The Finance industry is broad, interesting, and challenging. If you have a knack for playing with numbers and figuring out what’s the story behind them, you’re probably fit to pursue a Master's in Finance.
A postgraduate degree in Finance is the best option to land a role in a finance-related job, and it will open the doors to career opportunities in any industry you can think of. Additionally, the knowledge, tools, and methods used in Finance are the same anywhere you go. This allows you to travel and find work in different countries.
Where to study a Master’s degree in Finance
You can land a Finance job anywhere in the world, but some places offer more job opportunities than others. That’s why it would probably be best if you pursued your degree in Finance in the same country where you plan to build your career.
Some good destinations for a Master's in Finance are:
- Finance degrees in the US
- Finance degrees in the UK
- Finance degrees in Spain
- Finance degrees in Switzerland
- Finance degrees in Sweden
- Finance degrees in Singapore
Now let's look at some of the most popular Finance careers and the average annual salaries in the United States, according to PayScale:
1. Financial Analyst – 60,150 USD/year
Work for: commercial banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, government
A financial analyst will be responsible for researching and giving financial recommendations to clients and organisations. A financial analyst aims to help clients achieve their financial goals so interpreting the financial data accurately is essential. Common duties of financial analysts include:
- Collect financial data, interpret it and create reports using statistical analysis
- Look for market trends and investment opportunities while accounting for risk management
- Identify potential challenges for investment options and find solutions
2. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent – 64,100 USD/year
Work for: brokerage firms, investment banks, trading companies
Securities, commodities or financial agents advise clients about purchasing and selling commodities or financial securities. Daily tasks of securities, commodities and financial sales agents are:
- Recommend financial services and products that would meet clients’ needs
- Analyse and evaluate economic market trends
- Maximising clients’ return on investments (ROI)
3. Financial Manager – 72,500 USD/year
Work for: any type of company
A financial manager is responsible for developing and maintaining the financial goals of an organisation. In a large company, the financial manager will be involved in strategic analysis and planning, while in small companies, his/her role will focus more on collecting, monitoring, and preparing accounts.
Financial managers perform the following activities:
- Manage budgets and provide financial reports
- Develop financial management solutions and mechanisms that minimise financial risks
- Analyse and make suggestions in terms of cost-reduction opportunities
- Develop a network of financial contacts such as auditors, solicitors, bankers and statutory organisations
4. Financial Advisor – 58,500 USD/year
Work for: insurance companies, real estate companies, individual clients,
A financial advisor provides financial advice to individuals, families, various start-ups, and organisations. Financial advisors can either specialise in a certain area or have knowledge about anything related to retirement savings, insurance protection, investments, real estate planning and taxes.
A personal financial advisor typically does the following:
- Explain the types of financial services (e.g. education expenses, retirement plans) to clients
- Monitor the clients’ accounts and evaluate the needs to improve account performance
- Research investment opportunities and potential risks
5. Actuary – 88,600 USD/year
Work for: insurance companies, consulting firms
An actuary analyses data and examines trends to determine how much people should be charged for their insurance plans. Their work plays a crucial role in maintaining the financial health of insurance companies, which need to find a balance between offering reliable services and avoiding financial risks.
These are some of the most common tasks for actuaries:
- Research and analyse data (e.g. accident or retirement rates)
- Use actuarial modelling programmes to identify relevant trends
- Create detailed reports/files using Excel or other software
6. Accountant – 50,900 USD/year
Work for: accounting firms, various types of businesses, government agencies, NGOs
Accountants are essential for the financial health of organisations. They perform tasks like internal audits, administrative payroll, and are responsible for billing activities and inventory. They often collaborate with other departments, like Human Resources (HR).
Here are other typical responsibilities for this job:
- Prepare reports and other financial documents for the management
- Create balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and other files
- Analyse accounting options and make recommendations
- Prepare and recommend accounting policies and procedures
7. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – 132,200 USD/year
Work for: large international and multicultural organisations
The Chief Financial Officer job is among the C level positions in large companies, and it comes with great benefits and responsibilities. The CFO has to maintain the company’s financial stability and to create policies and strategies that improve the company’s finances and keep it away from risks.
Here are some of the responsibilities of a CFO:
- Oversee the activities of the accounting and finance departments
- Ensure that all the departments follow the company’s financial guidelines
- Prepare or supervise the creation of reports, financial statements, financial forecasts, annual budgets, etc.
- Take part in meetings and help with the administrative and financial planning for the company
Finance graduates are not limited to the jobs we’ve mentioned above. The list of careers in Finance is long, and you should always choose the path that’s right for your needs and ambitions.