Thinking about Finance: Where do I want to work? - Undergrad Success

Thinking about Finance: Where do I want to work?

Thinking about Finance: Where do I want to work?

For somebody who interested in financial careers, there are a whole host of options to choose from. One way of making a decision is thinking not so much about the type of job you want, but where you might want to work. With this in mind, here is a breakdown of the different working environments out there.

A Start-Up

All companies start off somewhere small, and working at a start-up gives you the opportunity to experience this first hand. You’ll be able to help grow a business, and to directly see the impact of the work you do in a way you can’t in a large company. You’ll be likely to have a lot of client contact and an input into decisions that are made. Moreover, you can display your entrepreneurial abilities with a freedom that won’t be afforded to you in larger firms. However, wages probably won’t be that high, and you may not have a great deal of job security – it all depends on how quickly the business grows!


SME is an acronym which stands for ‘small and medium enterprises’. ‘Small’ companies have more than 50 employees, whilst those with a maximum of 250 employees are called ‘medium’. This is a step up from a start-up business, as the company will be more established within their sector. They will still be expanding, however, possibly with an international outlook. This might give you the opportunity to work abroad. You’ll still be able to work creatively, but probably not as much as in a start-up.

Social enterprise

Social enterprises are companies which support community or environmental causes. They come in a whole range of sizes, and most of their income will be made through sales of their products or goods. Money will be reinvested in the community, which means that the work you do will be a way of giving back.

Professional services firm

Professional services firms offer a variety of financial careers within one firm. You can specialise in a particular area or work with a wide range of clients – the choice is yours! These companies are huge, so you won’t be able to see your impact in quite the same way as in a smaller firm. However, you’ll be working in some of the largest companies in the city, an experience like no other.

Specialist or boutique firm

Boutique firms focus on specific financial sectors, working with high net-worth individuals and companies. Although you won’t have the same options afforded by a professional services firms, boutique companies are great places to specialise in a field and learn everything there is to know about it.

Global firm/bulge bracket bank

The giants of the banking world, working for these global companies is fast paced. Wages and bonuses tend to be high, and you can make a lot of money in a short period. However, working hours are often exceptionally long, from early morning to late at night. If the wages appeal and you’re confident you can handle the hours, then it’s worth making an application.


Start your own

If none of the above options suit you, or you really want to show your entrepreneurial side, then why not consider starting your own business? Think of some ideas for a company and look at gaps in the market. Then write up a business idea and find some investment. Obviously it won’t be as simple as that sounds, but the benefits can be great; you get to take a firm in the direction you want to go, in the sectors you want to work in, and to be your own boss.

There are a variety of company types that you can work in, and so it’s important to weigh up all the options before making a decision. Have a look at the different firms and look at finance internships in those that interest you.


Aaron Marchant is a final year English student at King's College London. He is currently working at allaboutcareers.com, an organisation offering a range of career advice to students and graduates.

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