Career Options in Banking, Finance & Accountancy: Graduate
So graduation actually happened, and now you’re on the other side of the looking glass. If banking, finance or accountancy is your thing, how do you get started in graduate life in this sector?
Graduate opportunities in banking, finance and accountancy
- Entry/trainee roles
- Graduate schemes.
It’s not too late to apply for all internship opportunities if you are lacking key work experience, which can be crucial for graduate scheme application success. Many internships are designed for first year or penultimate year student only, but there are some out there open to graduates too. They tend to last for an extended period of time – anything from two or three months up to a year on a part-time or full-time basis – and they will be paid.
There will be some opportunities, such as trainee administrative roles or support roles in areas across the industry that’ll you’ll be eligible to apply for with your degree. Check out retail banking or specialist accountancy, insurance or pensions firms, for instance.
And, of course, your degree is your golden ticket allowing you to apply for a number of graduate schemes in the industry.
Will my degree do?
A minimum of a 2:1 is a requirement for the majority of graduate positions in banking finance and accountancy. If you want to head into tax or accountancy, then you can do so with any degree discipline – as long as you’ve got the head for numbers! HR, retail banking customer services and operations, and some research, technology and consultancy roles can also be open to any discipline – though you’ll have to be able to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the finance industry.
Recruitment for areas like asset management, investment banking (i.e. trading, brokering or risk management), some technology positions, actuarial roles and financial research and analysis may be a little more restrictive in the degree subjects they look for. Graduates with strong degrees in subjects such as economics, mathematics, computer sciences, engineering, accountancy, finance or physics are likely to be at an advantage.
Is postgraduate study necessary?
There are some areas of banking, finance and accountancy, such as financial analysis (notably quantitative analyst roles and technology roles within investment banking) that will require a higher level of knowledge and skills in the form of a Master’s degree or even a PhD in subjects such as financial mathematics, economics, or other subjects with strong quantitative/technical focuses like engineering or physics. If you’ve got visions of a top role (and a whopping salary!) in these areas, then it could be worth hitting the books hard for a few more years and gaining a postgraduate qualification.
If you’ve got a few years of business experience under your belt already, then you might want to consider an MBA which will line you up for executive positions within companies. But be warned, the fees can be incredibly high!