How to Become a Financial Analyst: Career Path & Qualifications
The position of a Financial Analyst is often considered as an entry level position, which can give way to more opportunities. These professionals hold some of the most coveted jobs in the finance industry, as they make crucial decisions, in regards with a company’s financial standing. They primarily analyse all the financial aspects of a company and are responsible for providing plans, drawing up presentations to assist in the decisions of the firm, when it comes to investment banking. A financial analyst could be working for high profile companies, investment banks, corporate finance or private individuals or independently. Each job profile has certain distinctions in terms of responsibilities.
Having a background in any related field like economics, commerce or accounting, always proves beneficial. Although, if someone at an undergraduate level, decides to explore this as a career option, then it is important to have a basic knowledge of accounting and math, these as well as people from the computer and engineering backgrounds are accepted here. Many graduates belonging to these backgrounds, come to be hired as junior analysts, while it is the MBA graduates, who are offered senior-level positions.
While any graduate with majors in any finance related subjects, will start off as a junior analyst, usually under the guidance of a senior analyst. They usually work for a considerable number of years, get the experience and mostly return back to school. The reason for this is the fact that any junior analyst, to get further promotions and advancements in their career, will need to acquire advanced degrees. While on the other hand, a graduate with a Masters's degree in the relevant field, can very well expect to be appointed as a senior level analyst, or progress to the position quickly. A senior analyst can further move into a supervisory position.
In the securities industry, the professional can become a portfolio manager or a fund manager, overseeing a team of junior analysts. After this, a professional can progress onto to senior management level posts and if they possess the caliber, they can also be appointed as the chief financial officer (CFO) of their firm, and be in charge of all the major financial decisions of the company.
While, a basic undergraduate degree is suffice enough for entry into this field, it is always considered a good thing to take up specialization courses, so as to achieve further advancement in the careers. This field gives a lot of importance to quantitative skills and as a result of this, degrees in accounting, mathematics, finance and economics are always preferred. There are a number of esteemed Business Schools offering advanced courses in business administration, as well as statistics, economics and maths. Apart from educational qualifications, there are various certifications, which are required of a financial analyst so as to progress in their careers. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is considered to be one of the most prestigious credentials, a financial analyst can have and is internationally recognised.