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Is starting out in college algebra going to hurt me if I major in finance?

ljp1993ljp1993 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited May 2012 in Business Major
I have a couple questions for any current finance majors willing to answer; I took my placement test in math and placed into college algebra, which is math 117 at my school. Is starting out at this level going to hurt me if I plan to major in finance? Also, how strong in math do you really HAVE to be to do well as a finance major? I aced adv. alg. (no big accomplishment, I realize) and stats in high school, but I have always had to put in some extra work when it comes to succeeding in math. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Post edited by ljp1993 on

Replies to: Is starting out in college algebra going to hurt me if I major in finance?

  • jacobyellsburyjacobyellsbury Registered User Posts: 261 Junior Member
    depends what you wanna do with finance. finance phd? you are pretty much screwed as you will need up to linear algebra at a minimum. IB? doubt you need anything past calc 1 but good luck getting a job in that industry
  • terencterenc Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    Investment bankers do not use any math beyond that of pre-calc. However, it is an uphill climb for them to hire you because when they look at your resume, they will assume you have weaker quantitative skills. Furthermore, mental math questions are often asked during interviews.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    ljp1993, don't worry about starting out with college algebra. Just finish a year of calculcus and you should be fine.
  • ljp1993ljp1993 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks for all your input; I do not have any interest in pursing a PhD. Investment banking is a possibility, however I have a lot more interest in asset management. It looks like College Algebra will only be for a semester at my school (not sure if that's normal), then Pre-Calc the next semester and Calculus after that. Thanks again everyone
  • ljp1993ljp1993 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Just a side note, I only missed placing into pre calculus by one point. That probably doesn't make a difference in your collective assessments of my situation, but I figured it's worth pointing out.
  • ReallyOldSchoolReallyOldSchool Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    I'm just speculating based on what you have revealed, but testing into pre-calc suggests that you're a student at a CC or a non-flagship public. Based on that alone, you should be realistic about where a degree in finance is likely to take you.

    There are probably a relative handful of exceptional individuals who have ended up in front-office Wall Street jobs having started in similar circumstances, but the odd are very long.

    If by "Asset Management" you mean peddling mutual funds at Schwab or Edward Jones, I don't think your level of math achievement is going to matter much. It might not matter much in IB either, but the fact that you're not at Harvard, Wharton etc. will matter a lot.

    If it turns out that you have real aptitude and interest in more quantitative finance, there are a lot of mid-tier, back-office, analysis type positions where what you can do matters more than who your parents are and where you went to school.
  • ljp1993ljp1993 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks for your input. I am currently a high school senior who will be beginning college at a four year university this fall. I will be attending Loyola University-Chicago, which while not a flagship, is a pretty good school (It seems to have a very good reputation in Chicago, which is where I want to live and work). I realize no matter how well I do and whatever my internship experiences may be before I graduate, I won't get hired at the JP Morgans of the world- I'd be lucky to land an interview. I figure I will start out at a smaller lesser known firm, work my way up, go to graduate b-school somewhere better than my undergraduate institution and see what happens after that. My eventual goal is to be able use my MBA and past experiences to join a better firm. The area of asset management I am looking to get into is private banking/wealth management so I can build relationships with wealthy clients. Once I've developed my own approach (and obviously have had a successful track record otherwise it would never happen), I want to go out on my own and manage peoples' money independently.
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