Black-eyed Susans are blooming outside the Haworth College of Business

Career Pathway: Finance

What can you expect from a finance degree from Western Michigan University? In this program, you will develop a broad understanding of financial decision making. Case studies, internships and study abroad opportunities will enable you to learn the skills necessary to become a leader in the financial industry. You will gain real-world experiences to build your skills and competitive advantage.

Our finance major is recognized by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute University Recognition Program.

  • Where do I start for a career pathway in finance?

    Start by making an appointment with the Zhang Career Center, which can assist you in discovering your career interests and values. The financial industry includes employees who tend to be investigative, conventional and enterprising. They value achievement, recognition and independence according to O*Net. Find out if your work preferences match careers in finance by taking the Focus2 assessment.

    What is finance?

  • What skills are finance employers seeking?

    Technical skills are part of the proficiencies that are required for a job and may be developed in your major coursework. Finance-oriented technical skills desired include experience with communications server software, archival software, call accounting software, Linux, Microsoft Suite and Windows, UNIX, virus protection software, web design software, and network management software. 

    Interpersonal skills enable you to succeed and are often developed outside of the classroom. Finance-oriented interpersonal skills include active listening, critical thinking, complex problem solving, systems analysis, judgment and decision making, systems evaluation, attention to detail and integrity.

    What careers involve these finance skills?

  • How can I obtain an internship?

    There are many different ways to acquire an internship, online or in person. Visiting the Internship Catalog and the Career Outcomes Report can help you learn about the companies that have previously employed finance students.

    Handshake is WMU’s employment website. All students should set up an account and publish a resume. Resumes made public by the student are searchable by employers.

    Students use their Handshake accounts to view internship and full-time job opportunities posted by employers and sign up for on-campus interviews. For more information, visit the Zhang Career Center.

  • Student groups and supporting events at WMU Haworth

    Financial student groups include the Financial Planning Association and Financial Services Association. Other groups include Business Association of Mentors, DECA at WMU, Delta Sigma Pi, Leadership and Business Strategy, Phi Chi Theta and Women's Business Network.

    Events supporting the finance major include the following:

    • Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup
    • Chartered Financial Analysis Institute Research Challenge
    • ENGAGE® International Investment Education Symposium
    • The Foundation for Financial Service Professionals Industry Issue Competition
    • The Risk Management Association Commercial Credit Analysis Competition
    • Finance Career Night
  • NACE Career Readiness Competencies

    The Zhang Career Center at the Haworth College of Business empowers learners to launch successful business careers by engaging them in innovative programming focused on professional readiness, while developing partnerships with global, regional and local leaders who hire students. As pioneers in career readiness programs and experts in customer service, staff members in the career center strive to meet the needs of all students and employers.

    Career readiness competencies include:

    • Career and self-development
    • Communication
    • Critical thinking
    • Equity and inclusion
    • Leadership
    • Professionalism
    • Teamwork
    • Technology

    Visit the NACE competencies online to learn more.

Careers in finance

Tasks and processes in finance:

Accounts payable and receivable, balance sheets, billing cycles, client relationship management, commercial lending, cost of goods sold (COGS), dividend(s), financial statements, GAAP, inventory management, lending, markets, mergers and acquisitions, mutual fund(s), net worth, overhead, profit and loss statement (P&L), real estate, reconciliations, stock(s), tax accounting, underwriting, venture capital and more.

Careers in finance:

Credit Counselors:

  • Consumer credit and housing counselor
  • Certified credit counselor
  • Counseling program leader
  • Financial coach
  • Financial health counselor
  • Financial wellness coach

Loan Counselor:

  • Financial aid advisor
  • Financial aid counselor
  • Financial aid officer
  • Peer financial counselor

Financial Analysis:

  • Analyst
  • Credit products officer
  • Equity research analyst
  • Investment analyst
  • Planning analyst
  • Portfolio manager
  • Securities analyst
  • Trust officer

Financial Services Sales Agent:

  • Client manager
  • Financial consultant
  • Financial services representative
  • Financial specialist
  • Personal banker
  • Relationship banker
  • Relationship manager
  • Select banker

Financial Managers:

  • Banking center manager
  • Banking officer
  • Branch manager
  • Credit administration manager
  • Financial center manager 

Personal Financial Advisor:

  • Account executive
  • Certified financial planner
  • Financial consultant
  • Financial counselor
  • Investment auditor

Real Estate:

  • Agent
  • Associate broker
  • Broker in charge
  • Sales agent
  • Realtor
  • Salesperson

Business Externship opportunities

The Business Externship Program provides career exploration opportunities that connect students in Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business with mentors, many of whom are WMU alumni. Current finance externship opportunities include DOW, Eaton, Greenleaf Hospitality, Plante Moran and many more. Learn more about the program.

Major research tools

Book an appointment

Zhang Career Center

To schedule an appointment, book with online portal or call (269) 387-2711 today.