Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India having worked for over 3 decades in senior leadership positions in large corporate houses. Currently associated with ISB&M as Chief Finance Officer and Faculty in Finance.
Finance as a function has undergone major transformation over the last decade. Gone are the days when we had the shy looking finance person sitting aloof in one corner of the office too preoccupied with computations and number crunching. With the advent of technology and robust IT support systems, the focus of finance has vastly shifted from a reactive to a proactive role. Adding flavor to this, the entry of multinationals into India, new trends in the financial markets, and the sustained growth in the economy, have thrown open a plethora of opportunities both global as well local for aspiring candidates looking forward to career opportunities in finance.These developments have transformedfinance into a very exciting role with a wide range of opportunitiesto specialize and move ahead in one’s career. The new challenges and options have in turn transformed the finance guy of Gen Y to a brave, more outspoken, and highly interactive individual, contrary to thefinance person of Gen X.
This is indeed great news especially for students aspiring to make a career in finance. Contrary to the earlier days, when the student having completed his/her specialization in finance were often confronted with the problem of hopping from one company to another with their CV hoping to get a job opening amidst the limited options, the students passing out today often encounter the problem of choosing from the variety of options available.
Let’s explore some of the options available for the budding finance managers of the present generation.
1. Corporate Finance
This has been typically the option available from the good olden days where the candidate works for a company in managing its finance functions which could range from investment decisions, sourcing of finance for investment and growth, working capital management, handling mergers and acquisitions, pricing decisions, financial analysis, planning, and monitoring, regulatory compliances etc.
The job openings in any large corporate could be in any of these specific areas viz. Treasury, Credit Management, Controller etc. Over the years one could think of specializing in any these areas and eventually move up the ladder to take up leadership positions and even switch over to areas like handling mergers and acquisitions, risk management etc. and could even elevate into the role of the CFO.
2. Investment banking
Some of the most glamorous recent jobs are in the area of investment banking. Investment banks help companies in providing advisory services tolarge corporate and high wealth individual investors in managing their portfolios, and their financial assets.
In terms of job options, one may start as an analyst responsible for preparation of reports in areas of trading, research of specific company or industry etc. Over the years, it helps building up the expertise and skills about the functioning of financial markets, and one could even think of switching over eventually as a consulting professional to corporate clients.
3. Commercial Banking
Commercial banks have all along playeda crucial rolein the overall economic development. These banks serve all types of customers ranging from large corporate business houses to smallindividuals. With banks now continuously expanding their range of products and services, and also with several foreign banks making greater in-roads in India, this segment provides a much wider range of job opportunities. Entry levels could range from managing tellers, leasing agents, credit card banking, international finance, offering any specific product and service like, business loans, housing loans ranging from large corporate to small time individuals. With the wide range of products offered, it is possible to switch portfolios down the line and manage a much larger domain covering much wider geographical spread.
4. Private Equity and Venture Capital
A lot of opportunities have been emerging of late in this area especially with the increase in the number of venture capital and private equity companies. The venture capital and private equity firms typically are involved in financing different types of corporate houses ranging from start-ups, next level of expansion including mergers and acquisitions, business restructuring etc. In addition, the venture capital companies also support business houses by offering expert advisory services and assist companies enhance their enterprise value through their associations ranging from anjunior executive on deputation to a director in the board of these companies. The job opening in these companies could be as a business or research analyst eventually moving up and taking up positions as senior consultants and as nominees directors in different corporate who avail finances from these companies.
With the opening of the insurance sector for participation by foreign entities, the insurance business has undergone a major transformation offering a wide range of products and services. Job openings could be in various areas viz. Actuary, Underwriting, Investment, and risk management etc. All these are highly specialized areas involving high level of knowledge and skills. The insurance sector is expected to grow substantially in the coming years and is bound to offer a lot moreopprotunitiesto the new aspirants.
6. International Finance
With the gradual thinning down of the borders and barriers between different countries and with Indian business houses going global, the area of managing foreign exchange exposures including decisions on hedging has evolved as a highly sought after and specialized function. One has to be well conversant with the international markets and the currency movement, including managing and mitigating risk exposures. The job could involve being associated with any corporation either large corporate house, bank, or a consulting firm providing specialized consulting services to large corporations in the area of international finance.
7. Stock Broking
Brokers or stock market professionals are playing a major role to foreign investment bankers who are looking for opportunities in the Indian stock market seeking investment in India. Stock market houses are redefining themselves and the business of stock broking has become far more transparent and visible today. Stock broking business requires the services of specialists in various fields ranging from research on the economy or specific industry to analyzing and tracking performance and stock movement of companies within any industry. The job openings could be with of the stock broking firms and the job could involve research and study on any specific industry and eventually elevate to advisory roles to investors.
What is even more encouraging is that all the areas as listed above have great prospects of growth and each of these agencies would only keep enhancing their respective basket of products and services offered to customers. This would eventually call for greater degree of specialization in specific fields within the macro domain of finance.
Given this outlook, there will be no dearth of opportunities for those making their entry into the new brave corporate world, provided they have been able to successfully acquire the right skill-set and are ready to take on the challenges ahead. So while opportunities are galore, there is a greater challenge for the aspiring students to shape themselves up before they take the centre stage. Apart from the functional knowledge and skills in areas covering finance, they should be well-versed and updated with IT skills, especially mastery over the Excel handling skills. It is also important to build a great degree of comfort and flair in handling numbers, especially from the point of view of analyzing, interpreting, and the ability to communicate precisely and effectively. Given the dynamic situation they would have to encounter in their respective work areas, one should also prepare themselves mentally to cope up and deal successfully with the stress of unforeseen and unexpected occurrences. Last but not the least,one has to be well versed with current affairs, and more specifically, the important developments in the global economy and the corporate world. To sum up in short, for all those aspiring for a great career in finance, “shape up” or be ready to get “shipped out”.
ISB&M Nande & Bangalore campuses, a Constituent of Peoples Empowerment Group, offers Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) programmes approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The Programme are state of the art a n d contemporary. These are supported by highly- qualified team of accomplished faculty and a robust academic infrastructure. It maintains a high standard of education and continuously strives to create a learning environment in order to make a great career