If you’re eyeing a lucrative career on Wall Street, you’ll need the right education to get there. After all, the competition for even the lowest-paying of these profitable careers is fierce. There are a number of different roles business professionals can occupy on Wall Street, and a variety of degree options that can help you attain these positions. Some, like master’s in business administration (MBA) and finance degrees, may seem natural, while others, like accounting and law degrees, may surprise you.
Earning your MBA has long been considered “the holy grail of the business world,” CNBC News reported. The degree can help launch the careers of prestigious heads of investment banking and mergers and acquisitions, according to Business Insider. That’s no small victory. M&A heads working on Wall Street commonly earn between $2 million and $6 million per year, while heads of investment banking earn $3 million at small firms and as much as $8 million at large banks, Business Insider reported.
Of course, aspiring Wall Street workers need to make some education and professional decisions even before they reach their graduate studies. They need to choose an undergraduate major – often business or a related field – and, more importantly, make sure they earn their bachelor’s degree from a high-status school. They often start out their Wall Street careers in low-level analyst jobs before earning their MBA. Students who are shooting for senior roles on Wall Street need to choose their graduate school carefully. Prestige matters, and earning your MBA from an Ivy League university is one of the best ways to reach your ambitious career goals, CNBC News reported.
A Finance Degree
An MBA degree is far from the only path into work on Wall Street. A top master’s degree in finance may, in fact, be a more direct route than studying business administration more generally. Candidates who choose to study finance should consider earning their Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential through the CFA Institute. This credential can help candidates compete with MBA holders, especially those who didn’t make it into top-tier schools, according to CNBC News. Studying finance is an excellent way to secure your first Wall Street analyst job, and making the right professional moves after can help you work your way up the corporate ladder.
An Accounting Degree
Some top executives on Wall Street need an education beyond the traditional MBA or finance degree. An accounting degree – and years of experience working in an accounting firm – can be an excellent starting place for pursuing a career as a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Business Insider reported. This is the professional who ensures that the company follows all laws and financial regulations. CCOs earn as much as $1 million to $2 million per year, according to Business Insider.
A Law Degree
If you’re interested in a CCO career but don’t want to study accounting, a law degree is another option. After all, the point of a Chief Compliance Officer is largely to keep the company out of legal trouble. A number of CCOs come to the career after earning their Juris Doctor degree and working in a law firm that practices a relevant area of law, Business Insider reported.
Whichever degree path you choose, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd if you’re serious about working on Wall Street. Choosing and excelling in a top-tier program and building your value through internships, work experience and professional credentials can help you set yourself apart from the competition and begin a well-paid Wall Street career.