Is Finance a Hard Major? (With Student Quotes)

If you’re thinking about pursuing a finance career, then this article is perfect for you. One of the first questions people ask – Is finance a hard major?

Finance-related careers are highly desirable for their high salaries and stability. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment opportunities in financial services will grow 8 percent every year through 2030, which means there should be many job openings available for those who want to pursue a career in finance.

Starting median salaries are in the $76,570 range. However, that will differ depending on specialities and experiences. If you have an undergraduate degree in finance or accounting and pass the CFA exam, your salary can increase dramatically. 


Is Finance a Hard Major?

The finance degree isn’t seen as particularly challenging in general, but if you dislike math or statistics, you can find it challenging. Along with some business classes, you’ll need to complete calculus and statistics courses.

Since you’ll be collaborating closely with other experts, you also need to be an excellent communicator. Reports, presentations, and proposals are all examples of this. You’ll also need to know how to properly analyze data so that you can use it to inform your judgments.

You’ll need to acquire more complex mathematics and statistics than what is typically taught in most degrees if you intend to pursue a career in investment banking. Additional programming languages like SQL, Java, Python, and Ruby will definitely be useful to have a working knowledge of.

You should budget between $100K and $200K in annual income if you choose to pursue a profession in investment banking.

The fact that finance is such a vast and varied field of study makes it difficult as well.

The field of finance spans a huge range. Everything is covered, including investing, insurance, and even law, as well as accounting and economics. There are numerous other possibilities than studying finance in college, yet this is the course of study that many students pick. Among many other topics, a student could choose to study accounting, marketing, or management.

You must first comprehend the fundamentals of accounting if you want to work in finance, though. Due to the fact that accounting establishes the groundwork for financial reports and statements, it is the base of finance. Students will also need to comprehend fundamental economic concepts like supply and demand as well as how markets function. The many kinds of investments that are available should also be known to students.

You may expect a very interdisciplinary approach to your financial studies as a result. Finance can be studied in a variety of ways, and each manner necessitates a unique set of abilities. For instance, quantitative finance places a lot of emphasis on mathematical modeling, whereas behavioral finance explores the psychology of financial decision-making.

Due to the mathematical and analytical nature of the courses, economics and accounting are a little more difficult to enter than finance. The freedom to choose your own route awaits you once you’re inside, though.

Students with business majors have the chance to put their academic knowledge to use in practical settings. After graduation, many students choose to work in consulting or investment banking, however some may choose to pursue careers in marketing or sales.

Money-making is only one aspect of finance. Additionally, adding value is important. By planning and analyzing their financial resources, finance professionals assist businesses in expanding and prospering. They aid companies in developing growth strategies and risk management techniques. Investment banks, hedge funds, private equity companies, and other financial institutions are among the places where many finance experts end up working. even enter politics, according to some finance specialists.

Students should be familiar with the fundamentals of economics, geopolitics, current events, international relations, markets, sectors, trade agreements, and current news. Finance is a relatively difficult major for many students since professors require them to read extensively on the topic.

Financial Analyst Watching the Markets
Financial Analyst Watching the Markets

How Hard is a Finance Degree?

It can be challenging to get a degree in finance, but it also depends on the university you attend. Finance classes are not very difficult, but they do require some basic arithmetic and analytical skills. A number of fundamental courses must be completed before moving on to an advanced option and the last year of study for a degree in finance.

A financial degree’s level of difficulty is determined by the required courses, the advanced courses chosen, and the university’s general level of difficulty.

The brightest students are sought after by universities. They must therefore make their courses more challenging. As a result, the courses at a top university will be more challenging. Majors in finance must complete 10–15 core courses.

The fundamentals are covered in these classes, which also equip students with the know-how they need to eventually enroll in more advanced courses.

A finance student usually takes the following classes:

  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Principles of Managerial Accounting
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Statistics for Business and Economics
  • Information Systems or Information Technology
  • Calculus I and II
  • Foundations of Business Analytics
  • Operations Management
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Law 
  • Financial Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategic Management
  • Fundamentals of Marketing

You will take all the required courses for your finance degree plus additional elective courses. These courses will help you broaden your perspective, increase your knowledge of different subjects, teach you critical thinking and communication skills and advance cultural diversity in society. You will also have the opportunity to choose an elective course that interests you.

Advanced courses are designed to help you achieve your personal goals. If you’re interested in becoming an analyst at a hedge fund, then the advanced courses may be exactly what you need. Some of the courses offer specializations like Quantitative Finance, Data Science, and Applied Math.

Each specialization offers its own unique curriculum and coursework. For example, the Quantitative Finance specialization focuses on topics like derivatives pricing, option valuation, portfolio management, and risk analysis.

Most students will struggle initially with the unfamiliar terms and maths involved in a finance degree. However, after a while, most students can develop a basic understanding of finance and through constant revision, they can do well.

Can I Major in Finance If I am Not Good at Math?

The truth is that you can still major in finance even if you struggle with math. To graduate, your arithmetic abilities will need to be improved more, but if you put in the effort and study time, you can finish the course work. Finance still involves a lot of math, even though it is not very complicated.

Math, accounting, economics, statistics, and other related topics are typically covered in depth by finance majors. Risk management, valuation, portfolio theory, and other ideas will all be studied by and required of finance students.

Probability, calculus, linear algebra, and discrete mathematics may even be required of you. A great deal of math and mathematical skills are necessary because finance is such a vast subject.

Here are some related articles to math classes: 

Who Should Pursue a Finance Career?

People who succeed in a job in finance typically have particular personality traits. They must to be able to reason well, assess issues, communicate clearly, and comprehend how businesses operate.

There are particular traits, in addition to these universal ones, that help someone succeed as a financial professional. They consist of:

Thinking Analytically – A person with analytical thinking abilities is frequently referred to as a “thinker.” This kind of thinker approaches issues with logic and reason. He or she must be able to dissect complicated problems into their component elements and apply this knowledge to generate solutions.

Communication Skills – Successful financial professionals frequently have excellent communication skills. They are adept at paying close attention, speaking plainly, and writing succinctly. They feel at ease speaking in front of crowds and sharing their thoughts.

Solving Problems – A finance professional that succeeds is constantly looking for methods to enhance their performance. This implies that he or she is continuously seeking out novel solutions to issues.

Adapt Quickly – You’ll need to adjust quickly because financial laws are constantly shifting. You must be fast to pick things up and flexible to change in order to succeed in a job in finance. To find out what works best for you, you must be willing to test out many options.

Persistence – You don’t give up until you’ve found a way around a problem. When things don’t turn out as you had hoped, you don’t give up easy. Instead, you investigate the cause of the failure before making another attempt.

Confidence – People who are confident typically outperform others who lack confidence. They have the mindset that anything is possible if they put their minds to it. You must grow your self-confidence if you want to succeed in a profession in finance.

Self-Motivation – Self-motivated individuals are driven by a personal ambition to succeed. Goals and objectives serve as their driving forces, and they work hard to achieve them.

Financial Reports
Financial Reports

Why Do People Think Finance is Difficult?

Depending on who you ask, finances will either be simple or difficult. For instance, finance requires a lot of math, so if you’re not good at it, you might find it difficult. If that wasn’t a concern for you, though, you could still pursue a career in finance because it doesn’t call for any specialized training.

But finance isn’t just about figures. Numerous other subjects are also involved, including economics, psychology, law, and even history. Therefore, if you are interested in finance, you must also be familiar with all of those other topics.

An MBA or a Master of Finance are likely good choices if you’re looking for a degree that will help you land a job in finance. Although you’ll need to take accounting and economics courses, you won’t need need to know more advanced arithmetic than basic algebra. If arithmetic is your absolute pet peeve, you might want to consider pursuing a bachelor’s in business instead.

You should think about studying finance in college if you want to work in the financial services sector. If you are prepared to pay for tuition, you might even be able to study abroad. However, you must first be aware of the types of job opportunities available in the industry before you begin applying for positions.

Within the sector, there are numerous job options, including those in investment banking, asset management, corporate finance, risk management, and insurance. If you’re interested, you might also think about enrolling in a course in actuarial science, economics, math, statistics, or accounting.

Is Finance a Hard Major? Final Thoughts

Finance may be an excellent major for you with many different routes to financial success in your future. You can become a stockbroker, a trader, a banker, a fund manager, a hedge fund manager, a private equity investor, a venture capitalist, a corporate executive, a consultant, a tax accountant, or even a lawyer.

You’ll need to consider your interests, skills, personality, and goals when deciding on what the path that you want to take in the future.

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Written by:

Chris Wood
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. I’ve been working as a Software Engineer for the past 5 years. While working in this field I’ve had the pleasure of developing software in a wide variety of industries. I look forward to using my experience in order to find a role where I can utilize my creativity and passion for solving complex software engineering problems.

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