I Want to Fit In

Politically Incorrect Social Studies

Entry Level Accounting and Finance Positions

Posted by iwanttofitin on March 23, 2007

I graduated from college in July of 2006 with a degree in Finance. I enjoy stocks and investing and my original major was marketing but I just didn’t take a liking to it and I thought, maybe I’d enjoy finance because it’s what I like to do. The classes were decent and I even enjoyed a few of them-mainly because of the teachers. To be honest, I really didn’t learn anything that I hadn’t learned on my own because it was in interest of mine before I decided to major in finance.

What I’ve learned from college (and many of you probably already have) is that the classes you take really don’t prepare you for a job in the field you are studying. Now, if your field is very specialized such a dentistry or nursing, that is different. Almost any job requires training no matter how much “learning” you’ve done. Experience is everything. It would be nice is Universities offered hands on learning so you could actually experience what you were learning. It’s one thing to read about Consumer Behavior and Short-Term Business Finance, but by not actually putting it into practice, one really has no idea how it works.

This leads me to the problem of majoring in Accounting or Finance-mainly Finance. If you don’t have some kind of internship before you graduate, good luck on finding a job. My grades aren’t bad, they are pretty good. A 3.2 is nothing to get excited about but it’s not something to laugh at either. Granted, my GPA doesn’t reflect my over all ability. That’s my fault. I accept it.

I have applied to probably 40 jobs since the summer. I’ve interviewed four times. Here lies the problem. If you search for jobs relating to Finance (Accounting is different nowadays since Accountants are in such high demand. If you said you knew what a Balance Sheet was you’d get hired.) you’ll see that you need a decent amount of experience. It’s not your typical Summer internship experience either. A good many of the “Entry Level” positions require 3-5 years experience. What?! Who are they kidding? I only went to college for four years and didn’t declare my major as Finance until I had less than two years left. Where do you get this experience? A regular college internship would help immensely. I didn’t have this luxury. I needed a flexible schedule and decent pay. My job, at the time, worked for this.

No, after talking to a job recruiter I have learned that to get those “Entry Level” Finance positions, you USUALLY need to work as an Accountant first. Thanks University professors. That would have been nice to know. Apparently companies prefer you to know the back end before you start dealing with forecasts and educated guess work. So now I must spend another two years seeking my Masters of Accounting because, hey, it’s only a few more classes to get a Masters degree than a second. If I had just majored in Accounting I would have alleviated a lot of my job troubles.

Oh, and so those of you who are wondering, yes, I am picky in my job hunting. I don’t want any old job. I want a job doing something I enjoy, something I went to college to learn to do. Anyone can get a sales job, but only so many are good at it. I get calls all the time to be a Financial Services Representative or Financial Advisor. I even turned one of these jobs down because “I was the they wanted.” Whatever. They want everyone because they know only a few will be good at it and they need to figure out who those people are. Those jobs are just nicely title “Sales” positions. You might even be told it is marketing. Nope. Sales. What are you doing? You are pushing the products of a company on other people or businesses. You are selling those products to them even if you are providing advice or whatever.

My advice to you would be to at least minor in Accounting if you are in any type of Business program in college. It’ll be worth it when you graduate. Trust me.

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One Response to “Entry Level Accounting and Finance Positions”

  1. alotofgoodways said

    Excellent post – spot on.

    My bachelors degree was in Sociology, which I studied more out of interest, rather than with any career plans in mind. But halfway through my second year, I began to think about careers…and found that there is no such job as “Sociologist”. Well, there is…but it involves theorising, researching, and writing books for the rest of your life, and this is just not me.

    An easier option is civil service. Which is boring and averagely-paid. I’m about to become a civil servant, and whilst the money is more than an average 22 year old could ever dream of, it’s not the type of salary that you can make any kind of decent investments for the future on. I can’t see myself living on this kind of salary way into my 30s, but unfortunately it’s not the type of salary that rises dramatically, even after years of service.

    Whilst it’s not related to my field, I had two internship years sucessfully lined up…one for a major software company in their finance department, and another for a major bank, in commercial banking. The former I was supposed to take in between my second and final degree years, and the latter I was supposed to take immediately after graduating.

    Both of these internships paid double my upcoming civil servant’s salary, and due to the calibre of the companies involved, both would have been a massive boost to my career, even if I decided to later stray away from the financial world. But at the 11th hour, I passed up on both opportunities (for numerous reasons). Now, having done this, breaking into the financial world would prove extremely difficult for me…as the months pass, I’m becoming a staler and staler grad, I’m no longer mouldable fresh meat.

    As it happens, I no longer WANT a career in finance – the internships I was accepted for were merely to make a hefty wad of money over a short period of time, and to gain some kind of graduate experience…but I still feel like the doors have been closed and permanently locked.

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