Degree or no degree

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about education. You need to go to school in order to have access to all the opportunities available out there. However, there are some instances where you didn’t make it to college and that should not be the end of the line for you. You still have a chance in the business finance world if you take the following tips to heart.

Acquire and Sharpen Basic skills

Whether you have a college degree or not, there are some basic financial skills and well as analytical skills that you will need in order to be useful in a business finance career. In addition to these, you will need what are referred to as ‘soft skills’ i.e. communication skills, presentation skills, entrepreneurial skills, time management skills; basically, you need life skills in addition to academic skills to thrive in the business finance world (or any other really).

Know your industry

You need to become an expert on what is happening within your industry. Are there new players locally and globally that you need to keep an eye on? What are the latest innovations in your field? Are there trends and patterns that you can observe? What are the outcomes of these trends and patterns?

It is important to stay on top of your industry. It will help you impress the interview panel, advice clients and partners appropriately and make smart career and business decisions for yourself. Knowledge if power, acquire it.

Get a mentor

Anyone that has ever made an impact in the world had a mentor. These are your guides through life who help you make better choices and avoid dumb, costly mistakes. Finding a mentor is not easy so you will have to put in quite some effort there.

Choose people that have succeeded, that you look up to and can see something of what you would like to be in the future. It can be your uncle or your professor or some business mogul, but by all means, find a mentor.

Have a plan

Anything worth achieving requires careful planning and strategizing. Decide where you want to be in the short-term and long-term and then develop strategies on how to get there. Your mentors and your knowledge of the industry will come in handy here.

Implement these plans and evaluate them regularly to see their effectiveness and whether you need to make some adjustments.

Learn the technology

Information technology is a critical part of business finance. While you may not go off and get an IT degree, you need to be aware of how it works enough to make it work well for you. Learn how to conduct ecommerce, manage financial systems and the legal aspects of IT with regard to your industry.

Don’t be a loner

You need to learn how to work in a team, whether as a leader or a member. Understand your strengths and the contributions you can make as well as your weaknesses and the support the team may offer to them. After all, no one can ever truly say they made something great all on their own.

Herbert Simpson is an investment banker and a visiting lecturer at a local business school. If you would like help negotiating your car lease, visit www.leasequit.com.

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