The non-finance skills you need to work in finance
Most people think that to work in the finance industry, whether as a banker or someone dealing with blockchain technology, all you need is a strong head for finances and a bit of mathematical know-how. However, there is much more to making a success of yourself in the field than that.
Sure, knowing your maths and finance is important, but if you don’t also possess these skills, then you’re unlikely to make it big…
Excellent communication skills
As a professional in the financial industry, you don’t spend all of your time crunching numbers – although that takes a lot of your time up for sure – you also have to talk to people, give presentations and do a fair bit of writing too. That means it’s absolutely essential that you’re able to communicate orally and via the written word, extremely effectively.
If you can’t do this, then you’ll struggle to convey, what can be very complex financial information effectively, and your career will surely struggle as a result.
Taking a leadership MBA online may not be such a bad idea if you want to have a successful future in finance. In fact, many people in the industry would say that being a good leader is the most important factor in being a successful financier.
Why? Because, in the world of finance, difficult decisions often need to be taken, and not only do you have to have the confidence to make them, but you also need to be able to encourage and empower those working under you to do the same, and to do so effectively, if you make it to the top.
The ability to manage relationships
For similar, but also different reasons, you also need to be able to manage relationships. What does this mean? Basically, you need to know how to understand different types of personalities, as well as knowing how to get the most out of people, and how to resolve any conflicts between individuals.
Taking courses in psychology, people skills, body language or conflict resolution will all help you to work your way up the ranks, build teams more effectively, and if you deal with clients, help to give them the right kind of advice in a way that they will listen to and take the information onboard.
Sales and marketing skills
There’s no point being a whizz with numbers if you can’t convince anyone to put their trust in your or your firm and actually use the products and services you offer, which is why you absolutely need a firm grounding in sales and marketing.
Learning how to best persuade people that you know what you are doing isn’t always easy, but it is one of the personal strengths you definitely do need to work on in this industry.
Project management skills
Any task that takes you more than 5 or 10 minutes to complete is basically a project, and that means that, if you want to get things done efficiently and make money, you need to know how to manage it efficiently.
So, doing an MBA in project management is certainly something that employers would look upon favourably should you be looking for a job in finance. However, simply being able to show that you can manage your time, schedule, and budgets effectively, and meet any deadlines given to you, is sure to take you far in the world of finance.
The ability to solve problems
In the financial industry, there are always problems to be solved, and you need to be able to solve them effectively without cracking under the pressure that is sure to be put on you from time time. If you can solve problems effectively, you’ll be everyone’s go-to guy or girl, and that will do great things for your career.
No matter who you work for or what your role is, you are at least going to need to be familiar with the most basic computer technology, and quite possibly a lot more than that in the form of sophisticated software and blockchain technology. If you don’t know your keyboard from your computer screen, you will really struggle to get very far in the field.
In the financial world, there have been countless scandals and scams that have come to light, and although the people perpetrating them may have done well and lived the high-life undetected or a while eventually things have come crashing down on them. When you deal with other people’s money, it is important that you have a strong sense of right and wrong and the ethics that mean you always endeavour to do the right thing for the people whose money you have been entrusted with.
The ability to look forward
There is a lot to be said for living in the now in everyday life, but when you’re working in finance, you need to always have one eye in the future. You need to be able to look at what is going on now and predict what is likely to happen in the future. If you can’t do this, then you aren’t exactly likely to make millions on the stock market or come up with the next big digital currency.
Working in finance can be very rewarding, but it’s fair to say that you will experience a few losses along with your many gains, and sometimes your failures will be big. If you’re the kind of person who can’t deal with setbacks very well, then chances are you won’t last long in finance. So, work on building your resilience as soon as you can.
The bottom line: To make it in the financial industry, you need sound financial knowledge and decent mathematical skills, but you truly cannot rely on them alone. If you want to succeed, you need to take a holistic approach to your education and development, which might sound like a lot of effort, but it is an effort that will almost certainly pay off when you reach the top of your game and make a huge success of your life.