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Less competitive financial jobs

Long before I started my job search, it became clear to me that coming from unknown school in such economy I would have hard times looking for entry level positions in equity research. Now the deeper I get into my search, the more hopeless it seems. I guess, there are many recent grads among AFers that can relate to this kind of situation.

In view of this, I decided that it’s time that I shift my focus to some of the less competitive fields of finance. In order of preference, other fields I’m considering include: risk management/analysis, credit analysis, fixed incomes, corporate finance, middle/back office.

So, what I will be very interested in learning from you, guys, is: which of the aforementioned fields of finance do you think I stand a chance of getting into, considering the profile I’ve outlined below? And if you have any suggestions as how to improve my profile or what other jobs I may find interesting, I’ll be glad if you share.

My profile can be summed up as follows:
* B.S. in Finance, 4.0/4.0 GPA from a decent albeit completely unknown university in Eastern Europe (graduated a month ago)
* Passed CFA level I this June
* Passion about researching companies and industries (from investor’s or lender’s standpoint)
* Some interest towards quantitative methods
* Advanced proficiency in Excel, Access, VBA and some familiarity with C#, MySQL, Bloomberg terminals and statistical software
* Some irrelevant administrative work experience
* I occasionally publish articles on my financial blog (e.g. http://seekingalpha.com/article/252531-strong-outlook-for-russian-teleco...)
* I’m currently in NYC, but I’m ready to move wherever I can find a job I’m looking for

Thanks. And sorry if I was to wordy

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

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I’ll give you (and anyone else that cares to read a) big help.

Go to some offshore location - Luxembourg / Cayman etc etc etc and you will be in a much less competitive financial arena. The jobs tend to be dominated by locals. The locals often get a well paying job and don’t even have a college degree in many cases. We’re talking typically low six figures for the locals but also low tax (say 20%) plus 9-5 work hours. You will be a rockstar. You can get in direct oftentimes and also initially by contract. Seen it done a million times and no A type personalities. You are probably capped at about $300k if you become COO etc but locals that own their own firm (e.g. trusts) rake it in by the million. And they still know fk all about the markets…

So let me repeat: high wages, low taxes, easy lifestyle, low competition.

aut viam inveniam aut faciam

Dude_CFA Wrote:
——————————————————-
> I’ll give you (and anyone else that cares to read
> a) big help.
>
> Go to some offshore location - Luxembourg / Cayman
> etc etc etc and you will be in a much less
> competitive financial arena. The jobs tend to be
> dominated by locals. The locals often get a well
> paying job and don’t even have a college degree in
> many cases. We’re talking typically low six
> figures for the locals but also low tax (say 20%)
> plus 9-5 work hours. You will be a rockstar. You
> can get in direct oftentimes and also initially by
> contract. Seen it done a million times and no A
> type personalities. You are probably capped at
> about $300k if you become COO etc but locals that
> own their own firm (e.g. trusts) rake it in by the
> million. And they still know fk all about the
> markets…
>
> So let me repeat: high wages, low taxes, easy
> lifestyle, low competition.

Looking offshore sounds like a good idea, but I don’t think the grass is greener everywhere. From what I’ve heard, Luxembourg mainly offers legal / accounting / administrative positions.

yet another great advice from Dude_cfa i agree completely as it is my personal experience also.

cityboy Wrote:
>
> Looking offshore sounds like a good idea, but I
> don’t think the grass is greener everywhere. From
> what I’ve heard, Luxembourg mainly offers legal /
> accounting / administrative positions.

Sorry, I should have added also mind numbingly boring (with one or two exceptions).

aut viam inveniam aut faciam

How exactly do you go about getting a job in Luxembourg? Wouldn’t they expect you to speak French?

Dude_CFA, thanks for the advice. I would have guessed that job market there is just the opposite of what you’ve described. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for me right now, because I will lose my US immigration status if I find employment outside the country. Maybe you can think of some less competitive regions within the US?

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

Commercial banking?

dmiller385, I appreciate your input. I was thinking about commercial credit analysis, but I can’t seem to find any other entry-level job options in commercial banking that would allow me to put my skills to use. Maybe you could specify what specific positions you had on your mind?

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

Dude_CFA, could you please specify more about above mentioned offshore locations? If we’re talking about Luxembourg, I heard that there is quite large competinion, althought not that large as in US. And what other countries would qualify your “offshore” criterion? Malta? I hope you answer in more details because it could be very important for my future career planning.

B-sea loved your articles on seeking alpha. Good Job. Why not use those to small boutique firms here in NYC? Or I guess you already have done that? Anyway, I came from abroad as well, but studied in Switzerland. I’m not doing ER, my hours are crappy and my pay is meh. But it’s an interesting experience. Maybe you can try boston as well? There’s a rise in sustainability research there in small firms (usif.org). Good luck.

zinamarina, thanks, I’m glad you liked my article. As long as it involves equity/fixed income research, I don’t really care whether the job comes from BB or a tiny boutique. Unfortunately, boutiques don’t seem to have too many open entry-level positions right now either.

I’m browsing jobs all across Eastern US. Boston is actually at the top of my list - really love that city. I’m afraid your link doesn’t work. I’ve googled “Sustainability research”, but most of those jobs seem to require Engineering or Environmental science degree and have little or nothing to do with finance. Perhaps, I’m looking at a wrong place though.

Again, thanks for the input

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

Hm I actually looked at some research jobs. They would focus on corporate governance and socially responsible investing. Like MSCI (which I heard they’re hiring by the way). What about financial journalism? What about Cali? Or Chicago. I’ve heard good things although I’m not ready to leave NY. Keep looking though. I’m sure you will find something.

I’ve looked up MSCI openings, but they seem to focus exlusively on PhD candidates. I will look them up again in case they get some less demanding positions to fill, so thanks anyway.

Journalism: didn’t really think about it. Aren’t you supposed to be a native-speaker to do that?

Good point about California and Chicago. I am now sending out my resume all across the country. I think today I’ve even applied for a job in Idaho

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

optiix Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Dude_CFA, could you please specify more about
> above mentioned offshore locations? If we’re
> talking about Luxembourg, I heard that there is
> quite large competinion, althought not that large
> as in US. And what other countries would qualify
> your “offshore” criterion? Malta? I hope you
> answer in more details because it could be very
> important for my future career planning.

Offshore is typically a place where there are tax advantages relative to the main country. However the following places normally fall under the definition off the top of my head:

Malta/Lux/Liechenstein/Monaco/The Channel Islands/Isle of Man/Cayman Islands/Most of the the Caribbean Islands e.g. Bahamas/Netherland Antilles/Irish Business District

You will note that most funds are set up for distribution in these countries as they offer either great tax incentives for the funds (and often individuals) or are in places where the regulation is very simplified and it is easy to set up funds. Basically, 99% of any place listed in a funds prospectus as the domicile is a tax haven. If you are a Fund Director you can spend time flitting to one or another of the above mentioned places - nice work if you can get it.

I have a feeling that Montevideo & Singapore may also have some advantages of this type.

If you want to discuss more, set up another thread so we dont detract from the OP request and I will answer there.

For the OP, you may want to try somewhere like Bloomberg/The SEC/Moodys/S&P/Fitch.
These are reasonably well regarded service providers to the finance industry in general and can be a stepping stone to an Investment Bank and so on.

aut viam inveniam aut faciam

Dude_CFA, the same week you wrote this last post I was invited for an interview for a great entry-level job in financial services. I got the offer and started a week ago. I’ve got to say that things turned out much better than expected.

Lessons learned: couple of weeks into seemingly futile job search is too early to feel discouraged.

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

Thats great - what are you doing?

Awesome! Congrats. What are you doing? Did you apply through a recruiter? Or company’s website? Or other medium? I’m also looking to move on from my position that’s why I ask.

Well done. Life has a habit of working out.

aut viam inveniam aut faciam

Way to go B_SEA!

Thanks guys.

As far as I can remember, I found it through indeed.com and then I applied for it using the company’s website. Basically, I will be involved in qualitative industry research. If I were to list the aspects of my profile that allowed me to land this job, I would definitely emphasize fluency in foreign languages (they needed someone who can do research on companies in both OECD and former USSR), background in finance (especially the fact that I passed CFA L1), and my informal experience in equity research.

I was told that in a couple of months it’s going to become somewhat repetitive, but it’s nevertheless a great milestone for my career and in today’s job market I could not have hoped for a better outcome.

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

hey b_sea can you help me in involving myself in informal experience in equity research. How do you start on your own? I am gonnna be exactly in your situation next year.

Hey bluegeneP

My approach was actually very straight forward. I picked an industry that doesn’t get too much analytical coverage and might be interesting for U.S. investors to learn more about. Then I wrote a couple of articles on that industry (you can find a link in my first post) attempting to apply as many analytical tools as possible. I found that reading financial statements and footnotes of the companies that you analyze is the best way to start, so I suggest you look those up first. That way you will get an idea of what’s worth focusing on in your article and how to go about your research (what themes to discuss, what factors to analyze, etc.)

BBK: Adventurer, Individualist, Guardian, Celebrety, Straight Arrow

Research is slowly turning into a commodity and number crunching has already become a commodity, you can’t expect less competition in these fields, you’ll be the one who will accept the price in a market flooded with oversupply. Research has cut throat competition, but a mixture of strong aptitude in research and number crunching combined with excellent communication skills will give you an edge, the combination is not easy to find while many firms are looking for it. Basically you’ll need to have a mixture of a banker’s work ethic and a consultant’s personality and presentation skills, to have an edge to charter less competitive grasslands.

I never totally understood the whole having banking experience vs equity research experience. Some people say banking experience is like some awesome gold ticket to the future. But from what I’ve seen, being the b*tch for 2 years learning how to put together pitch books, running errands, and getting good powerpoint skills doesn’t seem all that awesome. Generally the associates do the modeling anyway, so there’s no real skills learned.

But as a equity research associate, you actually learn everything about an industry, become an expert of a dozen companies within that sector, modeling financials, forecasting earnings, talking with clients and investors. You learn valuation and presentation skills. I would think ER experience is far more valuable than any junior banker

Anyone who has been both a junior banker and research associate chime in?

.

risk management.

don’t set your goals for your career too early. you will miss out on some truly great opportunities along the way. You will learn as you go through your career what you’re good at and what you’re willing to sacrifice your life for. within 5 years, your goals will most likely change.