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The Sell side is typically in Investment Banking, Sales, and Trading. They create products through Initial Public Offerings (IPO), Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), and etc.

Investment Banking

Provide access to markets for companies and individuals.  Assist companies, individuals, and governments in raising money.  Visit the Investment Banking page to find out more details.

Types of Companies:

  • Goldman Sachs
  • JP Morgan
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Evercore Partners
  • Nomura
  • William Blair

Proprietary Trading

“Prop Traders” trade assets (bonds, commodities, stocks or other financial tools) with the firm’s private currency, as opposed to investor’s currency, so they can make a profitable gain for firm.  Proprietary Trading runs a higher risk and can result in more unstable profits. 

Types of Companies:

  • Chopper Trading
  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange
  • Chicago Board of Options


The Buy side is typically in Asset Management, Investment Management, Retirement Funds, and etc. They purchase products for investors.

Corporate Finance

Help companies find and manage financial assets to run the company.  Focuses on capitalizing company value and minimizing financial risk for return.   A number of Fortune 500 companies have financial analysts programs and is a great way for recent graduates to use their finance abilities in an organization. 

Types of Companies:

  • Synchrony Financial
  • General Mills
  • Target
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Google

Commercial Banking

Assist consumers and corporations in managing their day to day money needs including loans, savings, checking, etc.  Roles can vary in commercial banking from tellers, bank managers, loan officers, to marketing positions. 

Types of Companies:

  • BMO Harris
  • PNC
  • Visa
  • MB Financial
  • Bank of America

Asset Management

Financial Planners professionals typically help individuals with developing plans to meet their financial goals now and for the future.  This involves investing money including retirement for individuals, corporations, and government.  Financial Planners work in a variety large(nationwide) or smaller firms.

Types of Companies:

  • AQR Capital Management
  • Northern Trust
  • Edward Jones
  • Merrill Lynch


Finance roles in insurance involve aiding companies and individuals project potential risks and protect them and their assets from losses.    Most careers begin in Sales or an Actuary.  Actuarial careers specialize in identifying and managing risks within a company.  They use a combination of detailed research and quantification in order to predict a targeted subject.   

Types of Companies:

  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Aon Hewitt
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Allstate
  • CNA Insurance Group

Hedge Funds

A managed investment fund that is designed to make money regardless of the market.  The funds are typically managed by seasoned financial professionals.  Positions for this industry do require experience and include: traders, quantitative analysts, portfolio managers, and etc. 

Types of Companies:

  • Bridgewater Associates
  • Blackrock
  • AQR Capital Management
  • D.E. Shaw & Co.

Private Equity

Direct investment into companies and organizations for ownership.  Private Equity firms find financing and may at times act as the executive for a struggling business.  Experienced professionals are preferred for these roles. 

Types of Companies:

  • Blackrock
  • Arch Capital Partners
  • The Carlyle Group
  • TPG Capital

Venture Capital

Venture Capitalists invest money in emerging technologies or companies.  They take the time to analyze company pitches from owners/leaders to identify companies they will invest in.  This a very tough industry were the risk is high but the reward is great if achieved. 

Types of Companies:

  • Google Ventures
  • Accel Partners
  • Andreessen Horowitz

Skills & Classes

Skills to Develop for Finance

  • Quantitative
  • Analytical
  • Research
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Management/Organizational
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Presentation

Classes to Consider for Finance

Students interested in Finance should look at classes/curriculums that enhance:

  • Quantitative Analytical Skills
  • Qualitative Research
  • Excel Modeling
  • Spreadsheet Analysis
  • Evaluation of Markets/Companies
  • Predictive Analysis
  • Statistics
 Popular Majors/Programs
  • Economics
  • BIP
  • Math
  • Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences
  • Learning and Organizational Change
  • Kellogg Certificate Programs
  • Other Liberal Arts majors are also accounted for as long as these skills are presented either in their academic coursework or a leadership role in an extracurricular activity.  

Helpful Information

Student Groups for Finance Students

Northwestern’s Undergraduate Business Organization (ISBE)

Institute for Student Business Education (ISBE) is the premier business group at Northwestern University with 250 members. ISBE offers a diverse array of educational and experiential business opportunities. Above all, our mission is to be the leading resource for all Northwestern undergraduates to discover the possibilities of a career in business.

Northwestern University Investment Banking Club

The Investment Banking Club serves as a comprehensive platform for high achieving Northwestern students to further develop their knowledge of investment banking and to successfully prepare for recruitment and a career in the industry. The members of NUIBC are a select group of students chosen for their scholastic achievements, involvement on campus and demonstrated interest in the industry.  NUIBC extensively prepares its members for careers in investment banking through numerous activities and resources including weekly educational meetings, annual treks to New York and Chicago, mentorship and mock interviews and a robust alumni database.

Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development (LEND)

LEND is a student-run, non-profit organization that empowers entrepreneurs in Evanston to create businesses, create jobs, and reach financial self-sufficiency. By providing access to small amounts of capital and business development services, LEND is devoted to connecting the Northwestern and Evanston communities under the shared objectives of aiding businesses, economic development, and social change. Students interested in entrepreneurship, business development, and community outreach.

Recruiting Timelines

recruiting timeline finance
Type of Recruit Pre-Recruitment Recruitment Application/Interviews Offer
Full Time Spring & Summer prior to Senior Year

Summer and Early Fall

(August & September)*

August & September September & October
Internship Summer prior to Junior Year and Fall of Junior Year November/December-Early-Mid January January & February January & February

*Some employers might post full-time positions as early as mid-summer if they are looking to round out 1-2 open positions. Be sure to stay current on Handshake and employers’ websites to learn of any full-time openings throughout the summer.  It is also important to keep in mind that there will be some employers that will not have a formal recruiting process for undergraduates, so you have to be proactive in finding opportunities and connecting with people/alumni in your financial industry of interest. 

Finance Resources


Finance Four-Year Plan

NCA can help you translate your academic and co-curricular experience into professional skills and opportunities FROM DAY ONE.

To learn more about what you can do, please refer to the NCA Four-Year Finance Plan:
To learn more about how NCA can help you, please schedule an appointment with your career adviser by logging into your Handshake account.