Financial industry holds possibilities

Despite high unemployment rates and a slow economy, job outlooks are bright for students considering degrees related to financial services.

In fact, according to the U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010-’11, the demand for personal financial advisers, insurance agents and financial analysts is expected to rise faster than average by 2018.

To snag one of these positions, experts say experience and financial prowess are key. “Our incoming financial professionals bring a sound understanding of financial issues and offer a variety of unique skills that allow us to contribute to a spirit of diversity and excellence,” said David Simmons, director of marketing at Wealth Concepts LLC, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) in Denver. “This has allowed our firm to remain profitable in an intensely competitive financial services environment.”

Alyssa Chen, a student at the University of Denver, knows that all too well. As a MassMutual Scholar—a recipient of a $5,000 college scholarship—Chen says the potential for career opportunities in the financial sector and her experience in helping to manage her family’s restaurant, are a few of the things that inspired her to explore careers in financial services.

“From my own family’s experiences, I have seen how tremendous wealth and material possessions can easily be lost leading to extreme financial anxiety and depression,” she said. “A career in financial services would be a perfect way to utilize my skills to help others avoid dire circumstances by helping people prepare better for their financial future and understand their finances more.”

Nick Fyntrilakis, MassMutual’s assistant vice president of Community Responsibility, said this year the company saw a major uptick in applications for its multicultural scholarship program, which provides $5,000 college scholarships to African American, Asian/Pacifi c Islander and Hispanic students, who have an interest in financial services.

“More students are seeing the value of financial literacy and what a career in financial services could mean for them,” he says.

Part of MassMutual’s goal, through its scholars program, is to make students aware of the importance of sound financial planning.