Friday, January 28, 2011
Crappy Curriculum of Undergraduate Finance Majors
Let us start with the lack of accounting courses. It is quite disturbing how many finance students are virtually illiterate when it comes to accounting. Now I am not talking about the cream of the crop finance majors who become ibankers or advisory associates. I'm talking about the average finance student who could not put together a simple income statement to save their own lives. Many finance majors are only required to take the basic financial and managerial accounting courses. Finance majors must be required to take intermediate accounting courses in order for them to be fully versed in the accounting process.
Now the lack of software training is arguably an even greater issue. All business majors are required to take a course that trains students in the basic functions of MS Excel, Access, etc.... Beyond that, most finance and accounting courses as well for that matter do not offer adequate software training to their students. When you look at the finance and accounting jobs today, they all require applicants to be well versed with MS Excel. Applicants should have experience with functions such as pivot tables, lookup functions, macros, etc.... However, finance majors rarely touch MS excel in their courses. If they do, they are probably only using it to perform basic calculations or to create very basic financial models. Other programs such as SAP and Oracle are often ignored as well.
For all the undergrads reading this, just because the curriculum is weak does not mean you should just sit back and sulk. You must take matters into your own hands by brushing up on accounting concepts. You can brush up on MS Excel skills by practicing at home or looking up youtube tutorials. The Computer Science or Information Systems departments often offer courses that teach students programs such as SAP and Oracle. Last but not least, you must get at least one internship before you graduate. Many graduates, for whatever reason, do not have any internships under their belts. Having one of more internships will automatically make you a more desirable candidate than graduates who have no experience.