Best Courses for Banking & Finance Careers (2022 – 2023)
Banking and finance are two of the most popular industries in the world, and they offer a wide range of career opportunities. If you’re interested in a career in banking or finance, there are a few things you should know about the best degrees, majors, and courses for these industries.
The banking industry is vast and complex, and it offers a variety of positions that require different skillsets. If you’re interested in a career in banking, you should consider pursuing a degree in business, economics, or accounting. These majors will give you the skillset you need to understand the financial markets and the inner workings of the banking industry.
The finance industry is also complex and ever-changing. If you want to have a successful career in finance, you need to be able to adapt to change and have a strong understanding of financial concepts. The best degrees for careers in finance are typically in business or economics, but you can also find success with a degree in mathematics or statistics.
The billion-dollar finance sector is one of the world’s most significant employers. Millions of individuals work in the financial services industry, providing financial services to retail customers like us or to businesses across the globe. These professionals come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines.
Investment banking is, more often than not, populated by MBAs. if you take a look around trading however, you’ll find people with backgrounds in mathematics or computer science are more plentiful. FinanceMag has found everyone from economists to engineers, computer programmers to lawyers, mathematicians to accountants and even former air force pilots working in the industry!
Just because something is feasible doesn’t imply it’s simple. With appropriate academic credentials, you’re far more likely to be hired as a banker or financial services executive. Oddball activities are possible, but they are still uncommon.
Even if you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree that perfectly matches your desired banking job, you’ll still need to meet certain requirements. However, what is the best degree to get? Which majors should you choose? Here is a breakdown of the greatest degrees/ majors for various banking professions and career options.
Accounting degrees prepare students for roles which focus more on the bank’s internal operations rather than client interactions. For example, positions such as financial reporting, taxation, and auditing would be ideal for those with an accounting degree. The accounting and auditing roles in banks are generally similar to those same positions in other large businesses; the only difference is that the balance sheet would look different.
Thus, accounting and audit specialists can commonly move to various other positions. Risk and treasury management are OFTEN favourites but depending on your abilitieset and experience, even sales roles could be an option.
Here are some great online accounting programs:
- Accounting for Investment and Managerial Decision-Making from The London School of Economics and Political Science
- Masters program in Accounting from the University of Indiana
- Financial Accounting from Harvard Business School
Some colleges provide banking-focused business/finance degrees. This simply implies that certain banking-related subjects such as risk management, accounting, corporate finance, and financial legislation are included on top. This is also a viable option since an education in this area will almost certainly better prepare you for various retail/ commercial bank employment.
You’ll discover that such courses include more of a business and finance focus than traditional finance or accounting classes, but they also include banking topics, lingo, risk management, compliance, financial rules and regulations.
Columbia University offers this excellent online Corporate Finance program that lays the groundwork for what you need to know.
For an entry-level banking position, a bachelor’s degree in business is flexible. The main benefit is that with a business degree, you may apply for more positions than any other field. Bankers spend the most of their time evaluating the client’s company and coming up with ideas for products and services that can assist them. A business education may really enhance such a position, therefore it comes first on our list.
A business degree provides the perfect foundation for a successful career in banking. You will take classes covering topics such as corporate finance, project management, marketing, business law and statistics – all of which will come in handy in any role you take on in the banking industry.
Here are some good business programs:
- Management, B.B.A from the University of Arkansas Little Rock
- Business and Management Courses from New York University
- MBA Essentials from The London School of Economics and Political Science
- General Management Program from SDA Bocconi School of Management
- Accelerated Management Program from Yale School of Management Executive Education
Computer Science/ Information Technology
CS and IT are popular for several reasons:
- Due to their analytical and logical skills, tech graduates usually make great bankers, similar to engineers or physicists.
- Some development roles in banking offer high salaries. For example, Computational Finance roles tend to pay equally as much as investment banking positions. Even though developmental roles don’t often have the same level of compensation, it is still very competitive when considering the wider IT industry.
- Technology now plays a role in every industry, including banking. In fact, many bankers not only sell their bank’s technology solutions to clients but also use those same solutions themselves (such as algorithmic or systemic trading solutions).
Communications is another important skill for bankers. Because banks are always working with customers, clients, and other businesses, they need to be able to communicate effectively. This means being able to write clearly and concisely, as well as being able to speak confidently in front of an audience.
A degree in communications can be very helpful when pursuing a career in banking. Communications courses will teach you how to write and speak effectively, as well as how to use different media to communicate your message.
Here’s a great online course on communications:
Data is critical for making sound decisions in any area of business, but it’s especially important in banking. With so much money at stake, banks can’t afford to make mistakes when it comes to data analysis.
That’s why a degree in data science or a related field can be very helpful when pursuing a career in banking. Data scientists are responsible for collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data to help their organizations make better decisions. They use a variety of tools and techniques, including machine learning, to glean insights from data that would be otherwise hidden.
If you’re interested in a career in data science, check out this excellent online course:
Controlling the growth of an economy and managing inflation is done by manipulating banking levers, such as interest rates and reserve ratios.
An economics major would be ideal for a job in the macroeconomic research department of a bank. These individuals examine all important indicators of the economy and create analysis that is shared throughout the bank’s divisions and even external clients.
Banks rely on economists to give them data about the economy’s general trends, which can affect a bank’s ability to serve its customers and make money. However, economics graduates are not limited to this one role. They could also do well in other roles that require financial analysis.
Here are some good options:
- Economics for Business from MIT Sloan School of Management
- Professional Certificate in Microeconomics from the University of Queensland
- Macroeconomics from the University of Pennsylvania
For certain banking occupations, a finance degree is almost essential. A finance degree would really help anyone who needs to handle a lot of data or conduct a lot of analysis. Treasury management, financial planning, credit analysis, and even more specialized tasks in capital markets and investment banking are just a few examples.
Qualifications in finance and business are both essential for a career in banking. However, finance degrees are usually more suitable for roles with an analytical focus, while business degrees tend to be better suited for sales-oriented roles. That said, this is not always the case, and your skills and experience are often more important deciding factors.
A more advanced finance degree will qualify you for better jobs in divisions that are more highly sought-after. If you just want to get some experience before furthering your studies, a basic degree should suffice.
Here are some excellent finance programs:
- Finance Online from University of Minnesota Crookston
- BBA in Finance from Florida International University
- Executive Finance Programme from Oxford University
- MicroMasters Program in Finance from MIT’s Sloan School of Management
- Online Professional Certificate in Corporate Finance from NYIF
This list was originally composed before FinTech made it to the top 10. It’s not that FinTech wasn’t important in those days; it was extremely so. It’s just that, as a result of the epidemic, FinTech has surpassed all business verticals at banks and is entirely replacing them. If you’re even slightly interested in finance and aren’t completely up to speed on what’s going on in the FinTech field, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.
The importance of technology in banking can hardly be overstated. In fact, many experts believe that the future of banking lies in FinTech. This relatively new field combines finance and technology to create innovative solutions for the banking industry.
In the constantly changing landscape of FinTech, large banks are investing billions to maintain a foothold in the market. With so much money at stake, even tech companies are muscling their way into the industry.
Here are some Fintech courses:
- FinTech Certification from Harvard University
- Professional Diploma in Fintech from University College Dublin
- FinTech: Innovation and Transformation in Financial Services from National University of Singapore
- FinTech: Foundations & Applications from Wharton
- Fintech Certificate from Harvard University
MFE programs focus heavily on quantitative analysis and data-driven technologies for banking. The coursework is similar to what you would find in a traditional finance class, but with a more technical slant. For example, there are tutorials that can teach you the basics of derivatives in just five minutes. But in an MFE course, you might explore computational and numerical solutions to derivative pricing
The Master of Science in Finance degrees (MFE) are ideal for people looking to work as structuring or quantitative research specialists in banking. This means you will be involved in the creation of complex new items that never existed before. The best news is that several prestigious institutions provide these courses, which will help boost your CV’s appeal.
- Check various providers of Financial Engineering courses through Coursera
- Graduate Certificate in Financial Engineering from PennState World Campus.
- Master of Science in Financial Engineering from USC University of Southern California
- Financial Engineering Certification from Columbia University in NYC
Engineering/ Mathematics/ Statistics/ Physics
Investment bank traders and engineers may seem to be in direct opposition. However, certain of the more sophisticated jobs in financial services need physicists and engineers with doctorates. It’s not unusual to discover Ph.D.’s working as physicists in these demanding situations.
The one trait – whether it be mathematics or research that all of these roles have in common is what drew binded them together in the first place. Banks offered researchers very good pay, which lead them away from their main expertise and Into mathematical finance. For lack of a better term, we will call these people “quants”.
Although it may seem that way, students with backgrounds in scientific or engineering studies are not the only ones who get hired for quant roles. Investment Banking and Management divisions frequently hire individuals without these majors.
The supply chains of today are global, and these trade routes must be paid for. Trade finance, supply chain finance, and documentary credit are all areas within banking that focus on international commercial concerns.
If you’re passionate about collaborating on cross-border projects like this, consider obtaining a degree in international business. Such professions also provide the chance to travel overseas and have more mobility when changing careers internationally.
If you have any expertise in business law or multilateral regulatory issues, your value as an international banker will increase greatly. You probably deal with these types of issues on a daily basis.
Here is a good online resource:
- Business, International Relations and the Political Economy from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
- International Business Degree Online from Southern New Hampshire University
Although various careers don’t require an MBA, if you’re looking to pursue a finance-related career, having this type of degree will give you an advantage. In the business world, generalists who have MBAs often succeed because they understand different types of businesses and clients. They also usually excel in roles such as sales or trading due to their panoramic perspective. Furthermore, many leadership positions prefer candidates with MBAs because they are considered well-rounded individuals capable of heading up a company’s management team.
- An MBA allows you to get in at a higher level than an MBA alone. Many banks currently accept MBAs at the Associate level for numerous of their top business units. Not only do you gain a significant head start in your career, but it also makes promotion much easier for you later on. Some businesses demand that applicants for certain senior management or mid-level positions have an MBA.
- The Management Trainee (MT) programs are another popular method for MBAs to enter banking. The majority of big banks have a worldwide Management Trainee (MT) program, which they employ to select the best talent from across the world’s various business schools. MTs spend the first six to twenty-four months rotating between several bank divisions in various countries, learning the trade’s tools. At the end of this period, they are assigned to specific jobs depending on their performance. The benefit of this path is a chance to form a network across many different business divisions and learn how they operate. These two chances may come in useful later in your career.
- MBA programs are often the most successful because they provide students with extensive networking opportunities. The best way to succeed in banking is by networking, so networking is critical for MBA candidates.
With thousands of MBA programs out there, it’s hard to know which ones are worth your time and money. But thanks to the internet, you can now enroll in some of the best MBA programs from top universities all over the world without ever having to leave home.
Here are some good online options:
- MBA Essentials from The London School of Economics and Political Science
- Oxford Executive Strategy Programme from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
- Accelerated Management Program from Yale School of Management Executive Education
- Online MBA Degree Program from Indiana University–Bloomington (Kelley)
- University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) Online MBA
- University of Southern California (Marshall) Online MBA
Project management is another important skill for bankers. Because banks are always working on multiple projects at once, they need project managers to keep everything on track. Project managers are responsible for planning, executing, and monitoring projects to ensure they’re completed on time and within budget.
A degree in project management can be very helpful when pursuing a career in banking. Project management courses will teach you how to plan and execute projects, as well as how to manage risks and resources.
Here’s a great online course on project management:
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is not technically a degree, but it is one of the most well-known credentials in the financial sector, therefore it belongs on this list. Keep in mind that a CFA program is designed specifically for investment professionals, so while it may not be as important in non-involvement roles, it’s still “nice to have.”
The CFA certification is globally recognized and establishes instant credibility in roles like securities research, portfolio or wealth management and sales and trading for financial securities. If you’re interviewing for an investment role, chances are at least one of your interviewers is a CFA.
Chartered Investment Banking Analyst (CIBA)
The CFA is the best credential for markets and securities related roles, while CIBA certification gives you the edge when it comes to actual investment banking. The Chartered Investment Banking Analyst certification is offered by the New York Institute of Finance.
Of course, none of these accreditations will ever be able to fully replace a college education. They are intended to provide you with a little extra help. Given the fierce competition for financial positions, it is essential that you distinguish yourself from the crowd.
The Chartered Investment Banking Analyst is designed to help those who want to advance their careers as analysts or associates in investment banking. It covers M&A, valuation, risk, financial accounting, and other essential topics for executing everyday tasks as an investment banker. This should be enough to get you through most IB interviews while also giving your CV the boost it needs.
The Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst is another well-known finance certification offered by the Corporate Finance Institute to individuals in all fields of business. It emphasizes on financial modeling and valuation, making it suitable for most banking positions. It’s one of the most adaptable finance certifications and great for people who want to display their financial analysis and modeling abilities.
The FMVA certification is also a great way to transition into other roles in finance, such as corporate development, equity research, and strategy. The course covers Excel modeling, accounting, financial statements, valuation methods, business analysis, and more.
The best thing about the FMVA is that it allows you to pick and choose your course electives. So, if you want to focus on investment banking, you can take the M&A elective. If real estate investment banking interests you more, select the Real Estate Financial Modeling elective course. And finally, if private equity seems like a better fit for you than LBO modelling elective should be your go-to choice.
The CPA is one of the most popular professional accreditations in the United States. It is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is recognized internationally. The CPA credential is essential for anyone looking to work in accounting or auditing at a public accounting firm. However, it is also increasingly relevant for positions in corporate accounting, financial analysis, and forensic accounting.
In order to become a CPA, you must first pass the Uniform CPA Examination, which is a four-part exam administered by the AICPA. Each section covers a different area of accounting: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). After passing the exam, you will need to meet additional requirements set by your state’s board of accountancy.
The Certified Fraud Examiner credential is offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). It is designed for professionals who want to specialize in detecting and preventing fraud. The CFE credential is essential for anyone working in forensic accounting, auditing, or financial investigations.
To become a CFE, you must first pass the ACFE Exam. The exam covers four main areas: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Ethics. After passing the exam, you will need to meet additional requirements set by the ACFE, including completing 20 hours of continuing education every two years and agreeing to abide by the ACFE Code of Professional Ethics.
The Certified Treasury Professional credential is offered by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). It is designed for professionals who want to specialize in treasury management.
The CFA credential is strong enough to stand alone. However, the Financial Risk Management (FRM) certification has been growing in popularity since the 2008 crisis, and it has a special place of its own. While financial institutions and even non-banking organizations’ risk departments were reorganized during the crisis, there was a distinct shift, with the FRM certificate becoming fashionable.
Aside from these two huge ones, CFA and FRM, most of the other certificates are more specialized to certain areas or occupations. Certified Financial Planner (CFP), for example, is a credential that may help you if you’re looking for roles in the financial sector. There are lots of different options out there; just explore them all before making a decision! Aside from these two primary examples, here are some additional ways to use this approach:
– If you want to focus on a specific area of finance, look for certifications that cover that topic. For example, if you’re interested in investment banking, look for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Investment Banking Professional (CIBP) credential.
– If you want to work in a specific country, research the financial certifications that are most popular in that country. For example, the CPA credential is essential for anyone looking to work in accounting or auditing in the United States.
– If you’re interested in a specific occupation, look for the credential that is most relevant to that occupation. For example, the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential is essential for anyone working in forensic accounting or auditing.
– If you’re interested in a specific company, research the financial certifications that are most popular with that company. For example, many large banks and accounting firms require their employees to have the CFA or CPA credential.
There are many different financial certifications out there, so it’s important to do your research before choosing one. Consider your goals and interests, and make sure to select a credential that will help you achieve them. With the right certification, you can open doors to new opportunities in the financial world.