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The CSUB finance classes help in preparing students for different professional designations such as Chartered Financial counsellor (ChFC), Accredited Pension Administrator, Casualty Underwriter among others. The course provides a rigorous study of basic financial accounting theory, working capital accounts, financial statements, the accounting cycle and operational assets. Various factors inspired me to major in finance. Finance plays a critical role in the health of the overall economy that impacts even the people who have not studied the subject. For example, the field of finance provides insight on the occurrence of the 2008 recession. Additionally, the field of finance contains information on why governments and businesses make different decisions in different circumstances. 

Finance is also important in managing personal finances. Before coming up with viable business decisions, people must be able to go through the projection and valuation stages just like companies to determine the best investment (Philippon, 2015). The third inspiration is the application of finance to business. Almost all jobs involve a finance aspect in managing their budgets. The heads of various departments use the finance skills to articulate why their departments should get financial support from the company. Lastly, the other inspiration is the desire to work in finance and accounting in a big corporation.

TOWS Analysis

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People are likely to succeed in life if they use their talents fully. Similarly, they are likely to suffer fewer shortcomings if they are aware of their weaknesses and take care of the deficiencies so that they do not affect their work (Thomas, 2013). The importance of a TOWS analysis for a company is well recognized since it helps the managers understand the Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats to their enterprises. However, few people appreciate the importance of a TOWS analysis to the overall career goals of an individual. It is important to conduct a personal TOWS analysis since it helps people take a take thins a step further and think about the external factors that influence their careers rather than focusing only on the strengths and weaknesses. The first aspect of the TOWS analysis is the threats to career growth (Ahmed Sheikh & Wang, 2011). Threats refer to the external conditions that I cannot control, but I can lessen the effect.

The threats include:

  • Competitors with superior skills and experience
  • The Cyclical nature of the finance industry- banks and other service providers tend to hire many people when the economy is booming only to end up laying off a significant percentage of the employees during economic down cycles.
  • Advancement in the finance career is cut-throat and competitive
  • There is stiff competition from my cohort of college graduates.

The second aspect to consider is the opportunities. The opportunities are the external conditions that I do not control but which I can take an advantage. The opportunities in finance include:

  • The development of the finance sector has increased job opportunities
  • The technological advances in the industry have improved performance in the finance sector
  • Various opportunities to further education exist
  • There are also opportunities for professional advancement through engagements with reputable firms.

The third aspect of the TOWS analysis is the weaknesses. The weaknesses involve the internal negative aspects that are under my control and that I may come up with a plan to improve. Some of the weaknesses include:

  • Lack of the required experience. Since I am still school, I do not have the experience that the firms are looking for. However, in due time, I will be able to acquire the experience through various undertakings such as internships.
  • The second weakness is weak job-hunting skills. I need to develop new skills for looking for jobs to stand a chance of securing a job.
  • The third weakness is the inadequacy of the specific job knowledge. Due to the lack of experience, I have not developed adequate knowledge of the particular job

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The last aspect is the analysis of the strength. The strengths refer to the positive aspects that are under my control and which I may capitalize by planning. The strengths include:

  • Education and the value added features. I have the opportunity to pursue an education in one of the best finance school that offer different aspects of the subject. The quality education may improve my chances of succeeding in the finance sector.
  • I have strong technical knowledge in the finance field. The course has enabled me to learn different aspects such as the financial accounting theory, the accounting cycle, revenue recognition receipts and the working capital accounts.
  • The third strength is that I possess strong transferable skills such as the ability to work in a team as well as strong leadership skills
  • I also have excellent personal characteristics such as strong work ethic, self-discipline and the ability to work and deliver under pressure.

 

Learning Styles     

People have different learning styles. The learning styles typically refer to the preferred way in which the student absorbs, processes, comprehends and retains information.  Some of the prominent learning styles include visual, auditory and tactile learning. In most circumstances, the preferred learning style depends on the person and the subject. My preferred method of learning is the visual learning. The method employs the use of pictures, images, and spatial understanding (Philippon, 2015). Visual learning helps an individual see hoe ideas are connected and realize how information can be grouped and organized efficiently. Additionally, it is easier to understand new concepts in visual learning when they are linked to prior knowledge.

 Further, this learning style enables the student to use diagrams and plots for displaying large amounts of information in ways that allow them to understand easily as well as helping in revealing relationships and patterns (Philippon, 2015). An individual better remembers information that is presented and learned both visually and verbally. I prefer the visual learning method as it helps me make connections, understand relationships and recall the related details.

Skills Assessment

Learning the skills that you possess is a critical element in the overall success of an individual in the finance sector. Skills assessment refers to the test aimed at determining the relevant skills required of a person. Success in the finance industry required various skills. Some of the relevant skills include strong interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and ability to work and deliver under pressure and meet deadlines.

 

Career assessment      

The primary concern of career assessment is the internal management of an organization where the employees on their career choices to get the right people for right positions. Individuals should evaluate their preferences, values, interests, motivations and skills to determine the correct position they can occupy (Thomas, 2013). A self-assessment helps in assessing the areas that an individual has strengths or limitations. The candidates can the use the results of such as assessment to choose a career that coincides with their skills and talents. Even though the tests may produce varied results, studies have shown that career assessments help to provide the candidate with more career options as helping people understand more about themselves. Additionally, career assessment enables one to be satisfied with their career choices since the choices are usually based on informed decisions.

One of the obstacles if feeling less motivated often. Most people experience occasional lapses in enthusiasm. In academics, it is also normal to feel less motivated about the career choices. One of the ways I overcome this obstacle is by identifying specific goals. An example of a long-term specific goal is to get an exciting job that is well paying. Achieving the specific goals requires concentration, and the concentration brings about motivate to work even harder in the studies. The other important way of overcoming obstacles in the studies is by creating a right balance between leisure and education. It is important for an individual to create time for leisure as it enables them to relax and get the energy to proceed with the studies. Additionally, I overcome the challenges by making my goals challenging and realistic. Setting high goals improves the overall performance. However, setting unrealistic goals demoralizes a person.

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As a finance student, various opportunities for improvement exist. The opportunities exist in different areas including personal financial planning analysis, corporate and international financial management and investment services. Additionally, other opportunities include working as a financial analyst, financial managers or personal financial advisors. While still in school, there are also other opportunities for working with the corporate institution on a short-term basis or an internship program.

Finance student should explore the current strong incentives to learn the different aspects of financial instruments and types of investments. A finance student should analyze both the local and global economies and understand all the aspects that influence the government and business economic decision making. The other essential resources are the fundamentals of finance developed earlier as well as the modern developments in finance globally. Understanding both materials are critical in understanding the current global financial situation. Some of the materials that contain the financial information include the news, blogs, and forecasts. When analyzing the materials, it is important to distinguish between general and specific information how the two relate. Some examples of the materials include The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Review. 

Being a finance student, it is important to conduct different activities in a professional manner. As future financial officers, it is critical to adhere to the legal, ethical and vocational emblems of conduct in the accomplishment of their career responsibilities. One of the ways to conduct oneself in a professional manner is to be dedicated to the highest ideals of honesty and sincerity in all relationships. Additionally, it is important to devote skills and energy when working as an individual as well as working in cooperation with the others. Additionally, it is important to demonstrate integrity when handling information as well as in maintaining professional relationships.

The best plan to use in building credibility is to conduct all the operations in an honest and ethical manner. It is also important to show respect to all the people since respect is two way. Additionally, when in a position that requires the handling of finances, it is important, to be honest, and avoid any conflicts of interest. Respect and credibility can also be built through being diligent and determined in all undertakings.

The job market in the financial services sector has become more competitive and tougher than ever. As a student, networking is important as it can help in discovering new opportunities in the market (Ahmed Sheikh & Wang, 2011). Whether one is established or at the beginning of their careers, it is necessary to stand out from the crowd to grow in the industry. The experiences of a finance student are similar to all the others; therefore, one needs help from professional networks to reach the next level. Networking is important as it helps in obtaining client contacts and personal contacts.

Internships are valuable in today's economy as they help an individual gain advantage for future employment. There has been a rise in the number of internship applications in finance firms as fresh graduates, and continuing students seek to learn more through hands-on experience. It is important to add paid and unpaid internships on the resumes it increases the chances of landing a full-time position upon graduation. Additionally, some internship positions offer options for turning it into a permanent position after a period. Further, the economic situation has made some employers rely on interns to perform certain tasks as they cut on hiring to due to the inadequacy of resources to pay full-time employees. 

Core competencies are significant to any job or market as they help in identify the aspects that an individual possesses making them different from the others. One of the ways that I fit into the core competencies of the finance sector is by being diverse (Ahmed Sheikh & Wang, 2011). The diversity helps in accommodating different skills set meaning that I can find opportunities to add new skill while building the ones I already have. The second way is through being dynamic. Being dynamic means that I am always willing to learn thus I can cope with the fluidity and the fast pace that comes with a career in finance. I would use the knowledge and the skills I have learned while undertaking the finance major course at the CSUB. The skills would add value to the finance market as I will fresh from school and ready to hit the ground as well being willing to work.

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My 3-5 year plan would involve small steps to achieve my top goals. The first two years would be used in finishing up with schoolwork as well as improving my networking skills to identify and take advantage of new opportunities in the market. The process will commence by listing the people to get in contact with and finding out the best way to reach them. Additionally, the period would involve researching the career paths of the successful people in my career path to learn the steps they took to reach the top. The next three years will include reaching out to the people in my career path and try to work hard also to reach the top. The three years will also include personal development aspects by looking at my strengths, my weaknesses and what can be improved. The personal improvement initiative should also include the new skills that I hope to develop as well as the career steps that I need to accomplish.

In conclusion, it is important for finance students to carry a TOWS analysis to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for personal development. Additionally, in performing their duties, they should be able to do so in a professional manner to build credibility and respect.

References

Ahmed Sheikh, N., & Wang, Z. (2011). Determinants of Capital Structure: An Empirical Study of Firms in Manufacturing Industry of the United States. Managerial Finance 37(2), 117-133.

Philippon, T. (2015). Has the US Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation. The American Economic Review 105(4), 1408-1438.

Thomas, W. A. (2013). The Finance of British Industry, 1918-1976. New York: Routeledge.

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