There is more to a career in Finance than an MBA degree

There is more to a career in Finance than an MBA degree

We believe that an MBA degree can help you gain a successful career. While a part of it is true, when it comes to jobs in finance there is more to it than what it appears.

Year after year there are reports how organizations are dealing with a continuous shortage of talent in finance and accounting. According to the second annual Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor 2008 more than half of the finance and human resources had the difficulty in finding the skilled job candidates.    Another research conducted by CEB, a subscription-based research and consulting agency in 2013 revealed that finance managers were not satisfied with the kind of talent they had at their disposal.


Here’s the 2013 Talent Shortage Survey conducted by the Manpower Group. The survey ranks the top 10 jobs that are the hardest for employers to fill and for the third time consecutively, “Accounting and Finance” figured in the list. Such findings are consistent, interesting and also inspiring to some extent.

Inspiring? How?

If you need one reason to invest time and money in finance education, this would be the one. When organizations struggle to hire proficient financial professional, your quality education and expertise may be highly considered. As an accounting and financial expert you are always in demand, and you will also be in advantageous position as a job aspirant. You will always have an upper hand in salary negotiations and in deciding other requirements.

Is there an actual shortage of talent?

It’s not that there is a shortage of educated finance professionals.  As being observed by a survey of Marina Murray , more than 100,000 MBA degrees are awarded annually in the US only. Nothing was done to change this number drastically and if any such thing happened, the number of applicants to MBA would have increased over the course of time. In the academic year 2011-2012, more than 230,000 students were enrolled in MBA programs at AACSB-accredited schools globally, an 11% increment over the past five years. This is a very small percentage of the global MBA population as only 4% of B-schools are accredited by AACSB.

According to QS Global 200 Business Schools-2012/13 report, Finance continues to remain one of the top three preferred specializations of MBA applicants. The long standing favorite regularly attracts maximum applications. Therefore it’s worth considering why organizations do not find employable finance talent.

So, what are companies exactly looking for?

Despite the requisite academic qualification, there is no guarantee that you will get a good job of a finance manager. In fact, as per Manpower Group’s survey, 33 percent of employers in the United States complained about lack of workplace competencies or soft skills as one of the major reasons for not being able to fill positions easily.

Here is a list of the top non-financial skills that are required for a job in finance:

  • Communication skills

Top-notch mathematical skills and financial knowledge are not enough. You must be able to communicate your knowledge in clear words to your clients and colleagues. In addition, candidates must have good writing and presentation skills so as to convey complex information in a way people can easily understand.

  • Project Management

In order to remain productive and become a valuable employee of your company, you need to be an excellent project manager. A project is defined as a task that requires more than an hour. You must be able to divide your time effectively for different modules of the project, allocate monetary resources and meet deadlines easily. Staying organized and paying attention to details are the essential requirements of a successful  finance manager.

  • Marketing proficiency

Many finance professionals fail to make any impact despite their impressive education credentials. The reason is that they are unable to package their skills and present it to the employers. Every finance professional should have the ability to market their professional achievements and experience to gain a strong footing in their niche market. It also means that as a finance expert you also should be aware of your personal strengths.  Furthermore, make sure that you are also be able to communicate your true concern to help your potential customers.

  • Building and maintaining relationships

Finance manager jobs require a lot of skills which include understanding different personalities, resolving conflicts, listening to problems and asking the right questions. A lot of success in finance can be attributed to psychology rather than technical knowledge.   If you can show the interviewer that you have expertise in relationship management through your previous experience, then there is nothing like it.

Most candidates fail to imbibe all of the above vital skills and rely too much on bookish knowledge to get a lucrative job. If you are one of those, it is high time that you rectify yourself.


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