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Careers in Finance

Finance positions face growing demand and a need for specialized training and skills. Finance careers regularly place in the top 15 of Best Business Jobs and in the top 75 of Best Jobs in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings.

Choosing the Right Career

Finance positions use a range of skills, from quantitative analysis to negotiation. It is a fast-paced career with a competitive job market. Students with strong academic skills, campus involvement, internships and professional associations have the best opportunities for placement. The main skills used in finance include:

  • Strong skills in mathematics and problem solving technical expertise with systems and programs
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Strong communication and decision-making skills

Finance professionals justify assumptions, evaluate options, adjust for risk, and raise money while considering the costs and benefits involved. Banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses and other institutions provide financial advice, and most firms have a finance department involved with raising and investing money.

The information below is a brief description of some career paths in finance. Identifying the area of interest will help you select courses, student organizations, internships, and professional designations to successfully advance your career. Work experience, networking and building relationships will enhance your career prospects. Please see Online Career Resources for additional information.

Financial Analyst/Investment

Security analysts and portfolio managers select stocks, bonds, and other securities to help firms meet their financial goals. Major employers include investment companies, mutual funds, and hedge funds. Please visit the CFA ® Institute website for more information.

Real Estate

Real estate professionals evaluate commercial real estate investment. Professions include investment analysis, brokerage, consulting, asset management, appraisal, property management and other areas. Please see the CCIM ® Institute website for more information.

Financial Technology

Fintech professionals use mathematics, statistics, econometrics and sophisticated models to examine financial products and problems. Employers include banks, financial services, technology companies, government regulators and consultants.

Financial Risk Management

Financial risk managers look at risk awareness and testing. Employers include banks, financial services, government regulators and consultants.

Corporate Finance/Investment Banking

Corporate financiers use economic trends, firm and industry information to manage the finances of a firm. They negotiate deals and facilitate buying and selling assets. Major employers include corporations, investment banks, asset management and private equity .

Personal Financial Planning

Financial planners assist individuals with achieving their financial goals. Financial planners may be self- employed or work for a financial services institution. For more on careers in this area, please see the Certified Financial Planner CFP ® website.

Risk Management and insurance

The focus is to identify, measure, analyze and manage exposure to loss and help individuals and organizations reduce their total cost of risk. Professions in this field include risk managers and risk analysts; underwriters, claims, marketing, risk control or safety professionals for insurance companies; sales, consulting and coverage experts as a broker or agent.
Students may earn up to six national examination waivers for professional certifications such as CPCU®, CIC® and CRM®.

There are many online sources for career information. The list below is not exhaustive. The Career Management Center provides additional services to assist you with your career goals.

Career Information
Resources Information Provided
College Board Simplified job descriptions
Career One Stop Select browse occupations, then Business and Financial Operations. Provides an occupation profile (including salary) by state. Has videos for some career options, including financial analysts and financial managers.
O*Net Similar to Career One Stop. Shows several types of finance positions and their outlook in one search.
My Next Move Similar to O*Net. Answer questions to get career suggestions
Insure My Path Career planning tools for risk management and insurance
Insurance Information Institute Information on careers in insurance
The Balance Insurance job titles and descriptions
Talent Egg Introduction to entry-level insurance positions
Salary Guides
Resources Information Provided
Robert Half Salary Guide Current, comprehensive information on finance and accounting salaries
Salary.Com Allows a comparison by job title, location and degree
Payscale Real time salaries and career research
Career Statistics and Outlook
Resources Information Provided
US News and World Report Job rankings, descriptions, salaries They have a Career Center and numerous other tools.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Show descriptions, outlook and salary projections. Many of the other sites reference or link to this.
Deloitte Financial Services Good information on changing industry needs
My Career Advancement Insurance industry growth trends
Career Search Engines
Resources Information Provided
Efinancial Careers Job search engine specific to finance, accounting, banking and technology. Job search engine with advice on insurance and other career paths Job search engine with searches on risk management, insurance and other career paths
Great Insurance Jobs Search for insurance positions
Glassdoor Job search engine with company reviews
ZipRecruiter Job search engine with local positions, salary calculator and resume resources.
Professional Organization Career Resources
Resources Information Provided
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Institute Career resources and other materials for CFA members and candidates. The institute has a career center and numerous other tools.
Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) Career resources for GARP and materials for the Financial Risk Manager® (FRM) program. The association has a career center and job-market insights.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Board Career resources and other materials for CFP members. The board has a career center and many other tools.
Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM®) Provides information on the CCIM® designation, market trends in commercial real estate and other learning resources
Gamma Iota Sigma Career information in risk management and insurance
Financial Women’s Association Career information for women in finance.
Financial Management Association Career resources and career center for FMA members.

Professional Organization

UT Dallas has integrated some information from the following certifications in the curriculum, depending on the concentration. Please see the degree plan for more information.

Organizations Certification(s) Offered
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Institute CFA ® Chartered Financial Analyst
CIPM ® Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement
Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) FRM ® Financial Risk Manager
ERP ® Energy Risk Professional
Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM®) CCIM ® Certified Commercial Investment Member
Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®) CFP ® Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®)

There are numerous other professional organizations and certifications. The choice of certification depends on the finance position and the skills needed. Most organizations have career services, continuing education and other professional information. This list highlights some of the organizations and certifications available.

Organizations Focus or Certification(s) Offered
Association for Corporate Growth Resources and publications focused on middle-market.
Association for Financial Professionals CTP: Certified Treasury Professional
FP&A: Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional
Finance, Credit and International Business Association CICP: Certified International Credit Professional
ICCE: International Certified Credit Executive
Financial Management Association Resources and publications
Global Academy of Finance & Management AFA ®: Accredited Financial Analyst
ChFM ™: Chartered Financial Manager
National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts CVA: Certified Valuation Analyst
National Association of Credit Management CCE: Certified Credit Executive
CCRA: Certified Credit and Risk Analyst
The Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors CM&AA: Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor
Organizations Certification(s) Offered
Association of Certified International Investment Analysts CIIA: Certified International Investment Analyst
CAIA Association CAIA: Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
CMT Association CMT ®: Chartered Market Technician
Corporate Finance Institute FMVA ®: Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst
Information on the US and Regional Economy
Investments & Wealth Institute CIMA: Certified Investment Management Analyst
Real Estate
Organizations Certification(s) Offered
Institute of Real Estate Management ARM ®: Accredited Residential Manager
Organizations Certification(s) Offered
American Bankers Association CTFA: Certified Trust and Financial Advisor
CRCM: Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager
Institute of Business & Finance CFS: Certified Fund Specialist
International Association of Registered Financial Consultants RFC ®: Registered Financial Consultant
Investment Adviser Association CIC: Chartered Investment Counselor
Risk Management and Insurance
Organizations Certification(s) Offered
American Property and Casualty Insurance Association Resources and publications
Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Resources and publications
Enterprise Risk Management Academy ERMCP ™: Enterprise Risk Management Certified Professional
Institute of Risk Management CMIRM: Certificate Member in Enterprise Risk Management
Risk and Insurance Management Society RF: RIMS Fellow
RIMS-CRMP: RIMS Certified Risk Management Professional
Risk Management Association CRC: Credit Risk Management Professionals
The Institutes CPCU®: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter
The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research CIC: Certified Insurance Counselor
CRM: Certified Risk Manager
Other Professional Organizations with Finance Specializations
Organizations Certification(s) Offered
The American Institute of CPAs PFS: Personal Financial Specialist
Institute of Management Accountants CMA ®: Certified Management Accountant
Association of Government Accountants CGFM: Certified Government Financial Manager
Healthcare Financial Management Association CHFP: Certified Healthcare Financial Professional
Government Organizations
Organizations Focus
The Federal Reserve Oversees the U.S. commercial banking sector and provides information on the economy
Deposit Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) Provides clearing and settlement services to financial markets
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Provides insurance on deposits to guarantee the safety of funds kept by depositors at banks
The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) Government-sponsored enterprise that makes mortgages available to low- and moderate-income borrowers
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Supervision and oversight of U.S. broker-dealers
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) Purchases, guarantees, and securitizes mortgages to form mortgage-backed securities
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Regulator for all federal and any federally insured state credit unions
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Oversees all finance-related products and services provided to consumers
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Supervises and regulates banks to ensure the soundness of the U.S. banking system
U.S. Department of the Treasury Manages Federal finances by collecting taxes, paying bills, and managing government accounts
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Enforces the federal securities laws and regulates the securities industry

The MS Finance program at UT Dallas has been recognized as an Affiliated University by CFA® Institute, the organization that confers the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. The Financial Analyst concentration in the MS Finance program has been acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA® Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and placing emphasis on the CFA® Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the program. This program positions students well to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, which has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.