Finance is broadly defined as the art and science of making decisions involving money in a variety of contexts. Finance is studied so that people can allocate their scarce resources over time under conditions of uncertainty. By doing so, individuals utilize the financial system (i.e., financial markets & institutions) as well as economic organizations (i.e., corporations & governments) as facilitators to satisfy the ultimate function, individual’s consumption preferences, including all the basic necessities of life.
Not only is finance exciting and challenging, it continues to evolve at a dizzying pace.
The field of Finance has evolved in four interrelated areas:
(1) Financial Management (Corporate Finance), which involves decision making about the financial management of a firm on topics such as decisions regarding plant expansions, choice of securities to use to finance future acquisitions, evaluating merger/acquisition opportunities etc. Essentially, Financial Management deals with the acquisition and use of funds to maximize the value of the firm.
(2) Financial Markets and Institutions, which focuses on an understanding of the markets in which finance professionals and investors operate. This involves the study of the level and structure of interest rates and various types of financial instruments, different financial institutions and their regulatory environment, the structure and regulation of financial markets etc.
(3) Investments, which involves an understanding of various investment options and asset allocation decisions, evaluation of various securities, assessment of appropriate risk-return tradeoffs, and construction and management of efficient portfolios etc.
(4) Financial Planning, which involves evaluating financial goals and developing comprehensive financial plans for individuals in a highly complex and regulated environment. With changes in the demographic characteristics of the US population, and shifts in employment and retirement preparation trends, more and more people find themselves in a position of need to apply sophisticated financial planning techniques to their personal economic affairs, such as college savings plans, retirement plans, estate planning, insurance needs assessment etc.
With a good educational training in Finance, you can seek career opportunities, either domestically or internationally, in the following areas: