It may surprise you to learn that a financial analyst doesn’t actually require any specific degree or certification—nearly any Bachelors degree can find success as a financial analyst so long as they are numbers-savvy.
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As stated above, a financial analyst will get a lot of on-the-job training so a variety of degrees are acceptable, although finance, accounting, economics, statistics, math, or business would be preferred. An advanced degree such as an MBA can make for a much more desirable candidate. Many consulting and finance firms offer summer internships for college students who are interested in finance—which can be an excellent way to dip a toe into a financial analysis job.
Chartered Financial Analyst
One option on the path of financial analyst is to get certified as a chartered financial analyst. A Chartered Financial Analyst goes deep into the field of investment management through an intense training and certification process. The Accounting Institute for Success reports that Chartered Financial Analysts usually make up less than 5% of any financial organization, so you can greatly increase your job prospects and earning potential.
Most entry-level financial analysts will work closely with a mentor within their organization. Even if you work as an in-house financial analyst, you’ll likely work under a VP of Finance or CFO. It’s important to dedicate a lot of time to immersing yourself in the industry and learning everything you can, especially in your early years.
Financial Analysts enjoy a huge curve for advancement and career choices. According to U.S. News Money, financial analysts have very high job satisfaction and upward mobility. As they increase in experience, financial analysts are able to move into their own consulting for maximum earnings, or even to accept management roles such as VP of Finance or Chief Financial Officer.
The role of a financial analyst is an important one that can make or break an organization. A good financial analyst can help your business get ahead of the curve, making important moves that maximize investments and revenue. It’s a lucrative career path that needs careful preparation, but yields immense results.