Careers

Career assistance that is all about you

The Vanderbilt MS Finance program is unique in its design—we offer a flexible curriculum based on your career interests and skill sets. You'll receive one-on-one career planning assistance, including:

  • Personalized career advice and guidance from the Career Management Center (CMC) staff and MBA peer coaches
  • Interview preparation—mock interviews with staff, peers and employers
  • Resume and cover letter writing assistance
  • Job search databases
  • Networking and learning opportunities with alumni and employers
  • MS Finance career workshops and seminars
  • On-campus interviews with employers
  • Employer information sessions
  • Inclusion in an MS Finance resume book that is widely distributed to employers
  • MBA peer coaches
  • Career Resources
  • and more...

Career Paths

Below are career paths that MSF students typically pursue in the MSF program.

QUANTITATIVE FINANCE

1. Trading and Principal Investments
Sales and trading are the investment bank's distribution arm. This group is responsible for selling all of the financial products (stocks, bonds and their derivatives) developed by the investment banking area. As such, they serve as the vital link between the sellers (corporations, government entities) and the buyers (investors). Although frequently lumped together, salespeople and traders perform different functions. Sales professionals have a list of institutional clients whom they serve by making them aware of new offerings, advising them on how to manage their portfolios and selling them financial products. The sales department can be divided by account size, security type (debt or equity), geography, or product line. Areas within sales and trading include:

  • Investment Research
  • Proprietary Trading
  • Private Equity/Merchant Banking

Recent MSF Student Placements:

  • Dayton Power & Light—Trading Control Analyst
  • Equity Management Associates—Investment Associate
  • Merrill Lynch—Credit Derivatives
  • Morgan Keegan—Research Associate
  • Piedmont Investment Advisors—Equity Analyst

2. Risk Management
Risk Analysts weigh the probability of profits and losses and make recommendations to senior management on acceptable strategies. Entry-level job titles for these positions include derivatives risk analyst, market risk analyst, and portfolio risk analyst. Duties include developing and managing risk management methodologies; providing financial reporting and risk analytics; and evaluating and testing pricing models.

Recent MSF Student Placements:

  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange—Risk Management Specialist
  • The Hartford Insurance Company—Actuarial Analyst

CORPORATE FINANCE

1. Corporate/Industry Finance
Corporate finance includes two key functions: accounting and finance. Accounting concerns itself with day-to-day operations—bookkeeping. Accountants balance the books, track expenses and revenue, execute payroll, and pay the bills. They also compile all the financial data needed to issue a company's financial statements in accordance with government regulations. Finance professionals analyze revenue and expenses to ensure effective use of capital. They also advise businesses about project costs, make capital investments and structure deals to help companies grow. In spite of their different roles, finance and accounting are joined at the hip: The higher levels of accounting (budgeting and analysis) blend in with financial functions (analysis and projections). Thus, finance and accounting are often treated as one, with different divisions undertaking particular tasks such as cash management or taxes.

  • Divisional Financial Analysis—In this area, you work with each division's business team to prepare financial plans, make forecasts and compare actual financial results to forecasts. You may also evaluate the financial consequences of alternative strategies. Responsibilities include everything from analyzing new business opportunities to restructuring a business or developing a capital-spending program. The primary concerns are to find better ways of using company assets, to reduce costs and to research ways to develop better forecasts. Financial services evaluates the risks versus potential return of any course of action and develops recommendations so that managers can pick the most profitable strategies, depending on their goals.

  • Treasury—The treasury department is responsible for all of a company's financing and investing activities. This department works with investment bankers who help the corporation raise capital through stock or bond issuances, or to expand through mergers and acquisitions. Treasury also manages the pension fund and the corporation's investments in other companies. The department also handles risk management, such as safeguarding corporate assets by using insurance policies or currency hedges.

  • Cash Management—This is a company's piggy bank. The cash-management group ensures the company has enough cash on hand to meet its daily needs. The group also invests excess cash in overnight short-term investments. It also negotiates with local banks to help regional business units get the necessary banking services at the best price.

Recent MSF Student Placements:

  • Asurion—Financial Analyst
  • Cummins—Credit Analyst
  • FedEx—Financial Analyst
  • HSBC—Management Trainee
  • KPMG Structured Finance—Senior Associate Adviser
  • PwC—Associate-Valuation Group - Transaction Services

2. Private Wealth Management
Private banking and wealth management are the coordinated delivery of banking, asset management, insurance and fiduciary and tax services to high net worth individuals through a network of highly trained private bankers, investment managers and other specialists. Private wealth managers interface with multiple divisions of investment firms and are able to offer clients resources and services that sophisticated institutional investors have traditionally enjoyed. Offerings include investments in initial public offerings (IPOs), new issues, derivatives and proprietary products. Private wealth managers also deliver an institutional level of research, advisory services and execution to investors. Entry-level job titles for this position include Financial Analyst and require CFA designation for advancement.

Recent MSF Student Placements:

  • Salem Partners—Wealth Management Associate

OTHER MS FINANCE CAREER PATHS

1. Financial Economics/Finance PhD preparation
Gain valuable training to apply to PhD programs; doctoral programs value the additional maturity and financial, accounting and econometrics training provided by the MS Finance program.

Recent PhD Program Student Placements:

  • Arizona State University Finance PhD program
  • Vanderbilt University Finance PhD program

Other Recent MSF Student Placements:

  • Accenture—Corporate Strategy
  • Archon—Real Estate Analyst
  • Carreker—Associate Finance Analyst
  • Proflowers.com—Business Analyst-Marketing
  • Redhill Realty Investors—Acquisitions Analyst
  • Redwood Trust—Associate
  • Scott Madden Management Consulting—Associate Consultant