Why Major in Finance?

Have you ever thought about majoring in finance?

“A degree in finance requires a relatively greater effort than average, and it is a well-known fact,” said Dr. Maryna Murdock, associate professor of finance in the Mike Cottrell College of Business. “I view this as an advantage, because achieving this degree says something about the graduate even before an employer gets to know him/her.”

Finance is a major that opens up a number of career possibilities and teaches valuable skills for career and life after graduation. Matthew Atwood, a soon-to-be graduate and senior finance major, would encourage all students to consider this major.

“No matter what degree you study, you will have income and be responsible with managing it,” Atwood said. “I felt that the finance program would give me the best opportunity at learning marketable and relevant skills that would not only serve me in a career but in my own wealth management.”

Besides learning valuable business skills, students who major in finance have a wide array of job opportunities in front of them post-graduation. Finance majors can enter a variety of different sectors, some of which include: Investment or Commercial Banking, Corporate Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Asset Management.

“In addition to opening an exciting range of career possibilities, I believe that the content of the classes a student is required to take to graduate open and stretch a student’s mind,” Murdock said. “In other words, things students learn in these classes develop and improve their analytical skills, which is valuable no matter what field one chooses after graduation.”

Professors at the University of North Georgia (UNG) have inspired Atwood’s future career path. His favorite courses have been Derivative Securities and Risk Management (FINC 4410), Investment Management (4470) and Business Information Systems (BUSA 3130).

“The thing I love most about finance is how complex it is,” Atwood said. “I never challenged myself in high school, but the finance professors have taught me so much about the complex field and yet just barely scratched the surface.”

UNG has a number of professional development organizations for finance majors to be involved in including Beta Alpha Psi and the Finance Society. Atwood currently serves as president of the Finance Society.

“The Finance Society brings in financial professionals to speak about their experience entering the real world and what they do with their finance degrees,” Atwood said. “We also did a stock market challenge where participants compete to see who can obtain the highest returns through the semester.”

Though finance can have a great starting salary, Atwood would encourage students not to choose a finance degree just for the money. He has seen people get burnt out when the curriculum doesn’t excite them.

“Though, if you like solving complex real world problems and learning information that will directly make you money in a fast paced ever changing environment, then finance is for you,” Atwood said.

Financial analysts make between $58,000 to $59,000 on average. Those working in banking or insurance typically make between $59,000 to $62,000 per year. As a field dominated by men, women only make up 25% of senior roles in 50 of the world’s biggest financial companies.

“I encourage our female students to pursue this major, because, again, it sets one apart,” Murdock said.

While this degree takes hard-work, as do all degrees within the Mike Cottrell College of Business, faculty members are committed to creating an environment of learning that effectively prepares their students for their careers after they leave UNG.

“UNG’s finance program features well versed professors and small classroom sizes. Any questions that you have can be answered immediately in the casual small classroom environment,” Atwood said. “UNG is positioned in the fastest growing region of Georgia and is enabling its residents to pursue careers that create even more value for this region.”