Christina Zafeiridou

Senior Manager at Cornerstone Research
New York

2009-2010 Fulbright Graduate Student Program to the U.S.  Host: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Department of Industrial & Operations Engineering

Finance is a sub-field of economics that studies the financial markets (i.e., markets in which financial products are traded, whether in an exchange or over the counter) and the financial structure of companies.  At its core, it studies how humans—market participants—make decisions within these financial structures. 

The most common path to becoming a financial economist, or finance expert, is by studying finance or economics.  Many undergraduate programs offer a multidisciplinary approach that combines finance and fields like accounting, statistics, mathematics, and banking.  The most common graduate programs are MBA programs with a finance concentration.  Irrespective of the path one chooses, finance requires one to have strong analytical skills and the ability to think on their feet.

Financial economists typically work at financial institutions, venture capital companies, corporations, central banks, government agencies, and research institutions.  A financial economist can, for instance, work in the sales and trading desk of a bank, in its merger and acquisition division, or in the research department.  A financial economist can also work for a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank and monitor and study the financial markets.  They can also advise companies on how to make various financial decisions or can work in the finance department of a company and design and execute its financial planning. 

 Photo Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash