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Finance Major  
User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1372 times:

Hi All,
I am majoring in Finance, in Louisiana. Does anyone know a good book or magazine on how to become a successful Finance degree person? Not sure how to ask...but does anyone know?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1369 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Thread starter):
I am majoring in Finance, in Louisiana

Is finance different in Louisiana?  ashamed  Since the competition is going to be tough, with the number of students taking business majors, my advice is internships and contacts, contacts and more contacts of people in the field.


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1361 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Thread starter):
I am majoring in Finance, in Louisiana. Does anyone know a good book or magazine on how to become a successful Finance degree person? Not sure how to ask...but does anyone know?

What do you want to do with a finance degree?

I would think really hard about what you are going to learn in the major and ask yourself, is this not information that I could acquire myself by reading a couple of finance texts and learning to use my HP calculator?

About 18 years ago I was a first year college student and finance was my declared major. After taking finance 101 (It should really be called learning to use your HP17B calculator) I realized that the subject matter is exceedingly easy to learn by oneself. I switched to accounting but continued my finance studies on my own. I was able to earn a finance minor but a B.S. and M.S. in Accounting and it's served me much better. Finance grads are literally a dime a dozen. Accounting grads are almost guaranteed employment.

Furthermore, any MBA program worth getting into won't accept you straight out of undergrad. An undergrad finance degree isn't worth much.

If you want to PM or e-mail me, I'll give you more detailed ideas on what to read.


User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1343 times:

Is it hard to earn an Accounting Degree?

User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1341 times:

Also what kind of experience is needed to find a job in a finance degree, what kind of job can you get in that field out of college?
Thank yall for your help!


User currently offlineSv7887 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1025 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1336 times:



Quoting Pope (Reply 2):
I would think really hard about what you are going to learn in the major and ask yourself, is this not information that I could acquire myself by reading a couple of finance texts and learning to use my HP calculator?



Quoting Pope (Reply 2):
I realized that the subject matter is exceedingly easy to learn by oneself. I switched to accounting but continued my finance studies on my own. I was able to earn a finance minor but a B.S. and M.S. in Accounting and it's served me much better. Finance grads are literally a dime a dozen. Accounting grads are almost guaranteed employment.

Take that advice seriously..Think of it this way: Wall Street accepts people from all disciplines and degrees. Take Trish Regan who is on CNBC. She worked for DE Shaw and Goldman Sachs, yet was a history major at Columbia. It's almost like a factory, they take in smart people and spit out analysts at the end of three years.

Let me share with you my own background: My undergrad is in Economics from Brandeis, and probably a stupid choice. Economics degrees are a dime a dozen, but I wasn't completely stupid and took a lot of Pre-Med courses which gave me something somewhat different than most candidates to offer employers.

I was in the top 5 out of 300 in my undergrad and was lucky enough to get accepted to the London School of Economics' MSc Finance and Economics programme.

Basically, they gave us a very intense training in Econometrics and Derivatives pricing. It's a rare program that combines the best of both Econ and Finance and sets you up for pretty much any Investment Bank you want to go to.

I didn't have much trouble getting offers after getting that MSc. As Pope said straight Finance grads are pretty common and it's a tough market for Finance grads right now.

I ended up in Consulting, and given the hell my friends are going through on Wall Street I don't think it was a bad choice. The hours are long, the travel grates on my nerves, but the skillset that I am learning is good. The kind of experience you get in front of Fortune 500 companies is good for developing client facing skills and even building contacts.

I don't know much about accounting, so I'll defer to Pope on that one.I think the usual course is to get a CPA?

Another good combo is some sort of Econ + Engineering combination. It's a very powerful degree. The mathematics of any Engineering program will help you breeze through any MBA and it gives you tons of options. A lot of the partners at my company were originally Engineers who got their MBAs..

Just some food for thought. I hope this is useful
-Sam


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 1312 times:



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 5):
I don't know much about accounting, so I'll defer to Pope on that one.I think the usual course is to get a CPA?

Another good combo is some sort of Econ + Engineering combination. It's a very powerful degree. The mathematics of any Engineering program will help you breeze through any MBA and it gives you tons of options. A lot of the partners at my company were originally Engineers who got their MBAs..

The CPA really sets you apart. It's a lifetime guarantee of employment. Now depending on how hard you want to work, the money's either pretty good or acceptable.

The Econ/Finance/Accounting (any business degree) + Engineering is a great idea.

I'll also suggest Eco / Finance / Acc + IT/IS. Someone who can serve as a bridge between business and IS is very valuable within an organization.

Accounting on its own is fairly boring. However, once you understand how the score is kept (and don't kid yourself, score in the business world is kept by how much money the organization makes), you understand how decisions at the operational level affect scoring.

I got my degrees in Accounting and went to AA (Andersen not AMR). I spent several years in the international M&A tax structuring group. I left to the company I now run. I think the key to success in the corporate world is being able to span multiple disciplines. You need not be an expert in more than one, but you need more than a passing understanding of the other areas.


User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 1301 times:

With a Finance degree what kind of job can you leave college and go into with that degree?

User currently offlineSv7887 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1025 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 1292 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Reply 7):
With a Finance degree what kind of job can you leave college and go into with that degree?

It is pretty tough out there. In an ideal world you'd have a chance at Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, Consulting and if you were very lucky Venture Capital, but the reality is that these industries are pretty hard to break into without connections or a really good undergrad degree.

I would strongly advise you to either study something else like Accouting or study Finance in conjunction with a Engineering or Accounting degree.

The reason I didn't get an MBA is because MBAs are a dime a dozen. My MSc can get me a job in Economic Consulting, Management Consulting, Investment Banking, Corporate Finance or even Academia.

I know MBA's from Harvard and Columbia who don't understand what derivatives are. They parrot things from their research reports. I've met enough Wall Street analysts who are too focused on the numbers and don't even understand the business they are covering.

Remember Enron? Wall Street was still recommending a "Buy" even right before the collapse.

The purpose of an education is to open as many doors for you as possible. If you're investing tens of thousands of dollars, you need to make sure you get a good return for it.

People with technical skills are very much in demand in the USA. American colleges don't graduate enough technical degree holders, so we go to India and China to get them.

The ONLY reason I got my job is because of the versatility my degree gives me. I can do financial analysis, I can do regressions and I can do the typical business case type stuff you see in Consulting.

Companies like multi-role capability. We've all been taught that Specialization is the key, but think of it in an aviation context..Why was the 747 so popular? It is an extremely flexible and capable platform.

I am in Consulting because hopefully I'll get exposure to real world problems, top ranking executives, and real world solutions that will hopefully help me get into business for myself or end up in management at some good company.

I didn't want to be stuck in a cube on Wall Street running simulations or Discounted Cash Flows. All of those folks are well paid, but one dimensional...In today's world of outsourcing and god knows what else, it's very important to be more than a one trick pony.


I hope this is useful. I know how you feel because I faced the same kind of decisions only a few years ago..My dad and I argued to no end about it because he wanted me to go to Med School and I knew he wouldn't live long enough for me to finish it in time...I took a big gamble, was luckily right, and sadly was right about him too.

-Sam


User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3527 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1277 times:



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 5):
Another good combo is some sort of Econ + Engineering combination. It's a very powerful degree. The mathematics of any Engineering program will help you breeze through any MBA and it gives you tons of options. A lot of the partners at my company were originally Engineers who got their MBAs..

A great combo - BBA Accounting/BS Finance, CPA and a JD.

You can write your own ticket with that.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1248 times:

Is the CPA Exam pretty difficult to pass?

User currently offlineN174UA From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1241 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 2):
Accounting grads are almost guaranteed employment.

As long as they're either a.) on the CPA track or b.) already passed the CPA.

Quoting Pope (Reply 2):
any MBA program worth getting into won't accept you straight out of undergrad

I'll disagree only slightly with you there...I just graduated from Seattle University (nationally accredited) and one of their advantages is that they focus on working adults. I had several classmates who had just graduated with their bachelors degree, but were working during the day and then attending grad. school at night.

Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 5):
I think the usual course is to get a CPA?

   You're up a creek without a paddle without it. I learned that when looking for jobs a few years ago. My undergrad. degree wasn't specifically in Accounting, and I wasn't planning on taking the CPA exam. Guess how far I got? Exactly.

Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 5):
some sort of Econ + Engineering combination. It's a very powerful degree.

Boeing likes those folks a LOT. In fact, they cover tuition for their employees who go to grad school!

Quoting Pope (Reply 6):
I think the key to success in the corporate world is being able to span multiple disciplines.

Couldn't agree more. In fact, when you interview, it's almost assumed you already have the technical skills to get to that stage. What they're judging is your ability to work effectively as a team member, with various kinds of people, ability to multi-task, manage various tasks, etc. How many jobs are there anymore where you sit a desk and don't talk to anyone all day? You can be the best Finance, etc. person out there, but if you have zero social skills, your chance of success in a customer-based environment is zero. And when I say clients, I'm referring to both internal and external customers.

One other class I took was Business Strategy, which was very difficult (game theory) but also very fascinating. Understanding industry structure, pricing schemes, and then being able to anticipate your rival's next move, and how to counter it. High stakes chess!

Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 8):
The reason I didn't get an MBA is because MBAs are a dime a dozen.

I was originally accepted at Seattle U. in the MBA program, but was torn between that and the International Business degree (MIB) they offered. A few months later, I did switch, and I just graduated last month. There were over 100 MBA's...13 (including me) got the MIB degree.

Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 8):
I know MBA's from Harvard and Columbia who don't understand what derivatives are. They parrot things from their research reports. I've met enough Wall Street analysts who are too focused on the numbers and don't even understand the business they are covering.

Wow... To me anyway, having a solid background in both accounting AND finance is essential. But, I know accountants who struggle with the time value of money, and don't understand the concepts behind it, which have to reported accurately on the financials and in the footnotes. Especially these days with valuation of derivatives.

I also recommend looking at earning a certification to complement a degree: CPA, CFA (Certified Financial Analyst), Certifed Treasury Professional, etc. Some are very sought after, as they show a high level of seriousness and dedication on the part of the person who earned it. When times are bad (like now) the person with the certificate will almost always win over the person who doesn't. Another sought-after certification is Six Sigma, which sets one apart in the area of operations and manufacturing.

[Edited 2008-07-28 20:14:01]

[Edited 2008-07-28 20:27:42]

User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4490 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1244 times:



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 5):
Another good combo is some sort of Econ + Engineering combination. It's a very powerful degree. The mathematics of any Engineering program will help you breeze through any MBA and it gives you tons of options. A lot of the partners at my company were originally Engineers who got their MBAs..

Hear, hear!  checkmark 



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlinePDXtriple7 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 695 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1220 times:



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 5):
Another good combo is some sort of Econ + Engineering combination. It's a very powerful degree. The mathematics of any Engineering program will help you breeze through any MBA and it gives you tons of options. A lot of the partners at my company were originally Engineers who got their MBAs..

So true. At my university, a lot of the Biomedical engineers get jobs at Goldman Sachs or other Wall Street firms. If you double in BME and Econ or markets and management certificate, you basically have it made... although with the financials tanking right now, the next few years are going to be brutal. Glad I decided to pursue something international for the time being.


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1192 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Reply 10):
Is the CPA Exam pretty difficult to pass?

It used to be much harder because they tested you on everything over the course of two days. You had to pass all 4 part to get the designation. Or pass at least 3 parts with at least a 50% on the none passign part to get conditional credit. If you got conditional credit you could go back and pass the one you failed on a subsequent exam and still get the designation.

Now, you can take and pass the exams one at a time. The material is just as hard but you don't have to master it all at once.


User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1159 times:

But from what Ive heard the CPA Exam is quite a difficult test to pass? Thats not necessarily the case is it?

User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1152 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Reply 15):
But from what Ive heard the CPA Exam is quite a difficult test to pass? Thats not necessarily the case is it?

I passed the old style test the first time studying 4 hours / weekend for two months before the exam and 5 hours a day for the week leading up to it.

Go to a bookstore and flip through one of the study guides that are available for the exam. It will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.


User currently offlineMike89406 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1467 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1136 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Reply 3):
Is it hard to earn an Accounting Degree?

Ouch!  Confused I took Managerial Accounting at ERAU as a elective 300 level class I don't know how to explain it other than I got a B in the class and I really don't really remember what I learned other than some of the terms for balance budget sheets and the other statements.

I throughly enjoyed my Macroeconomics class It was enlightining and a pre-req for graduation the course lecture could be dry at times as my professor had the personality of a boring intellectial. I remember doing a paper in that class on the Avition industry post 9/11.

I also took a Financial Management class more recntly and that was really interesting I actually remember a lot of the material we covered everything from mortgages, insurances, car loans and the list goes on it was a pretty handy class to take. But I digress my degree is not going to be in finance but rather Bachelors of Science.

At any rate have fun of you decide to pursue the financial world a lot of math classes are involved as I'm sure you know.

Regards Mike


User currently offlineRyanrap1 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1118 times:

Financial Management sounds very interesting, I am very eager to take that class!

User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1110 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Reply 18):
Financial Management sounds very interesting, I am very eager to take that class!

It sounds to me that you are clueless about what you want to do. I'm not saying this to be insulting but just to tell it like it is.

My suggestion would be to take the intro class to all the subjects you are interested in. Then get a job, any job in a financial related area. I don't care if it's a part-time bookkeeper at a local business. You'll see what you've learned in school applied in the real world. Very little of what you learn academically is applied directly in business. Instead, you learn general concepts in school and try to meld them to real world solutions.

An academic business educations gives you a core understanding of concepts and terminology. But nobody graduated business school and knew how to run a business solely on what they had learned in school.

I run a mid-size private company. I rarely if ever get an accounting question or a finance question. I face problems that have accounting, finance, operational, business law, human resource and a score of other aspects to them on a daily basis. The value is in being able to synthesize your academic and real world experiences into solutions that work.

Let me give you one example. We were leasing our headquarter office space. The lease was scheduled to expire at the end of March 2008. We had to determine what to do next (renew the lease, move or buy). The answer involved aspects of our loan agreement compliance. Our key determinant of loan pricing is EBITDA based interest coverage so owning improves our interest rate. The same amount of cash spent paying rent versus paying a mortgage gives us a better answer as a mortgage because the depreciation and interest get added back to net income in calculating EBITDA. Rent expense does not.

However, an outright purchase affects our total debt to equity ratios. At the same time a softness in the commercial real estate market made renting attractive in the short term. We had a couple of offices that would have worked well but they were some distance away from where we are now. That would have causes all sorts of human resource issues.

Nobody asked, what's the best accounting solution to this problem. Instead, the question is, what is the best BUSINESS answer and that involves a ton of different areas. Good business people can transcend the various subspecialites within the business and operational area and optimize the overall result.


User currently offlineSv7887 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1025 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1109 times:



Quoting Ryanrap1 (Reply 18):
Financial Management sounds very interesting, I am very eager to take that class!

I am guessing you are just starting college?

It's okay not to be sure what to major in and you are doing the smart thing by asking people who have more experience..

I think most people don't declare their major until late in the second year?

If I were you, just take a few classes in Finance, Accounting, or anything else that interests you.

Quoting Pope (Reply 19):
My suggestion would be to take the intro class to all the subjects you are interested in. Then get a job, any job in a financial related area. I don't care if it's a part-time bookkeeper at a local business. You'll see what you've learned in school applied in the real world. Very little of what you learn academically is applied directly in business. Instead, you learn general concepts in school and try to meld them to real world solutions.

An academic business educations gives you a core understanding of concepts and terminology. But nobody graduated business school and knew how to run a business solely on what they had learned in school.

Take this advice VERY seriously...I graduated with a great degree but I use maybe 10% of it on a daily basis.

My MSc taught me how to solve equations, but it didn't teach jack about the real business world..

Get an internship, network, and get exposure to the corporate office environments.

Whatever you do, make sure there is a market for what you are studying..Don't make the mistake so many of my friends did in going to college spending $100K or more and then majoring in a totally useless Liberal Arts subject...

Like any smart Financial orientated person, look at the return on the degrees you are contemplating..

It isn't necessary to be "in love" with what you do...It IS necessary to be able to earn enough money to pay your bills and have decent job security.


User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9367 posts, RR: 26
Reply 21, posted (6 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1101 times:



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 20):
It isn't necessary to be "in love" with what you do...It IS necessary to be able to earn enough money to pay your bills and have decent job security.

not so much. you need to like what you do and not pretend you do just to get by.



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
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