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  • Writer's pictureBrett Hampson

How to Successfully Grow Your Finance Career

For any professional eyeing success in the world of finance, the journey from entry-level analyst to a position of leadership isn't just about time spent in the role. It's about developing the right skills at the right stages of your career, and for me, this was a discovery made through experience and invaluable mentorship.


Early Career Stage: Building Strong Foundations


Be Excellent

In the early stages of your finance career, excellence is non-negotiable. When I started as an entry-level analyst, my goal was simple: be excellent in everything I did. This meant paying attention to the smallest details, going beyond the surface in my analyses, and delivering high-quality work consistently. Excellence became a habit, which in turn, built my reputation as a reliable professional.


Work More

There’s no substitute for hard work, especially when you’re starting out. I found that those extra hours I put into learning new financial models or understanding complex datasets not only improved my skillset but also set me apart from my peers. It's about putting in the effort to learn and grow, even if it means taking on additional projects.


Be Efficient

Efficiency is a game-changer in the fast-paced finance industry. Early in my career, I learned the value of streamlining processes and automating routine tasks. By being efficient, I could focus on more strategic activities that added greater value to the team.


Be Helpful

Being helpful is about more than just doing your job well. It’s about being a team player who is willing to assist colleagues, mentor new hires, and contribute to the overall success of the organization. In my early years, I volunteered for cross-functional projects and helped peers with their workloads. This collaborative attitude not only expanded my network but also showcased my leadership potential.


Mid-Career Stage: Leveraging Experience and Influence


Prioritization

As I transitioned to mid-level roles, the ability to prioritize became crucial. With increased responsibilities, it was essential to distinguish between urgent tasks and important strategic initiatives. Effective prioritization ensured that I could manage my time and resources efficiently, driving better outcomes for my projects.


Political Savvy

Navigating corporate politics is an often underestimated skill. Political savvy involves understanding the dynamics within your organization and aligning your actions with broader business goals. By building relationships with key stakeholders and understanding the unwritten rules of the corporate environment, I was able to advocate for my team and influence decisions that aligned with our objectives.


Expertise Stacking

In the mid-career stage, it's important to stack your expertise. This means continuously adding to your skill set by experiencing different teams or developing specialized knowledge in areas like financial forecasting or risk management. For me, gaining expertise in financial modeling and strategic planning provided unique value to my organization and opened doors for advancement.


Talent Management

Finally, managing talent is a significant aspect of mid-level finance roles. Leading a team requires understanding individual strengths and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. My approach was to mentor my team members, provide them with growth opportunities, and ensure they felt valued. This not only improved team performance but also built a strong support system for future challenges.


Reflecting on My Journey

Reflecting on my journey from an entry-level analyst to a director in just under eight years, it's clear that these strategies played a pivotal role in my career growth. The experiences and mentorship I received were instrumental in developing these skills, and I firmly believe they can help other finance professionals achieve similar success.


For anyone looking to grow their finance career, remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on mastering the fundamental skills in your early career and gradually build on them as you progress. By doing so, you'll not only achieve personal growth but also drive meaningful impact within your organization.


If you’re keen to explore more on finance career growth or seek mentorship, feel free to connect with me. Let's continue to learn and grow together in this dynamic field.



 


Whenever you are ready, check out the Finance Leadership Lab. It's the place where 500+ finance professionals have learned corporate finance and leadership best practices to grow their career.

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