Alpha World City: A Guide to Top Finance Careers in Chicago

by Damian McKnight, Contributing Writer
Alpha World City: A Guide to Top Finance Careers in Chicago
Pulsing with an energy built on sheer force of will, Chicago has evolved into a true world financial center. The second largest business district in the United States, Chicago is listed as one of the world's top ten Global Financial Centers. Chicago has also been rated as an "Alpha World City" by The World Cities Study Group at Loughborough University for its exceptional role in the global economic system. Anyone entering today's career marketplace and looking to find a job in the Chicago financial sector should be encouraged by the diversity of opportunities in Chicago.

Careers & Salary
Annually, Fortune Magazine publishes a list annually of the 100 best places to work and many Chicago firms are on the top of this list. A firm is reviewed and judged based on their management's credibility, employee job satisfaction, camaraderie and benefits. For finance companies, significant considerations include a firm's ability to navigate rough periods, whether they have had layoffs, and overall stability.

Candidates should not limit themselves to the finance industry when researching the best places for careers in finance. Every industry needs financial expertise. Consider in-house corporate jobs in corporate finance, asset management, strategic planning, investor relations or accounting. Other places to seek out finance jobs in Chicago include financial journalism, financial regulatory agencies and private consulting practices.

Types of Jobs in Finance


An accountant helps companies or individual clients operate efficiently and make sure that taxes are paid properly and on time. They also offer budget analysis, financial and investment planning tips, information technology guidance, and limited legal services. Most importantly, an accountant will ensure that their clients manage their money responsibly and cost effectively. In the US, legally practicing accountants are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and other non-statutory accountants are Certified Internal Auditors (CIA's), Certified Management Accountants (CMA's) and Accredited Business Accountants (ABA's).

Stock Broker
A stock broker or stockbroker is a regulated professional broker who buys and sells shares and other securities through market makers or Agency Only Firms on behalf of investors.Only members of the stock exchange can conduct transactions, so whenever individuals or corporations want to buy or sell stocks they must go through a brokerage house. Brokers have to be licensed and can obtain their license by passing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination and, in most cases, posting a bond. If your interests lie in the market, a bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics is important, especially in larger firms.

Financial Planners
Financial planners work with individuals and companies to determine how best to invest their finances and meet lifelong goals through resource management. A planner will take into account how much money is to be invested, how much risk the investor is willing to take and how soon the money will be needed. An understanding of investments, taxes, and estate planning is crucial. Earning a bachelor's degree in any discipline can put hopefuls on the track to be financial planners, but it will help if your degree indicates skill with numbers, be it in science or business.

Financial Analysts
Financial analysts generally work in the research departments of securities firms. Analysts review financial statements of companies, evaluate economic and market trends, and make recommendations concerning the potential profits from investments in specific companies.

Real Estate Agent/ Broker
Brokers and agents do the same type of work, but brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses. Agents must work with a broker and usually provide their services to a licensed real estate broker on a contract basis. In return, the broker pays the agent a portion of the commission earned from the agent's sale of the property. Brokers, as independent businesspeople, often sell real estate owned by others; they also may rent or manage properties for a fee.

Investment Bankers
Investment bankers advise their clients on high level issues of financial organization. They manage the issuance of bonds, recommend and execute strategies for taking over and merging with other companies, and handle selling a company’s stock to the public. Investment bankers usually work with the government or with companies and are responsible for helping the entities to sell stocks and bonds. They can also provide financial advice about investments and minimizing tax liabilities.

Financial Manager
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly every type of firm employs one or more financial managers. Financial managers supervise financial reports, direct investment activities and apply cash management strategies. They also create different financial strategies and implement the long-term financial goals of the organization.

There are dozens of tech schools, colleges, and universities in Chicago offering finance degrees and certificates. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management are also helpful.

The online finance degree is a very popular major, and because of this almost all of the online universities offer the online finance degree. In addition to this, the online finance degree is not only available in bachelors, but in some cases also in masters and PhD.

For more information on Finance Degree Schools & Programs in Chicago, visit
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