Finance, Real Estate & Insurance
The Finance, Real Estate and Insurance industry cluster is the group of industries primarily associated with the acquisition, growth and maintenance of wealth.
From banking to insurance, if a job involves capital and facilitating the growth of wealth in any form, then you will likely find it in one of these industries:
- Real Estate
- Investment Banking
Interested in receiving opportunities and information concerning these industries? Sign up to receive our listserv emails for this cluster!
Resume & Cover Letter Samples
Vandy Meets the Street
Vandy Meets the Street is an annual internship-recruiting event held during fall break, primarily designed to give selected Vanderbilt juniors an opportunity to build relationships with Vanderbilt alumni working in the highly competitive financial services sector in New York City.
Employers participating in previous events have included:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Event information is disseminated via the Finance listserv beginning in early August, with the application available in DoreWays in late August. Selected students will be notified via email and are required to attend three 90-minute prep sessions prior to the event.
PLEASE NOTE: Attendees must secure and pay for their own travel and lodging arrangements to and from New York City and are financially responsible for all costs associated with this event including airfare, meals, lodging, cab fare and other ancillary costs.
Finance Career Mentoring Program
The Finance Career Mentoring Program brings together experienced finance industry Mentors (seniors) who teach juniors (Mentees) how to network and conduct an effective search for an internship in finance. Mentors serving in the program have successfully navigated the challenging internship search process and secured internships with top employers in the industry.
Through a combination of group sessions and one-on-one meetings Mentors provide information and insight on everything from understanding the recruiting process to identifying and searching for an internship to preparing for behavioral and technical interview questions.
Junior students committed to a mentoring relationship with a senior student during the finance internship search process can begin applying to program via DoreWays beginning in late August. Subscribe to the Finance listserv to get updates and information about this program.
Related Student Groups
The student organizations listed below offer great ways to meet with other students who share an interest, and prepare yourself for future positions in these industries.
(Employers: please contact us if you are interested in working with any of these groups.)
Alpha Kappa Psi - The Business Fraternity
Alpha Kappa Psi was founded in 1904 on the principles of educating its members and the public to appreciate and demand higher ideals in business and to further the individual welfare of members during college and beyond. Much more than just another organization or club, Alpha Kappa Psi is a unique, prestigious association of students, professors, graduates and professionals with common interests and goals. They join Alpha Kappa Psi to take advantage of valuable educational, friendship and networking opportunities.
Vanderbilt University's Omega Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi is a co-educational business fraternity founded in 2006 with the goal of shaping people and shaping business. Visit the AKPSI website or email email@example.com to learn more.
Moneythink is a national student organization dedicated to promoting financial literacy and entrepreneurship among high school students. Vanderbilt Moneythink was established in 2011 and currently has five volunteering sites. Members mentor high school students on a weekly basis, and the organization continues to expand each semester to additional sites around Nashville.
Vanderbilt Investment Club
The Vanderbilt Investment Club (VIC) serves as the premier undergraduate group on campus for those interested in financial markets. Members obtain valuable skills by engaging in managing a long-only and equity-only portfolio.
The goal of the VIC is to provide its members an educational experience through performing extensive equity research and teaching efficient portfolio management. The VIC is divided into multiple groups, each led by a senior analyst. Every group separately researches specific companies and gives a formal presentation on each investment opportunity to the entire group.
Working closely with the Center for Student Professional Development, the Investment Club is one of a few organizations on campus that directly connects its members with companies in the financial industry and other top employers in related sectors. The VIC hosts recruitment events with leading investment banks to give its members exposure to some of the best firms in the industry.
Vanderbilt Microfinance Club
The Vanderbilt Microfinance Club (VMC) was formed in January 2009 by Vanderbilt students Arielle Samet and Jordan Solomon. The mission of the organization is to bring awareness to the social entrepreneurial tool of microfinance and to facilitate economic development projects linking Vanderbilt students to impoverished entrepreneurs.
VMC has developed sustainable microenterprise programs in Kyrgyzstan and Cameroon, hosted a student trip to Panama, and brought inspiring speakers to campus to tell students about economic development.
Major Areas of Finance
The areas of finance listed below are the sectors most often of interest and accessible to Vanderbilt undergraduates.
Actuaries calculate risk by analyzing statistics and, based on their analysis, they make decisions regarding pricing and investment strategies. Some actuaries work in the financial services industry, but most are employed in the insurance industry.
Asset managers work either at a firm that provides investment management services, such as an Insurance Company or a Pension Fund, or as an individual consultant hired by clients to make investment decisions. These consultants for high net worth individuals are also known as Private Wealth Managers. They are tasked with creating and implementing long-term asset allocations within the context of each client's particular risk tolerance, developing customized investment strategies, and providing access to a wide range of investment platforms and ideas.
This area includes Debt Capital Markets and Equity Capital Markets, two product groups that can exist in a bank's institutional securities group. Your role within these product groups is to communicate between the investment banking department, which advises clients on financial transaction, and the sales force that sells the securities in a transaction.
Both buy side firms (Insurance Companies, Pension Funds, Asset Managers) and sell side firms (Investment Banks) employ Equity Researchers who are responsible for providing insight and detailed analysis into a company, entity, or sector. The research published by Equity Researchers is used by Investment Bankers, Sales people and Traders, and Clients of a bank.
Every large corporation (financial institution or other) has a finance department that deals with analyzing financials (data and statements), budgeting, strategic planning, assessing new products’ profitability, determining the profits and losses of each division, and assessing internal control.
The insurance industry is a multi-trillion dollar market dealing in risk. Most insurance agents specialize in life and health insurance, or property and casualty insurance. An increasing number of agents also work for banking institutions, non-depository institutions, or security and commodity brokers. The insurance field includes agent positions in branches, as well as corporate positions, which like many corporate finance positions are more analytical in their responsibilities.
Investment bankers help corporations raise funds in the capital market by underwriting initial public offerings and managing private placements. They advise on buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions by identifying potential transaction partners, developing analyses and negotiating terms.
Services include managing follow-on equity offerings, and structuring and distributing corporate debt. Departments are generally structured by industry coverage (e.g. Consumer/Retail, Health Care, Industrial, Natural Resources, Technology/Media/Telecom) and/or product coverage (e.g. Leveraged Finance, Equity Capital Markets, Restructuring, Mergers and Acquisitions).
Sales and Trading
The securities sales team is responsible for building and managing client relationships. They understand the needs of clients through clear and frequent communication, and help to take care of client requests. Traders manage customer-driven business and generate profits through market making.
Real Estate Investment
Positions in real estate investment are available at Investment Banks, Real Estate Investment Trusts, and Real Estate Private Equity firms, and can involve investment in real estate assets, financing the the purchase of real estate assets, and/or the management or sale of real estate for profit.
Additional Areas of Finance
The areas of finance listed below are rarely open to new graduates. These fields are more accessible after a few years of work experience or after gaining another degree.
A hedge fund is an aggressively managed portfolio of investments with a goal of generating high returns. A hedge fund has no employees, but the portfolio is managed by the investment manager, who employs significant risk management strategies.
The private equity field contains investors and funds that invest directly in private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies. Private equity firms will sometimes pool funds together to take very large public companies private.
A venture capitalist is a person or investment firm that makes speculative investments in growing start-up companies. Venture capital firms typically comprise small teams with business management and development training, and deep industry experience.
Suggestions for additions or changes to these areas? Send us an email!
Researching & Preparing for Careers in Finance
Interested in learning more about some of the areas in finance mentioned above? According to several Vanderbilt alumni working in the industry, the following are great resources for more detail about finance careers and how to start preparing for the fields that interest you.
- Career Guide to Accounting
- Career Guide to Hedge Funds
- Career Guide to Investment Banking
- Career Guide to Investment Management
- Career Guide to Middle Market Investment Banking
- Career Guide to Private Equity
- Career Guide to Private Wealth Management
- Career Guide to Sales and Trading
- Career Launcher: Finance
- Finance Interviews Practice Guide
- Guide to Finance Interviews
- Guide to the Top 50 Banking Employers
- Guide to the Top Financial Services Employers
- Guide to the Top Insurance Employers Vault/SEO
- Guide to Financial Services Diversity Programs
These guides are available free of charge to current Vanderbilt students. Visit our Online Resources page for additional sources of information.
Books, Listservs, Apps & Websites
These books are suggested for students seeking finance positions, recommended by a VU alumnus who works in securities.
- Beating the Street by Peter Lynch
- Flash Boys (A Wall Street Revolt) by Michael Lewis
- Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis
- Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders by Jack D. Schwager
- Reminiscence of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre and Roger Lowenstein
- Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises by Timothy F. Geithner
- Technical Analysis of the Futures Market by John Murphy
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis
- The Little Book That Still Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt
- You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits by Joel Greenblatt
- Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits by Kevin Roose
Center for Student Professional Development Industry Listservs
Subscribe to our industry specific listservs for information about recruiting on campus, networking, exploration opportunities, and much, much more.
eFinancial Careers - Careers in Financial Markets
Download the free eFinancial Careers mobile app for your iPhone or iPad. A printable PDF version is also available.
What do I do next?
Here are some things you can do to start preparing yourself for positions in finance, real estate or insurance:
- Come into the Center for Student Professional Development to meet with a staff member during our walk-in hours.
- Visit or join one of the Student Groups related to finance.
- Begin looking at job and internship postings in DoreWays.
- Sign up for the Banking-Finance and other Industry Cluster Listserves.
- Review the different areas of the finance industry, and narrow your interests.
- Attend events hosted by the Center.
- Review where other VU students have had past summer internships on the Internship Database.
- Begin designing and honing your resume and cover letter using Optimal and the sample resumes and cover letters on this site.