Why You Should Consider A Career In Finance

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If you are a young woman visiting this site, chances are exceedingly high that you wish you had more money. If you are a young woman contemplating a career path, contemplate this—a career in finance. Many women are disinclined to consider a career in finance, which can be a big mistake.

Whether or not you’ve already considered the field of finance for your own career, keep the following in mind:

1. Finance Isn’t Just Doing Math And Trading Stocks

The reasons that many women shun finance are myriad: It’s just for math geeks, it’s boring, they don’t have a strong enough economics background. In my experience, none of those are good enough reasons. The stereotypical finance job is not necessarily the reality. Sure, there are plenty of “quants” (translation: math geeks) but there are many other areas of finance as well, including asset management, sales and trading, investment banking, client services, and even event planning.

2. Finance Is A Huge Field With Many Opportunities

Jobs in finance get you closer to where the money is. No field is easy these days, and there is no guarantee of lifetime employment anywhere, but the skills you learn in finance are useful everywhere. The field is large, encompassing commercial banks (like J.P. Morgan and Bank of America), investment banks (like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley), asset managers (like Blackrock, PIMCO, Vanguard, and Alliance Bernstein), hedge funds, money managers, and financial planners.

3. Combining Investment Banking With Starting A Family Is Challenging

Career paths can be quite varied, but one thing you really need to consider is your future ability to have a family. Although it can be potentially quite rewarding, I would steer clear of investment banking if you want to have a family. Investment bankers can’t control their schedules. While it might sound glamorous and fun to travel to clients and work on deals until all hours of the night, it becomes incredibly difficult to juggle a family and work in your thirties and onward.

To take control of your finances, think hard about your career choice—and consider following the money.

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  • http://twitter.com/amkade Allison Kade

    An interesting thing that I've noticed in some younger college graduates are that women are starting to go into finance (though in way fewer numbers than men) but they're often held to different standards–both of performance and behavior and culture–once there, and that more of them drop out of finance sooner. I guess that's sort of warranted in some ways because there's only so much you can do when you want to have a family, but I'd like to see more men giving up work life for family life!

  • KateM

    Definitely a compelling argument, especially as in certain areas a strong undergraduate background in finance might not be necessary. I'm interested in hearing more in the future on how women without MBAs can look to start in the finance world (myself a young woman not opposed to this career!).

  • Berrygrl

    Also interesting: a (male) friend interns at a VC firm, and he says that the only female intern is great, but doesn't go out with the guys after work. He does it not because he's dying to, but because it's effective networking and a good way to get hired next year. That's another facet: women in finance have to be willing to immerse themselves in the boys' club, or they could slip through the cracks.

  • Liz

    This is great to read. I'm a rising junior in a liberal arts college that doesn't provide any finance-specific classes. I'm interested in getting involved in finance in the next few years, and have just been reading books on my own to get more enlightened, but I'd love to hear more advice on what I should do to see if this is definitely something i want to pursue. I totally agree that to get involved in finance doesn't mean that you need to be a superstar mathematician – or a male!

    • Katie

      I'm in the same boat, Liz. I'm really interested in a career in finance… but, I have to admit, I am really intimidated

  • carolinewaxler

    Karen, you raise such excellent points about how there are more types of jobs in finance than people take into account. To your list I'd add financial writing, in journalism, PR, and marketing.

  • GleekNYC

    How did you get into it?