The Value of Soft Skills in Finance

Written by Paul Nameth

Paul is a Sales Development Representative at The Selling Factory and finance student at the University of Florida starting the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) combined degree program next fall. Whether he’s DJing at events or shredding lead guitar in a band, Paul enjoys creating experiences through music in his free time.

“But how is this going to help me in the future?”

This is the exact question I ask myself when I’m attending a lengthy lecture, blankly staring at a sea of words and numbers with both eyes half-shut, or forcing myself to understand the derivative of a complex function in calculus class.

As an aspiring investment banker, I spend time every day analyzing formulas, tools, and case studies with the goals of performing well in my classes, as well as gaining a better understanding of finance’s role in business functioning. 

While preparing for a competitive career, I realized I was never going to be the number one student. There would always be someone reading more than me, studying more than me, and spending more time thinking about everything. However, in the pursuit of a career in finance, good grades are not enough.

Separating Yourself From the Rest 

Seeking a career in finance, students must differentiate themselves from their peers. Most students rely on investment banking internships to separate themselves, which makes getting an internship at a financial institution extremely competitive. 

Because of this reality, depending solely on investment banking experiences to gain access into this field could limit your options. To separate yourself from competition, it is imperative to take an internship in sales.

“Why sales?”, you might be thinking. In a sales role, you gain an understanding of relationship building and communication effectiveness. Investment banking is a career that requires you to conduct extensive research to prospect for clients and bring in new business, as well as manage all stages of a transaction, from the opening pitch to the closing investment contract.

The ability to communicate and articulate is important in any job, but specifically finance, in which you must convince some client or customer (a firm, investment group, individual, etc.) that you are providing them with the best fiscal solution for their individual needs. 

In sales, you have an unmatched opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates through growing in the art and science of sales. In a sea of many qualified investment bankers, soft skills are exactly what employers are looking for. 

Communication Effectiveness In Finance 

One of the most important of these skills is communication and soft skills. An analysis by LinkedIn showed that 57.9% of new finance hires who changed jobs in 2014-15 listed communication as one of their strong suits. 

Soft skills are essential for business owners to finance their own business, and they come in just as handy when working in the financial services industry. In finance, you can use your knowledge of sales to leverage all kinds of opportunities and take your experience and practice to stand apart from others with similar knowledge and skill sets. 

Spending time selling various goods and services has given me a solid understanding of how to speak and think in a way that focuses on the benefit that I can provide to others. Additionally, the financial services industry is changing rapidly, and firms must know their people have the skills they need to maximize their performance and potential. 

By developing communication skills, working with clients, and learning how to sell, you can successfully translate your sales skill set to a long-term career in finance.

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.