Finance Advising Guide
College of Business: Finance Concentration
What is Finance?
Finance is a specialized branch of economics concerned with the origination and management of money, credit, banking and investment. Typical areas of study within finance are corporate finance, investments, financial institutions, and risk management. Corporate finance is the study of how firms raise funds from investors, how they invest those funds in return generating projects, and how they distribute those returns back to investors. Investments is the study of securities (stocks, bonds, etc.) and the markets in which they trade. Financial institutions is the study of banks and other institutions which bring together the suppliers and users of funds. Risk management is the study of how individuals and firms can mitigate their risk exposures while maintaining return expectations through the use of insurance and/or other techniques.
Career Opportunities in Finance
A concentration in finance opens a broad range of opportunities as each of the different subfields are quite related. In the realm of corporate finance, financial managers develop strategies and plans for the short and long-term goals of their organization. Within this area analysts can specialize in cash management, debt management, project management, forecasting and budgeting, and treasury management. In the field of investments, there are opportunities in the areas of financial planning (wealth management), and portfolio management. Financial planners help customers with their budgeting and retirement goals while portfolio managers select and manage stocks and bonds for mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, and other similar institutions. Other positions in investments include security analysts who provide valuation reports and recommendations on stocks and bonds, and retail (stock) brokers who work with customers filling purchase and sale orders. There are quite a few positions in banking: customer service representatives who help individuals set up different types of accounts, loan officers who help businesses and consumers with their financial borrowing needs, credit analysts who evaluate the loan applications, and branch managers who oversee all bank activities. Risk managers are employed in many types of businesses such as energy companies, commercial banks, and transportation companies. It is their job to analyze and determine projected business and financial risks to the company, and to decide how to manage those risks in the most efficient way possible. These are just a sample of jobs under the major fields as there are too many different titles and positions to mention.
Salary Trends in Finance
The typical starting salary for finance related jobs is between $30,000 and $50,000 per year; however, experienced employees may command much higher pay. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Occupational Outlook Handbook,” personal financial advising is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations from 2014 to 2024 with an increase of 30%, which is well above the average growth rate for the typical job. The median annual wage in 2015 was $89,160; however, it is common for seasoned advisors to earn beyond six figures.
Business and financial operations occupations are expected to grow 8.4% through the year 2024 with a median annual wage of $117,990 for financial managers. The job outlook for financial analysts is expected to rise 12% over the same time period with median pay at $80,300 per year. The projected outlook for insurance sales agents and bank loan officers is around 8 to 9% job growth through 2024 with current median salaries ranging from $48,200 for insurance agents to $63,000 for bank loan officers. Additional information on career tracks in economics and finance and salary information is available from the American Economic Association: http://www.aeaweb.org/students/Careers.php
High School Preparation
Students who want to major in finance should take college-prep mathematics courses in high school. Courses in statistics and especially AP courses in mathematics would be of even further benefit. The University’s Office of Admissions evaluates such matters and handles assigning college credit where appropriate. Students should also have excellent writing and public speaking skills. Finally, if possible, take courses to become adept at using spreadsheets.
How to Major in Finance
Every student majoring in finance will complete the general education requirements for all business majors as well as the 200 and 300 Level Business Core. All finance majors must complete the Professional Readiness Engagement Program (PREP) and an internship prior to graduation.
General Education Requirements for Business Majors
200 Level Business Core
300 Level Business Core
PREP Program (3 Hours)
Requirements for a Concentration in Finance
Take the following seven courses:
ECO 315 Intermediate Microeconomics
FIN 332 Multinational Finance
FIN 343 Money Markets & Financial Institutions
FIN 350 Financial Statement Analysis and Corporate Strategy
FIN 410 Intermediate Business Finance
FIN 411 Advanced Business Finance (W)
FIN 420 Investments
and choose two from the following
FIN 344 Real Estate
FIN 345 Principles of Insurance
FIN 421 Security Analysis and Portfolio Management
FIN 425 Student Managed Investment Fund I
FIN 426 Student Managed Investment Fund II
FIN 430 Derivative Securities
FIN 446 Real Estate Finance and Investment
FIN 470 Depository Institution Management
FIN 490 Special Topics in Finance
FIN 494 Directed Study in Finance
Complete the PREP Courses
Complete Two additional electives
Complete MGT 485 and 486
Special Programs, Internships, and Directed Studies
The Professional Readiness Engagement Program, PREP for short, is a new student support initiative in the Mitchell College of Business, designed to meet the professional development needs of undergraduate students majoring in business as they transition into the workplace. PREP provides quality experiential activities, career interest exploration, and advanced educational experiences, including professional development courses, internships and mentoring experiences, and workshops.
All business students are required to complete three one-hour courses to learn critical soft skills, including business and office etiquette, networking, presentation skills, interviewing skills, resume design, and much more. The program culminates with every student completing a required internship. There are also regularly scheduled professional development workshops on a myriad of topics, as well as other activities to expose students to the norms of workplaces and the development of professional attitudes and behaviors: professional dress fashion shows and seminars, dining etiquette events, the Mitchell Mocktail Hour, personal branding workshops, company tours, and an emphasis on job shadowing and mentoring relationships.
PREP ensures that all Mitchell graduates enter the workforce with the skills required for a successful career in business.
Jaguar Investment Fund (JIF)
Our department operates the Jaguar Investment Fund (JIF). The JIF is a student managed investment fund, which is a unique opportunity for select students to gain management experience with a portfolio of $250,000 of real money. In this fund, students will work as financial analysts, economists, political analysts, accountants, risk analysts, or operations managers. All work in the JIF supports the ongoing selection and monitoring of stocks in the portfolio. JIF students work daily on professional Bloomberg Terminals, a necessity to work on Wall Street and in other high powered finance careers. In addition, students who take Investments (FIN 420) will also get certified on the Bloomberg Terminals. For more details on the JIF click on the link: http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/mcob/jaguarinvestmentfund/
Study Abroad Opportunities
Consistent with the University’s priorities, the Mitchell College of Business offers a range of international study opportunities for its students in various regions of the world. Options include semester-long study abroad experiences in fall and spring semesters and shorter-term options, such as faculty-led short-term courses, usually offered in the Maymester or summer. Please check with the MCOB Director of International Studies for details.
Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years.
To see a sample academic plan for this major, please click here. Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.
For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.
For More Information
For more information on this program, contact Dr. Ken Hunsader at (251)-414-8259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find us on campus at:
Department of Economics and Finance
5811 USA Drive South
Mitchell College of Business, Room 330
Mobile AL 36688
Website: College of Business: Finance
*The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other majors, please refer to the USA bulletin or contact the department/College directly.