"It's that type of forethought — asking questions, taking advantage of classes that investigate financial subfields, going to career nights ... — that makes a difference in career preparation."
Professional Specialist, Department of Finance
For the past several years, each class at Notre Dame has looked at the previous year's class and then tried to do a little extra in terms of career preparation.
Last year, a freshman scheduled an appointment with me to discuss his career aspirations. Appearing at my office dressed in a suit with questions he had prepared in advance, the young man asked what he could do to secure a successful career in finance. That he was already on the path to success, I had no doubt.
It’s that type of forethought – asking questions, taking advantage of classes that investigate financial subfields, going to career nights, becoming acquainted with prospective employers – that makes a difference in career preparation. And most of that takes place long before you have a degree in hand.
“By the time our students graduate, they have not only learned the proper use of and risk of derivative and financial leverage, but they have also gained a host of other business skills."
FRANK K. REILLY
Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance
Mendoza College of Business
Today’s economic climate presents a valuable opportunity for business students to examine both the causes and solutions of the country’s financial problems. A major in finance will provide a strong foundation for such study, while also providing a broad spectrum of career paths, including commercial or investment banking, money management, corporate finance, insurance and real estate.
Within these disciplines, the current environment has spurred a growing interest in two areas: the importance of derivatives in corporate finance and investments as well as the significance of credit analysis in the evaluation of financial and business risk. By the time our students graduate, they have not only learned the proper use of and risk of derivatives and financial leverage, but they have also gained a host of other business skills.
After graduation, our alumni should consider the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. To become a CFA, finance and investment managers must complete a series of three examinations and meet other requirements. The only global professional designation, the CFA is the premier certification for money managers, respected throughout the world, and an important career step that pays dividends for many of our graduates.
“Finance and accounting are the language of business, and with those skills you can go in many different directions."
Executive in Residence, Department of Finance
Finance and accounting are the language of business, and with those skills you can go in many different directions. Though many of our students visualize a career in investment banking, I loved commercial banking because of the combination of relationship building and finance. Meetings with prospects and clients, product selling, plant visits – all of these were part of my day in commercial banking.
In charge of global system finance at McDonald’s 11 years later, I was an eye witness to the company’s expansion. When I began, McDonald’s was a presence in 28 countries. After 17 years, the company operated in 119 countries and I had personally traveled to about 90 of them.
Currently, teaching at Notre Dame has satisfied a 25-year itch to teach. I never would have imagined such a varied career path, but finance and accounting has given me the skill set to make a contribution across a broad spectrum of sectors.
“Fortunately, the (finance) field is large enough to accommodate different personalities, talents, and interests"
Associate Professional Specialist, Department of Finance
My undergraduate degree was in industrial engineering. As a requirement for graduation, during my last year I had to find employment and write a thesis that described a problem at work and a possible solution. Unfortunately, I had realized both through the classes at school and field trips to factories that I was not very excited about working directly with production processes.
However, the requirements were broad enough that I could apply the techniques that I had learned at school. I took an internship at a major local bank in Brazil, had an “ah ha” moment, and stayed in finance.
Since you’re already considering a finance major, you may not experience the same drastic career change that I underwent; however, you may find that there are some subfields of finance that are more appealing than others. For instance, I loved being a stock analyst for a portfolio manager but would have starved as an investment banker; others love investment banking and never leave it. Fortunately, the field is large enough to accommodate different personalities, talents, and interests.