its toll. Median Income: $70,190.
Financial analyst. Financial analyst jobs come in all shapes and sizes and specialties. If you are comfortable immersing yourself in large volumes of data, can grasp and communicate complex economic and financial insights and are able to formulate sound recommendations based on your research – consider a job as a financial analyst. Long hours, travel to unglamorous locales and a nice paycheck are typical “perks” of entry-level financial analyst jobs. Median Income: $74,350.
Entry-Level Banking Jobs
The world of banking also offers a plethora of opportunities for recent college grads. Whether you’re leaning toward working at one of the top investment banking firms, one of the “big banks” (think Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, etc.) or a local community bank, an entry-level banking position can open the door for a number of finance career paths down the road.
Investment banking analyst. Competition is tough for entry-level investment banking analyst jobs, much like financial analyst positions – because they both pay well. I-banking analysts perform similar duties to financial analysts, performing research and creating reports, but focus specifically on securities. Median Income: the BLS didn’t provide median income for this position specifically, however these jobs fall into the same pay scale range as financial analysts, so expect a similar median income of $74,350.
Mortgage underwriter. Like insurance underwriters, mortgage underwriters evaluate risk to determine whether to issue a mortgage and under what terms. If you’re interested in a mortgage banking career, an entry-level mortgage underwriter job could be a good start. Median Income: $56,490 (included under the same category as loan officer).
Loan officer. Loan officers at financial institutions perform some risk analysis duties in conjunction with underwriters, but also work directly with individuals and businesses requesting loans (home, business, vehicle, etc.) to make sure paperwork is properly filled out and to review loan options. Median Income: $56,490.
Credit analyst. Another type of financial analyst role, entry-level credit analysts research companies to determine whether they are a safe risk and make recommendations to financial institutions as to whether they should set up a lending arrangement with the business in question. Median Income: again, no specific entry from the BLS, but we estimate pay scale range would be similar to or less than typical financial analysts.
Financial examiner or bank examiner. Would you like to review the books and financial transactions of financial institutions? Look for entry-level financial examiner jobs. These examiners review financial statements, transactions and more to determine if the institution is in compliance with government regulations. Median Income: $74,940.
Part three of this series will cover entry-level finance and accounting jobs in the general private and public sectors.
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“Occupational Outlook Handbook.” United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/. Accessed Nov. 29, 2013.