Personal Development Plan Business Essay


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.

1. Introduction

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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).

2.1 Self-Exploration

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

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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

Job Title

Assistant Finance Analyst

Junior Finance Analyst

Finance Analyst





General Description

Entry-level professional; uses professional

concepts to resolve problems of limited

scope and complexity;

works on

assignments of limited variety and

complexity, requiring limited judgment and

decision making.

Experienced-level professional who

knows how to apply theory and put it into

practice with full understanding of the

professional field;


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

communication skills.

• Active listening, critical thinking,

attention to detail, organizational skills,

good interpersonal skills and the ability

to multi-task.

Basic knowledge in data collection and

analysis techniques.

• Service orientation

• Leadership skills to provide coaching

and mentoring to support staff.

• Knowledge of core software programs

and systems.

• 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;

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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

complex analysis.

• Gathers and analyzes,

financial and resource plans.


Job Title

Senior Finance Analyst

portfolio manager

CFO / Partner of Company




Senior Expert

General Description

broad job knowledge;

deals with problems of diverse scopes

Recognized expert. Has significant

impact and influence on company policy and

program development.

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

communication skills.

• 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

complex data.

• 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

process re-design.

• Ability to multi-task effectively in a varied, high

volume environment.

• Sound judgment, decision-making, critical

thinking, and creative problem solving.

• Understands and anticipates different


• Leadership ability both inside and outside of

the department.

• 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

departments accordingly.

• 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

and/or policies.

• 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.

Focus Area

Current State

Desire State




Language Skills

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

3 months

Communication Skills

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.

1 months

Financial Knowledge

Prepare for CFA

Passing CFA Level 1

Taking CFA courses;

CFA books and exercises

9 months

Accounting Knowledge

Prepare for ACCA

Passing ACCA Part 1

Taking ACCA courses;

ACCA books and exercises

6 months

Data handling techniques

elimentry knowledge in Excel

Familiar with minitab, advanced Excel

Practise data collecting and processing;

Software(Excel/ Minitab); Online tutorial

1 month

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.