Are you high-energy, driven, extremely organized, detail-oriented, flexible and able to manage stress well? Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of prioritizing multiple projects in a rapidly changing environment? If so, there are programs for veterans in the finance industry that can fast-track your transition to a new career.
The finance industry has a long history of attracting energetic and ambitious people, and for good reason. It is a sector where initial compensation can be generous, and advancement and remuneration are based on performance, not seniority. This makes it a savvy career option for someone with military experience who is interested in investment, finance or risk management.
Is it feasible to move into finance without any experience or education in the field?
Absolutely. Finance companies recognize that skills such as leadership, teamwork, decision-making and risk management are honed in the military. They actively recruit veterans into their company ranks. Programs for veterans in the finance industry teach industry-specific knowledge, techniques and products while capitalizing on the traits you developed in military service.
These programs are not for the faint-hearted. Programs for veterans in the finance industry are extremely competitive and intakes are usually conducted once a year. You will need a strong resume and will go through an exhaustive interview and selection process. Typical requirements are a B.A. or B.S. from an accredited U.S. university with a GPA of 3.5 or greater, strong proficiency with Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint, and outstanding analytical, written and oral communication skills.
Still interested? Check out the following programs for veterans moving into the finance field.
Goldman Sachs recognizes that the skills that make good military personnel are also critical in finance, and its Veterans Integration Program is in its fifth year. The yearlong paid program partners participants with an experienced mentor within the company. Participants are rotated through different sectors of the company while completing a comprehensive training curriculum on financial markets and products.
Drexel Hamilton is a firm owned and operated by service-disabled veterans and a key sponsor of the Veterans on Wall Street initiative. The firm hires veterans for a rotational program, and new employees rotate among various businesses while paired with a Wall Street mentor. The firm uses its contacts with other firms to place veterans it does not recruit.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. offers a 12-week internship program where veterans gain experience in the financial industry while building their product and industry knowledge. All applicants must have a B.A. or B.S. and must have left the military at the rank of E-5 or above to enter the program.
Citi offers a Military Officer Leadership program where participants receive classroom training, mentoring and coaching while undergoing three separate internships over an 18-month period.
Exbellum is a unique organization that focuses on placing prior Special Forces personnel with client companies. Veterans with this background can move into corporate positions that include private equity risk management and investment.
The Wall Street Warfighters Foundation partners with firms on Wall Street and Main Street to provide opportunities at all levels within the finance industry. Its six-month Philadelphia-based course provides coursework, fieldwork, exam preparation, mentorship and a formal internship. The foundation funds all training, travel, business clothing, housing and food. While preference is given to veterans with a degree in a finance-related field, it is one of the only programs for veterans in the finance industry where a degree is not required. A non-residency program is also available.
VOWS is an initiative that uses educational initiatives, mentoring and outreach to promote career development, support and retention of veterans in the financial services industry. Its signature event is an annual veteran employment symposium where more than 85 member companies share best practices on veteran employment. Veterans interested in moving into the financial industry can submit their resume for consideration by member companies.
Final Tips for Applying to a Finance Industry Veteran Program
The finance sector is an aggressive and competitive career option but pays great dividends to those who succeed. Strengthen your application by researching programs for veterans in the finance industry and reaching out to speak with people who have been through these programs. Build your financial knowledge through personal reading or formal study and you are well on the way to convincing the hiring team that you are a great candidate.