The financial services industry includes companies that manage, invest, transfer and lend money.  The industry is large and includes banks, investment banks, consumer and commercial lenders, asset managers, brokerages, stock exchanges, payment processors, collection agencies, and private equity and venture capital investors.

The financial services industry encompasses different sectors in which you could work as an accounting or finance professional.  Examples of sectors in the financial services industry are Capital Markets, Corporate Finance, Equity Research, Financial Services Investment Banking, Investment Management, and Private Equity.  

Degrees and Certifications

Degrees and Certificate Programs
Degree Programs:
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Economics
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Arts in Business Management
Certifications:
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Certified Financial Consultant (CFC)

Skills

Critical Skills for the Financial Services industry

The following are common skills needed across the financial services industry:

  • Analytical ability
  • Problem solving skills
  • Preparing financial reports
  • Managing projects/people
  • Microsoft Excel and Access skills
  • Quantitative skills
  • Research
  • Risk analysis
  • Strategic thinking
  • Budget planning
  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership

How To Get Started in the Financial Services Industry

Steps to get started in this industry
  1. Join an on-campus student organization relevant to the financial services industry. Example: Financial Management Association
  2. If you are a Finance major, remember to apply to the School of Management.
  3. Attend a networking event to meet employers in this industry.
  4. Complete at least one internship in this industry prior to graduation; consider getting course credit for your internship through your department.
  5. Join a professional association prior to graduation such as Association of Financial Professionals.
  6. Prepare and complete the CFA, CFP, or CFC exam.

Resources Available

Links to Resources
Industry Research Resources:
Job and Internship Search Resources:
Professional Associations related to Financial Services:

Experiential Learning:

  • Shadow a finance professional for a few days over your school breaks (Commonly referred to as externship); utilize Mason CareerLink via HireMason to find professionals who are willing to host externs
  • Start looking for finance related internship opportunities during your Sophomore year
  • Obtain a minimum of one to two finance related internships before your graduate
  • Consider a Study Abroad Internship to obtain global business experience
  • Serve as the Treasurer, Vice President, or President for your student organization