Graduate Finance Manager Career Path
How To Become a Finance ManagerA finance manager oversees their company's financial health, ensuring that it operates as efficiently as possible. If you are math-minded and solutions-oriented, a career as a finance manager may be right for you. In this article, we discuss the steps required to become a finance manager.
Earn a Bachelor's Degree
A career as a finance manager begins with a four-year degree. Pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, finance, economics, or another related field. Typical undergraduate courses include microeconomics, macroeconomics, business law, and accounting.
Participate In an Internship
Consider participating in a finance or accounting internship during your undergraduate years as well. Getting an internship can provide valuable work experience and help you make professional connections that can lead to full-time employment. Academic advisors, university job boards, and career fairs are great places to find internship opportunities.
Although not always required, earning a certificate in a specialty area of finance can give you an advantage over other job candidates. Certifications demonstrate your preparedness for a career in finance and help deepen your expertise in a niche subject. Most professional certifications require a year of preparation, culminating with an exam. Valuable certifications include the following:
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): The CFA certification focuses on investments and stock analysis. To earn this certification, you must have a bachelor's degree, have a minimum of 4 years of relevant work experience, and complete three CFA exams. CFA exams include multiple-choice and essay questions. You must become a member of the CFA Institute to maintain your certification.
- Certified Treasury Professional (CTP): CTP certification is through the Association for Financial Professionals. CTP certification focuses on cash management. To take the CTP exam, you must have a minimum of two years of finance work experience or a combination of a master's degree and years of experience as a finance professor. You must become recertified every three years by paying a fee and completing 36 continuing education credits.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA): The prerequisites for a CPA certification vary depending on the state in which you work, although most states require a bachelor's degree. To take a CPA exam, you must have 150 semester hours in accounting, finance, or related field and a state-determined number of work hours in finance. After earning your CPA, continuing education credits may be required to maintain your certification.
Earn a Master's Degree or MBA
Although not generally required, some employers prefer finance managers that have a master's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business. A master's degree in finance is highly specialized and ideal for candidates with little work experience.
A master's degree in finance is not the same as an MBA. A Master's in Business Administration (MBA) program is broader in scope than a master's degree in finance, emphasizing financial expertise and management. Many MBA candidates earn their MBA while continuing to work in finance.
Gain Work Experience
Many companies hire financial managers from within their employee pool. This is why many finance managers begin their careers in entry-level roles such as accountants, financial analysts, or securities agents before applying for a finance manager job. Most financial managers have five or more years of on-the-job experience.
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