Both large and small businesses must learn to make good financial decisions in order to be successful. An undergraduate degree in finance will equip you with the skills necessary to assist businesses and households in their financial decisions. Both the central Arkansas and the national economy have a strong and well diversified financial services industry where finance majors can expect to find excellent employment opportunities.
The finance major provides students with valuable core skills related to critical thinking, problem solving, communications and teamwork. The major provides a wide range of specific knowledge and skills that are necessary to perform effectively in a variety of careers in the financial sector. Finance careers are in large corporations, small businesses, banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, real estate firms and many more.
Finance majors have much to offer in today’s job market. The following are a sample of the professions available for finance students.
- Asset Managers
- Financial Consultants
- Financial Planners
- Insurance & Risk Management*
- Investment Bankers
- Loan Officers
- Portfolio Managers
- Property Management
*Please see our departmental brochure on the Insurance & Risk Management major or contact Dr. John Bratton.
Some Key Job Functions in Finance
LOAN OFFICER: Loan officers deal with the gamut of borrowing/lending needs in a modern economy. Some officers specialize in home mortgages or business loans while others generalize in consumer loans for needs such as home improvements and auto loans. Analyzing client financial data is the heart of the lending function in commercial banks, mortgage companies, savings and loans, and credit unions. The greater your experience, the greater your loan decisions responsibilities and rewards. High earnings potential for top officers in hierarchy. College degree is important for advancement.
STOCKBROKER: Brokers provide the human interface between financial market instruments and the needs of their clients. Most specialize in either stocks or bonds or commodities but some are experienced enough to generalize. Most brokers deal with the general public and build a clientele. Others specialize in institutional clients such as bank trust departments and investment companies. The broker profession is marketing oriented and most are compensated through commissions. High earnings potential once you build a clientele. Firms are looking for those with a marketing aptitude, a strong desire to succeed and college degrees are becoming much more commonplace.
FINANCIAL ANALYST/FINANCIAL MANAGER: Some must wear this hat in all organizations, large or small, business or otherwise. This function focuses on the major organizational decisions about what good or service is to be provided, sources of long-term funding, and the day-to-day cash flows. Financially speaking, these functions are referred to as capital budgeting, capital structure, and working capital management. These functions and skills are readily transferable among differing organizational forms. Your level in the organization determines the scale of decision-making.
As you develop your decision-making experience and skills you advance toward the highest levels of organizational responsibility and reward (Chief Financial Officer). Undergraduate degrees and, increasingly, graduate business degrees are becoming the norm.
FINANCIAL PLANNER: The financial services industry is developing along the lines of providing full-service planning (a coordinated plan) for clients in terms of insurance needs, credit, savings, investments, retirement and estate planning. Some financial planners are compensated through fees for services rendered. Others are compensated through commissions on products provided clients.
The lines between insurance professionals, stockbrokers and financial planners are becoming blurred as we move into the 21st century. In terms of dealing with the public, financial service, professionals are beginning to provide a wider range of services and not specialize as much as in the past.
Students considering financial planning as a career should seriously consider qualifying as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Brokers and insurance agents are encouraged and expected to qualify for the CFP by meeting the certification requirements. In addition, many financial services professionals must take varying NASD qualifying exams which require study of specialized financial topics many of which are included in our Finance curriculum and our Insurance and Risk Management curriculum.
UCA finance graduates have been, or are employed, at the following businesses and institutions;
- First Community Bank
- Merrill Lynch
- Western Illinois University
- Stephens Inc.
- Crews & Associates
- First State Bank
- First Security Bank
- Bank of America
- U.S. Federal Reserve
- American Express
- Morgan Stanley
- Dean Witter
- and others.
For further information, email the departmental secretary, Deanna Quintanilla at email@example.com or call (501) 450-3109.