Should I Major in Finance?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Homer28, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I have been considering doing a BS in finance and was wondering whether it was worth it in terms of job opportunities. I did some research and it seems the majority of the big banks only want graduates from top tier schools so I am a bit reluctant to do such a degree. Does anyone know what I can do with an online finance degree?

    Another degree I was considering was the MPA from Northwestern. I would sure like to have such an elite school on my resume, but don't know if it would do much to advance my career.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2010
  2. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

    The bias towards graduates of top programs is especially pronounced in MBA hiring. There are many more employers out there than just money center banks, e.g., regional banks, credit unions and insurers. Unless you or your family have contacts in the investment banking or private equity industries, I would suggest spending as little money as possible on your bachelor's degree and target some of the employers I mentioned above.

    An economics or accounting degree in many cases would probably also suit your purposes. For quantitative finance, get a math degree instead and learn how to program.

    An MPA is only useful if you want a career in the public sector.
  3. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    Thanks. What undergraduate degrees are there in finance online? I had trouble finding them. ALso, would a finance degree or economics one lead to more job opportunities?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2010
  4. Jacob Perry

    Jacob Perry New Member

    Because of the dilution of the value of the good ole MBA, a mere undergrad degree simply isn't enough to enter the finance arena with these days. Add to that the current state of the economy.

    Another major to consider would be economics. Many online econ programs are heavily finance based.
  5. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    What do economics majors do? It would be extremely difficult to get a position as an economist without a PhD or masters. Isn't an economics degree mainly for people who want to go to law school?
  6. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

    My undergrad degree is in economics and I work in the private equity industry (albeit in Germany). It is excellent preparation for law school, but can also be used to get entry-level jobs in banking, finance, insurance and government. You are correct in saying a masters is required to become a practicing economist, something most undergrad economics majors never actually become.

    I am not personally aware of a solitary school which would offer all of the courses that you would need by distance to get a BS in Finance (Empire State College might though), meaning you will probably have to take courses at more than one school. The good news is that you can use exams such as CLEP and DSST to test out of core business courses and gen ed requirements.

    You can get a finance degree through the methods I just described from Excelsior College or Thomas Edison State College, and probably also from Empire State College.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2010
  7. rcreighton

    rcreighton New Member

    A friend and former colleague that I used to work with has a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Missouri. He actually started out as the customer service manager for the local water company, moved on to a mid-management position at the local newspaper on the manufacturing side, and now is the Controller for a different manufacturing company here in town. About two years ago, he worked as a volunteer on the side for a local accounting firm to learn more about that part of the business while his primary job was at the newspaper. Obviously, this is not a common path for an economics major but it shows what can happen if you want to maximize your education with your job experience and set a goal for yourself.
  8. TechGolfer

    TechGolfer New Member

  9. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    So do you guys think that an econ or finance major will have the best job prospects? If I did do economics, I would likely choose the Univ. of Illinois at Springfield. I must admit I don't know much about finance as I have never taken a class in it. I have, however, taken micro and macro economics.

    I know finance is a very high paying major, but most of these high paying jobs are closed to those who are not fortunate enough to go to a top tier school. Is economics the same way? Will I have trouble finding a job if I don't go to a top notch school?
  10. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    This is incorrect, plenty of people go into "high finance" right out of undergrad, but typically they are from top tier schools (Ivies, elite liberal arts, top 5-10 state universities). I know two HBS MBA students that came out of state schools and worked at large investment banks right out of undergrad before coming to Harvard (they were from the University of Florida and the University of Georgia and my bet is they had family connections in order to get in. They also did internships with other large I-banks while in college).
    You're not going to get hired at a big I-bank with an online finance degree, it just won't happen. Internships in finance are a necessity to earn full-time positions upon graduation and most students studying online aren't in a position to pick up and move to NYC, Chicago or San Fran for 10 weeks in the middle of their studies. Beyond that, these banks come to a select list of campuses to recruit for internships and are then highly selective in which students they meet with. I imagine it would be next to impossible to land an interview for an internship without being on campus to interview unless you have a connection. I think it would be tough to land with one of the boutique firms as they typically take the rejects from the larger banks from the exact same pool of schools.
    I'm not trying to rain on the OP's parade, I just want to give you an accurate picture of how recruiting in the world of high finance works.
    All that said, there are still plenty of options of what one can do with a finance degree. Working in the finance department of almost any company is a possibility, working at smaller banks (not I-banking) or financial institutions, possibly state or federal gov't jobs in the realm of economics or finance. You could do any of those things for a few years, then attend the best MBA program you can get into, complete an internship in i-banking, M&A, or the ever elusive VC between the first and second year of the MBA program then try and catch on full-time with a big bank after you're done.
  11. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    A lot of employers don't care what you're bachelors degree is in (with the exception of things such as accounting, engineering, etc.). They will train you on how to do whatever entry level job they hire you for.

    You don't seem to know what you want to do but you also seem young, so this isn't really a bad thing. What are you interested in? You seem to be very attached to the idea of a high salary right out of school. My best advice is do something you love and the money will follow.
  12. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    Actually AUTiger, I am 20 minutes away from NYC. But your right; in order to stand a chance at getting into a major bank you would most certainly need to have gone to a top school. Those who came from lower tier schools likely had strong connections. Government is a good option, but they are not hiring much due to budget deficits. I am getting the impression that doing a lower ranked finance degree just is not worth it.

    Anyone know of an online undergraduate degree in biology or chemistry?
  13. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    If you think a lower-ranked finance degree won't lead to a good job, just wait till you try to get a job with a degree in biology or chemistry. You'll likely work in a lab making next to nothing.

    You're all over the map here. You went from business disciplines to hard sciences. Do you want to do something you enjoy or just find something that will result in a higher salary right out of the gate?
  14. Vincey37

    Vincey37 New Member

    FIU has an online finance degree. You're probably better off with a finance degree than economics, if both are from a lower ranked school.
  15. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I can't speak for biology but chemistry grads are sought after by a wide variety of companies including agriculture, food, manufacturing, mining, and energy - all of which pay good salaries.
  16. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    How about a math degree - you could leverage that degreeinto finance or the sciences (or many other fields). I predict that at some point in time math teachers will start getting paid good money.
  17. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    I was actually unsure between doing a business major and hard science major since my #1 requirement is to have a degree that is in demand. I am not that concerned about pay. I actually spoke to a CIA recruiter last month at a job fair and she said (exact words) "If you have a degree in chemistry, I will hire you on the spot." So after hearing that, a sciene degree has been something I kept in mind.
  18. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    Finance is a safe major, lots of job prospects, you'll be fine. I just hope you like math, statistics, and economics.

    I took macro economics, and that course was tuff.
  19. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

    Unfortunately, UIS got rid of their online economics program. They still have a math one, though.

    If I had to do it over again, I would double major in math and econ and take finance and, especially, accounting courses as electives.
  20. Homer28

    Homer28 New Member

    Well, it looks like I am going to go wit SUNY. FIU looked like a good school, but I am completely turned off by the fact that they require you to use a webcam while you take exams so that someone can watch you the entire time (creepy if you ask me).

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