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Finance & Consulting Resources

Interested in a career in finance and/or consulting? These industries have some specific points to keep in mind in order to be successful in finding and securing opportunities. Use this as a general guide to get you started to begin planning and understanding all of the resources. 

For a more in-depth overview, please refer to the Consulting/Case Interviewing Handout & Finance Handout.
 

Finance

Exploring a Career in Finance
  • Finance is the science of money management. There are a variety of fields and firms that operate within this industry. At their core, these firms deal with managing risk and securing returns for clients.
  • Critical thinking skills, strong work ethic, ability to analyze trends overtime and draw logical, important conclusions, learn new material quickly and effectively, etc.
  • What do finance firms look for?
    • Soft Skills Hard Skills
      Communication Quantitative Skills
      Creativity Analytical Skills
      Flexibility Problem Solving
      Listening Skills Data Interpretation
      Working Under Pressure Logical & Structured Thinking
  • Exploratory Programs for Undergraduates
    • Great way to get firsthand exposure to a firm and the industry
    • Diversity and inclusion programs for underclassmen and students of underrepresented backgrounds
    • Programs are posted in Handshake and organization websites
Types of Organizations

Use the Vault Guide to learn more about sectors within finance as well as organizations.

  • Investment Banking:  Help companies identify strategic acquisition targets and advise them on how much a target could be worth. Project based work related to each deal.
  • Sales & Trading: Traders help to facilitate the buying and selling of financial instruments. This could range from helping a client buy shares of a company such as Apple to developing a more sophisticated strategy using derivatives. Sales will market the bank’s trading/research services to clients. Traders must quickly react to moves in the market.
  • Equity Research: Analyze the fundamentals of a stock (what is driving sales and profits). Analysis informs a “buy” or “sell” recommendation. Mix of reacting to news affecting companies and longer-term in-depth reports.
  • Asset Management: Conduct research to identify and invest in stocks (or bonds or other financial instruments) that one thinks will outperform market performance. Combine investments into a portfolio with the typical goal of maximizing performance while minimizing risk.
Timeline
  • First-Year
    • Meet with a career counselor to begin exploring options. Make an appointment via Handshake.
    • Create a resume. Use the Career Services’ Resume/Cover Letter Guide. Begin filling out your LinkedIn profile with contents from your resume.
    • Fill out your Handshake profile to ensure you’re receiving emails about relevant employer events and opportunities.
    • Take a mix of qualitative and quantitative classes.
    • Reach out to recent grads.
    • Get a finance externship.
    • Apply for exploratory programs.
    • Conduct research or engage in coursework or extra-curricular activites with a quantitative focus.
  • Sophomores
    • Apply for exploratory programs.
    • Obtain a summer internship.
    • Secure leadership roles in extracurriculars.
    • Prep for interviews fall/early spring; interview for your junior summer internship with bulge bracket banks late spring.
  • Juniors
    • If you haven't secured your summer internship, actively network for available opportunities early fall.
    • Apply early; remaining deadlines are early fall semester and there are a number of financial services firms and smaller banks that will offer opportunities
Networking
  • See the Career Services networking site for advice and resources.
  • Schedule phone calls with alumni. Use LinkedIn and the Swarthmore Alumni Directory to identify Swatties. 
  • Keep emails to alumni short and to the point – courteous, respectful of their time and NO TYPOS!
  • Understand how competitive the field is AND how to prepare.
  • Do your research on the field, organization and alumnus/a before networking.
  • See the Career Services networking site for advice and resources.
  • Be respectful of the time of our alumni! Several alumni have shared that some students who arranged in-person and phone appointments with them either didn’t show for these appointments or were late. Alumni are incredibly busy and are making time for you as a sign of support for Swarthmore. When you fail to follow through on your commitment, this reflects negatively not only on you but also on the College and can cause alumni to decline to support other students.
  • If possible, meet contacts in person for coffee; if not, schedule phone calls with alumni. Use LinkedIn and the Swarthmore Alumni Directory to identify Swatties in finance.
  • Ask alumni about their experience and be comfortable requesting advice on entering the industry.
Interviewing
  • Finance Interview Preparation (See "Finance Interview Resources" section.)
  • Behavioral Interview: Resume-based, first round interview via phone or video. 
  • Technical Interview: Industry/technical knowledge-based, final round, typically in-person.
  • Stay on top of current events. Read the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and Financial Times DAILY

 

ConSULTING

Exploring a Career in Consulting
  • Consultants tackle a variety of problems that organizations struggle with. Common projects revolve around:
    • How can a business enter a new industry?
    • How should a business go about introducing a new product?
    • How can a business respond to a competitive threat?
    • Why is a certain business losing profits? How can we turn it around?
  • What do consulting firms look for?
    • Soft Skills Hard Skills
      Communication Quantitative Skills
      Creativity Analytical Skills
      Flexbility Problem Solving
      Listening Skills Data Interpretation
      Working Under Pressure Logical & Structured Thinking
  • Exploratory Programs for Undergraduates
    • Great way to get firsthand exposure to a firm and the industry
    • Diversity and inclusion programs for underclassmen and students of underrepresented backgrounds
    • Programs are posted in Handshake and organization websites
Types of Organizations
  • Management
  • Federal
  • Human Capital
  • Strategy
  • Specialized (e.g. IT consulting)
  • Economic
Timeline
  • First-Year
    • Meet with a career counselor to begin exploring options. Make an appointment via Handshake.
    • Create a resume. Use the Career Services’ Resume/Cover Letter Guide. Begin filling out your LinkedIn profile with contents from your resume.
    • Fill out your Handshake profile to ensure you’re receiving emails about relevant employer events and opportunities.
    • Take a mix of qualitative and quantitative classes.
    • Summer internship strongly recommended.
  • Sophomores
    • Get an internship for the summer.
    • Get involved in extracurricular activities & research opportunities.
  • Juniors
    • Establish contacts at firms you are interested in.
    • Practice MANY case interviews (See “Interviewing” section for more info). 
    • Start preparing the spring of junior year
    • Apply early
  • Seniors
    • Prepare for interviews (behavioral and case)
    • If you completed a junior year consulting internship…
      • Build upon networking and interview preparation from junior year
    • If you did NOT do a junior year consulting internship…
      • Prepare for interviews as much as possible, as soon as possible
      • Establish connections at firms
Networking
  • See the Career Services networking site for advice and resources.
  • Schedule phone calls with alumni. Use LinkedIn and the Swarthmore Alumni Directory to identify Swatties. 
  • Keep emails to alumni short and to the point – courteous, respectful of their time and NO TYPOS!
  • Understand how competitive the field is AND how to prepare.
  • Do your research on the field, organization and alumnus/a before networking;
  • See the Career Services networking site for advice and resources;
  • Be respectful of the time of our alumni! Several alumni have shared that some students who arranged in-person and phone appointments with them either didn’t show for these appointments or were late. Alumni are incredibly busy and are making time for you as a sign of support for Swarthmore. When you fail to follow through on your commitment, this reflects negatively not only on you but also on the College and can cause alumni to decline to support other students.
  • If possible, meet contacts in person for coffee; if not, schedule phone calls with alumni. Use LinkedIn and the Swarthmore Alumni Directory to identify Swatties in consulting.
  • Ask alumni about their experience and be comfortable requesting advice on entering the industry.
Interviewing
  • Consulting Interview Preparation (See "Consulting Interview Resources).
  • Behavioral Interview: Resume-based, first round interview via phone or video.
  • Case Interview: Verbal simulation/case to test applicant’s problem solving abilities based on real-world scenarios. 
  • Stay on top of current events. Read the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and Financial Times DAILY

 

EXTERNAL resources

  • Business for Social Responsibility A leading global resource for the business community, BSR equips its member companies with the expertise to design and implement successful, socially responsible business policies, practices and processes.
  • CERES A national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies and investors to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change.
  • Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility This organization is dedicated to faith-based investment in environmental and social issues.
  • JustMeans Jobs from a variety of sectors, including top social enterprises, entrepreneurial non-profit organizations, companies that are pursuing sustainability and corporate social responsibility, innovative government institutions and agencies, and think tanks. 
  • Net Impact An international nonprofit organization whose mission is to make a positive impact on society by growing and strengthening a community of new leaders who use business to improve the world.
  • The Rocky Mountain Institute This organization works with businesses for market-based solutions for to all of today's social and environmental problems.
  • Sustainable Business  This site provides links and job listings for hundreds of organizations that work to promote green design, sustainable development, and socially responsible investing. 
  • Wall Street Journal Job Board: WSJ's career and job resource page. 

  • eFinancial Careers Financial job marketplace which can be searched by location, keyword, or sector.

  • Mergers & Inquisitions This thorough website provides advice for those interested in investment banking careers: applying for jobs, writing resumes, networking, recruiting, and more.

  • OneWire Provides a Career Management Tool that confidentially connects top financial firms directly with the most qualified professionals for any open finance position.