Outwardly, the finance world may seem to be all traders, investors and bankers – but behind the scenes is a gigantic support structure keeping things running. Here are some ways you could become a part of it.
1. The data analysis route
Investment bankers start out as analysts, but being an analyst isn’t just a step on the road to somewhere else – it’s a fulfilling career in itself. Firms that supply data to financial companies rely on top-class analytics. Think about credit ratings; every company out there is rated by credit ratings firms like Moody’s. Investors depend on those ratings to make investment decisions.
You can start on a career in data and analytics with any degree subject – it doesn’t have to be finance or business based. As with all financial services sectors, soft skills are very much in demand, and because it’s a global industry a second or third language can be a huge advantage.
While you might do an internship before you begin, it’s also possible to go straight into a graduate programme. Your interviewers will judge you on your potential, not your experience.
During your career you might progress through:
- sourcing, updating and maintaining data sets
- researching things that can’t be broken down into simple numbers, such as market conditions or the company’s social media successes
- designing analytical tools to make your data more informative
There are also opportunities to move into management. With the business knowledge you’ll develop, you might also move out of the industry and into investment management or a similar area.
2. The journalism route
Like the rest of us, bankers and investors are easily bored by a dryly written article. A good financial news story gets detailed information across and keeps the reader interested to the very last word – whether it’s about an upcoming merger, the latest luxury restaurant or the Peruvian general election.
There a various possible career paths on the way to becoming a finance journalist. Some come into it with a Journalism or English degree and get an internship or a spot on a graduate programme. Others start out taking a job in analytics, investment banking or investment management, and come into journalism with sector-specific expertise and contacts.
Once you’ve begun your career, you’ll develop your experience and start focusing on the area that interests you most. You can progress to become a senior writer or an editor with responsibility for commissioning articles and hiring writers. You might also get into your company’s other news channels, such as television.
From finance journalism, you’ll get the skills to move into any news field you choose. There’s also the opportunity to go freelance.
Discover the leading graduate employers in Financial Services.
3. The regulation route
Financial institutions have to comply with innumerable regulations. If you work for a regulator, you’ll help set the regulations and make sure companies are sticking to them. If you work within the compliance department at a company it’s your job to check that no rules are being broken.
Though it might seem to be law-related, you don’t need a legal background to work in regulation or compliance. Some companies prefer applicants with law or business degrees, but many don’t mind.
You’ll generally start your career with a graduate programme, learning your way around the many regulations you’ll need to understand. From there, your career is very flexible. Once you know your stuff, you can move between the regulation side and the compliance side of the sector, and you will find it very easy to move between companies – good compliance officers are always in demand.
There’s also the opportunity to move into other areas. If you’d like to get into financial product design, for example, knowing your way around the regulations can be very helpful.
4. The technology route
If you have skills in software development you can help to create and maintain the products that your company offers, such as the world-famous Bloomberg Terminal. There’s also the job of customer support, helping clients to get the most out of the company’s technological offering – which could mean facilitating multi-million pound deals.
A customer support career path is open to anyone, from any degree course. You just need to be bright and dedicated, able to develop absolute expertise on the company’s products. Again, in a global industry language ability is very valuable. People skills are also valuable – as your career develops you’re likely to move into training, mentoring and team management.
Whichever career path you choose, if you ever decide to leave the finance world you’ll have the transferrable skills to start you off in a wide range of industries. Apply for available graduate programmes in the finance sector today.