It’s People, Not Products, for Finance Students

Relationships trump product development; soft skills trump hard ones; and self-motivation is key, said Texas Tech students in a Schwab survey.

Students are drawn to a career in financial services because they want to work with people, not build portfolios, develop financial products or “work with numbers,” the Student Pulse Survey found.

Most respondents (69%) said they want a career where they interact daily with people and have a role in relationship management, and nearly all the survey respondents (92%) believe strong communication and relationship-building skills are “very important,” while 89% said the same about the ability to understand challenges and apply tailored solutions.

They want autonomy but not solitude. Students want to be able to create a career on their own terms, but they don’t want to go at it alone. The majority (73%) value independence in their careers; however, nearly half (43%) see themselves thriving when they are given specific objectives to achieve, and half indicate that they would value a strong training program.

Don’t tell them what to do: students want advice and guidance but they ultimately make up their own minds. The majority (73%) value independence in their careers, but they see themselves thriving when given specific objectives (43%).

How important is an understanding of financial markets and complex data? Most students (68%) said such knowledge is “very important.” Fewer than half (40%) saw it as only “moderately important.” Nearly all students (95%) rated the ability to communicate and build relationships with all types of people “very important.”



“While they don’t want to go it alone, these young professionals are clearly seeking the opportunity to put their own stamp on their careers – a path clearly offered in the independent model,” noted Bernie Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services. “As the industry looks ahead to how it will meet the needs of a new generation of clients, we believe it is critical to cultivate the aspirations of the next generation of professionals and to help them become highly skilled future business leaders.”

In an initiative to support and train the next generation of financial advisers, Schwab Advisor Services unveiled the newly renovated personal financial technology complex at Texas Tech University in a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this month.

The Charles Schwab Personal Financial Planning Technology Complex at Texas Tech, built in 2009, is used by more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students in the university’s personal financial planning department.

Attracting young people to the RIA [registered investment adviser] space is critical to the channel’s success going forward,” Clark said.

Schwab Advisor Services conducted its Student Pulse Survey online in February with 103 Texas Tech students (undergraduates, masters’ candidates and post-graduates) in the university’s personal financial planning program to gain their perspective on the financial services industry.