Does nobody in finance think of economics as anything but another business/finance major?

LACconsultant's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 48

I'm an econ major graduating next month (top LAC) and I feel like none of what I've studied is relevant to actual work in finance, but finance interviewers constantly approach me as if I've got all this knowledge of finance and business (and I don't have any internships). I get interviews from most of the firms I blindly send resumes to online. Should I remove my major from my resume? I feel like I'm misrepresenting myself because all I've studied is abstract math and proofs, but employers assume something completely different.

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Comments (13)

Apr 4, 2014

No, you should just prepare better for the finance interviews. They don't expect you to have finance knowledge because you are an Econ major. They expect you to have some base finance knowledge because you are interviewing for finance jobs.

Apr 4, 2014
AllDay_028:

They expect you to have some base finance knowledge because you are interviewing for finance jobs.

Apr 4, 2014

I studied economics and math since we did not have finance as a major...but some of the courses do cover finance

Apr 4, 2014

My issue is that none of the courses have finance content in them, which I'm afraid firms expect to be there.

Apr 4, 2014
LACconsultant:

My issue is that none of the courses have finance content in them, which I'm afraid firms expect to be there.

There are resources outside of the classroom. Like say, the WSO interview guides. You need to prepare for your interviews. If you expect you want to work in finance, you'll have to learn some finance first. All of us who were Econ majors who work/have worked in finance(myself included) have done this. Nothing most firms ask will be terribly complicated, just enough to show that you did a little preparation.

Honestly, your mentality of "I can't believe finance jobs want me, an econ major, to know a little finance" is the type of mentality that will hold you back from being successful in your career, whatever you do. Put in a little work and you'll be fine.

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Apr 4, 2014

I've had final rounds with top investment banks where they've asked difficult technical questions, and despite my self studying, they're just responded with "you can't just learn this stuff yourself. Go take some actual corporate finance classes." Which isn't exactly an option. Neither is intro accounting, though I've taught myself some basics from a book.

I think my complaint has been mostly misunderstood... "I can't believe finance jobs want me, an econ major, to know a little finance" This isn't at all my thinking. It's general business knowledge and the personality that people assume comes with being a 'business' major. It's much more than just technical skills. Otherwise, it's that I often get asked questions that no music or art history major would ever asked, when an economics major is in the liberal arts and should be treated no differently.

    • 2
Apr 4, 2014
LACconsultant:

I've had final rounds with top investment banks where they've asked difficult technical questions, and despite my self studying, they're just responded with "you can't just learn this stuff yourself. Go take some actual corporate finance classes." Which isn't exactly an option. Neither is intro accounting, though I've taught myself some basics from a book.

You have qualified for the interview... (GPA & resume is fine)
Passed a couple of rounds... (Fit questions/personality fine)
Don't make past final round of IB... (Doesn't know technicals etc...)

a) There are some good resources on WSO, once you find it under the "What laptop should I get/What diet is best/advice on dating/rank these firms" threads.
b) Wall Street Prep
c) Prof. Damodaran online class

LACconsultant:

I think my complaint has been mostly misunderstood... "I can't believe finance jobs want me, an econ major, to know a little finance" This isn't at all my thinking. It's general business knowledge and the personality that people assume comes with being a 'business' major. It's much more than just technical skills. Otherwise, it's that I often get asked questions that no music or art history major would ever asked, when an economics major is in the liberal arts and should be treated no differently.

It doesn't matter your major.... Finance, econ, marketing, poli sci or math major applying to an IB job should understand the questions they will be asked.
Same if a finance, econ, marketing, poli sci or math major applying to an construction job.

Apr 4, 2014

As a finance major, all the finance that I've ever been asked has been Basic Finance i.e. Finance 101 level knowledge. Some people I know have been asked intermediate corporate finance stuff and some people get asked Intermediate accounting level questions. I can't imagine they'd ask an econ major more technical finance stuff than they'd ask a finance major. Therefore, if you study the WSO finance guide, read (skim) the WSJ every now and again, and maybe take an introductory accounting class, you should be good.

Apr 4, 2014

Oh mah gawd, you must be like the first person to realize that the shit you learn in school may not be relevant to the jobs you're applying to. Please, continue to do nothing about it. Do not prepare for the interviews and refuse to do any extra work. You're above that shit and if the employers can't tell economics has nothing to do with finance...well fuck them for being so stupid and questioning you on topics you know nothing about.

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Apr 4, 2014

What sort of questions would you expect to be asked if you were a political science major? A music major?

You're interviewing for a job in investment banking - learn finance yourself. It's pretty sad if you haven't already figured this out.

Apr 4, 2014

They assume you know some finance/accounting, or else why would you have even applied. And although econ and finance aren't exactly the same, there are many aspects of econ that overlap with finance. I'm sure your econ courses have covered finance related topics such as bonds and interest rates. If not, then I really question your school's econ program...
So given the overlaps, interviewers are probably under the impression that you know a lot more finance/accounting than an English major. Also, you're expected to self study a bit because you're supposedly interested in finance.

Apr 4, 2014

Haha then I worry about my college's econ program.. though it's really really tough

Apr 4, 2014