success skills for careers in financeThe media continues to report instances of fraud occurring in financial markets. The latest incident is the Wells Fargo accounts scandal, where many employees were opening new, unauthorized accounts in customer’s names to reach performance targets. The scandal seemed to be systemic, with thousands of employees perpetrating the ruse. It eventually took down the company’s Chief Executive Officer who resigned Wednesday amid media backlash and a grueling congressional inquiry.1

Since management was seemingly complicit in the Wells Fargo scandal, we should see increased scrutiny of corporate leaders by regulators and compliance officers alike. Short-term, this could take its toll on top talent pursuing Wells Fargo careers. But longer-term, a look at different types of intelligence could offer insight into this case that we can all benefit from.

Eight Different Types of Intelligence

According to a variety of academic studies, there are eight different types of intelligence.2 Here is a listing and brief overview of each:


The visual perception of the environment and the body’s orientation in it. Demonstrates sharp observational and problem solving skills through a creative and active imagination.


This involves bodily movements, where skill is assessed through hand eye coordination and dexterity. Success in sports is often a measuring stick.


Expressing oneself through music or related, creative mediums. Skills can be enhanced by playing instruments or simply listening to music.


The ability to communicate in a variety of forms. Skills can be improved through reading, writing, speaking or studying another language.


Being touch with one’s natural surroundings. May involve observing and studying the environment, including plants and animals.


This is the analytical or mathematical types of intelligence which are commonly associated with traditional “intelligence”. It involves pattern recognition and problem solving.


Sensitivities to one’s own feelings, goals and anxieties. It involves not only the recognition of these, but the ability to control them.


The ability to interact effectively with others. Recognizing and understanding other’s moods, feelings, temperament and motivation.

Charles Handy and Different Intelligences

Best-selling British author and lecturer, Charles Handy has been studying the various types of intelligence for decades. He also evaluates managerial talent using atypical methods, often employing these expanded ideas of intelligence.

Handy revealed in an interview that interpersonal intelligence is a much more important skill for managers than analytics, often the benchmark evaluation method for managers.3 This conclusion came following a case study of British secondary school children who were tasked with producing a safety video. He noticed that the successful leaders or managers on the project turned out to be those with the strongest interpersonal skills.

Since an early age, people are often made to believe that academic or analytical intelligence is the most important type of intelligence. But we all know ‘smart’ people who do not possess the best social skills. They may possess sharp analytical/logical prowess but clearly lack in terms of interpersonal skills. Frankly, it’s very difficult for managers with this deficiency to gain respect, often placing a ceiling on their upward mobility.

Handy believes one can be successful by excelling in different areas of intelligence, not just the traditional measuring stick, analytical.

Handy tells the story of soccer superstar and former English National Team captain David Beckham, who apparently wasn’t exactly known for his academic prowess.4

But few can argue that Beckham doesn’t possess remarkable kinesthetic skills on a soccer field. Also, his interpersonal skills are also outstanding or else he wouldn’t have been voted captain of the national team or gone on to have such incredible off the field success.

Another area Handy feels especially strong about is the “obsession” many managers have with shareholder value.5 This often is because compensation is tied to stock performance. When this is the case, the pressure to hit performance targets can seem overwhelming. But managers must remember there are numerous stakeholders with a vested interest in the company including customers and employees-not just equity shareholders. This is a lesson Wells Fargo could take to heart amid their current situation.

Online Masters in Finance Degree

We know that earning an online MBA in Finance or online Masters in Finance degree puts ambitious financial professionals on an upward career trajectory- often the fast-track to management positions.

But don’t forget, while a Master’s degree may be a pre-requisite, almost a requirement, for today’s managers, there must be an accompanying level of ‘people skills’ to go along with it. This is why selecting an online Master’s program with a certain structure is so important. Hybrid programs, encompassing both online and campus setting, are a great asset.

Notwithstanding the networking benefits, in person meetings are an invaluable experience. Finally, make sure your online Master’s program has a Capstone project, which often connects real world with academic theory

Striking the right balance between detail-oriented, analytical skills and interpersonal and leadership qualities makes all the difference for successful managers. Perhaps if Wells Fargo management had contemplated these concepts they wouldn’t be in their current predicament.



Success Skills for Careers in Finance
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Success Skills for Careers in Finance
A look at the eight different types of intelligence that could offer insight into different careers in finance and various considerations.
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