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Mary McCourt on the Times Square billboard for Morgan Stanley

Do you read The Economist, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times for pleasure? Are you often told that you are a gifted problem solver with strong analytical skills? Do you like numbers and research? Are you a natural leader who enjoys collaborating with others to produce results? If this sounds like you, you might be a good fit for a career in finance, consulting, or business. 

The Big Picture

What You Can Expect

There are many job options available for those interested in careers paths in business, finance, and consulting.  Opportunities exist in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors and in a variety of industries.  Obvious industries include financial services, management consulting, insurance, and consumer goods, etc.  In addition, business-related roles are available with most employer organizations, including start-ups, social enterprises, educational institutions, health care organizations, media outlets, tech firms, fashion houses, etc.  While a variety of job titles can be found, common entry-level positions are analyst, business associate, account manager, trainee, and operations specialist. My colleagues and I can help you determine which sector and role matches your interests, skills, abilities, and personality preferences. 

Areas of Focus

Here are some areas to explore within this broad career path:

Business Operations

  • Business Development/Sales & Marketing includes tasks and processes aimed at creating value and growth opportunities for an enterprise. Read this article for information on the difference between business development and sales and marketing.   

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) involves a company’s “initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing.” 

  • Human Resources/Human Capital Management oversees talent acquisition, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws. 

  • Management includes the activities associated with overseeing an enterprise, typically planning, organizing, and staffing an organization to accomplish goals. To learn more about entry-level opportunities, check out this list of leadership development and rotational programs shared by Columbia University’s Center for Career Education. 


  • Strategy or management consulting firms help clients understand and solve business problems in a range of industries. “Boutique” firms typically specialize in a specific industry, examples include healthcare, government, financial services, human resources, technology, marketing, and communications.  

  • Some large companies employ in-house consultants within a corporate strategy department.  

Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business or startup company.   

Financial Services roles involve managing assets (money) for individuals (personal finance), governments (public finance), and businesses (corporate finance). Roles frequently involve raising capital through debt and equity and managing money through investments.  There are a variety of operational functions available in research, compliance, risk, compliance, etc. 

  • Commercial Banking provides banking services individuals and organizations. 

  • Corporate Finance is the “in-house” function that manages and organizations assets. 

  • Financial planners and wealth managers help individuals plan their financial futures. 

  • Insurance companies help manage risk to protect against catastrophic losses and to anticipate potential risk problems. 

  • Investment bankers provide financial services to companies, institutions, and governments through equity, debt, structured finance, and mergers and acquisitions transactions, and advise on strategy and execution across a broad spectrum of industries and geographies. 

  • Hedge Funds manage a pool of money for large investors and utilize a particular investment strategy. 

  • Money Management (AKA Investment/Asset Management) represents buy side firms that research, invest, and hold stocks and bonds for institutional clients. These firms use strategy and market trend and company analysis to implement trades. 

  • Private Equity and Venture Capital firms purchase all or part of a company’s equity directly in return for an ownership stake. 

  • Real Estate firms help individuals and institutions buy, sell, manage, and develop property. 

Top Resources

Find below some of the best online information available to help you learn about finance, consulting, and business-related career paths. Is there a missing resource you really like? Let us know and we’ll consider adding it.

Stories from the Field

To learn more about potential career roles, see the following resources in which alums share their career experiences.


futureforward features several alumni and parents who are leaders in a variety of career fields, discussing their industry’s current environment, their perspective on the future outlook for that career field, and action steps students can take now to position themselves for entry into those career fields.


MIDDVantage is a virtual career exploration program that offers Middlebury students and alumni—through the perspective of Middlebury alumni and guests—exposure to fields of interest.

Live from DC

Live From D.C. is a live webinar designed to engage guest speakers in a number of career fields in discussions about topics of interest driven by current events, frequently having policy implications and an array of career opportunity dynamics.