Growing your career in finance: the top five skills you really need

View of London’s city skyline as seen from large windows with finance professionals walking past or looking out in the foreground of the image.

In the fast-moving and lucrative finance industry, there are certain skills that will always put you ahead of the competition.

In this blog, we spotlight the five fundamental skills needed to work in finance and thrive in your career, and explore how courses like our online MSc Finance and Strategy course can help you to succeed.

What skills are needed for finance?

1. Interpersonal skills

Good interpersonal skills – the ability to communicate and interact effectively with people –will make you someone others want to work with or for. Of course, these skills are especially critical in financial management and leadership roles where you’ll deal with multiple stakeholders at all levels and in varying capacities.

Inspiring others while earning their trust and respect can aid the success of a company and avoid internal and external conflicts that impact business performance. For this reason, it’s undoubtedly one of the key skills for finance professionals to master if they want to advance into more senior roles.

2. Problem solving

In the modern financial landscape, having expertise in systems and processes often isn’t enough. The ability to problem-solve in real-world scenarios is one of the core skills needed by finance employees who must navigate complex challenges efficiently and expertly to maintain customers’ and/or colleagues’ trust and loyalty.

This ‘real-world perspective’ is explored in the Strategy and Leadership unit of our online finance masters. It allows you to critically consider different organisations’ strategic choices and the influence that a change of management can have within a variety of organisational contexts.

3. Commercial acumen

Commercial acumen involves understanding how the markets work, having insights into trends or technologies that are reshaping the financial landscape and harnessing this knowledge to increase business success.

For example, FinTech continues to disrupt the sector, transforming the ways financial services operate and interact with customers. As part of the Financial Technologies unit on our online MSc Finance and Strategy, you’ll gain a strong understanding of specific financial technologies emerging within the sector and the chance to explore the impact and potential risks posed by these.

4. Capacity to innovate

Innovation is one of the most important skills needed to work in finance at a high level. While the sector is traditionally associated with processes and systems, the ability to challenge the status quo and find new and better ways of doing things is guaranteed to give you a competitive edge and open doors to senior strategic roles.

Whether it’s generating new ideas for consumer products or making processes more efficient, professionals who blend the aforementioned commercial acumen with creative thinking are highly prized by businesses that must also innovate to stay ahead in the constantly evolving financial industry.

On our online MSc Finance and Strategy course, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other finance professionals from around the world, learn from their experiences and exchange ideas. Of course, all this offers a wealth of insights and new perspectives that can spark inspiration for improvements you can make in your own organisation.

5. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is particularly important for senior positions in finance. This will allow you to link your role to the wider business vision, as well as your own projects to those of others.

As part of the Critical Reading, Writing and Literature Research module on our online MSc Finance and Strategy, you will develop hugely valuable masters-level critical thinking, analysis and reflective writing skills. You will also be introduced to the research skills that are needed to produce a successful literature review, putting you in good stead to understand topical trends and be a critical thinker in the workplace.

Why study MSc Finance and Strategy (online) at Manchester Met?

Throughout the course, you’ll develop the skills needed in the finance industry and the experiences to help your CV stand out.

With specialist units in financial technology and innovation, corporate governance and risk, performance management and more, you’ll gain the in-depth knowledge you need to keep pace with modern technologies, regulations, and requirements.

Plus, if you already have a professional finance qualification from a recognised institution, such as ACCA, ICEAW, ICAS and CIMA, you could be exempt from up to four of the course’s eleven modules. What’s more, on successful completion of the course, all students can accelerate their CIMA Professional Qualification by entering CIMA’s Masters Gateway route.

“Many finance companies now expect their employees to have a postgraduate education before they are considered for more senior roles. Students who have achieved the qualification online invariably go on to apply for higher paying and more challenging positions in their companies, often shortly after graduation.” – Dr Michael Flanagan, Lecturer in Accounting and Financial Management

The course is for people who value the flexibility and convenience of being able to study and earn a qualification from a renowned UK university, from home, at a time that’s convenient for them. Although it still requires determination and commitment, our distance learning masters offers students a way to achieve their career goals without giving up work or other important commitments.

So, if you want to be at the forefront of the finance industry, visit our Finance and Strategy course page today and register your interest for further details