Hello, I am trying to obtain a position as an equity research assistant but I am getting no where fast with my job search. I am currently using indeed.com to find and apply for positions. Is there a better method? I worked in public accounting for 2 years and have 2 undergrad degrees with majors in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics. I am a licensed CPA in CA and I passed level I of the CFA program. My undergrad degrees are from the U of Minnesota. I recognize that all this is secondary to experience but how do I break into the industry? Am I completely out of my league in trying to get a research assistant position with my background? Are there just not enough of these jobs available right now? Should I consider IB in the meantime? Or should I just go back to public accounting? Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Hi Hank, thanks for the reply. I’m not focusing on any one city. I basically will move where ever there is a position. In my cover letters, I just state that I am willing to interview as a local candidate. I’m living in Green Bay, WI right now. Cities I’m familiar with include: Minneapolis (went to school there), San Francisco (worked at a big-four firm there), Chicago (family there), Milwaukee (closest city).
A better method would be to tap into your alumni network, and also use LinkedIn to get some informational interviews and introductions to prospective employers. You might also need to do a better job tailoring your resume to what someone in IB/research would look for, versus just having it as a laundry list of various responsibilities you may have had in accounting. However, even so, getting into equity research is a tough proposition right now (and investment banking will be even more difficult). Just realize this is a function of the rough economy and don’t be too discouraged if you can’t find hiring opportunities, even once you’ve exhausted all the common channels.
char0147 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I’m living in Green Bay, WI right now. Cities I’m > familiar with include: Minneapolis (went to school > there), San Francisco (worked at a big-four firm > there), Chicago (family there), Milwaukee (closest > city). I live in SF and can say there are some jobs in SF in the field but most of them are not great. I have a couple of friends looking, and they’re having decent luck on the CFA SF job board (several have had interviews but no one has closed the deal yet). You might want to look into that, though it is a pay site. Actually, check out the national CFA job board (located on the CFAI website), which has the same jobs that the SF board has plus jobs in other cities. I have a good front office job in SF and found it on the CFA board, so it can work, but that was almost two years ago. Good luck.
Thanks for the advice numi. I think you are exactly right with the network approach and tailoring my resume, which I will definitely pursue. I guess in some sense it is comforting to know that the job market for ER assistants is weak. Getting zero responses from firms has been quite frustrating. Also knowing the IB job market is even worse will save me a lot of time, so I definitely appreciate the input. I’ve been at this for over a year and I think reality is starting to sink in that going back to public accounting (big-four) might be the best option if this dead ends. Then in the meantime, try to pass the next two levels of the CFA and possibly consider the MBA route down the road. Thanks again for the advice and information. Much appreciated!
Thanks bromion for the recommendation. I will check out the CFAI website and see what I can dig up. I used to live in Hayes Valley; SF is a great city.
Hope at last! I had a phone call this morning with a firm in Milwaukee for a sell-side equity research position. The call was with an internal recruiter who is screening candidates. (It would be awesome to make it to the interview process). She said it would take about two weeks to let me know if they are interested in interviewing me. This is probably premature but can anyone give me any advice on what to expect during a sell-side interview for equity research. She said the first interview is with a Senior Analyst and the second interview is with an HR manager. Thanks!
char0147 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Hope at last! I had a phone call this morning > with a firm in Milwaukee for a sell-side equity > research position. The call was with an internal > recruiter who is screening candidates. (It would > be awesome to make it to the interview process). > She said it would take about two weeks to let me > know if they are interested in interviewing me. > > This is probably premature but can anyone give me > any advice on what to expect during a sell-side > interview for equity research. She said the first > interview is with a Senior Analyst and the second > interview is with an HR manager. Thanks! I don’t want to get your hopes up too high. It’s still a horrible job market, and competition from people already with finance experience is incredibly intense. IB is going to be even tougher to break into. IB is a club where you may not need the knowledge (being a junior banker), because they just do a LOT of grunt work, but you need a prestigious lineage. Either a really top school or existing solid IB work experience. Even though, literally, a bunch of them just make powerpoints, put together data for pitchbooks etc… And to be in equity research, L1 doesn’t cut it. There’s plenty of people passed L2 and L3 with some work experience trying to do the same, competing for the same job. You might be a very smart person and hard worker, but honestly, your chances of breaking into equity research are very slim given all the circumstances. hate to be the grim reaper, best of luck though
Congratulations on getting the phone call. You don’t know how happy id be to even get some calls. So you have an degree in Accounting, Finance, Econ, and Stats, passed the CPA, level 1 CFA, 2 years experience, and still have trouble finding something. Your resume is impressive- work it to your advantage. Graduated from Duluth this year but am a Twin cities local, Minnesota REPRESENT! BTW use the GoldPass system on the U’s page to look for jobs, you need your old username and password to get in, they don’t come across often in our field but when they do… also not all the jobs are entry level; many require experience.
Good luck. Every interview is different but in general you should emphasize ability to build financial models with IS/BS/CFS interlinking, ability to read and understand 10Ks, 10Qs, S-1s etc., writing skills, attention to detail, willingness to work long hours and enthusiasm for investing and analyzing equities. It’s a tough market still.
iteracom - You were spot on. I got the rejection email today even though I thought the phone screening went really well. In your opinion, what is a good job to take in the interim until things improve. Public accounting, corporate finance, trading, back office? I really do want to break into equity research no matter what it takes or how long it takes. jayjay77 - Thank you for the advice. Much appreciated. Two questions that stuck out during my phone screening were ‘Do you have financial modeling experience?’ and ‘Do you have valuation experience?’. I really don’t have either even though I know my way around financial statements pretty well. How do I learn these skills? Books, online classes, etc?
wallstreetprep has a great online software package for modeling. Learn it inside and out. Then next time you get phone screen questions, keep in mind that saying no means you will not be interviewing next stage.
So basically, I just lie when they ask if I have valuation and financial modeling experience? Works for me. Wish I knew that before the phone screening.
Black Swan Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > wallstreetprep has a great online software package > for modeling. Learn it inside and out. Then next > time you get phone screen questions, keep in mind > that saying no means you will not be interviewing > next stage. Pretty funny that the name isn’t blocked out when you quote message in the reply box. I figured it was them you were talking about.
Yes, they will screen you out if you don’t have financial modeling experience. You can take a class as mentioned or teach yourself. If you are an accountant it should not be very difficult to learn, if fact you can probably do it already. It’s really just entering historical IS/BS/CF data into a spreadsheet, projecting forward based on reasonable assumptions, calculating free cash flows and discounting back to get valuation, netting out debt to get equity value and dividing by shares outstanding to get value per share. This is a bit of an oversimplification but the point is it’s not really difficult if you know accounting. If you can’t break into ER right now, I think working at a major company in finance is great preparation. If you can land a position doing financial planning, forecasting, capital project analysis etc., it is basically the same skill set… and then you can bring “industry experience” to ER as well.