MS in Finance: Career Advice
An MS in Finance from the US will definitely help you attain the right skills for a career in finance.
But landing your dream job can still be tough, given the competition.
That’s why, we have this blog to guide you in your MS in Finance career journey.
So dive in and learn how you can navigate the Finance job market to reach the desired career success.
Understanding the financial job market in the US
The financial job market in the US has been growing steadily. Here’s a quick overview of the job market that you are planning to enter:
- The BLS projected a 7% job growth rate in the field of business and finance between 2021 to 2031.
- The median annual salary for finance professionals in the US is around $76,570. This is significantly more than the median for all jobs combined ($45,760).
- Some of the highest-paying jobs in finance include
- Investment banking, where starting salaries can range from $100,000 to $150,000 per year, and
- Hedge fund management, where top earners can make millions of dollars annually.
- Pursuing an MS in Finance can provide a significant boost to earning potential. That’s because graduates earn higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree.
- Specialization degrees can further boost career prospects.
- For example, the MS in FinTech offered by the University of Central Florida
- Or the MS in Finance Concentration in FinTech from Zicklin School Of Business.
- This is because FinTech jobs are at an all-time high now.
Building a strong resume for finance roles
“A good resume is the first step to a successful job search.” – Unknown
To accelerate your search for a finance job, here are 5 tips for building the perfect resume:
- Include specific details about your experience with financial analysis, modeling, and valuation.
- Use numbers and data to demonstrate the impact of your work.
- Highlight relevant technical skills. For example, the knowledge of programming languages like Python or SQL. This is especially important if you are looking for a FinTech job.
- Many finance jobs use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. To make sure your resume makes it through the ATS, use finance-related keywords. Examples include financial modeling, risk management, and investment analysis. You can find more relevant keywords from the job description and include them in your resume.
- Show your familiarity with financial software such as Excel, Bloomberg, or QuickBooks.
Networking strategies to enhance job prospects
“Your next job will most likely come from someone you know, not from a job board.” – Unknown
Now, you already know that attending industry-specific events can be helpful.
Here are 5 more networking strategies to enhance your finance job prospects:
- Join professional associations.
Join the CFA Institute or the Financial Management Association. And attend their events and conferences.
- Join alumni networks.
Colleges often have alumni portals, newsletters, and magazines. For example, the Robert H. Smith School of Business’s monthly newsletter, Smith Biz. Becoming a part of that network offers guidance, inspiration, and connections.
- Utilize social media, particularly LinkedIn.
Add a filter and connect with people who hold jobs that you wish to attain. Connect with them to stay updated, get inspired, and even get referrals from them.
- Participate in online forums or discussion boards related to finance.
Ask questions and engage with others in the industry to build a personal brand.
- Volunteer for finance-related organizations.
This will provide opportunities to meet other professionals and gain valuable experience.
The importance of finance certifications
Employers value candidates with relevant financial certifications. This shows expertise in specific areas and a commitment to continued learning. Thus, providing a competitive edge in the job market.
And you can pursue these certifications during and even after your MS in Finance. Also, some colleges and universities offer support in getting these certifications.
For example, the Miami Herbert Business School.
Importance of Finance Internships and How to Secure the right one
Engaging in finance internships provides a distinctive opportunity to:
- Gain hands-on experience,
- Broaden industry knowledge, and
- Cultivate essential competencies
All this can contribute to your career success in the finance field.
Finding the right internship and job
Finding the right finance internships and job opportunities can be tough. Here are the various sources to try:
- Your university’s career center or job board.
- Career fairs and networking events
- Alumni groups from your MS in Finance program
- Company websites or job search engines, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Glassdoor.
- Recruitment agencies that specialize in finance or accounting internships. Such as Robert Half or Accounting Principals (now LHH Recruitment).
Pro Tip: Selecting the right college can boost your chances of landing an internship and job. For example, with an MS in Finance Brandeis International Business School, you get the internship and job assurance. The following numbers prove it.
Thus, don’t let monetary constraints affect your choice of college for an MS in Finance. That’s because the choice of college can majorly affect your career in finance.
Preparing for interviews: Types of questions and how to answer them
By using the above sources, you are likely to land several finance job interviews.
Here are some tips to ace those interviews and make the most of your effort.
To begin with, interview questions are divided into 4 types. And below you’ll find tips to answer each of these types of questions.
1. Behavioral Questions
- Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses.
- Prepare a few stories that demonstrate your key skills. And emphasize values such as teamwork, leadership, etc.
- Example question: “Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?”
2. Technical Questions
- Review the job description and company website to understand the technical skills required.
- Practice solving finance problems and explaining your thought process out loud.
- Use simple language and avoid jargon when explaining concepts.
- Example question: “Walk me through the three financial statements. Also, tell me how they are connected.”
3. Case Questions
- Clarify the problem and ask questions to gather additional information.
- Use a structured approach to analyze the problem and develop a solution.
- Explain your assumptions and reasoning clearly.
- Example question: “How would you value a company that is considering an IPO?”
4. Fit Questions
- Research the company’s values, mission, and culture.
- Be authentic and honest in your responses while highlighting your skills and experience.
- Example question: “Why do you want to work in finance, and why do you want to work for our company specifically?”
Salary expectations and negotiating job offers
Navigating salary expectations and negotiating job offers are crucial aspects of the job search process for finance professionals.
Below, we have mentioned the average starting salaries for the top finance jobs.
Average Starting Salary (per annum)
Advising companies on M&A, raising capital, etc.
Managing a company’s financial operations, such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis
Managing investment portfolios for clients, such as pension funds, endowments, and wealthy individuals.
Identifying and mitigating potential risks to a company’s financial operations, such as credit risk, market risk, and operational risk.
Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)
Analyzing financial data to support strategic decision-making within a company.
Based on these estimates you can set your own salary expectations. And then negotiate accordingly. Some tips to help you power through include:
- Use the power of silence. Take a moment to think before responding to an initial offer. This can potentially help receive a higher salary.
- Anchor the negotiation in your favor. State a higher number than your desired salary to influence the final outcome in your favor.
- Highlight your value by using specific examples. Showcase how your skills and experience can benefit the company’s bottom line. Then tie those contributions to a higher salary.
- Demonstrate confidence by maintaining a calm and assertive demeanor.
- Be willing to walk away if the salary isn’t right. This demonstrates your value and can help potentially receive a higher offer.
With that, you have all the Holy Grail hacks to kickstart a rewarding career in finance after MS in Finance from the USA.
So don’t wait up, select the right college and get started today.
1. What are the top certifications for a successful career in finance?
Here are 5 top finance certifications that MS in Finance students can pursue during or after their course completion for a successful career in finance:
2.What are the key factors while searching for a finance internship?
Here’s what to look for in your finance internship: