What Can You Do With a PhD in Finance?

Students in a PhD in Finance program learn about real world issues in economics and topics like behavioral finance. Thanks to their deep understanding of economics and finance, graduates could excel as financial managers and chief financial officers.

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In their pursuit of acquiring a PhD in Finance, students will have gained better mathematics skills and a deeper understanding of all facets of economics and finance. They will engage in coursework in microeconomics, statistics, corporate finance, finance theory, econometric methods, and microeconomic analysis. While a PhD isn't required for the majority of jobs, it will give recent graduates a better chance of securing a job after graduation. Within the table below are five careers that are permeated by those with a PhD in Finance.

PhD in Finance: Salary/Jobs

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Financial Manager $125,080 19%
Compensation and Benefits Manager $119,120 5%
Budget Analyst $75,240 7%
Securities, Commodities and Financial Service Sales Agent $63,780 6%
Chief Financial Officer $128,509**(2018) -4% (for all chief executives)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com (2018)

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PhD in Finance Careers

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee all actions done by employees who are tasked with budgeting and financial reporting. They generate financial statements, forecasts, and business reports. Additionally, they analyze current market trends to find ways to not only increase a company's profits, but also expand its consumer base. Those with a PhD may have a better chance of gaining pay raises and getting promoted. Additionally, since most employers prefer those with at least a master's degree, those with a PhD will have an advantage over those who do not, making it easier for them to secure a potential job.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

Compensation and benefits managers help companies figure out what the competitive wage rates are and modify existing compensation agreements accordingly. They create a pay and benefits structure for organizations and oversee the distribution of information related to pay and benefits of employees. Furthermore, they seek out and select insurance brokers, investment managers, and benefits vendors. Individuals with a PhD will be able to effectively manage employees and will have the tools necessary to create new organizational structures.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts meet with project and program managers to assist in the creation of a budget. They use their expertise to help top executives and managers analyze plans and make changes to ensure they meet expectations. Those with a PhD in Finance will have taken courses in data analytics and economics, giving them the skills needed to excel in this role.

Securities, Commodities and Financial Service Sales Agent

Securities, commodities and financial service sales agents spend most of their time monitoring the performance of financial markets and buying and selling when necessary to increase profit or lessen the impact of a loss. They use their data analysis skills to examine a company's finances and determine it's worth. Additionally, they determine the initial investment cost of a business agreement and predict what financial gain there may be. Through having an extensive knowledge of all areas of finance, those with a PhD will be well-versed in any type of investment.

Chief Financial Officer

Chief financial officers (CFOs) keep track of all financial dealings of a business or organization, and they give guidance and leadership to accounting and finance departments to make certain that they follow state and federal laws and run efficiently. They compile all financial transactions within the company's database and analyze and present their findings to upper level executives in a way that is easy to understand. Additionally, they regularly monitor all record keeping to ensure that the company and its departments stay in alignment with IRS guidelines. Since CFOs need to have a good understanding of state and federal laws, as well as, aspects of finance, economics, and business structure, those with a PhD will have the educational background and skills necessary to secure such a position.

While most jobs in finance don't require such a degree, having a PhD in Finance can give prospective job seekers a wider range of skills and allow them to have a deeper understanding of economics and data analysis. Furthermore, they will have a better understanding of organizational structure and, as a result, have an easier time securing a multitude of jobs within the world of finance.

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