Course Description:
This course introduces students to the challenging and lucrative world of finance. While “Wall Street” may still get a bad rap after the 2008 financial crisis, finance careers still remain highly sought after and can be highly rewarding. The course reviews key financial terms and examines various groups, positions, and roles within financial institutions. Students will learn about resumes, interviews, and networking. Students will also discuss ethics on Wall Street and the role of finance within society.

Module 1: Why Pursue a Career in Finance?

This module introduces students to the world of finance and previews some of the potential career paths and topics that will be covered more in depth throughout the course. Students will learn about the history of Wall Street and discuss the impact of the financial sector on society. They will also examine basic regulations in the securities and investments industry.

Module 2: Finance Basics

A career in finance is for well-rounded individuals who are not only good at math and accounting, but written and verbal communication as well. However, above all, being curious and the ability to learn quickly will outweigh any “what you know.” No matter what you learn in this course, or even throughout college, there will be many things that you will need to teach yourself on the job in finance. Still, there are a few important terms, skills, and formulas that are the building blocks of finance. In this module, we will preview finance and accounting terms, stock market vocabulary, and even dive into spreadsheets and charts. The module will conclude with a look at the importance of communication skills in finance careers.

Module 3: Investment Banking

In this module, students will gain a more thorough understanding of investment banking. The module will cover key financial terms regarding mergers and acquisitions as well as the importance of valuation. Students will understand the difference between product and industry groups within investment banking and also the difference between bulge bracket banks and boutique banks. Then the module will take a closer look at the requirements and responsibilities of a banking analyst and the various roles within investment banking. The module will also examine some of the safety concerns within investment banking. The module will conclude with an in-depth look at Goldman Sachs, a prominent global investment banking firm.

Module 4: Sales and Trading

What do you think is the value of all the stock that is traded (or exchanged hands) in any given year across the world? One hundred million? One hundred billion? Try 94 trillion dollars! And stocks are just one of the many things that are traded. Other securities like bonds, or even currencies are also traded in massive amounts, every day! This module will introduce students to the world of sales and trading. While much of trading now takes place via computers, some trading still occurs the old-fashioned way, person-to-person, on a telephone call. Students will learn key terms and principles of a trading and learn about the various career paths in this fast-paced environment.

Module 5: Private Wealth Management

Are you looking for a finance career that has a little more personal, human touch? Private wealth management is a career path (often a group within an investment bank) that provides financial advice and services to individuals, rather than corporations. The unique aspect of this career is the enormous variety in the types of tasks and responsibilities included in this role. It can be anything from helping a client select appropriate investments, managing risk, to researching complex tax issues. In this module, students will learn more about the role of a private wealth analyst. They will also learn more about investment analysis and how to select an appropriate investment for clients.

Module 6: Financial Planning and Analysis

So far, this course has explored careers that generally fall within a bank or other financial institution. But who are these mysterious “clients” that they work so hard for? And what is it like to work on the other side of the table? This module will explore the role of a financial analyst within a company (as opposed to a bank). These roles generally fall under the group of financial planning and analysis. People in these roles work with senior managers, as well as external advisors like investment banks, to make provide information to help managers make decisions about the business. These decisions could include topics like budgeting, buying new equipment, raising money, or acquiring another business. Students will gain an additional perspective on the wide array of careers in finance.

Module 7: High School, College and Internship Preparation

Entry-level jobs in investment banking and finance are extremely competitive to get into. So what can students do in high school through the end of college to give themselves the best chance for success? This module will dive into specific steps that students can take to build up their knowledge and experience, with the ultimate goal of landing their dream job after college. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about and create their own career plan and set goals that will help them through their educational path toward a career.

Module 8: Networking, Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews

While there are many things that students can do throughout their high school and college years to prepare them for a career in finance, nothing may be as important as what a student does during their last two years of college. A student can have the best experience in the world, but if they don’t present themselves in the right way through their resumes and nail the interviews, then all their efforts might not result in that dream job offer. This module will cover important action items of networking, preparing resumes, interviewing, and even accepting or rejecting job offers. Students will also discover the importance and challenges of diversity on Wall Street.

Module 9: Succeeding on the Job

Securing and starting a first job out of college is a huge accomplishment, but only the beginning. In the world of finance, companies generally have fewer spots at the top than at the bottom, so from day one, there is competition to stand out from the pack. In this module, students will learn the key factors of success for finance jobs. They will learn about the traits and skills that will allow them to earn great reviews and top-tier bonuses. Students will also begin to explore licensing and certifications that they can pursue once they begin their careers to further distinguish themselves. Students will continue to build a solid foundation for success over the life of their career.

Module 10: Life after Banking

After completing training programs and the first few years at top banks, analysts often make the jump to what is called the “buy side.” This section of the finance world encompasses firms like Private Equity and Hedge Funds. These funds invest millions or billions of dollars with the hopes of turning it into more money. In this module, we’ll explore other post-banking options such as Venture Capital and entrepreneurship. We’ll also examine the possibility of returning to school for a graduate degree, and MBA, or Law degree. Students will gain additional insights into important career paths in finance and learn how to best prepare themselves for long-term success.

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