I'm 19, female, and just entering university this year. I'm really interested in finance (especially investments). Any advice on how to get a head start in Uni? CCAs, mods, self-study?
I feel it a really huge transferable skill set to both my own life + any other place I might think about working for, and I really wish to make the most of my time in Uni. Also, is it tough for girls to enter the industry? Btw, I'm planning to enter NUS this year, Business! Any tips for me would be greatly appreciated!!!!
If i could turn back time I definitely would have joined the investment club and/or investment banking club in your particular university of choice. Coming from NUS, there is a main investment club (NUSInvest) that has a global macro division, equity research division and analytics division for the investment related activities, so definitely if you are extremely interested in investing in equities then perhaps you should try out for their equity research division when you enter and their sign ups begin. Just take note that you'll have to have some form of prior knowledge, it won't just be a " go in and have a general interview", it's more of a serious interest club so they'll expect applicants to do a stock recommendation as their entrance criteria. However, getting in has alot of perks because you'll be surrounded by like minded individuals that can help you along your journey, as well as provide you important networking contacts for your future!
So, read up on accounting, understand the 3 financial statements and their uses in evaluation of firm performances, and just be up to date with the general going ons in the economy. As for whether it is hard to break into the industry, I think as long as you have the passion for what you do, we are all treated equally in the eyes of the interviewer. Most of the time it is mainly because the investment side is more traditionally male dominated, but if you're good at it, then you'll have no trouble breaking in!
I agree with Jonathan that your mods may not teach you much about investments, especially having taken some finance mods myself and having talked to others. From what others say, your first accounting mod and finance mod give you a good foundation on how to look at financial statements and basic invesment concepts like time value of money and financial statment analysis.
Like what the rest have said, CCAs can give you some help in starting to invest. But I would think that learning on your own can be much more helpful also, to complement what you learn.
What you can do before Uni
If I were you, reading books about finance such as the Intelligent Investor, or taking online courses on Cousera or Udemy can give you a starting point before school actually starts. I actually know friends who started investing on FX just by reading books. They even have others passing them money to invest in FX, so they have become mini fund managers. The internet has a wealth of resources already, so you don't neccessarily have to wait for school to start before learning.