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What should I do if I want to become a financial analyst?

I like math. I’m interested in majoring in Accounting or finance/ business.

#Analyst
#Finance
#Profit #business

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Matthew’s Answer

Alexia - if you want to become a financial analyst, I think it is best to know where the numbers come from and how they are created. I also think that it is better to come out of college trained to work in a specific career as opposed to having a general degree. An accounting degree will give you both. Knowing how to read and interpret financial statements is really important for a financial analyst and having an accounting degree is better than having a general business degree. The accounting degree is more focused.

When I was in college, I didn't take enough accounting classes to finish my accounting degree and only completed enough courses to get a finance degree. It took me longer to find a job at half the salary of my classmates who finished with an accounting degree. I think it's worth the time and effort to get the accounting degree.

Hopefully you find this helpful. Best of luck in your education and career. I'm confident you will be very successful.

Matthew recommends the following next steps:

Find an accounting firm on the internet or ask friends/family if they know an accountant.
Call them and ask them if they have any summer internships.
Go and work there for the summer to see if you'd like it.
Get to know some accountants and ask them about financial analysis.
Build your network of referrals as soon as you can. It's never too early.
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Kenneth’s Answer

Hello, Alexia! The fact that you like math is a major plus. You will be working with numbers a great deal, and as you have seen with some of the previous responses, your involvement will vary depending on the positions you seek. Some analysts analyze investments, from individual stocks to entire portfolios with a variety of securities. Other analysts work internally and study the company where they work. They may be trying to find inefficiencies in the company operations, or determine the effect of a merger, positive or negative. I would highly recommend talking to people who are already in the field you are interested in. See if there are any financial analysts you know or who may be a friend or parent of someone you know. I have found that most people, provided that you respect their time, are willing to tell you about what they do and direct you to people who they know who can give you more information.

One more thing...determine what aspects of numbers you like. Write them down. For example, do you like to solve problems? Do you like to understand the story behind the numbers? The results will help you learn a bit more about yourself, and make you better prepared when you are ready to ask questions of people in the field.

Good luck!
Ken Romanowski

Kenneth recommends the following next steps:

Look at job openings that advertise for financial analysts, so that you can see what companies look for.
Determine the type of financial analysis you like. If you can't focus right now, no problem...just keep learning about the field.
Talk to people who do the jobs you are interested in.
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Hajro’s Answer

Hi Alexia,

It's great that you are good with numbers. I can speak from the Investment Management perspective and tell you that a financial analyst will look at companies, and then recommend them to a portfolio manager. There is a designation called CFA, chartered financial analyst. It takes about three years to complete, and it will give you all of the tools that are necessary to be a financial analyst. However, as the previous responses point out, there are many forms of a financial analyst. One area that is getting a lot of attention these days is called big data, which may require you to have some python programing skills in addition to being great with numbers.
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robert’s Answer

Hi Alexia,

3 things you'll want to do.

1-Get a degree in an analytical subject-This could really be anything your interested in but there must be a component of your studies that is focused on analysis. Common majors that would satisfy this would be Econ, Math( stats &/or a derivative of a math subject), engineering( handful of bankers I work with were engineering majors), computer science(from what i hear its very analytical but unsure of the course topics) and Finance-(ehh would rec econ if your want to do a finance major- not the sharpest people i met) .
-whatever major you decide make sure there is a math/analytical aspect of it. I'm sure I'm leaving out certain subjects.
2.- Get involved in an investment club if your school has one, if not start your own. Although this isn't as important as studies or experience , it will get you involved in learning more about investments. finance, financial analysis ect. I still use things I learned or read in college today in my job.
3. - Get an internship with some sort of financial firm as soon as possible during. This will give you real world experience and educate you on how business is done while incorporating the things you have learned from the prior 2 bullet points.


Last thing is networking however this didn't yield the results I was looking for, so I would focus on this until the other three point are in motion.
I was able to network better with people I graduated with rather people I met through networking event s with college.

Rob
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Priyank’s Answer

Hi Alexia,

Great question.

I advise following steps for you given your inclination towards math and aspirations to be in finance.

Get familiar with Financial Engineering - this is the field that combines mathematics with finance.

Select a school - Top Schools that can provide information (based on US News and Quantnet ) - Baruch CMU Princeton Univ Univ of California, Berkeley Cornell Univ Columbia Univ NYU Tandon Univ of Chicago Georgia Tech.
I am sure there are others in the list that you might find interesting as well. So, don't just take my word or the website's recommendations - feel free to explore yourself.

The field is tough for those who don't like math. However, if you like to try your maths with finance, this is the definitely worth a try.
Review coursework and assess if you like those.
See career sites related to this area. Schools and content publishers like quantnet are good source.

If you decide this is a good fit for you, you should look into careers after the degree.

If you like all that you find out, prioritize and apply

Hope this helps. If you have questions, reach out.


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Audrey’s Answer

To become a financial analyst, having a foundation in accounting and financial valuation is a great place to start. If those courses are not available at your local university, there are great online courses and books you can read as well.
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Austin’s Answer

Accountants and Financial Analysts typically focus on different aspects of the business. Accounting will typically be more nuts and bolts focused while financial analysis will be more focused in on decision making. a way to think about it is accounting will look at how much money do we have on the balance sheet, finance might answer how do we best use this money to grow the business? Both are great and interesting. I would suggest starting with both, trying some internships in both areas and seeing which interests you more.
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Brian’s Answer

You are already on the right track. Accounting and Finance studies are obviously very important to becoming a financial analyst. I recommend you to study courses in those fields. I suggest you to find a financial analyst internship every summer that you can throughout college.
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Sumitava’s Answer

Hi Alexia!
Financial Analyst job designation is a bit tricky. The work will differ on the organization you will be joining.
For example, on a Trading Company as a FA, you will have to know everything about trading on the market, for a Banking Company it might be just organizing the way the Bank is working out on the Credits and also how they are investing their money.
I hope this gives you an idea.
However, you can start with a major in Finance. That will give you a head start with a variety of scopes. You will get to know more about Finance and Business perspective, their difference, and their similarities. then you can decide which one you want to learn and go for. Once you are done you can target the companies on the basis of your skill sets and apply to be a Financial Analyst.
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Andrew’s Answer

Utilizing the resources available on your campus is your first priority as they'll give you more concrete guidance on how to proceed from a recruiting standpoint (e.g. finding out if certain firms have a presence at your school) and from an academic one (learning what paths others have taken). That being said "financial analyst" is a broad term and can encompass many different fields within the industry so figuring out what you'd specifically like to get into will help you make the most of your efforts
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