During your undergraduate degree, you should study hard subjects like:
- Mathematics: (Calculus I-III, Numerical Methods, Linear Algebra, Partial Differental Equations)
- Statistics: (Probability Theory, Stochastic Calculus/Process, Baysian Statistics, Mathematical Statistics & Analysis)
- Economics: (Intermediate Macroeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Corporate Finance, International Finance, Securities & Investment Analysis, Economic Statistics, Econometrics, Derivative Securities, Money & Banking)
- Computer Science: (Linear Programming, Software Analysis & Design, Discreate Structures)
- Accounting: (Basic Accounting I & II, Intermediate Accounting I & II)
These courses will be directly applicable to your field later on, or during an internship! Plus, during your MBA, you will be ahead of most of your class! This will allow you to specialize and have something more to offer, than others who will just be learning all this for the first time!
Do not fall into the trap of taking soft subjects like finance, business, or management during your undergraduate degree. (1), they are useless in the undergraduate level if you plan to enter the workforce with such qualifications; (2), they will not help you in investment banking, even finance!
Most finance B.S. or B.A. degrees require you to have a working knowledge of ONLY Calculus I. This is very limiting. You will not be able to construct models representing multiple variables (Calculus III), you will not be able to use Matrix Algebra to simplify regressions or run stimulations through statistical software (Linear Algebra & Numerical Methods), and you will not be able to express relationships between several variables fully, thus not being able to come up with accurate and exact prices or expected values of securities or futures & options (Partial Differential Equations).
In addition to just mathematics, statistics is used plenty! You will need to calculate the risk of all investments, calculate the covariance of a group of investments so as to minimize the volatility and overall variance of this group of investments (The Science behind making a successful Portfolio). To do this, you need all the statistics courses I listed above!
Also, you must know your economics. Finance is afterall, the union of Math, Statistics, and Economics. You must understand the market forces which drive prices, cause lag, drag, and brownian motion (Behavioral Finance). For this, you will need to understand beyond basic Micro & Macro-Economics. Economic Statistics & Econometrics are also very important!!! Many schools also offer Financial Economics & Financial Econometrics (which are advanced courses taken only after Econometrics is successfully completed!).
Lastly, you don't need to know Accounting, but you NEED to know Accounting! Sure, everything there is to know is reflected in the market price of the security; in theory! But wrong information can be spotted very early on by a well-educated investment banker. If a stock is doing too-well but the accounting records suggest that something isn't right with those numbers it's feeding to investors and the public, it might just be a good time to play it safe and avoid a more than likely corporate scandal which could cost your clients big money when the stock price hits rock bottom! Aside from that, the Financial Analysis is not truly done until the Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, AND Accounting (Financial Statement Analysis "Ratio Analysis" & "Trend Analysis") are complete!
With all these critical tools at your disposal, you can enter an MBA program at ease! While everyone else is learning the basics, or some of the basics which you have already covered during your undergrad degree; you will be able to take advanced specialized courses during your 60 credits. You can litterally save 30 credits of basic courses, and be 30 credits more valuable by taking advanced courses during that time. You can not only have an MBA specialization in Finance, but have the time to specialize in Statistics, Strategy, or Accounting.
When you enter the workforce, not only will you get the job before other candidates do, due to your qualifications; but you will be able to advance much faster with your career because you will be so valuable to the company! You will have all the tools you need to outpreform most of the people in your company, and attract more clients!
Anyway, I've went on for too long. I hope this was all helpful to you. Rest easy knowing, it all sounds harder than it really is. Just keep up the hard work, and it will pay off very soon! Best of Luck!
Answered By: Felix - 5/10/2007