As the economy expands and employment opportunities increase, the need for workers with financial expertise will go up. I will enter the workforce at an excellent time to pursue a career as a financial manager. The information I have acquired concerning this field including opportunities, salary, and working conditions will justify my decision to obtain a position as a financial manager for a major corporation. The opportunities available to someone with a degree in finance are limited to only a few facets of the business world, but according to Job Outlook 2004, a finance degree is one of the top ten degrees in highest demand. Employers are starting to seek graduates with a master's degree as well as a bachelor's degree, which makes competition tough among applicants. Technology plays a major role in the financial world and applicants that possess strong computer skills will have a better chance of being hired in their desired field.

In the Occupational Outlook Handbook, it says that financial managers must possess critical thinking skills and work well in a team environment. We are part of a global economy, which means that it is essential for applicants to have knowledge of international finance, and be willing to travel to other business markets around the world. In addition to business travel, financial managers are expected to work between 50-60 hours a week as an entry-level associate, and are required to attend office meetings. Up to date information is critical, therefore; without the proper technology it would be almost impossible to perform complicated data analysis or monitor current investment activities. Despite long hours and impressive workloads, employees enjoy a comfortable work atmosphere with accommodating offices that have access to state-of-the-art computer systems and other technology. Working long hours is required of most jobs but the compensation offered to a financial manager is worth the extended time at work to most employees.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the median annual earning of financial managers was $73,340 in 2002. An entry-level associate can expect to earn at least $39,120, which is in the lowest 10 percent of this field. Below is a table that shows the salaries of different level associates in different career capacities as financial managers: Total Compensation of Selected Financial Manager Positions Vice President of Finance $183,500 Treasurer $150,600 Director $113,600 Manager $84,500 Cash Manager $64,700 Employment opportunities are abundant nationwide at corporations located in major cities, and with bank branches in smaller cities. The Occupational Outlook Handbook says that 1 in 10 financial managers work as bank managers inside the banking industry.

Another interesting statistic listed is that insurance and financial establishments employ 1 in 4 financial managers. This includes savings institutions, finance companies, credit unions, and securities dealers. In 2002, financial managers in the United States held about 599,000 jobs. In my research, I was excited to see the job prospects for a candidate such as myself in the finance field, and the monetary compensation that a good position can offer. The only thing missing from the resource guides was information regarding the exact difference in salaries and hiring rates for those that have earned their master's degree. I feel this data is very important considering that the decision to attend graduate school is one of the biggest investments one will ever have to make.

However, the information I found has only inspired me to work harder to obtain my undergraduate degree, and to possibly pursue a career as a financial manager in the future.