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When did you know you wanted to work in the financial services industry, and what was it that helped you make that decision?

I don't know what I want to do for a living, but I like math and I like studying the stock market. How do I know if I'll like working as an investment manager? #finance #financial-services #investment-management #investing #financial-planning

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Matthew’s Answer

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Hi Geoffrey! Great question. I knew I wanted to work in the financial services industry since high school. Like you, I identified what I liked and then decided to find a career that would allow me to explore my interests. Personally, I enjoy talking about financial markets, building relationships and traveling. So for me, I made the decision to focus on a career in financial sales.


This industry has an incredibly diverse opportunity set. There is a very wide array of financial jobs that can cater to your passions and interests. To get an idea of the different roles, you can explore some open jobs listed on different financial firms' websites. They usually have a detailed description of what the job entails. From there, you can work backwards and research what career path would be necessary to be qualified for that job. My one piece of advice would be to keep an open mind when choosing your career path. Nothing is set in stone and it's important to find something that you enjoy. Best of luck!

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Debi’s Answer

Hello Geoffrey, I like your question and I like all 3 answers above! I had no intention of working in Financial Services either, but got an opportunity in the summer after my freshman year in College (Biology major at the time) to work as a bank teller for a friend of my moms. I found I really liked it and was able to work at the bank when I was on Christmas break, spring break and summers throughout my college days.

When I went back to college as a sophomore, I decided that Biology was not for me but couldn't decide what my major should be so I took all of my 100 level classes, all different types, to see what interested me. After working at the bank for Christmas, spring and summer breaks that year, I decided as a Junior to be an Accounting major. I continued to work at the bank on my breaks and when I graduated from College, I already had a job waiting for me.

Since I now had a degree, I kept my options open at the bank and an accounting job came up just a few months after I graduated. I've had some different accounting jobs since then, some in banking, some in other industries, but ended up at Visa and have been here 22 years. I don't work in accounting anymore, I'm in a different role, but having a background in banking/accounting/finance opened a lot of doors for other opportunities.

Good luck to you!
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Eileen’s Answer

Ironically, I had no intention of a career in financial services but I’ve been working for banks and credit unions for 35 years now! In a nutshell, once skills are learned within an industry and knowledge gained, it can be applied in other roles. This facilitates the ability to transfer to new roles, especially within the same organization. So if you have an interest in an industry, it is worth pursuing a position with the knowledge that your experience you gain can be the key to changing roles within the industry in the future.
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James’s Answer

I was always better at mathematics in my school years which lead me to my career in Finance. I believe if you are good at something, follow that path! Also, if you are good at something, you will probably also have fun doing it! Business/Finance is always changing, as a client first field for the most part, you are not only learning about a topic you are good at but it is possible that you will be in a role that will offer you the opportunity to advice people and change people's lives because they don't have the same skills as you and come to major firms for advice they need for living a better life and preparing for retirement.
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Alexandra’s Answer

Very interesting question. For me, it happened a bit by chance.

I was very good in Maths and economics. I decided to apply for the most intensive and selective master course of my university, which happened to be in market finance. I felt that if I could do something harder, it might open more doors in the future. Also, the courses were varied as I had courses in Market Finance, Accounting, Economics and Law. So this was good for me because I learned about many fields.

I also asked myself a number of questions about who I was: am I more introvert or extrovert, do I want to be in contact with external clients, what work/life balance do I want, do I like to solve problems?

As I applied to various jobs, I also found more about the day to day activities and found out I was more interested in working in the Finance department of a bank than in Front Office.

So I think you need to ask yourself what you like, what you think you are good at, what kind of person you are. You also need to get an idea of what the various jobs are about and if you would fit.

The good thing is that you will probably not be stuck in a job you do not like because there would be many opportunities for change if you are willing to take them. Thinking wide and keeping your eyes open should help you make the right decision for yourself.

Good luck!
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