Finance is a broad term encompassing all things concerning the study, development, and management of financial resources and securities. It includes taxation, economics, accountancy, investment, banking, public finance, and insurance. There are many other related fields of study, but for the sake of this article, the focus will be on business and finance.
The study of finance has three important areas: personal finance, public finance, and economy. Within each of these fields there are many sub-disciplines, including: banking, insurance, corporate finance, mortgage banking, merchant banking, and financial markets. A wide variety of institutions to provide banking, including commercial banks, savings and loans, trust corporations, credit unions, financial institutes, merchant banking, and proprietary trading banks. Many private firms engage in financial systems, such as insurance companies, investment banks, hedge funds, and securities firms.
Public finance is an area of study that studies governmental policies and programs, including taxation and social services. Public finance scholars study macroeconomics, which examines a broad range of issues as a whole and applies it to specific areas. Two broad areas of public finance are public spending and taxation, which include budgeting, direct taxation, indirect taxes, social services, and national wealth indicators.
Investment management is the science of managing the collective financial resources of an enterprise. Investment managers make important financial decisions on behalf of their clients. Finance majors who choose to specialize in investment management may go on to become general managers, chief operating officers, or part of a small, privately held company.
Economics offers students a strong background in the field of macroeconomic analysis. Economics major focuses on broad topics such as production, marketing, trade, and financial systems. Many economics majors go on to teach at either the college or university levels, with positions at both the government and private sectors available. Some other options for finance majors include investment banking, international business, public policy, and the history of economics.
One of the key requirements for entry into the world of finance is an undergraduate degree, which is combined with a strong personal interest in finance and the ability to conduct a clear, concise, and analytical financial planning. There are many nontraditional finance degrees available at both the public four-year university and private institution level. Students looking for a nontraditional finance major should consider attending a private university that is well known for its teaching of finance and applied economic policies. The University of Michigan is one of the top-ranked schools in the U.S. for undergraduate degrees in accounting, business, and Economics. Students planning to enter the professional world should also consider a number of nontraditional degree options, including government, law, nursing, and the health care industries.