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Choosing Your Investment Program

Investment is a highly specialized area of Finance. It deals in purchase and sale of varied financial instruments and asset allocation. Investment manager is faced with decisions of allocating and directing funds to property, equities, or debt securities on behalf of his clients. Investment strategies need to be devised with utmost care for profit maximization. Investment industry, on one hand is intensely competitive, and on the other immensely profitable too. Sound judgement about the dynamic market, in addition to the business knowledge is critically essential. Along with good quantitative skills, one must have the zeal to be upbeat with latest market trends.
The investment management industry has grown exponentially. Consequentially, the role of Portfolio Managers with expertise in investment and portfolio strategy has become significant and is in much demand.
Major Subject/Areas
Investment courses are designed for career paths to work at a high level of expertise in both private and public sectors in Asset Management, Private Wealth Management, Mergers & Acquisitions, Management Consulting, Trading, Sales and Research.
Colleges are offering investment courses at Undergraduate, Graduate, and Certificate Level Programs, including Doctoral Programs in Finance. A bachelor’s degree offers students with entry-level jobs, to become a Securities, Commodities, or Financial Services Sales Agent. Majority of agents ultimately go for Masters, which is often a requirement for high-level jobs in the securities industry as it exposes students to real-world business practices.
Universities have either placed Investment as Concentration/ Emphasis ; specialization in their Masters and Undergraduate courses or included Investment into general Finance curriculum. Investment Management forms a significant segment of Finance related courses like Masters of Finance and MBA with Finance Major. Top colleges are offering students an option to obtain Certificate in Finance along with its MBA program. Such certificate courses are enablers to both experienced finance professionals and career changers. Several Executive Programs are also made to lay great focus on Investment Management ; Strategies. Now universities are also starting to integrate the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation with their MBA Program.

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The coursework of Investment program lays focus on teaching theoretical ; analytical tools to equip students with decision making and problem solving. An investment program teaches individuals about financial and economic topics such as –
Investment Planning
Risk and performance management
Market microstructure
Diversification
International Trade
Fund management and investment
Financial markets and instruments
Many universities use applied learning methods that backs the theory and skills taught in the lectures with practical and useful experiences. It is executed in various ways such as classroom speakers, mentors, peer advising programs, student organizations/groups, site-visits, academic competitions, a professionally-equipped research room, student-managed equity and fixed-income portfolios, and internships.

Career Options
Some of the job profiles pertaining to this field are –
Investment Manager
Investment Consultant
Investment Representative
Financial Investment Advisor
Portfolio Strategy Investment Manager
Companies that Hire ; Average Salary Range
Merrill Lynch
Barclays
Nomura
UBS
BNP Paribas
HSBC
Royal Bank of Scotland

US Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) states, median annual salary for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, financial analysts, investment advisors, investment managers ranged from $63,780 – $125,000 in May 2017. BLS reports that employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
Top Universities
Harvard University
MIT
Stanford University
University of Pennsylvania
New York University
University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
Duke Fuqua School of Business
Potential Career Opportunities
Today the complex investment instruments within portfolios have augmented the need for professional expertise across the industry. In addition to it, risk and compliance also demands vigilant professionals. Moreover, there is a shift in buyer behaviour since the millennial generation is actively participating in the investment marketplace. Due to these dynamics and trends we are witnessing a positive rise in job market within the investment management industry. To fulfill these demands in this rising competitive industry, recruitment of talented professionals is inevitable.
Resources for Further Reference- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) website, The Association for Financial Professionals (www.AFPonline.org)

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