Lucrative careers in finance

CAREER WATCH

NEW OPPORTUNITIES Globalisation has thrown open new and exciting specialised  careers in Finance.

The rapid growth in the economy has revolutionised the role of finance and accounting. Finance as a career option is a very wide term. Finance is exciting both as a subject and a career option with the great expansion of the global economy. While traditional sectors like chartered accountancy, company secretaryship, cost and works accountancy and banking will always remain major options, many new avenues are opening up like investment banking, equity and financial analysts, research, etc.

There are opportunities galore in finance and more will come in the next few years. A few specialised fields in the finance sector are:

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional programme in Financial Management and Analysis. The course provides a deep insight into the investment industry and specifically about managing assets. Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) utilise their managerial skills in the core areas of corporate finance, investment management, international finance and financial services. Their training and skills are useful for providing a host of financial services.

Eligibility: To become a CFA charter holder, you must have four years of investment/financial career experience. The course is divided into four modules: Foundation, Preliminary, Inter and Final. Graduates and students in the final year of their Bachelor’s degree in any discipline are eligible for admission to the programme. However, commissioned defence personnel having five years of experience can pursue the CFA programme even if they do not have an undergraduate degree.

Certain categories like CAs, ICWAs, MBAs and postgraduates are exempted from the foundation module of the course. Candidates seeking admission to the CFA programme have to appear for an admission test. The test is based on verbal and quantitative reasoning which seeks to test the aptitude of the candidates for professional studies in Financial Analysis.

Study Route: The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) conducts the Financial Analysts Course through correspondence. This is a postgraduate course of three-year duration. The admission is based on a test. Graduates in any discipline including those in the final year of graduation can take the admission test. Non-graduate commissioned officers in defence, with five years of work experience, are also eligible to take the test.

The CFA programme is divided into four levels, foundation module being the first. Examination for the foundation module can be taken three months after enrolment. Candidates who have done MBA, CA, M.Com or ICWA are exempted from doing the foundation module. Thereafter preliminary, intermediate and final levels follow. Each level is divided into two groups and conditions apply for taking the examinations under these groups.

The CFA programme is also offered as a two-year regular course by some of the leading business schools like BITS, Pilani; Xavier Institute of Management, Bhuvaneshwar; SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, etc. Other options are the CFA accelerated course and CFA-MBA joint programme. Details about these programmes are advertised in all major national newspapers from time to time.

For the International CFA course details, years of study, exam pattern, eligibility, training, etc. conducted by the CFA Institute, USA, visit —http://www.cfainstitute.org

Job profile: Employment opportunities are aplenty in sectors like banking, insurance, the corporate sector, companies dealing in finance and leasing. The Reserve Bank of India, the International Development Bank of India (IDBI), the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) and the Indian Railways recognise the CFA programme and employ trained CFAs. Besides these, a trained CFA can go into business as an independent business consultant or join an existing consultancy firm.

MBA Finance

Globalisation and liberalisation have created an atmosphere of fierce competition in which companies are trying hard to reduce their overhead costs and thereby maximise their profits. This in turn has led to a hunt for professionals who can manage finances properly to maintain financial viability and soundness of the companies. The financial managers with a specialised MBA (Finance) degree can achieve this Herculean task.

Job Profile: Most of the MBA Finance professionals are recruited by investment banks, security firms, corporates and BPOs. The most widely recognised jobs falling under this category are financial managers, financial analysts, accounting managers, corporate controllers, chief financial officers, cash managers, investment bankers, finance officer, treasurers, management consultants, credit managers, investment sales associates, traders and investment banking associates.

Study Route:  Finance Management is taught as part of the MBA curriculum at B-schools across India. MBA is a two-year course after graduation or equivalent degrees. An MBA programme usually consists of a core curriculum covering the functional areas of management, including information systems, finance and accounting and human resources, to name a few. The second stage of the MBA course is usually made up of a choice of electives (optional courses), to allow the student to either continue with general studies or to specialise in a particular subject or area.

Admission into the MBA course is generally held on the basis of a written test, group discussion and personal interview. Separate tests are conducted by different institutes like CAT by IIMs, MAT by the All India Management Association, XAT by Xavier Institute etc. Besides, there are executive MBA (Finance) programmes offered by some institutes which require some years of experience.

Institutes: Several institutes in India offer MBA (Finance) as a specialisation under the MBA programme. The Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode and Shillong) are among the top business schools that offer the MBA (Finance) course in India. Some other top B-schools that offer this course are the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar; Indian School of Business, Hyderabad; Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University; Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; S P Jain Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; Management Development Institute, Gurgaon;  Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune.

Capital Markets, Stock Brokers and Analysts

As per SEBI guidelines, the minimum qualification required to be a stock broker is a graduation with at least two years of experience in a stock broking firm. A sub-broker, the previous stage of being a broker, needs to have passed the 12th standard to be eligible for his job. This is, however, a very basic criterion and to find work as part of a stock broking firm or investment company you will usually require a post graduation in Finance.

A graduate in commerce can pursue the profession of a broker. To get membership of the stock exchange, one has to go through training under a broking firm for a minimum of six months. Those interested in a career as an equity analyst can pursue the postgraduate diploma course in Equity Research and Analysis offered by ICFAI located in Hyderabad, India. You can explore specialised finance courses at CAFS — Center of Advanced Financial Studies (http://www.iciciresearchcentre.org/user/cafs/default.asp), capital markets courses at BSE Training Institute (http://www.bseindia.com/training/about.asp).

For courses in Insurance and Finance you can check the International Institute for Insurance and Finance (www.iiifindia.com). Apart from this, the National Stock Exchange has introduced an online facility for testing and certification (www.nseindia.com/content/ncfm/ncfm_about.htm). The Indian Institute of Capital Markets, Mumbai, also offers a reputed Securities Markets programme (www.utiicm.com/Smp/prospectus_07_08.asp). The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) has started the AMFI Mutual Fund Certification (www.amfiindia.com / testingprogram.html)

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