Do I need a degree to work in finance?

10 Ways to Land a Finance Career Without a Finance Degree

Do I need a degree to work in finance10 Ways to Land a Finance Career Without a Finance Degree

What are your options if you don't have a degree in finance or business but are interested in working in the financial sector? The majority of employment in the financial industry require applicants to have one of these degrees. There is still a chance for someone with a degree in a subject other than finance to get work in the financial sector, despite the fact that doing so will be more challenging.

Every business seeks intelligent workers who are devoted to their work, highly driven, and dedicated to their careers. A degree in finance will teach you skills such as financial modeling and analysis, but it may not teach you much about other skills that are necessary for success in almost any profession, such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. These skills are essential for achieving your goals.

The following is a list of ten methods to show prospective employers that you have the talents they are looking for in an employee, as well as the enthusiasm that is required for a successful career in finance.

We will evaluate each of them based on how tough it is to accomplish (for example, enrolling in a financial course is less challenging than finding an internship), as well as the potential contribution it may make to your goal of beginning a career in the financial business.


  • It is possible to have a successful career in the financial business even without having an MBA or having majored in finance at an educational institution.
  • You will be more prepared for success if you take the appropriate classes in economics and finance.
  • Your CV will almost always seem better if you have completed an internship with a renowned firm.
  • You should also think about getting a degree in a field that is not related to finance but is in demand on Wall Street. Some examples of such degrees are mathematics, platform development, and information technology.

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1. Become fluent in the lingo.

Low in terms of difficulty

Impact: Minimal

There is no reasonable excuse for not understanding Wall Street language if you are interested in a job in the financial industry. If you don't know the difference between NPV and DCF, or if you don't know what the difference is between dilution and dividend, you should consider learning financial terms and concepts by reading The Wall Street Journal or browsing the extensive glossaries that are available on websites such as Investopedia.

A non-finance graduate may find it very difficult, if not impossible, to pass the preliminary interview stage since they lack knowledge of the financial language. Regardless of the candidate's school history, an interviewer for a career in finance will almost always operate on the assumption that the applicant has some level of financial expertise.

2. Complete Your Academic Obligations

Low to moderate levels of difficulty

Impact: Considerable

What would happen if you completed your education with a degree in a field other than finance? You have the ability to rectify the problem at any time by enrolling in relevant classes at either the undergraduate or post-graduate level that have a focus on business or finance.

Classes in economics, accounting, and financial analysis are all excellent choices for students majoring in finance at the undergraduate level. The large amount of finance coursework that is required for an MBA helps level the playing field between graduates with backgrounds in finance and those with backgrounds in fields other than finance.

If the steep price of an MBA is a barrier for you, consider looking into alternative choices, such as enrolling in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Program. This is definitely something you should look into. The Chartered Financial Analyst designation is granted to candidates who demonstrate mastery of a graduate-worth level's of financial theory and practical knowledge via a series of three challenging tests taken on their own time.

3. Sign up for a financial education program.

The level of difficulty is medium.

Impact: Moderate

You may learn vital skills that are required for a job in finance by enrolling in intensive courses offered by companies such as Wall Street Prep and Training the Street. These courses can teach you skills such as advanced spreadsheet procedures and financial modeling.

The normal cost of one of these crash courses is several thousand dollars; however, the benefit of taking one of these courses is that it does not need a significant time commitment over a protracted period of time since it is often completed in a matter of days. Because of the intensity of these programs, it is possible that prior knowledge of fundamental financial concepts is required in order to receive the greatest advantage from them. This is one of the programs' drawbacks.

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4. Increase the breadth and depth of your expertise.

The level of difficulty is medium.

Impact: Considerable

A college education is not required in order to get information that is relevant. If you want to expand your understanding of finances, you may do so by consulting the wealth of resources offered by either your neighborhood library or the internet. The providers of the course may make these materials accessible to students at no cost or for a fee.

5. Use a Trading Simulator

The level of difficulty is medium.

Impact: Minimal

Trading simulators are available on a variety of websites, including Investopedia, and may be used to create fictitious investment portfolios. When you use a trading simulator, you will be required to follow the markets and stay up to date on the latest market happenings. This is an excellent method to impress a prospective employer with your trading acumen, or at the very least, your market awareness, without making a significant financial investment on your part other than the dedication of your time.

6. Participate in Various Occupational Programs

High level of difficulty

Impact: Considerable

Not only does successfully completing a pertinent industry licensing course, such as the one provided by the Canadian Securities Institute, demonstrate your dedication to a career in finance, but it also provides you with an advantage over the competition in terms of your level of preparedness for employment.

This option may not be accessible in all countries, of course; for example, in the United States, in order to take the majority of licensure tests, an individual is required to have a sponsorship from either a member company or a self-regulatory body.

On the other hand, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has developed a fresh exam known as the Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE), which candidates may take on their own without the assistance of a sponsor.

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7. Keep up with your personal finance blog.

High level of difficulty

Impact: Moderate

Creating and maintaining a financial blog is an excellent approach to convey to the public your perspectives on various investing strategies. It is a chance to provide a prospective employer a good image of the wide collection of abilities you possess, such as financial savvy, communication skills, and technical proficiency. Those who already have some level of these abilities are the ones who will find the greatest success with this kind of self-marketing.

8. Establish a Relationship with a Mentor

High level of difficulty

Impact: Moderate

One other strategy to get a head start in a financial profession is to establish a relationship with a mentor. A mentor is somebody in a position of authority who has confidence in your talents and is prepared to provide guidance and support as you work toward achieving your objectives. Your favorite college professor, a friend or relative of the family who has built a successful career in finance, or someone you know in a professional position, such as a supervisor you had during an internship in the past, are all potential candidates for the role of mentor. Don't be afraid to reach out to a contact of yours that you believe could be able to assist you in your job quest.

9. Land a Summer Job or Internship

The level of difficulty is really high.

Influence: Extremely high

As a result of the fact that many Wall Street businesses choose their new employees from the ranks of their summer interns, landing a summer internship is still one of the greatest methods to increase your chances of landing a prominent full-time position in the financial sector. It is estimated that between one-third and one-half of MBA students at the finest business schools end up working for the company for which they interned over the summer after they graduate.

Because it is likely to be extremely difficult for a graduate with a degree in a field other than finance to secure a paid internship in the financial industry, one has to examine alternative possibilities, such as an unpaid internship or voluntary work with a broker. The loss of prospective earnings that results from participating in unpaid internships or voluntary work may, in the long run, be compensated for by the increased earning potential offered by a career in finance.

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10. Make every effort to get entrance to the competition.

The level of difficulty is really high.

Influence: Extremely high

You should submit your resume to HR departments, broaden your job search to include additional locations, and utilize your network to check for opportunities. In a nutshell, you should do all at your power to get employment in a financial institution. Obtaining an entry-level employment with a financial organization, even if it is in a capacity that is unrelated to finance, may pave the way for further career opportunities in the finance industry in the future.

If you don't have a degree from an accredited college, can you still get a CFA Charter?

Yes. Candidates for membership in the CFA Institute, and by extension, charter holders, are expected to possess at least a bachelor's degree from an institution that is recognized to award such degrees (in any field). It is possible to begin the CFA program while you are still enrolled in an undergraduate degree program; however, you will need to demonstrate that you will successfully complete your degree within 11 months.

Which College Majors Prepare Students to Be the Most Successful Financial Professionals?

According to the results of a recent poll, the following subjects are the most popular undergraduate degrees among professionals working in global finance:

  • Finance (23 percent )
  • Business/Management (19 percent )
  • Economics (14 percent )
  • Keeping the books (11 percent )
  • The study of mathematics (7 percent )
  • These five disciplines, taken together, accounted for close to 75 percent of the total workforce in the financial sector.

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How Many of the People Who Work as Interns in Banking End Up Getting Jobs?

According to studies conducted inside the sector, around seventy percent of banking interns who successfully complete all of the required responsibilities will be given a position. This may seem to be a good figure; nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that securing even an internship at a financial company, which is often unpaid, is a very competitive process. The financial giant Goldman Sachs received a record number of student internship applications in 2022, with 236,000 applicants from throughout the world, including 79,000 from the Americas. Only around 35,000, or about 15 percent of the total, are selected.


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