Top Majors for a Career in the Financial Services Industry

Jennifer A. Digiovanni, November 2019

Top Majors for a Career in the Financial Services Industry

You don't need to major in business to launch a successful career in the financial services industry. Walk around a finance company today and you may be surprised at the employees' range of backgrounds. In addition to hiring graduates from business management and finance degree programs, many financial services companies actively seek out students with UX Design, Analytics, Engineering, Cybersecurity, and other specialties, as the industry rapidly evolves to meet changing market and client dynamics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted faster than average growth for business and financial occupations through 2028, thanks to factors including globalization, a growing economy, and a complex regulatory environment. And there are many opportunities available to students with a range of educational backgrounds.

College Majors that Can Lead to Jobs in Financial Services

Here are a few majors to consider if you're interested in a career in the financial industry:

  • Mathematics: Learning advanced mathematics can lead to a career in finance or banking. The ability to construct advanced quantitative models can lead to career success in the financial services industry.
  • Cybersecurity: Banks and other financial companies collect and maintain a large amount of highly secure data. Cybersecurity teams need employees with experience in the field to keep data secure and prevent cyberattacks.
  • Computer Engineering: Be at the intersection of technology and innovation. Computer engineering offers varied career paths in both hardware engineering and software development with applications and enterprise systems.
  • Computer Science: Banks are looking for individuals equipped with future-focused skillsets who bring creativity and advanced capabilities to advance innovation in the financial sector. Leverage your technology skills in roles like cyber and information security, robotics process automation and digitization, software coding and engineering, data engineering, and network infrastructure.
  • Data Science and Analytics: Data-savvy graduates are valued strategic partners that work directly with product teams to support new products and help identify opportunities for growth.
  • Fintech: A newer major, graduates leverage technology and data to design and implement new ways to deliver banking products and services.
  • Digital Media: As banks expand their online platforms and market to current and potential customers through digital channels, digital media majors are in demand.
  • Finance: A solid understanding of financial instruments and financial management will prepare you for a career in personal finance, wealth management, investment banking, or financial analysis.
  • Accounting: Accounting majors possess skills that allow them to contribute in just about every area of a financial services company. The highly technical nature of financial operations is especially dependent on accounting majors who can leverage their understanding of financial reporting and analysis in other departments.
  • Economics: Economic analysis is at the foundation of the strategy for many financial services companies. If you enjoy economic theory, this course of study can help start you on the path of a career in financial services.
  • Risk Management: Corporate risk assessment is integral to every financial company. Majoring in risk management will teach you how to analyze and assess internal and external risks, as well as how to devise policies to limit an organization's risk.

Exploring Your Career Options

Key is dedicated to training and developing the next generation of banking professionals — no matter if you major in finance or computer science. College juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students, can explore career options in the financial industry through internships. An internship offers students the opportunity to experience the day-to-day of a job in their area of interest. Key's internship program hires interns with a variety of majors and offers students insights into a future career in banking through hands-on experience and access to company mentors.

Key's paid internship and analyst programs offer a hands-on, mentored experience that is in-depth and geared to provide insight into actual career roles while providing an opportunity to deepen relationships with peers across the enterprise. For the majority of students, an internship with Key has led to an analyst position after graduation. Approximately 79 percent of the 2019 analyst class were former Key interns compared to an external benchmark of 46 percent, per the National Association of College Educators (NACE) 2018 Benchmarking Report. Key has also averaged a 73 percent analyst retention compared to an external benchmark of 60 percent per NACE.

If you're interested in learning about a career in the financial industry, participating in an internship or a graduate job exploration program can help set you up for long-term success.

Key is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.