Finance is a very interesting career for Pomona Students. Finance leverages a lot of skills that Pomona Students possess, including quantitative skills, ability to dig deep into a complex topic area, writing, communication, and multi-dimensional thinking.
There are a variety of areas of finance including Public Investing, Private Investing, Sales & Trading and Hedge Funds.
A good entry point into Finance is by working at an Investment Bank. Investment banks hire undergraduate Analysts. These programs are a great way to quickly learn a lot about business and finance. These 2-year programs can be quite intense, but this allows students to learn and experience a lot. They can work on major multi-billion dollar transactions and have the ability to meet and learn from entrepreneurs and CEOs/CFOs.
The day-to-day of investment banking involves a lot of time researching companies, building excel spreadsheet models, and valuing businesses. There is also a lot of drafting and reviewing due diligence materials in word and excel. There is also a lot of relatively mundane work of scheduling meetings and calls and requesting diligence information. But this helps develop a toolkit that can be used in all companies.
By working in an investment banking program, one can either rise through the ranks to Managing Director or migrate to another area of finance like Venture Capital, Hedge Funds, or Private Equity.
Having a top investment bank on a resume is very well regarded by other finance professionals.
Investment banking is also a great path to enter a top MBA program.
To enter this career while in school, I recommend trying to get internships as early as possible in business and finance. Most investment banks have summer analyst programs, but they are very competitive. Try to network with alumni and classmates and the Career Development Office to learn of opportunities. It is also crucial to have a polished resume and to develop an interest and knowledge of finance. This can be obtained by reading books and/or taking classes in finance or accounting. Participating in Sagehen Capital Management also provides great, relevant training to enter finance.
Once you receive an interview, you should practice technical interviews. This relates to technical, quantitative, and finance questions. Some banks may not have as technical requirements for liberal arts majors, but it is best if you prepare as much as possible. There are technical questions posted at SagePost47 in the resources section. Developing abilities to discuss financial topics and corporate finance news and issues is crucial to getting past the interviews. You should also practice building financial spreadsheets, so that you can discuss your capabilities and interest here. If you get an interview, try to get as much information about the investment bank as possible (how large are they, what is their market cap, is the bank publicly listed, who is the CEO, what industries do they focus on, what types of transactions do the focus on). There are a number of online resources to learn more about investment banking and other finance careers.
I encourage you to do research on Finance online and with some of the resources at SagePost47 and the CDO, then perhaps reach out to SagePost47 alumni mentors and to older classmates who have gone through the application process. The more you speak with other people, the more you will learn of opportunities and understand the steps necessary to enter this field.