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COURSE SELECTION GUIDE

Undergraduate Finance Course Selection Guide

Being a Finance major at Michigan State opens the door to many exciting possible career paths for you. However, this decision can be one of the most challenging tasks you will ever face!  The good news is that you don’t have to map out every detail of your future career right now – but it’s a good idea to start setting a direction for yourself as early as possible.

Career paths in Finance share several common themes, and these are established in four required courses for Finance Majors:

ACC 305 – Intermediate Accounting for Finance Majors

FI 311 – Financial Management

FI 312 – Introduction to Investments

FI 414 – Advanced Business Finance

These four courses introduce the basic concepts that define the field of Finance.  They will provide you with essential knowledge and some financial tools that are common to careers in the field.  The Finance major then requires a minimum of three elective courses in Finance, and this is where your choices begin.  Here are our suggested electives for the most popular career paths in the world of Finance, along with some potential job titles in each area (click the links below to go to the guide for each career path):

Corporate Finance

 

Capital Markets and Investment Banking

 

Commercial Banking

 

Financial Advising and Investments

 

CORPORATE FINANCE PATH

corporate-finance-and-capital-raising

Interested in helping companies make money – and get paid well yourself while doing it? Maybe corporate finance is for you. It involves a little more than setting the right debt/equity ratio you learned about in FI 311 (though this is part of it). You’ll be analyzing revenues and expenses to make sure companies are using their capital most effectively, helping companies make the right capital investments to grow to their full potential (making shareholders happy and potentially putting a lot more quality employees to work), evaluating projects and structuring deals to help keep growth on a solid footing.

Job titles that would fall into this camp are Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Treasurer, Financial Analyst, Project Manager, Cash Manager, Corporate Development Officer and Strategic Planner.

Suggested Courses:

FI 413 – Management of Financial Institutions

FI 444 – Entrepreneurial Finance (Does not count as a Finance elective)

FI 451 – International Financial Management

FI 455 – Computer Applications in Financial Modeling

CAPITAL MARKETS AND INVESTMENT BANKING PATH 

corporatefinance-900x444

Think you’ve got what it takes to beat the market? Good luck with that! (Remember those FI 311 lectures on efficient markets?). The good news is that you can have a very exciting and rewarding career without trying to beat the un-beatable or predict the un-predictable.

Jobs in capital markets involve objective, scientific analysis of economic and market factors that help companies make the right sort of investment decisions. Often this will involve helping companies raise the capital they need to keep growing – for example by setting the right terms for a new bond issuance.

Investment bankers help a company with its financing needs, and also help facilitate mergers and acquisitions. It’s a very complex world, but the rewards can be significant both for yourself and for the companies you will be helping to grow and thrive.

Common job titles in these areas include Debt Capital Markets Officer, Equity Capital Markets Officer, Investment Banker, Financial Strategist, Trader and Mergers & Acquisitions Analyst.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, along with an MBA, are highly recommended for this career path.

Suggested courses:

FI 413 – Management of Financial Institutions

FI 451 – International Financial Management

FI 455 – Computer Applications in Financial Modeling

FI 457 – Security Analysis

FI 473 – Debt and Money Markets

FI 478 – Investment Strategies and Speculative Markets

COMMERCIAL BANKING PATH

Group of happy young business people in a meeting at office

The term “Banker” often congers a vision of an aging man in a 3-piece suit, gold watch suspended on a chain buried in the vest pocket, leading a stodgy and far-from-exciting life. How times have changed! Today’s bankers function as the life-blood of our economy: enabling companies and individuals to get the funding they need to grow and thrive – helping these same companies with their cash management needs not only to keep the lights on (and keep employees drawing a paycheck), but also to fuel the investment in growth and innovation that has put our economy at the top of the global scale. Far from stodgy, far from boring!

Other than “Banker”, job titles in this area include Cash Management Specialist, Commercial Lender, Private Banker, Branch Manager and Mortgage Lender.

Suggested courses:

FI 413 – Management of Financial Institutions

FI 444 – Entrepreneurial Finance (Does not count as a Finance elective)

FI 455 – Computer Applications in Financial Modeling

FI 473 – Debt and Money Markets

FI 478 – Investment Strategies and Speculative Markets

FINANCIAL ADVISOR PATH

finadvphoto

Do you enjoy helping people? Building relationships based on trust? Enabling people to reach their goals and live better lives? Then a career as a Financial Advisor might be the most rewarding path you could pursue both for yourself and for your future clients.

This career path involves a lot more than setting asset allocations or picking the right stocks/bonds/mutual funds – when you get right down to it, it’s all about relationships. Letting your clients know you have their best interests in mind, and have the expertise to help them achieve all of their financial goals. Yes, it can be financially rewarding for you, but knowing that you have the ability to touch and improve so many lives can be the greatest reward of all.

The title “Financial Advisor” is a broad description of many other types of careers you can have in this field; other jobs include Chief Investment Officer, Portfolio Manager, Relationship Manager, Financial Planner, Investment Analyst, Trust Officer, Retirement Plan Specialist, and Account Executive.

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is highly recommended for this career track.

Suggested courses:

FI 457 – Security Analysis

FI 473 – Debt and Money Markets

FI 478 – Investment Strategies and Speculative Markets

FI 491 – Introduction to Wealth Management


Eli Broad College of Business

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