7 Courses Finance Students Should Take
Most careers in finance involve finding effective ways to manage an organization's money in order to create wealth and increase the organization's value. Finance majors prepare for this career by studying topics about "planning, raising funds, making wise investments and controlling costs," according to the College Board. This knowledge sets them up for a wide array of career paths in the areas of corporate finance, financial institutions and investments.
Courses in college algebra and calculus will help students learn how to solve equations in complex financial markets. Statistics helps with decisions based on the likelihood of various outcomes and allow finance students to learn to reach conclusions about general differences between groups and large batches of information. Being comfortable with numbers is also essential to understanding stocks.
Financial and managerial accounting courses teach finance students how to understand, record and report financial transactions, monitor the company's budgets and performance, and examine the costs of an organization's products and services.
Economics looks at how scarce resources are allocated to achieve needs and wants. A course in macroeconomics will teach finance students to understand the impact of financial market activities on the overall economy. Microeconomics will help them understand the behaviors that occur within individual firms and among consumers as well as how various financial decisions can impact a firm's success.
Financial professionals need to understand the behaviors and thought processes that help drive the movements in financial markets. A course in psychology teaches a finance student about human behavior, and provides a foundation for predicting how people might behave in given situations. This can help finance students explore breakdowns in the markets caused by investor behavior, and give them the skills to predict how market participants are likely to react to current events.
A course in technical writing will teach students how to put forth strong, clear and organized ideas, purposes and explanations in memos, reports and letters. Students also learn how to think critically and examine an issue from a number of perspectives.
A communications course, such as public speaking, helps finance students learn the skills they'll need to present financial reports and explain the meanings behind equations and numbers to colleagues in group settings. It will also provide some background in managing people, delegating responsibility and exuding professionalism.
Corporate scandals, such as the Enron scandal, have prompted many business schools to add ethics courses to their finance curricula. These courses focus on moral development in an attempt to stem future misconduct in business environments. They also provide students with the skills to identify ethical issues such as conflicts of interest.
Students studying finance will be tasked with big responsibilities in their careers. They will have to manage the flow of money at their companies and identify financial risks and returns to make effective business decisions. Those finance majors who want to have an edge over their competition, both during the initial post-graduate job search and throughout their careers, will take advanced mathematics, accounting, economics, psychology, communications and writing courses to gain a deeper insight into their jobs and a better ability to work effectively with people.