Dive into the complexities of finance, highlighting different career paths and essential skills needed to succeed. The webinar offers practical advice on preparing applications, excelling in interviews, developing critical skills, overcoming challenges, and utilizing personal strengths in a dynamic financial environment. The panel also emphasizes the importance of networking, mentorship, and lifelong learning as fundamental elements for building a successful career in finance. Whether you’re a recent graduate or considering a shift in your career path, this is a valuable guide for anyone interested in breaking into the finance sector.

Featured Speakers:

  • Alicia Tullo, soon-to-be analyst at PJT Partners
  • Tolu Osisanwo, analyst at Hamilton Lane
  • Dee Lenktyte, HR Business Partner at Gleacher Shacklock
  • Emily Leslein, Early Careers Team at Dartmouth Partners
  • Andrea Ward, Managing Director at Financial Edge, and seasoned investment banking professional

Key Takeaways

Entering the financial services sector might seem daunting, especially for those from non-finance backgrounds. However, industry experts highlight that diverse perspectives are crucial for enhancing innovation and decision-making in finance.

Industry Insights

The financial services sector is experiencing significant transformations driven by digital innovation and shifts in global economic policies. Key trends include the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions and the ongoing adaptations due to technological advancements.

How Do I Find the Right Area of Financial Services for Me?

A great starting place for finding the right area of financial services for you is figuring out what you do and don’t like to do, and therefore what might suit you. Maybe you are more technical so trading might be a good fit. Perhaps you prefer relationship management, so advisory might be right. Speak to as many people as you can who are already working in these roles so you can gain more insight. Reaching out to alumni working in finance is a great way to do this.

Role-Specific Advice

  • Investment Banking: Roles in investment banking require skills in financial modelling and client communication, as well as a thorough understanding of market analysis to effectively manage capital raising activities and advise on mergers and acquisitions.
  • Asset Management: This role demands a robust grasp of market trends and portfolio management to manage investments successfully for a variety of clients.
  • Risk Management: Professionals in risk management need to possess analytical skills and a comprehensive understanding of financial products and market dynamics to identify and mitigate potential losses effectively.

Educational Pathways

For those transitioning from non-finance backgrounds, pursuing an MBA or financial certifications such as CFA or ACCA can be extremely beneficial. These qualifications not only provide a foundational understanding of finance principles but also significantly enhance employability in the sector.

Get the same training as new hires at the top firms and demonstrate proficiency in essential skills for a career in Investment Banking, Private Equity, Asset Management, Venture Capital, Research Analysis, Credit Analysis, Real Estate, Restructuring, and Project Finance.

How to Effectively Transition from a Non-finance Degree to a Finance Career

Successful candidates increasingly come from varied fields of study, including degree subjects like history and music. Unless you are working in something like quant where math is important, you may not need to have studied finance as long as you can show that you are enthusiastic and demonstrate a willingness to learn. Learn from our online finance courses, a great way to develop key skills.

Building a robust network within the finance industry is essential. Engaging with professionals through industry events and platforms like LinkedIn can lead to mentorship opportunities that provide guidance and support as you navigate your new career path. Alumni are also a great source of networking and mentoring opportunities. Search for alumni in finance roles that you are interested in and reach out to them.

Securing internships or entry-level positions in finance can also facilitate a smooth transition.

Internship and Entry-Level Opportunities

Securing internships is crucial for entering the finance world. These positions provide practical experience and the opportunity to make invaluable industry connections.

Banks run programs for students, interns, and analysts to empower women and increase opportunities. These can be a great opportunity for women to break into finance and gain valuable experience.

Spring weeks are a great route to an internship. They are 1-2 weeks long and provide a general insight to the bank. They often involve shadowing an analyst, networking events, and workshops.

Structured graduate programs that offer rotations through various departments can also provide a comprehensive insight into the business, enhancing understanding and skills.

How to Make your Resume and Application Stand Out

  1. Be honest, as everything can be fact checked today.
  2. Do not go above and beyond with trying to create an amazing and unique resume template; you are not applying for a position in graphic design. The easier the template is to read the better. Using a free investment banking resume template, like the one in the download section is an easy way to do this.
  3. Focus on your experience, this is the most important part of your resume.
  4. Highlight instances where you’ve taken initiative, such as leading a project or volunteering for additional responsibilities.
  5. Include any leadership roles you’ve held, especially those related to volunteering or university societies. If you’ve managed a team, make sure to include this experience.
  6. Join university societies and clubs to show that you can put the theoretical knowledge into practice. Most universities have a virtual investment fund where you can trade “on paper” or M&A societies that will give exposure to working with financial models.
  7. Don’t be afraid to include your outside interests. These can make your CV more unique and could potentially spark an interest with the recruiter.

How to Prepare for the Application Process

Start applying early. The application process starts almost 2 years before you finish your degree. Your summer internship would usually take place the year before you graduate, so you would apply the year before.

Research bulge bracket and boutique investment banks and decide where to apply. This will help you convey why you want to work for the bank. Think about why you are applying for that particular role, or that particular internship.

Research the deals the firm has done, instead of looking at their biggest ones focus on less well-known deals and try to understand why they were important.

When you are attending events as part of a selection process, research the staff and the teams. Banks, particularly smaller boutique banks, will have bios on their website of their senior bankers. This information will be helpful when you are speaking to them.

What Skills Do I Need Before I Start My Internship?

Excel Skills

For someone going to do an investment banking internship, proficiency in Excel is a valuable skill. You will learn technical skills, and anything deal specific when you are in the role, but proficiency in Excel will mean you be much more efficient and can advance quicker. Excel is an underrated but very valuable skill. Get a head start and learn the same Excel skills we teach at the top 4 global investment banks with Excel Efficiency for Financial Modeling and Data Analysis.

Commercial Knowledge

Good commercial knowledge is also valuable. You do not need to be across everything that is happening in the industry but have a few interesting news stories that you’ve read recently that you can discuss with your manager and colleagues. This is also a skill that you can develop as you get more experience in your role, the more that you understand the market, the more you can put your knowledge into practice, the better you will understand the news.

Regulatory and Ethical Considerations

Understanding the regulatory landscape is essential for anyone entering the finance industry. Professionals must navigate a complex framework of laws and regulations, making knowledge of these areas crucial for compliance and effective operation.

Technology Skills

Adopting technological skills related to financial software, data analytics, and automation tools is increasingly important. Proficiency in these areas can enhance efficiency and decision-making capabilities in various finance roles.

How to Overcome Barriers for Women Breaking into Finance?

Speaking up, it may feel challenging to get your voice heard, but it is important to have confidence in your ideas, skills and abilities and share them. Ask for help when you need it. Be resilient, even in the face of rejection or setbacks remember ‘it’s not no, it’s just not now’. As you progress in your career, strive to be a role model for junior women entering the market.


What are some entry-level roles in finance for non-finance graduates?

Non-finance graduates can investigate roles such as financial analyst, risk assessment coordinator, and client services associate. These positions often require strong analytical skills but do not necessarily demand a finance background at the outset.

What skills are particularly valuable in finance right now?

Skills such as data analytics, proficiency with financial software, and understanding of regulatory compliance are increasingly valuable. Soft skills like problem-solving, effective communication, and adaptability are also highly prized in the finance industry.

Can I invest in stocks while working in a major investment firm?

Yes, you can invest in stocks while working in a major investment firm, but you must disclose all personal investment accounts to your employer and adhere to company policies regarding conflicts of interest and trading restrictions.

Additional Resources

Investment Banking Spring Weeks
Investment Banking Certification
A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Intern
Investment Banking Interview Skills