5 best programmes or courses to make new age career in finance industry
A career is an activity that an individual pursues over a period for socially and financially sustaining oneself. For building a successful career one needs to introspect early on the circles of career wisdom.
There are 3 important aspects to it viz. passion, skill and remuneration. Let us look at 2 of it at a time.
If an individual were to follow their passion and skill a lot many individuals would pick up hobbies as a profession. There is nothing wrong with that but that can result in tail events from a career perspective. For example, there are many successful book writers but there is an even larger number of not so well-placed authors.
Now let’s look at the cross section between skill and remuneration. This is a field wherein the individual is selected for the skills demonstrated. The individual continues in that role for the remuneration s/he receives. An example here would be a management or business consultant. A very small number of consultants recruited in such positions stay in a similar role over even a 5-year period. The lack of interest leads to shorter longevity in such roles.
Let’s look at the last bisection. This is what pays well and the individual loves it as well. A quick illustration is say playing in the Indian cricket team. This is often a dream rather than reality.
Now as concluded a successful career would hence be at a trijunction of passion, skill and remuneration. In order to build a successful career in finance it is also important to equip oneself with relevant qualification. Let’s look at 5 options in no particular order.
MBA with major in finance: A typical MBA program is of 2 years duration. The first year is more general management whereas the second-year students choose to specialize in fields/topics or subjects. This provides a holistic and true nature of the various aspects in a business. Another important aspect of an MBA program other than the rounded knowledge is the placements. Most business schools do a very good job at getting the best possible role for the students on campus. Remember that for a career one needs a start and for a good start one needs a good job.
Chartered Accountancy (CA): The Chartered Accountancy is one of the oldest accreditations in finance. The need for an accountant goes as far back as business itself. The CA is a 3-level course. The first level can be given post 10+2 by a student. The other 2 levels have a split of 2 groups. Each of these parts can be cleared individually. Likewise, excellence in any subject leads to an exemption in that subject for that group. The CA imbibes its experience criteria within its course and makes it a pre-requisite before furthering in the course. The CA provides a career in accounting, taxation and auditing in general. Several firms also offer investment banking and valuation roles as well.
Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA): The private markets are growing at an unprecedented rate in India. This is also evident by the fact that a single PERE (private equity in real estate) player has invested close to USD 12 billion in India. The amount invested this year itself is equal to the bailout price for one of the largest corporate NPAs in India. It is the global benchmark for alternative assets. It is a 2-level course and requires professional experience for the charter to be conferred. Charter holders are offered roles in private equity, venture capital, hedge funds and other buy side roles.
Financial Data Professional (FDP): There is technology in everything we do and there will be increasing technology in every role. The FDP sits in the trijunction of quant, programming and finance. As per study large number of the jobs which exist today will change tomorrow with technology part of it. One way to future proof yourself is by earning the FDP designation. FDP is a 2-level course and provides one the skills to continue to thrive in the changing environment. The roles on offer to a successful candidate would be around data analytics, machine learning, block chain and others.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): CFA is the gold standard for equity research analysts across the globe with the usage of the CFA suffix after one’s name. CFA is a 3 level course and the program has the same subjects in all the levels. The course builds on the knowledge of the previous level. CFA is the most successful global finance accreditation and is recognized by the industry. Upon completion of the CFA and submission of experience the CFA institute provides the charter. A CFA is typically working in the public markets predominantly in the equity research space. Some CFAs are also offered roles in the wider asset management space.
(Author Shreekant Daga is Associate Director CAIA. Views expressed here are personal.)