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The Truths About Finance

By Lucas Laursen

Finance may be the domain of well-connected number-crunchers, but that doesn't mean the door is closed to creative outsiders who are willing to do their homework and their networking.

  • "I thought finance was just for boring number-crunchers."

Well, some of our sources wouldn't comment on this one, but the truth is that a wide variety of people end up in finance. One economics major said, "At my school, there was a big push to do investment banking and consulting. I thought, I can't do it. I'm too academic." But she has found that her research skills are in demand at investment banks. So are many other backgrounds. There are traders who studied physics, philosophers turned venture capitalists, and so on. While some financiers darkly hint that the most interesting people move away from entry-level analyst positions quickly, finance is a broad field with plenty of opportunities that bright people exploit.?

  • "Isn't it just an old boys' club?"

Times have changed. Yes, many people in finance arranged their jobs through contacts- but so can you. As Maura McCarthy, a venture capitalist, put it, "almost all jobs come from relationships we have." Cold-calling and the formal recruiting process is one "difficult" way to break in, but networking (through organizations like the New England Venture Network) is fair play for anyone. Most people like talking about themselves and their careers: so don't be afraid to ask at company information sessions on campus. Not every conversation will, or should, lead to a job offer, but you will accumulate valuable industry-specific knowledge that can be useful in better deciding your own path, impressing interviewers, and pursuing unexpected opportunities.

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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