MBA Finance Job Description
Financial jobs can be broken down into those that take place
within a corporate organization (often called corporate or company
finance) and those whose setting is a particular financial
institution, such as with an investment bank. The array of job
possibilities within financial institutions is extremely broad, thus
the below areas outline the major career options within each arena.
The structure of finance within a corporation consists of
internal finance (controllership) and external finance (treasury)
activities. Jobs concerned with the collection, measurement, and
evaluation of financial data generated from internal operations are
typically placed under the controller's supervision. An
organization's relations with financial markets and institutions are
often grouped under the supervision of the treasurer, including
management of bank lines and other credit facilities, communication
with shareholders, and oversight of offshore financing arrangements.
In many companies, strategic and long-range planning has
considerable finance content and may also report to the Chief
Financial Officer. Duties of a finance job in a corporate
organization can vary widely, but commonly involve financial
planning, raising funds, cash management, and acquiring and
disposing of assets. Analysts determine financing needs, analyze
competitors, implement financial plans, monitor the company's
securities and manage financial risk.
Investment Banking - Corporate Finance
Investment banking associates in corporate finance serve
the sellers of securities, either Fortune 1000 companies that are
looking to raise cash to fund growth, or frequently, private
companies that are looking to go public. Corporate finance bankers
are financial consultants to corporations, advising companies on how
to finance their operations, structure their balance sheets, move
ahead with plans to sell or acquire a portion of the company.
Activities can range from providing pure financial advice to
implementing the sale of a new stock or equity issue. As a result,
industry or product knowledge is key, and many investment banks
divide the corporate finance department into specialty sub-groups
such as energy, high tech, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and
telecommunications. The corporate finance group will do any and all
of the following:
- Underwrite equity offerings - buy shares for sale from the
corporation or government entity and then sell them on the market
- Underwrite fixed income (debt/bond) offerings.
- Help firms analyze their financial needs.
- Help firms devise and implement financial strategies, such as
what foreign currency exposure to have and when and how to proceed
with funding initiatives.
- Determine valuations for offerings.
Investment Banking - Sales & Trading
Sales and trading is the investment bank's distribution
arm. This group is responsible for selling all of the financial
products (stocks, bonds, and their derivatives) developed by the
investment banking area. As such, they serve as the vital link
between the sellers (corporations, government entities) and the
buyers (investors). Although frequently lumped together, sales
people and traders perform different functions. Sales professionals
have a list of institutional clients whom they serve by making them
aware of new offerings, advising them on how to manage their
portfolios and selling them financial products. The sales department
can be divided by account size, security type (debt or equity),
geography, or product line.
- Develop strong relationships with institutional investors.
- Meet with equity research departments and discuss economic
trends and their impact on the markets.
- Work closely with the Investment Banking department to market
new debt and equity issues.
- Advise clients in developing and executing investment
- Watch company/industry/economic/political news and market
activity and advise clients about the likely impact on their
- Develop a solid knowledge of market, company, and industry
- Make markets by maintaining a position in a stock their firm
has underwritten, quote bid and ask prices, and buy and sell at
- Put major trades together by negotiating with
salesperson/clients and other dealers.
- Perform valuation analysis of derivatives, convertibles, or
baskets of stocks.
- Manage the firm's risk versus the market.
- Traders are responsible for taking positions on the market
through purchases and sales of stocks and equities. During market
hours, traders must be able to juggle a number of tasks at once in
the high-stress environment of a trading floor.
Investment Banking - Private Client Services
Responsibilities involve putting together integrated
packages of investments and financial services for your clients.
Generally, these clients are high-net-worth individuals. Specific
tasks can include estate planning, tax planning and investment
strategies. Your actual recommendations will depend upon your
client's risk preferences, need for income and desire for
involvement in portfolio management.
Investment Banking - Research
Responsibilities involve providing critical analytical
support to investment banking, sales and trading activities.
Research involves quantitative research (pricing models), economic
research (interest rates), and individual company research. Research
is responsible for maintaining long-term relationships with
corporate clients long after the deals are done. Researchers meet
regularly with company management, analyze the company's position
relative to competitors, and provide recommendations about the
company's stock to investors, plus sales and trading.
- Meeting with company management and analyzing the company's
financial statements and operations.
- Providing written and oral updates on market trends and
company analysis to sales and traders.
- Attending or organizing industry conferences.
- Speaking with sales people, traders, and investment bankers
about company or industry trends and recommending positions on the
- Developing proprietary pricing models for financial products.
- Making presentations to clients on relevant market trends and
offering investment recommendations.
- Analyzing economic data and making forecasts.
Asset managers manage money for individuals and institutions.
Generally, they convert that money into assets-stocks, bonds,
derivatives, and other types of investments-and try to make that
money grow as fast as possible. Mutual fund companies, banks and
corporations hire asset managers to invest people's money wisely and
profitably. Asset managers use a combination of investment theory,
quantitative tools, market experience, research, and plain dumb luck
to pick investments for their portfolios, ranging from high-risk
stocks to commercial real estate to cash accounts.
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