Looking to make a career in Banking & Finance? Know what qualifications other than BCom can help you build a career in this sector.

India’s banking sector is witnessing tremendous growth. E-payment wallets and zero-balance accounts are among the innovations that now allow Indian banks to reach a large population of people who were not able to access banking services earlier. Bank lending has increased from US$ 181 Billion in 2014 to US$ 281 Billion in 2017. With 27 public sector banks, 21 private sector banks, 49 foreign banks, 56 regional rural banks, 1,562 urban cooperative banks and 94,384 rural cooperative banks, the job opportunities in this space are immense. However, the type of job you get as a fresher will depend on your level of education. Contrary to popular opinion, having a BCom is not the only way to get into the banking sector.

What do you need?

At the basic level, a student who has only passed their 12th standard, can hope to get jobs as data entry operators, junior clerks or call centre operators. Depending on their communication skills, the salaries for these roles range from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 per month. However, the growth prospects of these jobs are not much, as higher level roles require college graduates. Additionally, with increased automation happening in banks, many of these jobs may disappear over the next decade as computers will be able to handle the repetitive work required in these roles more efficiently and at a lower cost than human beings.

Banks who want to recruit freshers for higher level jobs are willing to accept freshers from reputed colleges who have graduated in any discipline, whether it is BCom, BA, BSc etc. However, those with a BCom who have learnt accounting basics in their course, have a slight advantage in bank jobs which require a knowledge of finance. Specialised degrees like BBI (Bachelor of Banking & Insurance) and BAF (Bachelor of Accounting & Finance) which give the student more intensive knowledge of finance are highly desired by top banks.

Freshers who want to join a government run bank would also need to pass IBPS PO (Institute of Banking & Personnel Selection Probationary Officer) exam conducted by IBPS. The State Bank of India also conducts its own SBI PO exam. The competition in these exams is fierce with many applicants applying for the limited number of PO positions available at these banks. Some of the nationalised banks include Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank and Allahabad Bank.

Private Indian banks like ICICI and HDFC, and multinational banks like Standard Chartered and Citibank do not require this PO exam to be passed, and have their own job hiring process which includes personal interviews, group discussions and written tests. Depending on the bank and capability of the fresher, salaries for entry level roles for graduates could range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 per month.

There are some differences in the career paths within a nationalised bank and a private bank. Workers in nationalised banks tend to have strong job security with housing and pensions provided. However, job promotions tend to be based more on seniority than talent of the worker. Also, pay scales are lower than those in private banks.

Private banks on the other hand offer privileges like employee development programs, flexible working hours and fast growth for talented executives. However, there is little job security and banks can lay off employees at short notice.

What would be a better choice of course?

In order to increase the chances of getting a higher paid entry level job in a private banks, many students take additional courses during or after their graduation. These courses could range from short term courses such as Diploma in Banking & Finance to long term programmes like two-year MBA in Finance. There are some additional qualifications in finance that the student could get like becoming Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Company Secretary (CS), which gives them skills that are in high demand by banks.

And what else?

Along with the qualifications given above, banks look for freshers who have strong communication skills and are good at working with computers. During the hiring process banks look for evidence that the job candidate has a professional work ethic and has integrity, as banks are constantly under scrutiny by all stakeholders including government authorities. Attention to detail, ability to crunch numbers and an eye for innovation are also desirable.

The range of jobs available in banks is quite vast. Executives are needed in areas like customer service, customer relationships, loan processing, investment advising, compliance, call centre management etc. The banking sector needs to penetrate the masses so the real opportunity could lie outside the big cities. A regional posting in an emerging market segment could provide invaluable experience and set you apart from your peers. Rise to the challenge and explore your location options as this can give you a competitive edge.

Developing yourself to gain a career in Banking is an investment that will generate generous returns for years to come!

About the Author:
Akhil Shahani is the Managing Director of The Shahani Group, which runs a range of colleges in areas like business, media, real estate, finance and others. Akhil also serves as the Chairman of Global Discovery Schools, which are a franchised chain of 14 innovative schools.

Akhil’s work in the non-profit space is also extensive, he is on the advisory board of Unltd India & IDOBRO, which are two incubators supporting social entrepreneurs. He is the Director of the SAGE Foundation & Trustee of The Shahani Trust, which both have a range of charitable initiatives in education. Akhil sits on the board of 28 iconic colleges in Mumbai.

He has completed his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago & is currently pursuing his PhD from the University of Liverpool, where his thesis is in the area of Student Employability.

Akhil is a regular speaker at conferences and he is the recipient of many awards for his work in education like the Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Bharat Shiromani Award, PIMR Outstanding Educationist Award, Rex Karamveer Chakra Gold Award, the Bharat Gaurav Award and the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award among others.

Author's Bio: 

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