Finance jobs for liberal arts majors?

ozilgoff's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 193

Recently graduated with a social science major from a non-target. For the majority of my life, I thought I wanted to be a Medical Doctor, hence graduating with an Hon. B.A. in Psychology while taking the prerequisites. While working in the health field while in school, I realized I absolutely did not want to be a doctor. After joining finance clubs, career prep programs, taking classes, and speaking to several mentors, I decided I wanted to work in finance. I want to learn how the markets work. I have more interest in finance than any other field so far. I got a Financial Advisor (Sales) job for a Fortune 100 finance/insurance company right out of school. Looking to get my series licenses and transition into finance. What are my options? What are finance jobs open to liberal arts majors?

Thanks!

Comments (51)

Aug 27, 2017

If you're working full time, you could go ahead and apply to some top MBA programs after 2-3 years to rebrand yourself.

To infinity... and beyond!

Aug 27, 2017

in my opinion... i'd say corp banking / commercial banking are liberal arts major friendly. pwm arguably.

Aug 28, 2017

This is wrong. All jobs are open to liberal arts majors - you just need to know your stuff. What's more limiting to you is just missing the recruiting timeline. As earlier posted mentioned, Bschool will open paths or networking a lot.

Aug 28, 2017

Bump! (Sorry if this isn't allowed)

Aug 28, 2017

Go to business school in the US. I graduated without a bit of finance knowledge, went to Wharton, and am in ibanking now. The MBA is a huge reset button and people won't blink twice about a 180 switch in careers.

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Best Response
Aug 28, 2017

Teller to MD would be ultimate banking story. If you want a movie made about you, do that.

Aug 28, 2017

I mean, movie star sounds like an acceptable fall back career

Aug 28, 2017

FA. PWM is horrible according to friends, especially at UBS's GTP.

Aug 28, 2017

Honestly, your only option is probably boutiques. I would send out cold emails right away. You can always lateral to a larger bank down the road, but without prior experience, FT recruiting will be very tough, if not impossible.

Aug 28, 2017

Also, what can I do outside of school and internship to make myself a more attractive hire?

Aug 28, 2017

Hi sorensen, What offices are you applying to? Have you looked at Vault's case guide or Wharton's case book? I'm sort of in your shoes as well, going through Case in Point and Victor Cheng's. Do you want to practice cases?

Aug 28, 2017

I'd like to bump this. For those of you in pure strategy/ops roles: just what type of math are you doing day to day? Anything in particular for those of us trying to break in to focus on?

Also, in job postings for consulting roles, I see a lot of reqs wanting financial modeling experience. Can anyone shed any light on exactly what type (DCF, WACC, etc) of models strategy/ops consultants use?

Thanks!

Aug 28, 2017
the_stig:

I'd like to bump this. For those of you in pure strategy/ops roles: just what type of math are you doing day to day? Anything in particular for those of us trying to break in to focus on?

Also, in job postings for consulting roles, I see a lot of reqs wanting financial modeling experience. Can anyone shed any light on exactly what type (DCF, WACC, etc) of models strategy/ops consultants use?

Thanks!

Like most things in consulting, it depends highly from case to case. In some, you'll build fairly sophisticated financial models; in others, there will be near zero quantitative modeling component.

With that said, all you need to know for undergrad case interviews are arithmetic and basic accounting knowledge (and I mean really basic). If you have finance background, the interviewer may ask more of you.

Aug 28, 2017

Wahoowa. You definitely can't break in through some bullshit history or politics major, but top scores is a quantitative field like CS/engineering/physics can definitely be an in as long as you keep a reasonable GPA.

McIntire is a great option, but imo it limits your career paths too much. I see myself competing for the same internships/jobs as people outside of McIntire who are studying quantitative subjects. If you choose the CS/engineering route, you also have the added benefit of having tons more career options as opposed to McIntire students who are limited to very specific fields.

Aug 28, 2017

As a recent UVA (McIntire) grad at a top BB, I would highly recommend pursuing McIntire if you are interested in banking. The network and career services that the comm school gives you are above and beyond what liberal arts majors get (from comparing my experience to friends outside of McIntire). I've seen a few non-comm students break in, but it takes considerably more networking - perhaps something that the investment club's older members could assist with if you go that route. I think for many banks, the commerce application process almost serves as a "pre-screening" that UVA has already done for them.

That said, I think it's very important to pursue your passions while at school. If you do decide on McIntire, you can always double major or minor in history (most of these credits will need to be taken 2nd or 4th year). It'll keep you sane and make you a more interesting person while you're at it. Leverage the UVA network no matter what you end up majoring in - lots of great people who are very willing to help.

Array

Aug 28, 2017

The answer to your question is yes, it will hurt you. You will not have the same opportunities in IB as kids who are going to a top undergrad business school if you choose not to do that in order to pursue liberal arts at that same university. With that said, it won't be impossible to get into IB by any stretch, but if you're serious about finance I'd strongly recommend doing McIntire.

Aug 28, 2017

I definitely appreciate all the feedback. I've always liked history, so I think I will continue to pursue McIntire and maybe add a minor/double major in history.

Just hoping thatI will be able to complete all the necessary courses in my 2nd and 4th years

Aug 28, 2017

For what it's worth, the CEO of the first investment bank I worked for was a history major.

Aug 28, 2017

Some of the best analysts at my banks were people who didn't have a traditional business degree - a lot of the Ivy League schools do not offer a business degree. I would argue banks place a greater emphasis on intelligence (although it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do IB). Long story short, I would not sweat it - just make sure you know the technicals for interviews and you can pick up the rest through training and experience.

Aug 28, 2017
  1. Banks will specify on the application, but generally this is restricted to juniors. Yes, depending on the year tons of guys come from summer programs into FT slots.
  2. I'd push for a touch business, audit/AM/corp fin for a few years and then go to b-school to transition into banking, if you can't get IBD out of the gates.
  3. It's certainly possible, just very tough.
Aug 28, 2017

mma in spring? can see pics of your ears please

Aug 28, 2017

Im a libArts as well...better get on the networking brochacho, especially since you are not an econ major and your gpa is a little low. if your strength is networking take advantage of it...but don't be a tool either

Aug 28, 2017

btw: which LA school are you from?

Aug 28, 2017

Small school in Maine. Ears aren't bad, MMA has lots of wrestling and grapling, not just toe to toe;-)

Since I don't have any bus/econ background, what about if I took a crap job as an assitant football coach at one of the ivys next year, but was able to audit or take classes non matriculated, and possibly use their career center? Don't know if that would be allowed or if it was, if recruiters would talk to me as I am not a 'real' student from their school and I heard they send alum back to recruit?

Aug 28, 2017

Took one science class and got a D+? If I were hiring that would be a red flag to me (not that the people screening resumes would know that, but anyway)... you're not doing quantum physics in IB, but they still look for people with strong analytical skills who are pretty good with numbers. At a minimum I think you should take micro/macro and sign up for the CFA in June 2011 and know the materials by the time interviews roll by, that way if you do get an interview you won't sound like a pylon. How else would you demonstrate on paper (resume) that you actually have any interest in finance?

Aug 28, 2017

took a class first semester freshman year called evolutionary biology, thought it would be about darwin etc., turns out to be real heavy statistics and distribution theory, and you should have a stat class first. Took the stat class in junior year and got a B+. Am no rocket scientist, but think I had something like a 680 math SAT, so I think I am OK with numbers.

Anyway, as a senior, not possible for me to take micro macro before I graduate.

So the question I have is, do I take any other job just for a job, do I take micro macro at a community college and inteview again for IB positions in fall of '11? Would it be better for me to try to get a bs job at a top school and audit micro/macro and try to apply from there?

Aug 28, 2017

You might think about putting off graduating for another year, Im not expert but taking another year of school filled up with finance/econ-related classes would probably put you in a far better position. It'd also be a way to boost your GPA (just don't play football again). Other options: maybe a business-related Masters degree in econ or accounting (not an MBA) or get a non-IBD job (CorpFin, AM), get into a decent MBA prog, and then go IBD

Aug 28, 2017

youre in a really tough spot. networking is your best option, especially if youre as personable as you think you are. im guessing you go to bates/colby and delaying graduation at $50k doesn't make much sense.

being in maine makes networking a little challenging, but you should start sending out emails now to alumni for networking over your winter break. your best bet is probably finding hockey/football alumni from your school. they'll be more sympathetic to your gpa. you could also try cold-emailing other nescac alums as well, especially athletes. they can relate to the challenge of trying to get their foot in the door with a non-target liberal arts degree.

if networking doesn't pan out, non-ib work experience followed by a top b-school is your next best option for getting into banking

Aug 28, 2017

Clarification on my option #1 (Apply to a management consulting firm) ... the goal would be to lateral into an entry level position at a well known/prestigious firm for 1-2 years and then get the traditional MBA

Aug 28, 2017

Clarification: that is a long ass post

MBA

Aug 28, 2017

Welcome to WSO fellow LAC student!

Aug 28, 2017
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Aug 28, 2017