Long term goal, specialization vs generalist

To give some background, I cover an esoteric industry with unique valuation techniques. Would it be best to really grind hard and learn everything possible about it (my plan would be to order textbooks and pretty much become an expert, 100% focus), or would it be smart to spend time keeping up with other industries as well, doing research and investing? Or what percent of your continuous education would you dedicate to each? I want the highest possible NPV so I’m asking because I want to know what y’all think would be in demand. Willing to put in tons of effort to make it happen and have an idea of what i plan to do but want some guidance and thoughts, thanks.

I think you should go all in at what you are currently doing. Very few people, companies or anything out there make money or fame doing little bit of everything.

All depends on the demand for that specific skillset and the supply of that labor. The blade cuts both ways. If there’s lots of demand and you can be one of the few people to meet that demand, you’ll have yourself a high paying job with great job security. On the other hand, if the demand is mediocre or there’s more supply than demand, you’ll find yourself with very little job security and long wait times between job opportunities.

At this point I’ve listened to most famous investors as well as experienced my own track record. I’m a big believer that you should do what you know and if you want an analytical or data edge, you have to be an expert in industry. This is a long term investor perspective and not a hedge fund six day position comments. I’m not saying you can’t be in expert in several different industries, but I think you have to focus. Gabelli advice to people wanting to work in finance is work in an industry first, then cover it. It’s what I did and I’m a fraction of some of these guys ages and still spot their knowledge gaps. I just think it’s tough to be an expert from the outside

most hedge funds btw are long term investors.

You are an animal in a dense Alaska forest…If you are a mediocre runner, swimmer, and tree climber you will be eaten by wolves, bears, and foxes. But if you can’t swim at all and cannot run but you are an expert tree climber (Just for craps and giggles) you might live.

Echo what huskie says . All depends on what this esoteric field is uou are referring to

So…what do you want to do long term?

So…what do you want to do long term?

That may be true, which is why I described the type of hedge fund. Of course, the hedge funds I talk to every day will be short term in nature because that’s who is doing the most volume. Just a little bias is my experience sample for sure

This is the age old risk/reward trade off. If you become effing awesome in said esotaric field, then it might be worthwhile. But I think it depends on what level you’re at. If you’re at the relatively junior level (Associate or below) it’s probably worth generalizing. Being special might be an add on benefit, but I would count on it. It also depends on the firm too. Most job descriptions require IB or ER experience, not what it is in. And if your experience is that esoteric, you have to think about the upside there. If the upside is in some random specific firm that nobody has ever heard of, you’re probably better off in a big firm with nothing to do with that end goal.

Thanks all for your post, really appreciate it. If you’re curious about industry (it’s actually a subset of an industry, esoteric is probably not the right word, everybody’s heard of it but the valuation methods and assumptions are pretty unique), shoot me a pm.

To answer Palantir’s question, I’m not sure what I want to do long-term. I tend to take opportunities as they appear. I know a lot more now then I did a few years ago regarding finance, career options, industries… I’d imagine in a few years from now, I’ll be even more experienced and can better answer. One thing that’s always been important to me though is making a good living.

IMO, for what it’s worth, I’m on the edge of junior level, but maybe to some I am only that. It’s probably best to really learn the industry inside and out (so that I can get my promotion, pay increases that much faster) than to generalize at the moment. Master it, then move on to the next thing might be the right thing to do. I’ve got a couple technical books that are on my wishlist, couple thousand pages is nothing… after that I’ll rethink.

In my humble opinion (granted I’m not on the buy-side) there is a significant value add as a specialist. There’s no way that a generalist covering health care, oil and gas, or metals and mining comes close to a specialist. If you consistently 20-50 names within the same space you’re going to really understand the nuisances and what’s driving the stocks. As a generalist you can certainly get up to speed, etc. but the value add just isn’t the same.

I think this is why you see folks from the street move to specialist shops to cover their craft.

From what I recall you’re a valuation guy, so you already understand part of the story. If you haven’t already, I’d read best practices for equity research analysts. Couple your industry knowledge with the thought process from this book and you should be a-okay.

These are just my observations/thoughts from the seat I’m in. Others may agree/disagree.

^ I just bought that book, it’s being delivered, really looking forward to reading it. You recall correctly, I was in valuation. SS ER now.

^If you’re in ER, I’d just master the sector you work in. You can develop a little niche, which is nice. Yeah, you’ll probably be typecast…but that will happen anyways. So over and above the work required to master your industry, you should also be learning other stuff too. TL:DR do both.

I’m curious about the sector…utilities is esoteric…or maybe biotech? IIRC you were premed…