Getting Started With A Career In Finance: All You Need To Know
Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) jobs, finance manager jobs, and careers in the finance sector offer big paychecks, but most of these high-profile financial positions carry enormous responsibilities. Finance professionals help steer companies and the Nigerian financial sector with the right plans and forecasts. They serve as the captains of the corporate ship that drives the Nigerian economy. Because of their importance, employers will always pay top dollar for the best and brightest minds in finance.
If you are on the hunt for entry-level finance jobs or you’re interested in switching careers to finance, this article covers an overview of the qualifications, requirements, and the various roles you can look for in finance. Once you are equipped with the necessary knowledge about the various types of careers in finance, you can then confidently take the next step in your career switch.
Why Should You Get Into Finance?
As finance is an integral part of every sector of the economy, finance experts are in high demand, no matter which sub-sector of finance you find yourself in. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a switch.
It is a universal field:
Finance is an important part of every domain. Every company needs to keep a record of its cash flow, investments, as well as the Nigerian macroeconomic outlook. With adequate finance skills and relevant work experience, you can specialize in any given sector, from healthcare to construction.
It is a great domain for beginners:
Many entry-level positions do not require specific skills, making finance a great choice for beginners to build their careers.
The industry is always evolving:
With the addition of newer domains in the field, traditional banking has now progressed to incorporate fin-tech products. The field is evolving at a rapid pace and brings with it continuous opportunities and new job roles to pursue.
It confers strong transferable skills:
Modern finance roles require problem-solving skills, analytical skills, good observation, and a strong intuition. A finance career trains you in these important transferable skills which are valuable both in other sectors and in everyday life.
Careers In Finance
If you feel excited about the sale and purchase of shares, commodities, bonds, or currencies, and help the investors to earn money due to market surges, you should go for a career in financial trading. The trading jobs are at the same time challenging considering the regular government regulatory changes. You can apply for a trading job in financial institutions like hedge funds and commercial banks, although this kind of job isn’t popular due to the immaturity of the Nigerian financial sector.
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA’s) are required to successfully pursue a career in trading. Any certification or degree in mathematics or statistics is also seen as a plus in the sub-trading sector. Trading jobs at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (stockbroking) are the top choice in the financial sector. You can work under a portfolio manager to buy or sell securities.
Investment banking is all about helping your company manage its capital and investments with suitable strategies and plans. Depending on the size of your company you may be serving the whole company as an expert or you can specialize in one area to provide expert advice.
Investment banking professionals are usually offered jobs in multinational commercial or investment banks. Within investment banking, the available career options are asset management of corporate, equity firms, or business enterprises. Being an Investment Banker, you will be responsible for providing strategic opinions and guidance to companies for mergers and acquisitions, equity financing, and more. The second primary role you will play will be to strategize to raise capital for your company or your client.
One key area of expertise for an investment banker is in private equity, which more or less is a specialization of medium to small firms. These people identify and strategize to invest in large and reputed firms to make huge returns after an extended period. This is arguably the most stressful but most well-paying job in investment banking.
Another area to work as an investment banker is Venture capital, wherein you are responsible for looking for some small, new but promising companies. If you have a knack for following the latest and innovative technologies and know how to take calculated risks, then this is the job for you.
Everyone in today’s world wishes to earn more by investing little. As a portfolio management professional, you will guide your clients on what to invest in, and when. Getting into portfolio management is possible if you have a keen knowledge of the stock and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) markets.
To get a job as a portfolio manager you will be looking out for finance management companies and hedge funds. Other options could be such as sovereign wealth planners, insurance companies, and pension funds consultant firms. What’s more, with ample experience as a portfolio manager, you can have a firm of your own to get a well-paying clientele.
Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Jobs
Unlike other jobs discussed above, Financial Planning & Analysis is a strictly in-house affair. By hiring you as a Financial Planning and Analysis manager, a company will be relying on you to help their senior management to get analytical information on its finances. With this information, operational, strategic, and financial decisions are taken to maximize profits and minimize outlays. Your responsibilities will primarily include budgeting, monitoring cash flow, and setting up other analytical tools to measure the financial performance of your company.
Getting Started: Step-by-Step Guide
Getting into a career may cost an arm and a leg with respect to training, considering the high fees of MBAs and courses in Nigerian business schools. If you are looking to go for a much cheaper option, you may consider a degree or course in a federal university (although these are still much more expensive than these universities’ regular programs).
That said, here are the steps to take when you are finally ready to make the switch:
- Choose the area of finance you want to work in
- Enroll in a course at a business school or a federal university offering business and finance programs.
- Upon graduation, take up a graduate trainee or internship program at any commercial bank, hedge fund, the Securities and Exchanges Commission, or the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
- Gather sufficient experience and you are good to go.
Final Words on Careers in Finance
No doubt, careers in finance offer lucrative perks but there is stiff competition to get jobs. Besides the required qualifications, you should also be passionate about finance to keep pace with volatile financial markets and financial regulations. This, coupled with years of experience working with people doing what you love, will set you on the path to the zenith of your career.