Career Profile (Salary, Job Titles, Grad School Data)

The field of finance is primarily concerned with the acquisition and management of funds by business firms, governments, and individuals. A business seeks financial advice when considering the purchase of new equipment, the expansion of present facilities or raising additional funds. Determining the value of financial and real assets and derivatives is a key activity in finance. The study of finance is designed to provide the student with both the theoretical background and the analytical tools required to make effective decisions. Learn more about Finance careers here.

Popular Finance Roles

Investment Analyst

Investment analysts collect information, perform research, and analyze assets, such as stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. Investment analysts often focus on specific niches to become experts in their chosen fields, such as a particular industry, a geographical region, or a specific asset class.  The research is then presented to portfolio or investment managers, often as part of a team in which experts in different fields get to weigh their insights against one another before final recommendations and investment decisions are made. Collaboration is a key part of the job, as are giving presentations and sharing information amongst peers.   An investment analyst continuously collects and interprets data, such as company financial statements, price developments, currency adjustments, and yield fluctuations. The information gathering also includes macro developments, such as following a country's political sea changes, climate change and the impact of natural disasters, and emerging industries and service sectors.  The primary certification for investment analyst in the United States is Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).  Most investment analysts work at larger companies, such as investment banks, insurance companies, institutional investors, private equity firms, stockbrokers, or large charities.

Asset Management or Investment Management

Investment managers help clients by managing their money. Clients can include individuals, educational institutions, insurance companies, and pension funds. Investment managers perform financial analysis, portfolio allocation between bonds and stocks, equity research, and issue buy and sell recommendations.

Much of the planning revolves around an income and spending budget, with advice about the types of financial investments suitable for the client. Asset managers and investment advisors recommend specific investments, sometimes to individuals but most often to managers of investment funds such as mutual funds. Investment advice is usually based on research, which can be of many kinds.

Banking and Investments

Commercial Banking - Commercial banks provide banking services to individuals, small businesses and large organizations.

Investment Banking - investment bankers are financial advisors to corporations and, in some cases, to governments. They help their clients raise money. That may mean issuing stock, floating a bond, negotiating the acquisition of a rival company, or arranging the sale of the company itself. Two of the primary activities of investment banks are underwriting debt financing and the issuance of equity securities, as in an initial public offering (IPO), and advising and facilitating mergers and acquisitions (M&As) for companies, including leveraged buyouts.  The firms engaged in the investment banking industry are commonly classified into three categories: bulge bracket banks, middle-market banks, and boutique banks.   Investment banks include: JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley. Some other global giants include Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse, and UBS.

Venture Capital and Private Equity - The private equity sector is broadly defined as investing in a company through a negotiated process. Investments typically involve a transformational, value-added, active management strategy.

Corporate Finance

Corporate/private finance involves helping a company raise capital needed for new projects and ongoing operations by compiling and analyzing financial information. The main activities are developing and executing financing programs and interfacing with the rest of the company via reports and presentations.


Careers in insurance involve helping individuals and businesses manage risk to protect themselves from catastrophic losses and to anticipate potential risk problems. Additionally, firms are now looking at risk from a broader prospective known as enterprise risk management which encompasses liability risk, currency risk, interest rate risk, and property risk.

Real Estate

Careers in Real Estate include residential, commercial and property management. Residential real estate brokers bring buyers and sellers of individual properties together, assist them in setting a price, and arrange for appraisals, inspections, and other services. Commercial real estate brokers facilitate both the lease and sale of commercial properties, and frequently also provide ancillary advisory and appraisal services. Property management companies are involved with marketing, financing, and building operations.

Sales and Trading

Sales and trading involves buying and selling financial instruments such as: stocks, bonds, debts, futures, and options. These instruments are bought and sold in exchanges such as: the New York Stock Exchange, The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and NASDAQ. Both brokers and traders buy and sell. Traders work for an investment firm and buy/sell/trade large amounts of stocks or bonds using the firm's capital. Brokers sell on behalf of themselves or clients. Additionally, there are careers in trading commodities (such as oil) or future trading. Future traders do not actually buy anything but speculate on the future direction of the price in the commodity they are trading. This field of finance also includes asset managers and investment advisors who recommend specific investments, sometimes to individuals but most often to managers of investment funds such as mutual funds. Investment advice is usually based on research, which can be of many kinds.


Fintech, or financial technology, refers to the technological innovation in the design and delivery of financial services and products. Technology in finance continues to evolve; advancements include the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to evaluate investment opportunities, optimize portfolios, and mitigate risks. Popular careers in fintech include more general technology careers, such as cybersecurity and AI, and those increasingly more pertinent to the asset management industry: blockchain development and quantitative analysis. A fintech career path requires a strong focus on computer science, programming, mathematics, and data science, in addition to a firm understanding of the financial market, including financial instruments and products.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits For Financial Roles

Research, organizational, and communication skills are crucial for this job. Organizational skills are important when it comes to compiling and presenting this data. You should be able to clearly communicate ideas, both verbally when making presentations and on paper when writing reports.

The work requires strong analytic skills, so a knack for numbers and attention to detail are also helpful. An interest in solving problems will go a long way. It is important that a financial analyst be accurate and thorough in preparing financial statements.

You should enjoy reading and be able to retain what you read, since it is important to keep up with what's happening in the industry and take it into account when offering financial solutions to employers or clients.

Other beneficial attributes:

  • a willingness to accept criticism and learn from one's mistakes
  • the ability to perform sometimes monotonous tasks for long hours, day after day without complaint
  • being extremely hard working, responsible, and detail oriented
  • having strong analytical, time-management, and problem-solving skills
  • possessing excellent financial modeling/valuation and analytical abilities
  • being an excellent communicator and a good listener
  • being able to work independently and as part of a team
  • being proficient in the use of spreadsheets, graphing, and presentations with a basic knowledge of financial models
  • possessing strong interpersonal skills with the ability to interact with all levels of personnel.

How to Get a Job Using Your Finance Degree

Follow these steps to prepare for the job search process!

Job Titles

When using job search platforms, such as Handshake, utilize keywords to find appropriate positions the industries you are interested in.

Below are titles Gies Alumni have had:

Account Associate

Advisory Associate



Associate Financial Analyst


Business Advisory Consultant

Business Analyst

Business Technology Analyst

Business Valuation

Client Specialist/Consultant

Commercial Real Estate Analyst

Consultant/Associate Consultant

Consulting Analyst

Corporate Analyst

Corporate Banking Analyst

Credit Analyst

Deal Advisory

Equity Options Trader

Financial Analyst

Financial Development Program

Financial Services Consultant

Forensic Services Associate

FP&A Specialist

FSO Risk Advisor

Internal Auditor

Investment Analyst/Associate

Investment Banking Analyst

Loan Asset Administrator

Operations Analyst

Private Equity Analyst

Risk And Compliance Consultant

Risk And Financial Advisory Consultant

Rotational Development Program Associate

Strategy Analyst

Trading Analyst

Treasury Management Analyst

Underwriting Analyst

Valuation Analyst/Associate

Customize your Resume & Cover Letter

It's important to customize your application documents for the industry/position you will be pursuing. Highlight your relevant experience by incorporating desired skills and qualifications into your application documents. How does your experience align with the skills the employer is seeking?

Some of the important skills you may want to highlight:

Hard/Technical Skills

  • Quantitative and Statistical Analysis
  • GAAP accounting processes and regulations
  • Risk Analysis
  • Strategic Planning
  • Financial Modeling
  • Data Visualization: Tableau, Power BI
  • Cash flow management
  • Technical Analysis
  • Microsoft Excel & Access
  • SQL
  • Quickbooks
  • SAP software
  • R
  • Python
  • SAS
  • Bloomberg
  • S & P Capiq
  • Refinitive

Soft Skills

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Decision-making
  • Detail-oriented
  • Leadership
  • Presentation Skills
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Client Management

Learn more about skill development through the Gies Professional Pathway here.

Finance Job Boards

No one likes logging on a dozen different platforms to find job opportunities, so we recommend starting with the Handshake job board. Additional job boards can be helpful if you don't find what you are looking for.

Interview Questions for Finance Roles

General Behavioral Interview Questions.

For more information and resources on interviewing, click here!

  • Why did you choose a career as ....?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline. How did it turn out?
  • How would you handle a very unhappy (and vocal) internal customer during a business meeting?
  • Tell me about a time when you were working in a team and your opinion was challenged.
  • When you spot an inconsistency in a company's financial records, what do you do?
  • Which of your weaknesses hold you back?
  • Which of your strengths serve you best?
  • Can you tell me about your greatest accomplishment?
  • What steps do you take to maintain collaborative and functional work relationships?
  • Name a time when you identified strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions to problems. What was the impact?
  • Please share an experience in which you presented to a group. What was the situation and how did it go?
  • Provide an example when your ethics were tested.
  • Provide a time when you dealt calmly and effectively with a high-stress situation.

Sample Interview Questions for Specific Roles

Professional Development Opportunities for Finance

Margolis Market Information Lab

The Market Information Lab Professional Certifications gives students in-depth exposure to the tools required for careers in finance. These are self-paced e-learning courses accessible at the lab or remotely that provide an interactive introduction to the financial markets, trading and other financial software widely use by financial firms.

Golder Academies

The three Golder Academies offer advanced academic and career-building opportunities to explore professions in the finance sector. Through professional development activities, on-site finance firm visits, networking opportunities, and advanced technical training, the Academies provide an experience that prepares you for a rewarding career with a top firm in investment banking, investment management, venture capital, private equity, or corporate finance.

AXIS Risk Management Academy

In the AXIS Risk Management Academy, students from across campus collaborate to explore professional development resources and experiences to enhance their interest in risk management.


Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charter is a designation given to those who have completed the CFA® Program and completed acceptable work experience requirements. The CFA Program is a three-part exam that tests the fundamentals of investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning. The CFA Program is typically completed by those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or business. CFA charterholders earn the right to use the CFA designation after program completion, application, and acceptance by CFA Institute. CFA charterholders are qualified to work in senior and executive positions in investment management, risk management, asset management, and more.


CFP® certification demonstrates that you have a strong commitment to personal financial planning and that you are an expert in your field. Your clients want to work with a planner who can give them excellent advice that fits their unique situation. Because you invest in education, rigorous testing and real-world experience while you earn CFP® certification, you will have the confidence and the skills to give your clients the advice they need. You'll be able to build valuable, long-term relationships with your clients while becoming a valuable contributor to your company.