Corporate Finance Advisor: Job Description and Education Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Corporate finance advisors help to ensure the financial health of a company. They are typically required to have a bachelor's degree, but many have an MBA degree and more than 5 years of professional experience.

Essential Information

Corporate finance advisors facilitate mergers and acquisitions of other companies. They often work for large investment banks or corporate advisory firms. This career requires a bachelor's degree in finance or a related business field, though many employers look for job candidates with an MBA as well. This career might appeal to an individual with interests in business, finance, and corporate negotiations.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in finance or related field
Additional Recommendations MBA degree, voluntary certification
Typical Work Experience 5+ years
 Median Salary (2020)   $134,180 (for all financial managers)*
 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)  15% growth (for all financial managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Corporate finance advisors specialize in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). A merger is when two companies become one, usually through shareholding, whereas an acquisition refers to a complete corporate takeover. A finance advisor mediates these transactions and protects the interests of the client, either the company doing the bidding or the target company.

This is a demanding job that involves long hours. It can take months to negotiate a deal that's acceptable to both parties. Typical job duties include examining a company's balance sheet, looking for appropriate investments, and analyzing corporate financials of a target company to propose an equitable offer. Corporate finance advisors may also assess a deal's value, analyze cost savings, and find ways to finance the transaction. They often anticipate market reaction and work in conjunction with the legal team to see the deal to completion.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for financial managers were projected to grow 15% between 2019 and 2029. This rate of growth is much faster than average, and job applicants with accounting or finance expertise and a master's degree should have good career prospects. The BLS reports that financial managers earned a median of $134,180 annually as of 2020.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or business is required. Many students find it useful to join college or university financial clubs to network with people in the finance industry. Some companies prefer to hire candidates who have earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA). To be hired by the leading investment banks, for example, it helps to graduate from a top business school. Many of the largest financial institutions recruit talent straight from MBA programs.

Corporate financial advisors may further advance their careers by earning a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, which is administered by the CFA Institute. To be eligible to take the three required examinations, candidates must have a bachelor's degree and four years of work experience. Some corporate finance advisors who work at investment banks may broker deals as well. To be authorized to do so, they must work for a firm registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for at least four months before taking the General Securities Representative exam. Also known as the Series 7, this difficult test takes more than six hours to complete and essentially licenses a person to sell market products. Corporate finance advisors assist companies with high-level activities, such as mergers and acquisitions. It is common for corporate finance advisors to have an MBA degree. The median salary for all financial managers in 2020 was $134,180.

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