In the UK, the financial services industry primarily encompasses banks, insurance providers and credit card companies – as well as accountancy firms and advisory services such as stock brokers. It is perhaps unsurprising that as a subject of study, financial services is broad and far-reaching, and is a valuable addition to the knowledge and skills base needed by anyone eager to pursue a career in the industry – even if they are not entirely sure with which niche their strengths lie, or what they enjoy the most.
So what does a financial services foundation degree teach you?
One of the first core objectives will be to introduce students to the workings of the varying types of financial institutions and markets – and their role and importance within the economy on a wider scale. It is important for anyone with an interest in the financial services to start to understand the rules and laws that govern and control these organizations – and the structures in place to regulate them – from the outset.
It is also likely that any financial services course will involve at least an introductory module to the basic principles of banking, as well as the core business skills that are needed within the industry. The former will likely be in place to ensure all students are familiar with loans and credit and other bank account operations and the role of banks in the economy. The latter will equip the student with skills which can be attributed to all industries, such as verbal and written communication, numerical analysis, and other specifics such as time management and team building exercises.
Many financial services courses will offer optional modules whereby students will be able to choose specialist subjects to study alongside those that make up the core parts of the course. These will go into more detailed areas of the finance industry, such as mortgages and principles of insurance. Mortgage advice, for example, is a multi-faceted subject in itself – and a number of products (such as buy-to-let) need to be studied to understand their differences. The same goes for insurance – and such modules are in place for students to go into more depth into their chosen niches.
A career in the financial services industry will likely be challenging and rewarding. Studying the subject at foundation degree level will not only prepare you with a range of skills that can be utilized across the industry, but will also give you a chance to hone you specific area of interest – even if you are not fully sure which avenue you want to take before your studies.