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Finance - General Finance

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

The Finance program at Illinois State University emphasizes effective teaching and student involvement in the educational process, with special attention to the concept of linking theory with financial practice. We prepare students not only for entry-level positions, but also help them develop the skills necessary to adapt and advance in a changing world.

Why Study Finance - General Finance?

Individuals working in the field of finance must have a broad knowledge of business activities to relate to the operations of their particular career. Because of the expanding variety of financial services available today, individuals working in finance require an understanding of allied industries such as insurance, real estate and securities. 

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Work well in an environment of constant change
  • Critical thinker
  • Problem solver and logical thinker
  • Analyzes information, makes appropriate decisions, and solves problems
  • Organizes and thinks logically
  • Reasons abstractly, observes keenly, and concentrates intensely
  • Works alone and with others
  • Strong marketing concepts
  • Mathematical knowledge
  • Research oriented
  • Has an appreciation for accuracy and detail
  • Writes and speaks proficiently
  • Possesses computational ability
  • Good multitasking capabilities
  • Understands computer language, equipment, and application programs

Being Successful in the Field

  • Several professional designations and licenses, e.g. Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Financial Planner, are available to finance professionals working in a particular area. Earning these designations may help one obtain advanced positions.
  • Read the Wall Street Journal and other financial news magazines to stay abreast of current events and to learn more about the industry.

Related Fields

Public Accounting

Corporate and Public Finance

  • Financial Analysis
  • Cash Management
  • Credit Management
  • Budget Analysis
  • Investment Management
  • Investor Relations
  • Financial Reporting
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Real Estate
  • Risk Management


  • Private businesses of all sizes and types
  • State and local government entities
  • Federal agencies including: Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department
  • Schools and universities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Foundations
  • Hospitals


  • Complete a related internship.
  • Develop strong computer skills, including spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
  • Sharp analytical skills are crucial in this industry.
  • Earn an MBA to reach the highest levels of corporate finance.


  • Corporate Credit Analysis
  • Commercial Lending
  • Trust Management
  • Capital Services and Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Mortgage Loans
  • Originations and Packaging
  • Branch Management
  • Operations
  • Cash Management
  • Credit Scoring and Risk Management
  • Private Banking


  • Commercial banks
  • Credit unions
  • Savings and loan associations
  • Savings banks
  • Mortgage banks
  • Captive finance companies
  • Regulatory agencies including: Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, OTS


  • Develop a solid background in business including marketing and accounting.
  • Get experience through part-time, summer or internship positions in a financial service firm.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills in order to work well with a diverse clientele.


  • Claims Analysis
  • Underwriting
  • Risk Management
  • Sales
  • Actuarial Science
  • Loss Control


  • Life insurance firms
  • Property and casualty insurance firms
  • Commercial banks
  • Savings banks


  • Complete an internship with an insurance agency.
  • Talk to professionals in the industry to learn more about claims, underwriting, and risk management.
  • Many good, entry-level positions exist in these areas. Initiative and sales ability are necessary to be a successful agent or broker.
  • Develop strong communication skills, as many positions require interaction with others and the ability to explain information clearly and concisely.
  • Take additional statistics classes to prepare for a career in actuary science.
  • Prepare to take the first in a series of actuarial examinations.

Money Management

  • Research
  • Trading
  • Marketing
  • Portfolio Management


  • Portfolio management firms
  • Commercial banks
  • Investment banks
  • Federal Reserve banks
  • Insurance firms


Most positions require an advanced degree in economics, finance or business and many years of financial experience.

Personal Financial Planning

  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Operations
  • Portfolio Management


  • Brokerage firms
  • Trust companies
  • Financial partnerships
  • Multi-line insurance firms
  • Sole practitioners


  • Gain experience in sales. Must be highly motivated and entrepreneurial.
  • Research how one obtains the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.
  • Develop a solid personal network.

Real Estate

  • Residential Brokerage
  • Commercial Sales
  • Appraisals
  • Property Management
  • Real Estate Portfolio Management


  • Real estate brokers
  • Commercial banks
  • Appraisal firms
  • Apartment and condominium complexes
  • Developers
  • Real estate investment trusts
  • Mutual funds


  • Obtain sales experience through part-time, summer or internship positions.
  • Research how to become a real estate broker through the National Association of Realtors. Develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Research apprenticeships in appraisal.

Investment Banking

  • Corporate Financial Analysis
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Equity and Debt
  • Underwriting
  • Institutional Bond and Equity Sales
  • Retail Bond and Equity Sales
  • Business Valuation
  • Business Sale Transactions
  • Currency Trading
  • Derivatives, e.g. options
  • Trading
  • Venture Capital Fund Management
  • New Venture Analysis


  • Investment banking firms (Changes in laws have created a fluid situation inthis industry; Mergers and acquisitions continue to take place.)
  • Financial services firms
  • Insurance firms (The Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999 allowed financial servicesfirms to acquire or build investment banking subsidiaries and vice versa.)


  • An M.B.A. is required to move beyond the entry-level analyst position in investment banking. Investment banking is highly competitive. Be prepared to work many hours of overtime per week, start at the bottom, and pay your dues.
  • Develop strong analytical and communication skills. Cultivate personal ambitiousness.
  • Obtain a Series 7 License for both institutional and retail broker sales positions. Work toward the CFA designation.

Other Professions

  • Account Executive
  • Actuary
  • Appraiser
  • Bank Officer
  • Bank Manager
  • Budget Analyst
  • Budget Manager
  • Business Credit\Loan Manager
  • Capital Budgeting Officer
  • Commodities Trader
  • Credit Analyst
  • Credit Counselor
  • Credit Manager
  • Estimator
  • Finance Writers
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Economist
  • Financial Planner
  • Insurance Agent
  • Investment Analyst
  • Investment Researcher
  • Loan Officer
  • Finance Manager
  • Marketing Research Analyst
  • Mortgage Banker
  • Operations Officer
  • Pension Fund Manager
  • Professor
  • Operations Officer
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Property Manager
  • Rate Analyst
  • Savings Officer
  • Securities Broker
  • Trust Analyst
  • Underwriter

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Fauble  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-5825 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Edgar Norton  SFHB 231  (309) 438-2827 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.77 - 3.54

Required Courses

Students with fewer than 45 hours are evaluated on collegiate coursework and grade point average.

Students with 45-59 hours earned must complete the following courses with a grade of C or better:

  • Financial accounting (ACC 131),
  • Economics—micro and macro (ECO 105),
  • College algebra (MATH 119) and Finite math (MATH 120), or
  • Applied calculus (MAT 121) or calculus I (MATH 145).

Students with 60 or more hours earned must complete those courses listed above, choosing the applied calculus (MAT 121) or calculus I (MAT 145) option, and complete the following additional courses with a grade of C or better:

  • Managerial accounting (ACC 132) and
  • Statistical reasoning (MQM 100).

Recommended Courses

  • Introductory-level business course (BUS 100),
  • Introductory-level English composition (ENG 101),
  • Intermediate-level English composition (ENG 145), and
  • Prove computer competency through completion of one of the following: ACC 167and 168; ITK 150; IAI BUS 902; or by passing competency examsof ACC 189.67 and 189.68

Additional Information

Students are encouraged to get an AA or AS.

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Kathy Sims  SFHB 129  (309) 438-8385 

Middle 50% GPA

2.77 - 3.54

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

September 1 through September 30 and February 1 through February 28.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Major Requirements

Fewer than 45 earned and in progress hours

Evaluated upon college coursework, GPA, and admissions criteria for incoming freshmen.

45 - 59 earned and in progress hours

Grades of “C” or better in the following courses or their equivalents:

  • ACC 131
  • ECO 105
  • MAT 119 and 120 or 121 or 145.

60 or more earned and in progress hours

Grades of “C” or better in the following courses or their equivalents:

  • ACC 131
  • ACC 132
  • ECO 105
  • MQM 100 or ECO/GEO/POL/PSY 138
  • MAT 121 or 145

The College also requires students to complete in the first semester:

  • BUS 100 with a grade of "C" or better
  • Prove computer competency through completion of one of the following:
    • ACC 167 and 168
    • ITK 150
    • IAI BUS 902
    • by passing competency exams

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Kathy Sims  SFHB 129  (309) 438-8385 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016