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Starting a career in finance: what you need to get started


Anyone planning to start a career in the finance industry needs to have a clear idea of where they are headed and a real plan of how to get there. As with any career choice, luck can play an important part at any stage, but doing your research and making sure you know how to get ahead of the pack will always be the most vital factors in your favour.


The world of finance is a competitive one, so getting a foothold in the industry can be a lot easier if you have the right qualifications.

However, because there are so many choices it can be hard to work out exactly which exams and educational courses you should take in order to give yourself the best start. Depending on what role you wish to follow there are many different qualifications that might suit you, which is why doing your homework on what is required is essential. General business knowledge can be gained by work experience within a corporate company, but for many jobs a business and management degree will be a basic requirement.

A finance degree can not only be a starting point for many careers in financial services, but also across many other business, banking and consultancy sectors.

Career paths

Some of the most common career paths to working in the financial sector include corporate finance, commercial banking, financial planning, public accounting and insurance work. However, all businesses need financial experts in order to survive and succeed, which means working in finance doesn’t necessarily restrict you to the financial sector itself, but can actually include the entire spectrum of commercial industries.

Senior roles might cover senior managers, finance executives, finance directors and financial controllers.

Entry levels

Entry-level job opportunities can revolve around accounting or finance assistant roles. There is also a wide range of lower-level analyst roles that can present a solid grounding for a career in finance.

Job descriptions can vary from business to business, as companies operating in fields other than the financial sector may look at roles encompassing more than one strict definition.

Success stories

There are many examples of successful financial figures who rose through the ranks to achieve prominence. Alan Cockburn-Smith is now an established name in the financial world with his reputation for dedicated professionalism and years of experience gained via his work with The Banking Consortium Limited.

Today, as co-founder of The Equivest Alliance Foundation, Cockburn-Smith provides a meeting place for investors and project owners, giving them the opportunity to take part in a private equity structure that has a substantial balance sheet.

First steps

Every individual financial success story begins somewhere and getting a solid grounding via education and entry-level positions is the best way to build firm foundations for the future. By taking advantage of the many opportunities on offer, anyone who has the desire to succeed in the world of finance can make their dreams become reality.

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