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Finance is a career which imposes high requirements on the overall qualities of a person. In this report, I am choosing finance as my career field. First, we will describe a career planning methodology in my personal career planning. There are several steps to the career planning process. These steps are: occupational exploration (know the career opportunity), self exploration (know who you are and what you want), decision making, and plan of action. Second, we will identify several job families in the field of finance and the difference between the different possible career paths. These include hedge fund manager, sales and trading, finance analyst, and etc. Then, we will make a decision, giving my career map and career plan as a finance analyst. Six consecutive jobs will be presented to allow me to progress towards my dream job. We will also reveal the KSAs and personal qualities required at each job. Finally, a personal development plan is given with recommendations for future graduates on the different career they could have in a given field after they graduate.
Finance is an attracting and challenging area for youngsters. For a new comer into this field, just financial knowledge is not enough. Other qualities, such as team spirits, communication skills, and business intuition are equally important for a successful career.
With regard to my career goals, I am determined devote myself into financial area. I have great interest in finance because of its importance in corporate development and economic development. Currently, China is relatively weak in its financial sector. I regard it as a huge challenge as well as a huge opportunity for myself entering this field.
2. Career Planning Theory
The career planning process is composed of several steps. First it is the self exploration, which answers the question of who you are and what you want. Second it is the occupational exploration, which deals with the job opportunities. Then it is decision making, in which you make up your mind of your career. Finally, it is the plan of action, in which you will set up your goals and put it into action ( Barbara et al 2003; Brian et al 1988; Robert et al 2009;;Samuel et al 1993).
Before any career planning, people should have a clear idea about themselves and their expectations of a career. They should ask the questions, such as where do I like to work, indoors or outdoors? Am I good at dealing with the public? Do I prefer to work as a team or do I like to work alone? The thing is that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, just personal preference. By rethinking of these questinos, they are able to know more about themselves and match themselves to the right occupation.
2.2 Occupational Exploration
Having knowledge of the possible job families is equally important. Details about the work carried out in various occupations can be learnt through a large number of methods that can be used to gather occupational information. Some of the methods are listed below, such as online research, personal observation, interview with employees working in the field, books, posters, and TV programs. Usually people use a combination of methods. In this way, they can also get knowledge of the potential income, working conditions, and employment prospects.
2.3. Decision Making
After you get the information about yourself and the occupations, it is time to make a decision. From your personal preferences, you should have a good idea of the things that you want in your life. From the job exploration, the occupatinoal requirement, such as the education as well as the work experience you need, will be clear. You can then choose the occupations that will give you what you want.
2.4. Plan of Action
From the above steps, the particular career is determined. Now it is time to set up a plan to help you achieve that goal. First, you should consider the needs and insufficiency of yourself, such as what kind of education and training is necessary; What type of interim jobs are required; Second, you should foresee the obstacles which hinder you to get to your career. And hence you will be able to come up with a plan to overcome these obstacles. All these can be used to form your plan of action.
3. Possible Career Path for Finance
3.1 Hedge fund manager
A hedge fund manager will decide how to place the assets in different classes of securities. These include cash, bonds, stocks (domestic versus foreign) and etc.
3.2 Finance Analysts
This involves the processing and servicing of a variety of operational, personnel, and financial transactions. Involves developing, interpreting and implementing financial concepts for financial planning, resource planning, and control of organizational budget. May analyze and prepare recommendations for financial plans, including annual resource allocations, future requirements, and operating forecasts.
3.3 Mergers and Acquisitions
People doing mergers and acquisitions are similar to finance analysts. Only that their focus is on synergies, cost savings, and coinsurance effects that may result from combing firms in similar or dissimilar industries.
3.4 Sales and Trading
Sales and trading encompasses a broad spectrum of jobs within an investment bank. Salespeople generate new business by obtaining clients for the firm. Traders concentrate on developing systems and strategies for executing orders to buy and sell securities. Knowledge of the operations of markets is essential to a good trader.
4. My Career Map
During my study as a business graduate, I have taken courses in various business subjects such as macro and micro economics, accounting and math. In my free time, I read publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The Economist. I browse the financial websites everyday to get a update on the latest business markets. I am good at gathering information. I can understand the financial situation of a specific company from its balance sheet; I can read the economic situation of a country from its macropolicy.
Moreover, I receive strict training in interpersonal relationships with others. I have skills in communication. Proposal writing and oral presentations is also my competence. Therefore, I consider myself to be fit for becoming a finance analyst. My career map is in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Career Map
5. My Career Plan: Finance Analysts
Assistant Finance Analyst
Junior Finance Analyst
Entry-level professional; uses professional
concepts to resolve problems of limited
scope and complexity;
assignments of limited variety and
complexity, requiring limited judgment and
Experienced-level professional who
knows how to apply theory and put it into
practice with full understanding of the
Uses basic professional concepts.
• Applies campus policies and
procedures to resolve routine issues.
• Works on problems of limited scope
with moderate control and review.
Follows standard practices and
procedures in analyzing situations or
data from which answers can be readily
• Cultivates internal and external
• Resolves a wide range of issues in imaginative as well as practical
Knowledge and Skills
• Basic knowledge of financial or
accounting concepts, processes and
• Understanding of regulations and best
practices concerning financial
accounting and services.
• Familiar with department chart of
accounts and related business
• Effective written and verbal
• Active listening, critical thinking,
attention to detail, organizational skills,
good interpersonal skills and the ability
Basic knowledge in data collection and
• Service orientation
• Leadership skills to provide coaching
and mentoring to support staff.
• Knowledge of core software programs
• Thorough knowledge of finance policies,
practices and systems including campus,
state and federal rules and regulations.
• Knowledge of financial data management
and reporting systems.
• Active listening, critical thinking, attention
to detail, organizational skills, strong
interpersonal skills, and ability to multi-task
in a high-volume environment.
• Able to independently gather, organize,
and perform financial analysis
• Advanced knowledge of software
programs and systems.
• Analyzes financial and/or resource data;
prepares and summarizes information.
• With supervision, reconciles,
researches and resolves discrepancies
in financial data.
Monitors workflow and productivity in
areas such as Accounts Payable,
Accounts Receivable, Collections,
Purchasing and/or Cashiering.
• Coordinates and monitors operations of
assigned functional area(s).
• May act as central resource for support
• Assists with monitoring productivity with
the goal of meeting or exceeding
standard expectations for timeliness
and quality. Identify systematic
problems and propose solutions.
• Assesses compliance with regulatory
agencies and internal policies.
• Triages and addresses customer
inquiries as appropriate
• Ensures the delivery of quality customer
service to various constituencies.
• Applies professional concepts to resolve
issues and to perform moderate to
• Gathers and analyzes,
financial and resource plans.
Senior Finance Analyst
CFO / Partner of Company
broad job knowledge;
deals with problems of diverse scopes
Recognized expert. Has significant
impact and influence on company policy and
assigned high level
analytical duties that involve in-depth knowledge
and understanding of numerous variables and
interrelationships. Regularly leads projects of
critical importance which carry substantial
consequences of success or failure.
•Must have good sense of judgment and have proper techniques for obtaining
• Applies wide-ranging knowledge and
understanding of campus objectives to resolve
complex issues with campus-wide impact in
creative and effective ways.
• Works on most complex issues with little or no
campus precedent where analysis of
situations or data requires an in-depth
evaluation of variable factors.
• May provide guidance to other personnel or
supervise professional or clerical staff; may
serve as team lead.
• May serve as subject matter expert or project
• Internal and external contacts often pertain to
broad-reaching plans and objectives.
Knowledge and Skills
• Sophisticated written and verbal
• Able to use good judgment and decisionmaking
and to solve problems.
• Leadership skills to provide coaching and
mentoring to professional and support
• Expert knowledge of campus and systemwide
financial processes, policies and
procedures, as well as related accounting and
regulatory compliance requirements.
• Analytical skills sufficient to assess, advise
development, and implement financial data
management and reporting systems.
• Able to communicate complex findings and
• Able to identify, analyze, and report on
• Sophisticated service orientation and ability to
lead a team to deliver excellent customer
• Strong inter-personal skills and ability to work
effectively across the organization at all
• Skills in project management, leadership, and
• Ability to multi-task effectively in a varied, high
• Sound judgment, decision-making, critical
thinking, and creative problem solving.
• Understands and anticipates different
• Leadership ability both inside and outside of
• Advanced knowledge of software programs
and systems and the ability to use them
strategically to achieve results.
• Ensures that financial processing
functions are performed with accuracy
and that daily operations run smoothly.
• May act as team leader for support and
lower level professional staff. Train staff
and create effective teamwork
• May review, process, and approve
financial data and transactions.
Documents procedures for financial
• Participates in internal audits and
• Reads professional literature and attends
seminars to keeps abreast of regulations
and best practices.
• May serve as a project work leader, project
manager or subject matter expert.
• Interprets policies and advises campus
• Directs the initiation of and/or designs
summary reports and background materials
regarding a wide variety of internal and
external policies and regulations to address a
range of issues and the organized
implementation of new services, procedures
• Coordinates the gathering of budgetary and
resource information during planning stages.
• Independently performs highly complex
financial or resource research and studies for
both internal department and external
constituents and makes recommendations to
maximize financial or other resource
•Analyzes and prepares recommendations for new services, systems
or processes that have an impact outside of
the school or department.
• Participates in audits of internal records and
• Develops and implements financial
transaction processes and procedures; may
train campus staff on financial activities.
• Regularly leads analyses of industry
approaches, trends and best practices.
Develops and implements improvements
and/or new approaches and services.
• Ensures timely and accurate financial activity
capture and reporting.
6. My Personal Development Plan
Following my career plan, I am going to present my personal development plan in order to prepare to the first job after graduation I need to begin with to reach my dream job. Floodgate and Nixon (1994) described a form of personal development plan with SMART goals. I will apply their format here.
English reading and listening is fair; weak in writing and speaking
Sophisticated written and spoken skills
Taking English courses; Practise English writing and speaking
Online English Learning website; English mp3; English learning books
Basic Communication Skills
Active listening, critical thinking,
organizational skills, good interpersonal skills
Work with others; build up team spirit and team working
Books on Communication and team work.
Prepare for CFA
Passing CFA Level 1
Taking CFA courses;
CFA books and exercises
Prepare for ACCA
Passing ACCA Part 1
Taking ACCA courses;
ACCA books and exercises
Data handling techniques
elimentry knowledge in Excel
Familiar with minitab, advanced Excel
Practise data collecting and processing;
Software(Excel/ Minitab); Online tutorial
7. Conclusion and Recommendation
This report is about my personal development plan as a finance analyst. I follow the framework of career planning in developing my personal development plan. In career planning, we must identify our likes, dislikes, assets, and weaknesses. This helps us know what we want and who we are. Then we should identifying potential career opportunities. Finishing these steps, we will be able to choosing a career path. After making a decision, we should define targets and an action plan to achieve our goals.
As new graduates, everyone wants to find his/ her perfect match job. Always remember, learning and building up your knowledge will provide you the opportunity to the dream job. On the other hand, you'll need to develop the necessary knowledge to understand the working environment, tasks, and responsibilities. All these combined will prepare you for your career. But no matter what career path you are on, for your plan to work out, you must work hard and continuously learn more so that you can do more.