Career Clusters

Finance, Consulting & Enterprise

This cluster encompasses careers in the business world. Within finance, students might pursue careers in accounting, asset/ investment management, corporate finance, hedge funds, insurance, investment banking, private equity or venture capital. The consulting industry consists of generalist firms that provide advice on general business strategy questions, while others are known as specialists in fields such as finance, operations, marketing, healthcare, technology or human resources. There are also opportunities for business-minded students in retail, marketing, sports and startups/entrepreneurship. Find jobs and internships in this cluster on 12twenty!

Recruiting Timelines and Methods

The larger companies in these industries tend to participate in on-campus recruiting. The primary way to secure an internship or full-time position at a larger firm with a well-established internship or new hire program is through campus recruiting. Entry level opportunities outside of formalized recruiting are rare. Many firms recruit interns with the intention of converting them to full-time hires, and thus do not return to campus to recruit for full-time positions.

While many of these employers recruit on campus, networking is still a critical component in securing a job or internship in these industries. The recruiting process for an internship the summer following junior year actually begins during your sophomore year. Successful candidates invest time in the process by attending on-campus sessions, participating in case competitions, signing up for coffee chats and arranging informal phone calls or meetings. It is crucial to begin this process before the official recruitment season begins. In addition to reviewing job application materials, many employers will grant interviews to candidates who they’ve connected with earlier on in the process. The interview process typically consists of a mix of behavioral and technical questions or case studies, so it is essential to prepare for both. Varying by industry, formal recruiting starts during late spring or at the beginning of the fall semester, so make sure you return to campus ready to go with an updated resume and proper attire.

Smaller firms, including start-ups and certain industries, such as marketing, retail and sports, will often hire on an as-needed basis and therefore do not tend to conduct on-campus interviews. Develop a list of target companies and routinely visit their websites for job posting and other opportunities. Connect regularly with classmates, professors, alumni and personal contacts to develop relationships with individuals who work in these industries.

Whether you are interested in smaller or larger firms, to ensure you do not miss out on any opportunities to connect with an employer or job application deadlines, check 12twenty for job postings and networking events. Students who are interested in careers in this cluster should join the Rice Business Society.


Accounting: Accountants perform functions such as audits, tax assistance and/or financial statement analysis. Accountants typically work at an accounting firm, in the internal accounting department within a company, or can be self-employed with their own practice. The Big Four accounting firms are Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC. Students interested in accounting should consider obtaining a Masters in Accounting upon graduation.

Asset Management: Also known as Financial Planning or Wealth Management is the practice of helping individuals develop plans to meet their present and future financial goals, including investment and retirement planning. Asset managers can work in large national firms (e.g. JPMorgan Private Bank, Merrill Lynch) or smaller local firms.

Commercial Banking: The practice of providing banking services to individuals, small businesses and large organizations. Most large banks have a commercial banking division. Some commercial banks, such as Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, participate in on-campus recruiting and are eager to hire Rice talent. Most large firms have a robust summer internship program and fill their full-time positions through their summer hires.

Corporate Finance: Refers to the division within a company focused on the financial activities relating to running the company. Corporate finance involves maximizing the value of the firm to shareholders, minimizing financial risk and allocating internal financial resources. A number of Fortune 500 companies have financial analyst programs, which is the best way for a recent graduate to enter this field. Companies, such as Anadarko and BP, recruit on-campus for these types of roles.

Insurance/Actuarial: Financial roles in the insurance industry involve helping individuals and companies manage and anticipate risk to protect against losses. Actuaries within an insurance company specialize in compiling and analyzing data to calculate insurance risks and premiums. Most careers within the insurance industry begin in sales or actuary. Some of the large firms include Allstate, Liberty Mutual, MetLife and Northwestern Mutual.

Investment Banking: Investment bankers provide financial advisory services on transactions, mergers and acquisitions and to help their clients raise capital and/or provide financing for these transactions. Examples of large bulge bracket investment banks include Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS. Boutique investment banks include Evercore, Guggenheim, Lazard, Moelis & Co, Peter J. Solomon, and Tudor, Pickering & Holt (TPH). Students typically secure full-time analyst positions in this industry by completing a summer internship at a bank the summer following their junior year. Most banks do not return to campus for full-time recruiting. After spending 2-3 years in investment banking, most analysts will pursue positions in private equity or hedge funds and may then consider returning to school for their MBA.

Hedge Funds: A private investment fund that utilizes numerous investing strategies to earn money for its investors. Funds are managed by experienced finance professionals and since prior experience is typically required there are not many entry-level finance opportunities, though there can be some for computer programmers. Most hedge funds hire junior analysts out of the top investment banking programs. Top hedge funds include Bridgewater Associates and D.E. Shaw Group.

Private Equity: Private Equity firms use their investment funds to directly invest in mature private companies or engage in the buyout of public companies. As experienced professionals are preferred for these roles, there are few entry-level opportunities. Most top private equity firms, such as Blackstone, The Carlyle Group and KKR, hire their junior professionals out of the top investment banking and MBA programs.

Venture Capital: These firms invest in emerging technologies or start-up companies. Most venture capitalists are former entrepreneurs who have successfully exited their own business, or seasoned investment professionals who have an established track record of successful investing. Top firms include Accel, Andreesen Horowitz and Greylock Partners. Since prior experience is typically preferred, there are few entry-level opportunities.



Economic & Legal Consulting: These firms apply economic, financial and other quantitative principles to provide expert testimony and consulting services in business and legal disputes. This type of consulting will appeal to students who enjoy performing statistical and econometric analyses and are looking to take a more academic approach to their work. Firms include The Brattle Group, Cornerstone Research, FTI Consulting and NERA.

Financial Consulting: Financial consultants help companies address a variety of issues, including those relating to corporate finance, generating shareholder value, risk management, business valuation and corporate restructuring. Financial consulting roles can be found at many of the larger consulting and advisory services firms, such as Accenture, EY, KPMG, McKinsey, and PwC.

Human Capital Consulting: Human Capital consultants focus on issues relating to human resource management, such as employee engagement, employee communication, compensation, employee benefits, and employee placement after a merger or acquisition. Many of the larger management consulting firms, such as Deloitte, have Human Capital groups within their firms.

IT Consulting: These consultants advise clients on the best ways to utilize information technology to achieve their business goals. Some firms estimate, manage, implement and administer IT systems on behalf of their clients. Many of the larger management consulting firms, such as Accenture, have IT groups within their firms. There are also boutique firms, such as Quorum Business Solutions, that focus on these issues.

Management Consulting/Strategy & Operations: Strategy consultants aim to help a client’s most senior executives understand and face the macro-level challenges of running their company or organization, while operations consultants focuse on more micro issues, such as production processes, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service, to identify areas of growth and cost saving measures. Firms include Accenture, Alvarez & Marsal, Credera, Deloitte, Bain, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Kalypso, McKinsey, Oliver Wyman and Sendero.



Art Administration: See here

Film/Radio/Television: See here

Marketing: See here

Retail: See here

Sports: See here

Startups: The startup industry can be an exciting way to see an idea come to life in the business world, but often involves greater risk and less job security than other industries. Since teams are often quite lean, working for a startup can be a good way to gain hands-on experience in a variety of areas. Startups in the early stage are newly developed, with little funding, infrastructure, revenue or staff. These firms typically have small office environments and seek nimble individuals who are willing to wear multiple hats. At the expansion stage, a company is beginning to generate product and revenue. As a company matures it becomes more structured, experiences revenue growth and staff roles are more well-defined. Startups hire on an as-needed basis and often hire by word of mouth or referral rather than posting positions, so networking within the startup community is essential.



Jobs and Internships from Handshake