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. Financial services also encompasses various sectors such capital markets, corporate finance, equity research, investment banking, investment management, and private equity.

Necessary Skills

Critical skills needed for a career in 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

Degrees and Certifications

Below are examples of degrees and certifications relevant to financial services
Degree Programs
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Economics
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Arts in Business Management
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Certified Financial Consultant (CFC)

How to Get Started

6 steps to get you started in the financial services industry
  1. Join an on-campus student organization relevant to the financial services industry.
    Example: Financial Management Association
  2. Attend a networking event to meet employers in financial services.
  3. Shadow a professional in the financial services industry to see if the job is a good fit for you. Participate in Take a Patriot to Work Day, Mason's job shadowing program.
  4. Complete at least one internship prior to graduation.
    Consider getting course credit for your internship through your department.
  5. Join a professional association prior to graduation such as the Association of Financial Professionals.
  6. Prepare for and complete the CFA, CFP, or CFC exam.


Research, get experience, and get connected to contacts in financial services.
Industry Research
Job and Internship Search
Professional Associations

Experiential Learning

  • Participate in Take a Patriot to Work Day, a one-day job shadowing event,, to shadow a financial services professional or utilize Mason CareerLink via HireMason to find professionals who are willing to host a job shadow.
  • 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.