7/2/12

Mod (Andy) note: This thread is from December '11, but Flake said he is still up for answering questions, so fire away

Given the holiday season, I'm in a relatively good mood and feel the need to give back a little. I've seen a bunch of these "fielding questions" threads and I thought they were extremely helpful.

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role and I figured this would be a good time to do an entry-level Q&A session on ER. I will do my best to answer any questions and PM's. It might take me some time to get back to you with all the family crap going on this weekend.

Quick disclaimer: there are a few things I will not feel comfortable discussing given my relatively short time in ER, as I don't want to spread misinformation and will note when I'm not 100% sure. Sometimes, I will simply respond with an "I don't know" to questions that are out of my league. Additionally, I came from a back/middle-office job (also spent a year there) and will answer any questions that have to do with that.

Mods, if there is not enough interest or if this was done before, please delete the thread and I will attempt to do this again next year.

Comments (150)

12/23/11

What is your career path? You mentioned you came from a back-middle-office job....
What is the most attractive thing in your job?
What do you research?

Thanks for the thread!

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12/23/11
Walkerr:

What is your career path? You mentioned you came from a back-middle-office job....
What is the most attractive thing in your job?
What do you research?

Thanks for the thread!

My career trajectory changes with new developments. Currently, I'm seeing a few options I can pursue:

1) Stay where I am right now, work towards my CFA designation, and hope that my analyst throws a couple of coverage stocks my way. After that, I can try to make the move to the buy-side, work in the industry, or go to a different sell-side firm as a lead analyst. If my analyst left and I was offered the lead spot at my current bank, I would probably still move to a different firm. Why? I heard that you will always be the "associate" in the eyes of your sales force and clients, basically, the guy who moved up only because someone else left...wouldn't want that.

2) Go to b-school and try something else entirely (i.e. banking).

The most attractive thing about my job? I'll take that as "what do I enjoy the most."

I get a huge kick out of being viewed as helpful to a client or when my analyst is asking me for my opinion on something. My favorite two quotes would be something like: Institutional Sales Guy "My account doubled up on his position after speaking with you yesterday and said you were very helpful. We already made $X from these guys this month" or Senior Analyst: "Do you agree with my assumptions here? Am I understanding this correctly? What do you think we should add here?" Maybe I just need people to pad my ego, but I enjoy the fact that in addition to any grunt work I do (updating models, writing up reports, etc), I get to provide my input, which is also viewed as valuable in certain cases.

What do I research?

Specialty finance companies, which can range from mortgage REITs to business development companies.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

What's a typical day like? To get more specific, what did you do at work last Thursday? What time did you get in and out?

Thanks for doing this.

12/23/11
Rana Clamitans:

What's a typical day like? To get more specific, what did you do at work last Thursday? What time did you get in and out?

Thanks for doing this.

December is pretty slow for my team. That said, last week was unique, we were busy Monday-Wednesday and then things really slowed down on Thursday and Friday. The things on our plate last week consisted of publishing a 2012 outlook piece and picking up coverage of another company.

In addition to us initiating coverage and publishing an outlook piece, last Thursday was also a big macro/key data day. I'll try to do one of those timelines, with a lot of detail:

6:50AM: I get to my desk (this is actually early for me, I usually come in at 7:30-7:45). My analyst is on the morning sales call today, where he will discuss our outlook and the new coverage name. I quickly check Bloomberg and my industry specific news sources for any big headlines that we should be aware of prior to the morning meeting. I get myself some coffee and run down to the trading floor for the meeting. I would usually sit these out and just dial in.

7:20AM-8:00AM: Morning meeting, I sit through a bunch of other speakers until my analyst gets up to present. A couple of sales guys ask a few questions, my analyst handles himself well and comes off confident.

8:30AM: Initial jobless claims, PPI, and the NY Fed Empire manufacturing index hit the tape. I briefly review the numbers and the street's consensus estimates. Any sub-component of GDP or the unemployment rate is important for my sector (as is for most), but we don't publish anything unless the news is shocking and will cause us to change our estimates or ratings.

8:50AM: Our economist blasts out a note with his thoughts on the data that just came out. I review to make sure nothing stands out, give my analyst a brief rundown of the note.

9:00AM-10:00AM: I check the futures, look at my coverage stocks' off-hour prices, and see that not much is going on. I shoot the shit with the guys around me, discussing holiday travel plans, etc.

10:00AM-11:30AM: My analyst makes/takes a few more calls with various accounts and sales people and discusses the new coverage name as well as the big outlook report, while I rebuild one of our messier models and clean it up.

12:00PM-4:00PM: I get lunch, do "maintenance work" items which include things like updating our industry comp table, writing up a "to-do list" for my offshore associate (we have a guy overseas that does random/mundane crap for us), and I update our 100 page marketing presentation for my analyst's marketing trip in January.

4:00PM-6:00PM: Three of our companies post dividends after market close, two of them are below our estimates and one in-line. I write up three notes, one for each company (not long, 1-2 pages), with our commentary, and any change in our 4Q expectations.

6:00PM-6:30PM: My analyst reviews the notes I wrote up, and submits them for compliance approval.

6:30PM-7:00PM: I wait for compliance/supervisory analysts to approve the notes and release them to the public. Everything goes smoothly and I go home.

This week, with people out on vacation and things moving slowly, I've been coming in around 9:30 and leaving around 4:30, checking my blackberry in case something happens later after market hours.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/29/12
Flake:
Rana Clamitans:

What's a typical day like? To get more specific, what did you do at work last Thursday? What time did you get in and out?

Thanks for doing this.

December is pretty slow for my team. That said, last week was unique, we were busy Monday-Wednesday and then things really slowed down on Thursday and Friday. The things on our plate last week consisted of publishing a 2012 outlook piece and picking up coverage of another company.

In addition to us initiating coverage and publishing an outlook piece, last Thursday was also a big macro/key data day. I'll try to do one of those timelines, with a lot of detail:

6:50AM: I get to my desk (this is actually early for me, I usually come in at 7:30-7:45). My analyst is on the morning sales call today, where he will discuss our outlook and the new coverage name. I quickly check Bloomberg and my industry specific news sources for any big headlines that we should be aware of prior to the morning meeting. I get myself some coffee and run down to the trading floor for the meeting. I would usually sit these out and just dial in.

7:20AM-8:00AM: Morning meeting, I sit through a bunch of other speakers until my analyst gets up to present. A couple of sales guys ask a few questions, my analyst handles himself well and comes off confident.

8:30AM: Initial jobless claims, PPI, and the NY Fed Empire manufacturing index hit the tape. I briefly review the numbers and the street's consensus estimates. Any sub-component of GDP or the unemployment rate is important for my sector (as is for most), but we don't publish anything unless the news is shocking and will cause us to change our estimates or ratings.

8:50AM: Our economist blasts out a note with his thoughts on the data that just came out. I review to make sure nothing stands out, give my analyst a brief rundown of the note.

9:00AM-10:00AM: I check the futures, look at my coverage stocks' off-hour prices, and see that not much is going on. I shoot the shit with the guys around me, discussing holiday travel plans, etc.

10:00AM-11:30AM: My analyst makes/takes a few more calls with various accounts and sales people and discusses the new coverage name as well as the big outlook report, while I rebuild one of our messier models and clean it up.

12:00PM-4:00PM: I get lunch, do "maintenance work" items which include things like updating our industry comp table, writing up a "to-do list" for my offshore associate (we have a guy overseas that does random/mundane crap for us), and I update our 100 page marketing presentation for my analyst's marketing trip in January.

4:00PM-6:00PM: Three of our companies post dividends after market close, two of them are below our estimates and one in-line. I write up three notes, one for each company (not long, 1-2 pages), with our commentary, and any change in our 4Q expectations.

6:00PM-6:30PM: My analyst reviews the notes I wrote up, and submits them for compliance approval.

6:30PM-7:00PM: I wait for compliance/supervisory analysts to approve the notes and release them to the public. Everything goes smoothly and I go home.

This week, with people out on vacation and things moving slowly, I've been coming in around 9:30 and leaving around 4:30, checking my blackberry in case something happens later after market hours.

Where is this "offshore" associate located ?

4/29/12
Gate_Crasher:

Where is this "offshore" associate located ?

India.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

How did you break into ER from BO/MO?

1/26/13

.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

Could you comment on the valuation models used; does anyone use DCF on the sell-side or is it all forecasting next quarters earnings and attaching a PE multiple? In terms of the work you do, what % is modelling and what % is report writing?

Thanks

12/23/11
Ovechkin08:

Could you comment on the valuation models used; does anyone use DCF on the sell-side or is it all forecasting next quarters earnings and attaching a PE multiple? In terms of the work you do, what % is modelling and what % is report writing?

Thanks

It varies by sector.

For example, since our companies are financial companies, we use book value multiples to value our stocks and set target prices. This is our primary tool. We also use a dividend model (our stocks pay consistent dividends) as a sanity check, but we do not forecast/discount other cash flows. Book value would be useless for something like Tech or Healthcare.

DCF is commonly used in other sectors but I think it's usually in addition to other valuation tools. I think most groups use a combination of intrinsic and relative methods for their valuation and to create a range of target prices. Also, very little technical analysis.

Can't speak for the other teams, but for me, the % split between time spent on report writing and modelling (excluding everything else) would be about 75/25.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

what do you think is the best type of preparation for your work - pick a specific sector and learn everything you can about it? or is it practically useless, considering the quality of information I am missing out on by not being at a bank? (i'm an undergrad)

Best Response
12/23/11
febreeze:

what do you think is the best type of preparation for your work - pick a specific sector and learn everything you can about it? or is it practically useless, considering the quality of information I am missing out on by not being at a bank? (i'm an undergrad)

I wouldn't focus on any single sector as a means of preparing for an ER job ahead of time, unless you are going into an interview and you already know what sector you are being interview for. Even if you do know that you are being interviewed by an analyst covering technology stocks well ahead of time, you should still stay away from pitching a technology stock to him/her. Odds are, given your lack of industry exposure, you will be torn apart and will probably say something stupid.

I would stick to just following the broad based markets and understanding the impact of any current macro event on the economy or a specific sector (that you are interviewing for). Industry specific knowledge will come while you're on the job. It can take several months to ramp up your knowledge, if not longer.

Let's use the technology sector example. If I had an interview with a tech analyst I would do the following as an undergrad:

- Read up on the news in the sector, familiarize yourself with the big players and any recent events or deals that went down. Look for any big technology breakthroughs and developments, etc.
- If your school has a Bloomberg/FactSet/CapitalIQ terminal, get your hands on a few research reports. Pay attention to what metrics are being used and are deemed as important. What valuation method(s) is being used for these types of companies?
- Determine which key macro forces are driving the industry demand/profits/growth. Consumer spending? GDP growth? Business/Capital expenditures?
- Prepare a stock pitch using the above information, preferably not from the technology sector, unless you are really confident. Try to challenge the consensus view, if you can pull that off and present a logical argument, it would look impressive.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

As I work at the other end of your output, how do you find dealing with the buy-side? Do you ever come away feeling this guy/client know (or doesn't) know his stuff?

Anything you wish you could tell clients that you wouldn't say in a 1 on 1?

12/23/11
alman:

As I work at the other end of your output, how do you find dealing with the buy-side? Do you ever come away feeling this guy/client know (or doesn't) know his stuff?

Anything you wish you could tell clients that you wouldn't say in a 1 on 1?

There was one incident with an institutional account, where we set up a meeting between two buy-side analysts (from the same fund) and company management (C-level guys). The analysts completely wasted management's time and not only made themselves look bad, but made our sales people (and us) feel like shit for dragging the CEO and CFO out to NYC from Boston.

Aside from that, the institutional guys are usually pretty knowledgeable, given the amount of time they put into the sector. It's been a year and so far I had no big issues with any of our accounts for the most part. There are a few big accounts where the analyst or PM will know so much about our space that we really have to prepare ahead of our calls. Nothing bad to say really...and if there was, it was so minor that I don't even remember it. I don't know about the other guys in ER though, I'm pretty laid back. Honestly though, it's our job and this is what I'm getting paid for. You can bet your ass I will be patient and helpful if you're willing to meet me half way.

Can't say the same for our retail clients that we deal with occasionally (PWM accounts). Also, our sales force can be frustrating at times.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

Awesome, here's another:

How much accounting knowledge is used in the way you research a company?

12/23/11
febreeze:

Awesome, here's another:

How much accounting knowledge is used in the way you research a company?

Bumpp

12/23/11
febreeze:

Awesome, here's another:

How much accounting knowledge is used in the way you research a company?

You need be very comfortable with financial statement analysis. Be able to identify weaknesses in the balance sheet and point out changes in the quality of earnings and cash flow (i.e. Sales increased 25% sequentially, but accounts receivable increased 30%, good or bad?). Be able to understand your sector specific metrics and ratios (i.e. leverage decreased one turn, why? What does this mean for next quarter?).

This is in addition to knowing accounting topics that are associated with valuing the company (DCF, multiples, etc.).

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

Why did you go for equity research on the trading side, instead of say asset management?

12/23/11
febreeze:

Why did you go for equity research on the trading side, instead of say asset management?

1) The potential publicity and recognition you get with being a sell-side analyst is attractive to me (I am a shy attention whore, if there is such a thing).
2) Location. My bank's AM division is located in a different office building, different part of town. It was much easier to meet and network with the sell-siders since I was in the same building as them.
3) Beggars can't be choosers. I would take anything just to get out of my BO role.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

Dear Flake,

If one puts in the effort and completes 2 or 3 levels of the CFA, does a reasonable amount of networking, and is willing to back it all up with an MBA if necessary, is a transition to ER from an unrelated field (let's hypothetically say public accounting) feasible? Given a reasonably qualified candidate in that scenario, do you think the MBA would be necessary?

12/23/11
obscenity:

Dear Flake,

If one puts in the effort and completes 2 or 3 levels of the CFA, does a reasonable amount of networking, and is willing to back it all up with an MBA if necessary, is a transition to ER from an unrelated field (let's hypothetically say public accounting) feasible? Given a reasonably qualified candidate in that scenario, do you think the MBA would be necessary?

This is a post where I will have to say that I'm not 100% sure and this is a subjective response. But here are my thoughts...

If you want to transition to ER, a CFA alone will not be that helpful, especially if your networking efforts are continuously unsuccessful. There are plenty of CFAs who are stuck in their current roles and are unable to make the move. An MBA, however, will give you a lot more options and will "re-brand" you (as everyone here likes to say).

I would say focus on networking and don't go beyond level 1 with the CFA (anything more than that is overkill in my opinion and will not add much incremental value when trying to break in). While you're networking kick off your b-school application process in case you come out empty. Complete your CFA once you make it into ER in order to advance your career.

Not sure if that's helpful at all.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11
Flake:

There are plenty of CFAs

ETHICS VIOLATION BRO

Good thread, thanks for taking the time to do another one of these.

12/24/11
whatwhatwhat:
Flake:

There are plenty of CFAs

ETHICS VIOLATION BRO

Good thread, thanks for taking the time to do another one of these.

Haha, eff you.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/23/11

I'm an accounting major, and economics minor - do you think I'm at a disadvantage compared with finance majors, when it comes to being more prepared for an equity research role?

Also, how much interaction between you and the traders on a daily basis?

And how much time do you spend on the phone with people who work at the company you are researching?

12/24/11
febreeze:

I'm an accounting major, and economics minor - do you think I'm at a disadvantage compared with finance majors, when it comes to being more prepared for an equity research role?

Also, how much interaction between you and the traders on a daily basis?

And how much time do you spend on the phone with people who work at the company you are researching?

1. I don't think you'll be at a disadvantage if you do econ+accounting instead of finance, unless your school is well known for a strong finance UG program. Then you might miss out on some OCR opportunities and have to deal with interviewers questioning your major selection.

2. Minimal interaction with our traders. The most common interaction I have with our trading desk is when I ask about large swings in our stock prices...things that I can't explain with headlines/macro alone. Usually they will comment with stuff like rotation out of safety, short squeeze, etc. My primary interaction is with our institutional equity sales force.

3. Varies by company. Usually we only deal with them on a quarterly basis, during earnings season when you have follow-up questions after the investor/analyst earnings call. Sometimes they will contact you and say "hey we want to discuss our results today if you have a chance". For most of our companies we have direct access to the CEO and/or CFO, but others want you to deal with Investor Relations first (which usually sucks because they don't know much and usually IR just tells you to wait while they ask someone who's informed). Anyway, I'm rambling at this point, but like I said - it varies by company and also by the type of question you're asking. I wouldn't say we speak to them often but we do have easy access to the companies and usually a very good working relationship.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11

thanks for the info, man. +1

12/24/11

I'm also wondering, how much training do you get on writing reports?

You said you shadowed them, and they were impressed; but what was the training like afterwards?

12/24/11
febreeze:

I'm also wondering, how much training do you get on writing reports?

You said you shadowed them, and they were impressed; but what was the training like afterwards?

We did have a "Business Writing" training module, which was part of the S&T training we attended (I think it was something like 4 weeks total, the Business Writing part was only half a day). However, all of that stuff will be relatively useless in writing research reports for your analyst. Here's why - your analyst will have his/her own style and you will have to mold your own writing rules and style to write like he or she does (given that your name will not even appear on the reports until you obtain your Series 7, 63, 86 and 87). You will learn how to write the reports and adapt while you're on the job.

It's funny because I came across a few essays I had to write in college and I don't recognize them, as if a stranger wrote them.

During my shadowing period, the analyst just threw stuff at me and I did it with no problems. The things were basic, like updating the models when the earnings press release came out, or putting together a few charts/graphs for the report, etc. So I think the "impressing" part was just due to my fit and behavior. I was enthusiastic at all times, didn't ask stupid questions, didn't make dumb mistakes (in fact, I caught a few), and I was just really happy to be there.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11

Flake,

This is all dead on in my opinion. I took a bit of a different route and am not at a BB, rather am with an independent ER shop. But one of the key things that I think you point out is that the report writing is about 75% of the job -- modeling is important, but creating a cogent piece that is well thought out is critical. Wish this would have been on here a year ago, would have saved me some errors (particularly pitching an apparel stock to a great retail analyst haha).

Enjoy the holidays!

12/24/11
golfer23:

Flake,

This is all dead on in my opinion. I took a bit of a different route and am not at a BB, rather am with an independent ER shop. But one of the key things that I think you point out is that the report writing is about 75% of the job -- modeling is important, but creating a cogent piece that is well thought out is critical. Wish this would have been on here a year ago, would have saved me some errors (particularly pitching an apparel stock to a great retail analyst haha).

Enjoy the holidays!

Thanks golfer. Happy holidays to you as well.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11

trying to start gathering votes for 2012 member of the year I see, thanks for the post Flake

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

12/24/11
AndyLouis:

trying to start gathering votes for 2012 member of the year I see, thanks for the post Flake

I am re-visiting my philosophy and approach to WSO as part of my quarter-life crisis.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11
Flake:
AndyLouis:

trying to start gathering votes for 2012 member of the year I see, thanks for the post Flake

I am re-visiting my philosophy and approach to WSO as part of my quarter-life crisis.

To think that one WSO happy hour could have so profound of an effect on a man's life...

12/24/11

HOLY SHIT, THE FUCKING APOCALYPSE HAS COME.

P.S. Awesome stuff flake

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

12/24/11
Will Hunting:

HOLY SHIT, THE FUCKING APOCALYPSE HAS COME.

P.S. Awesome stuff flake

Don't get used to it.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11

Thanks for sharing Flake.

12/24/11

Useful information. Did you cold call or cold email the research guys when you were starting your networking?

12/24/11
Unforseen:

Useful information. Did you cold call or cold email the research guys when you were starting your networking?

I cold emailed only. It didn't feel as awkward since it was internally. I tried to hook the analyst with a good question, something that wasn't too obvious. I didn't want the analyst to just say "hey take a look at our note last week, we addressed this topic recently /end thread."

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11

How many reports would you say that you work on per week?

Also, if you can share, what is the process by which you gather all the information for a report, i.e. what are the steps from picking a company to handing the report to your analyst?

I have access to a bloomberg terminal through my school, and would like to develop a basic research technique.

12/24/11
febreeze:

Also, if you can share, what is the process by which you gather all the information for a report, i.e. what are the steps from picking a company to handing the report to your analyst?

Seconding this.
As an undergraduate hoping to break into ER, what are some suggested resources and books we should be reading (besides the usual - WSJ, FT, Graham and Dodd, etc.)? It seems that most jobs open for ER require several years' experience -- do you have any advice for individuals who are trying to get in right after undergrad? In addition, do you know if it is generally easy (or possible) to go from IB --> ER? Or should I instead be trying for S&T --> ER?

Currently: clinical psychologist (in training)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

12/25/11
chicandtoughness:
febreeze:

Also, if you can share, what is the process by which you gather all the information for a report, i.e. what are the steps from picking a company to handing the report to your analyst?

Seconding this.
As an undergraduate hoping to break into ER, what are some suggested resources and books we should be reading (besides the usual - WSJ, FT, Graham and Dodd, etc.)? It seems that most jobs open for ER require several years' experience -- do you have any advice for individuals who are trying to get in right after undergrad? In addition, do you know if it is generally easy (or possible) to go from IB --> ER? Or should I instead be trying for S&T --> ER?

I don't know many cases where someone went IB -> ER or S&T -> ER, but I've met people who had it the other way around. There is one recent example that comes to mind. Apparently a 1st year S&T analyst (equity sales) did not like her job, she reached out to our research management who are now trying to find her an interview/spot and it's been a relatively painless process for her. I think those types of inter-divisional moves would be a lot easier than doing BO->FO or something like that. People usually know each other already and know who to reach out to if needed (assuming you want to move internally). With that said, I think the earlier you try to move the better, and I also think it would be easier if it's within the same product line (i.e. equities, fixed income) or coverage (FIG Banking to FIG ER). I am not sure why you would make a move like that but I can think of a few reasons: 1) potentially better hours, 2) sometimes you can actually make more as an associate working under an II-ranked analyst and possibly have better exit ops, or 3) you hate the work you currently do and have a passion for ER.

In terms of books and publications, in addition to what you listed, I check out Barron's. I also found Valuation by McKinsey really helpful because it doesn't just focus on the transactional nature of valuation but puts more emphasis on the long term value, growth, and health of the company.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/25/11
febreeze:

How many reports would you say that you work on per week?

Also, if you can share, what is the process by which you gather all the information for a report, i.e. what are the steps from picking a company to handing the report to your analyst?

I have access to a bloomberg terminal through my school, and would like to develop a basic research technique.

The number of reports depends on what's going on that week.

During earnings season (usually 1-1.5 months after quarter end for companies that have FY ending December 31):

- The number of reports is roughly 2x the number of stocks we cover, published in a span of about 2-3 weeks (duration of earnings period). One quick report or email blast that we send out as soon as the earnings release hits the tape (1 page or less). We follow that up with a more in-depth note which we publish after the earnings conference call (3-5 pages). The number of pages and level of detail varies by analyst/sector. My guy doesn't like too much writing.

Off earnings season:

- Varies greatly. We have a bi-weekly recap note. Other than that it depends on what's going on that week. For example, during the same week, we could have 3 dividend announcements (1 page note for each), a macro event that impacts our sector (1-2 pages with our thoughts on that), and an initiation of coverage (can range from 15 to 30 pages for my group). There are weeks where we don't release anything at all.

Gathering of information:

- Going through the company's 10Qs and 10Ks. There is a section that's dedicated to the nature of the company's business and operations. It goes over how they make money, what the current market opportunities are, how they are structured, who their biggest competitors are, what are their biggest risks, etc.

- Contacting other groups within the bank. For example, I was working on initiating a company and needed to show the upcoming debt maturity wall of below investment grade debt over the next 5 years. Unfortunately, I don't have the necessary package in FactSet for the leveraged loan data. I reached out to our leveraged debt capital markets group who sent me the scheduled high yield bond and leveraged loans maturities I needed.

- Usually the Qs and Ks point you in the general direction of key drivers in the industry and so on, but do not provide the detail you want. Using the above example, the company might mention something like "we are well positioned to benefit from the upcoming debt maturity wall." Now I would dig deeper and try to quantify those maturities. I would then go to FactSet/CapIQ/Bloomberg, which was useless in this example but in general they have what I need (I always call the guys at FactSet if I can't find something).

- Calling the company itself. I can call investor relations or the CFO/CEO himself in certain cases and pick their brain.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/24/11

Flake, this is actually, like, really good. Your story is SO awesome. Thanks for sharing all of this.

12/25/11

Flake,

Good post man, but can you tell everyone what you did to build your confidence(Knowledge/skill) to approach someone for a shadow opportunity?

Clever got me this far
Then tricky got me in
Eye on what i'm after
I don't need another friend
Smile and drop the cliche
'Till you think I'm listening
I take just what I came for
Then I'm out the door again

12/25/11
oracle:

Flake,

Good post man, but can you tell everyone what you did to build your confidence(Knowledge/skill) to approach someone for a shadow opportunity?

My interest in corporate finance peaked during my first semester, senior year. By then I already accepted my return offer for a BO role and realized I was fucked (non-target, awful hiring environment, mediocre GPA, the list goes on...).

I made the most of it by taking as many relevant classes as I could and getting a 3.9 and a 4.0 for both semesters, with the hopes of setting myself up for a transition into IB or ER.

I graduated in May 2009 and had the entire summer off before I had to start in September. I spent the summer learning more about IB/ER. I read a couple of Damodaran books, as well as that McKinsey book. I became a regular reader of WSJ and subscribed to Barron's. I basically learned as much as I could on my own.

Once I started working, I attended a WallStreetPrep class (the actual 3 day course). It was probably a bit of overkill and maybe a waste of money, but it definitely helped to solidify what I read and practiced during the summer.

Prior to sending out my emails to the analysts, I pulled up the most recent 3-5 of their reports and read them thoroughly. I made sure that I read at least one industry focused report, and not just 3-5 notes on individual companies (this helped be grasp the entire sector better).

After all of that, I felt pretty confident with technicals ahead of my informational interviews and I was comfortable enough in discussing their sector.

What I DIDN'T prepare for were the behavioral/fit questions and things of that sort. When I had my 15 minute meeting with one of the heads of research, he pointed to a stack of papers on his desk and said "I have about 100 sheets of ivy league resumes on my desk, what's going to make you stand out?". I chocked, started babbling about how I wanted more responsibility and how ER has been my goal...pathetic, forgettable, and unimpressive.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/28/11
Flake][quote=oracle:

What I DIDN'T prepare for were the behavioral/fit questions and things of that sort. When I had my 15 minute meeting with one of the heads of research, he pointed to a stack of papers on his desk and said "I have about 100 sheets of ivy league resumes on my desk, what's going to make you stand out?". I chocked, started babbling about how I wanted more responsibility and how ER has been my goal...pathetic, forgettable, and unimpressive.

Can you talk about what someone should ideally say (coming from a non-target) in a question like the one you were presented on how to stand out vs 100s of ivy league resumes...Obviously experience and an interesting story are key, but any way to bullshit an answer which can make you stand out or seem somewhat intriguing.

12/29/11
KingHasReturned][quote=Flake:
oracle:

What I DIDN'T prepare for were the behavioral/fit questions and things of that sort. When I had my 15 minute meeting with one of the heads of research, he pointed to a stack of papers on his desk and said "I have about 100 sheets of ivy league resumes on my desk, what's going to make you stand out?". I chocked, started babbling about how I wanted more responsibility and how ER has been my goal...pathetic, forgettable, and unimpressive.

Can you talk about what someone should ideally say (coming from a non-target) in a question like the one you were presented on how to stand out vs 100s of ivy league resumes...Obviously experience and an interesting story are key, but any way to bullshit an answer which can make you stand out or seem somewhat intriguing.

To be completely honest, I still have no idea what would qualify as a great response to something like that. This would probably be a better question for someone who's great at behavioral and fit interviews. Luckily, he didn't ask me that again the second time around.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

5/11/12
Flake:
oracle:

Flake,

Good post man, but can you tell everyone what you did to build your confidence(Knowledge/skill) to approach someone for a shadow opportunity?

My interest in corporate finance peaked during my first semester, senior year. By then I already accepted my return offer for a BO role and realized I was fucked (non-target, awful hiring environment, mediocre GPA, the list goes on...).

I made the most of it by taking as many relevant classes as I could and getting a 3.9 and a 4.0 for both semesters, with the hopes of setting myself up for a transition into IB or ER.

I graduated in May 2009 and had the entire summer off before I had to start in September. I spent the summer learning more about IB/ER. I read a couple of Damodaran books, as well as that McKinsey book. I became a regular reader of WSJ and subscribed to Barron's. I basically learned as much as I could on my own.

Once I started working, I attended a WallStreetPrep class (the actual 3 day course). It was probably a bit of overkill and maybe a waste of money, but it definitely helped to solidify what I read and practiced during the summer.

Prior to sending out my emails to the analysts, I pulled up the most recent 3-5 of their reports and read them thoroughly. I made sure that I read at least one industry focused report, and not just 3-5 notes on individual companies (this helped be grasp the entire sector better).

After all of that, I felt pretty confident with technicals ahead of my informational interviews and I was comfortable enough in discussing their sector.

What I DIDN'T prepare for were the behavioral/fit questions and things of that sort. When I had my 15 minute meeting with one of the heads of research, he pointed to a stack of papers on his desk and said "I have about 100 sheets of ivy league resumes on my desk, what's going to make you stand out?". I chocked, started babbling about how I wanted more responsibility and how ER has been my goal...pathetic, forgettable, and unimpressive.

As I discussed b4 that I am a Geophysicts trying to get in Equity side of Energy. I started giving good amount of hours for CFA level 1 which is in December 2012. I will start approaching companies after my CFA result. Is there any thing else you will advice me to prepare before i start approaching companies.

Already noted the points which you mentioned in above quoted thread...

Thanks

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12/24/11

Do you think fundamentals will always beat probability analysis?

12/25/11
blastoise:

Do you think fundamentals will always beat probability analysis?

I don't know if this is meant as a joke or not, but I definitely laughed...

12/25/11
blastoise:

Do you think fundamentals will always beat probability analysis?

Always.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/25/11

awesome.

so, how do you (or the analyst) get from the point of just gathering all of the data to deciding what is important enough to mention in the reports?

Is the initial training specific to your sector, or is it general? Because if it is general, I'd like to know how you decide to filter the bullshit from the data.

this seems like a fairly investigative type of job, so how do you develop that intuition? just experience, or is there some sort of a list you check off? I mean, obviously, every analyst has to decide to a certain point - but I figure there is also some sort of a standard process?

12/25/11
febreeze:

awesome.

so, how do you (or the analyst) get from the point of just gathering all of the data to deciding what is important enough to mention in the reports?

Is the initial training specific to your sector, or is it general? Because if it is general, I'd like to know how you decide to filter the bullshit from the data.

this seems like a fairly investigative type of job, so how do you develop that intuition? just experience, or is there some sort of a list you check off? I mean, obviously, every analyst has to decide to a certain point - but I figure there is also some sort of a standard process?

After going through the quarterly and annual filings, speaking to management, speaking to other industry participants, attending industry conferences, and listening to earnings calls, you can quickly identify what the key drivers are and what's important for the company and the sector. Each industry has a set of drivers of growth and demand that each analyst knows to follow and track. If you can get your hands on Series 86 prep materials, it will give you a great introduction and overview of the ER world.

Right now you probably don't have the same access and the time as we do, I would use that Bloomberg terminal and pull up a few research reports. Highlight the metrics and key data they focus on, and try to use that in your own analysis of a different company within that sector.

The initial training is general and not specific to your sector. That's something you learn about when you start.

Honestly, all of that information gathering becomes very straight forward with experience. We don't sit there and come up with new and creative things to "investigate". We just know that something like the unemployment report or housing starts will come out on a certain day and we make sure that we are in the loop when those numbers come out. The data and the information gathering is fairly standard, it's the interpretation of that information that will differentiate you from the pack.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/25/11

do you feel that the depth of research on the sell side is lacking in some regards? I.E. do alot of sell siders just stamp a "buy" rating on a shit stock to appease buyside clients who hold the stock, and not piss off management of the company they are covering? I guess my question is how much do the politics of sell side ER play into the integrity of your rating? I know it probably differs from analyst to analyst but I would be curious to get a no BS assessment. Thanks Flake.

Here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, you are the sucker.

12/25/11
bullbythehorns:

do you feel that the depth of research on the sell side is lacking in some regards? I.E. do alot of sell siders just stamp a "buy" rating on a shit stock to appease buyside clients who hold the stock, and not piss off management of the company they are covering? I guess my question is how much do the politics of sell side ER play into the integrity of your rating? I know it probably differs from analyst to analyst but I would be curious to get a no BS assessment. Thanks Flake.

We have all of these rules, checks, and barriers in place that are supposed to preserve the analyst's view and remove any outside pressures (be it from banking, trading, company management, or clients). How effective they are? I am not sure, I don't think I've been around long enough to know.

I do have a couple of examples that probably show we are still not entirely off the hook:

- For sectors that do a lot of banking business (follow-on capital raises and IPOs), if you want to drop coverage of a stock, you run it by your regional management first, who usually run it by our counterparts in ECM and IB to make the final decision. Same thing goes for initiations of coverage, sometimes the decision as to which company to pick up for coverage can be based on potential/future banking business.

- We get a couple of accounts once in a while who are not pleased with our reports and they make sure to let us know about it. The most recent example: Company A missed consensus estimates and cut their divided by 5 cents, however, my analyst expected this and the EPS and the divvy cut was in line with our estimates and what we modeled. So the title of the report was something like "Co. A cuts dividend, but in-line with our expectations". Within the hour, we have a pissed off PM calling us who was short Company A, asking "How can you publish an "in-line" report when the earnings missed and the dividend was cut?". Well, it was in-line with what we projected so...

Weird things do happen but I think the fear of losing your job on the spot because you violated the law is a lot greater than the consequences of annoying the bankers or a client. This was probably less true in the past (pre-Spitzer), but right now I think everyone is heavily monitored and plays nicely.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/25/11

How often are you right? Are you familiar with the Random Walk theory? What do you think about it?

12/25/11
ensalada:

How often are you right? Are you familiar with the Random Walk theory? What do you think about it?

We have been relatively spot on with calling the recent wave of dividend cuts and EPS declines in our space. I came into ER during a period of high volatility and economic uncertainty, and so far we haven't had any extraordinary misses or beats. This is due to two reasons: 1) I think my analyst is pretty good with his assumptions, logic, and estimates and 2) our sector's earnings are relatively stable quarter over quarter. I really can't speak for the other groups.

We use very little stats and probability in our analysis, we usually base the direction of our estimates on our in-house view of the macro environment. We do not employ any kind of probability and outcome distributions. However, I am reading up on this now. I am currently reading "Interest Rate Markets" by Siddhartha Jha because I am trying to better forecast the book value of our financial companies (who typically invest in fixed income assets, hedged with swaps, and financed with short-term borrowings). When I'm done with this book, I will probably try to get a statistical software package which will help me calculate probability distributions given a set of interest rate moves/scenarios. I think this will be useful in estimating the fair value of some of these portfolios going forward. With that said, my knowledge of statistics and probability concepts is pretty limited and I would like to change that.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/25/11
Flake:

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role .

BB is waiting until after Xmas to lay u off btw :( sry ggggggggggggggggggggg

stop giving kids ad vice and dload swtor fucker

12/26/11
shorttheworld:
Flake:

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role .

BB is waiting until after Xmas to lay u off btw :( sry ggggggggggggggggggggg

stop giving kids ad vice and dload swtor fucker

i play swtor oO what server u on

12/26/11

I think we can all agree that IB > AM
lol jk

12/26/11

What level of the CFA are you up to? How do you manage to find time/ energy to study after working all day?

12/26/11
FutureBanker09:

What level of the CFA are you up to? How do you manage to find time/ energy to study after working all day?

I will sit for the June Level 1 exam next year. We had a crazy year in terms of expanding coverage and I never got around to it. Given that the exam is 6 months away, I'm not too concerned with the time. I think the key is to start early, make up a study plan and then follow it consistently.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/26/11

Which aspects of your job do you find stimulating? What keeps you excited? I don't mean the specific tasks you do that you enjoy but what skills and intellectual traits that are required on the job do you like using?

Thanks for this!!

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

12/26/11
OhYeah:

Which aspects of your job do you find stimulating? What keeps you excited? I don't mean the specific tasks you do that you enjoy but what skills and intellectual traits that are required on the job do you like using?

Thanks for this!!

I mentioned in a previous post that I really enjoy when my opinion is viewed as valuable to a client and/or my analyst (even during your first year). I may be biased and uninformed here, but I feel like in banking (at junior levels at least), you just get work dumped on you by the people above you and you're only expected to do exactly what you are told to do. In ER you have a little more wiggle room to make your own decisions and provide your own input to the work that you are doing.

There are times when my analyst comes back from a week long trip and is a little behind on the news. He will actually run things by me first before getting on the phone with a client.

There are times when he is busy and will simply tell me to handle a call.

There are times when a room full of buy-side analysts have me on the speaker phone and fire questions at me.

Next year for example, I will have my own weekly note that I will be responsible for writing and publishing, with minimal support from the analyst. I hope that soon enough I will have a couple of stocks for which I am the primary analyst.

I just think it's a great feeling when you come off as helpful and it also feels like my time is really appreciated by others.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/28/11

Yo Flake,

What do you think of the food/beverage sector kid? Is it good to follow?

12/29/11
spaceagecowboy:

Yo Flake,

What do you think of the food/beverage sector kid? Is it good to follow?

I really don't follow the consumer sectors. What I can say is that my bank's view for 2012 is mixed. For the food sector, more of m&a and restructuring activity is expected over the next year, which would put a limit on P/E multiple upside during the next 2 years. However, stong balance sheet quality implies limited downside as well. Kind of a neutral outlook in my opinion.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/28/11

Flake thanks for sharing. +1 SB

We should have more threads of this sort.

Not to be controversial/offensive, but curious to hear what an ER person has to say about efficient markets, and how you justify your existence if information is already priced in before you ever start writing your reports. If you are going to respond with "well we have a good track record of predicting xyz" then that's statistically insignificant and meaningless since there is surely a guy at the next shop with an offsetting poor record. Just curious to hear how you see yourself fit into the bigger picture, and whether you think about this at all.

Along those lines, specifically, when you say a company has great growth opportunity in X, so its a buy (or some really complicated version of such an argument) how do you respond to the "already priced in" argument?

Once again, I mean the above respectfully - genuinely curious to hear the other side of the story.

12/29/11
Dr Joe:

Flake thanks for sharing. +1 SB

We should have more threads of this sort.

Not to be controversial/offensive, but curious to hear what an ER person has to say about efficient markets, and how you justify your existence if information is already priced in before you ever start writing your reports. If you are going to respond with "well we have a good track record of predicting xyz" then that's statistically insignificant and meaningless since there is surely a guy at the next shop with an offsetting poor record. Just curious to hear how you see yourself fit into the bigger picture, and whether you think about this at all.

Along those lines, specifically, when you say a company has great growth opportunity in X, so its a buy (or some really complicated version of such an argument) how do you respond to the "already priced in" argument?

Once again, I mean the above respectfully - genuinely curious to hear the other side of the story.

This is just my view but efficient markets are just a theory. I don't really believe the markets are efficient in practice. A lot of the investor sentiment can be driven by fear and irrational human behavior.

With that said, I think the existence of ER can be justified by the following few examples:

1) Providers of Information. I don't think most ot the buy side guys give a crap about our buy/sell ratings but I believe we save them a lot of time in their own stock picking process and analysis. I also think that our accounts like the attention they receive and the level of service a bank is willing to provide when they have access to a research analyst

2) Exploring and building relationships. Even though in today's world we don't technically benefit from banking fees, we play an important role in winning banking business. I know ER analyst's views should not be affected by IBD's dealings, but there are surveys (Greenwich in particular) that show the success rate of winning deals is approximately 4.5x higher for companies that are under that particular bank's research coverage. I believe that when a healthy company can demonstrate a great relationship between the ER analyst and its c-level management, that company might be more willing to hire your bankers for future capital raising needs, M&A, etc.

3) Going off of the point above, IB also enjoys an added layer of due diligence that ER can offer. It's not always that bankers want to put their firm's name on the tombstone of they think the deal will be shitty and tarnish their reputation. I've seen our guys pull their name after having discussions with an analyst who thought it was going to be a bad idea.

4) Marketing and non-deal related roadshows. ER analysts travel (usually with sales and/or coverage company's management) and promote their coverage and bring in account interest as well as trading activity.

5) Recent Greenwich survey showed that roughly 45% of buy side accounts pick their broker based on the research services that broker provides (vs. something like 20% and 25% that can be attributed to trading and sales, respectively). This is compared to a relatively low cost that's associated with having an ER department vs. paying S&T.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/29/11

double post.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/1/14

Just ran into this comment about efficient market. Having taken classes on efficient market and working in ER currently, I would say that you can think of equity analysts as the oil that keeps the efficient market wheel well greased. In other words, efficient market exists when information is fully communicated so that investors will invest in the right stock which causes the price to reflect the fundamentals of the company at all times. Who provide and communicate those information that keeps the market fairly priced? The equity analysts. However, without access to sound information such as analyst reports, the efficient market model cracks down - asymmetric information (which can never be fully eradicated) rules, and arbitrage opportunities arise. So your question is rather self-defeating. "What is the use of equity analysts when the market is efficient?" Well, it is because of the information work of equity analysts that the market can even approach any level of efficiency.

2/17/14

That's a great way to look at it.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/28/11

How would you say being gay affects your day to day life in finance? Is it frowned upon or are you in some sort of 'protected class' like a ginger or something?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

12/29/11
happypantsmcgee:

How would you say being gay affects your day to day life in finance? Is it frowned upon or are you in some sort of 'protected class' like a ginger or something?

It's perfectly safe for you to switch over. Kind of a don't ask, don't tell policy here.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/29/11

Another one wtf.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/29/11

Thanks for taking the time for this man.

Any insight into compensation (base + bonus) for post-MBA associates at BB, MM, boutique?

12/29/11

what's the most important thing you've learned on the job so far - can be about life in general or technical, whatever...

1/7/12
febreeze:

what's the most important thing you've learned on the job so far - can be about life in general or technical, whatever...

The most important thing I learned is to just be normal and personable. I was able to connect on a personal level ( through subtle humor, talking about sports, etc) with several of our traders, bankers, institutional sales people, and most importantly, our buy side accounts and the executives at the companies I cover. A lot of them now reach out to me directly before going to my analyst whenever they have a question or some sort of request. This type of on the job networking should open up new options down the road in terms of exit opportunities. I think I value these relationships the most.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/29/11

Would it be better to do a finance rotation at some Fortune 500 company, or even a smaller company while studying for a CFA then trying to break into a specific sector or would getting a BO or MO position at a BB while studying for the CFA be more beneficial for transferring into ER.

Also how would being a credit analyst with a CFA position me for the transfer into fixed income research?

Sorry for bringing up the CFA so much, I just have a personal hatred for the MBA, which I won't go into because it's not thread related. Also, I'm not endorsing the CFA as a valuable asset, but rather a valuable credential, which can be combined with a lot of side reading and experience to produce something valuable.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

1/7/12
Hooked on LEAPS:

Would it be better to do a finance rotation at some Fortune 500 company, or even a smaller company while studying for a CFA then trying to break into a specific sector or would getting a BO or MO position at a BB while studying for the CFA be more beneficial for transferring into ER.

Also how would being a credit analyst with a CFA position me for the transfer into fixed income research?

Sorry for bringing up the CFA so much, I just have a personal hatred for the MBA, which I won't go into because it's not thread related. Also, I'm not endorsing the CFA as a valuable asset, but rather a valuable credential, which can be combined with a lot of side reading and experience to produce something valuable.

I think the F500 vs. BO/MO at a BB will depend on you as a person. If you are someone who can network the hell out of the place and you are confident in your abilities, BO/MO should be a better option in my opinion. It's better for a couple of reasons: 1) the internal company directory (a goldmine for people who are great at cold emailing and reaching out to others) and 2) if you are supporting an equity S&T desk and you get close to the traders or sales on that desk, you can use those guys to refer you to someone in ER. I've seen 3 cases of this last year, one guy (1st year analyst) went from BO/MO to IBD through a sales guy, a girl (also 1st year in BO) went to ER at a different BB through a trader, and a more senior BO/MO VP went to do equity derivatives research at a MM bank through a contact on the desk as well (he was actually a CFA by then, but I know he was chartered for a year before he made the move).

If you don't see yourself being effective at networking within the firm and really pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone, you might want do F500 > MBA (I know you said you hate it, sorry) and then leverage your F500's sector knowledge into an ER job.

My problem with the CFA is that it's more useful for advancing your career when you are already in research, and less useful as a means of changing careers (I don't think anything beats a top MBA degree in terms of that). I would say take Level 1 because it will demonstrate your interest in being some sort of a securities analyst and will also tell the potential employer that you have a certain level of technical proficiency.

I have no idea how credit analyst + CFA stacks up for fixed income research. Sorry.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/29/11

This thread is teh awesome.

alpha currency trader wanna-be

12/29/11

YO Flake,

How many chicks have you slayed since breaking into ER maain?

12/29/11
spaceagecowboy:

YO Flake,

How many chicks have you slayed since breaking into ER maain?

Hahahaha. Not enough, man.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

12/30/11

Whats the best advice you could give someone trying to break into ER out of undergrad? And what would be the best prep for interviews and the actual work?

Thanks a bunch great thread!

1/7/12
dogboo:

Whats the best advice you could give someone trying to break into ER out of undergrad? And what would be the best prep for interviews and the actual work?

Thanks a bunch great thread!

Flake:
febreeze:

what do you think is the best type of preparation for your work - pick a specific sector and learn everything you can about it? or is it practically useless, considering the quality of information I am missing out on by not being at a bank? (i'm an undergrad)

I wouldn't focus on any single sector as a means of preparing for an ER job ahead of time, unless you are going into an interview and you already know what sector you are being interview for. Even if you do know that you are being interviewed by an analyst covering technology stocks well ahead of time, you should still stay away from pitching a technology stock to him/her. Odds are, given your lack of industry exposure, you will be torn apart and will probably say something stupid.

I would stick to just following the broad based markets and understanding the impact of any current macro event on the economy or a specific sector (that you are interviewing for). Industry specific knowledge will come while you're on the job. It can take several months to ramp up your knowledge, if not longer.

Let's use the technology sector example. If I had an interview with a tech analyst I would do the following as an undergrad:

- Read up on the news in the sector, familiarize yourself with the big players and any recent events or deals that went down. Look for any big technology breakthroughs and developments, etc.
- If your school has a Bloomberg/FactSet/CapitalIQ terminal, get your hands on a few research reports. Pay attention to what metrics are being used and are deemed as important. What valuation method(s) is being used for these types of companies?
- Determine which key macro forces are driving the industry demand/profits/growth. Consumer spending? GDP growth? Business/Capital expenditures?
- Prepare a stock pitch using the above information, preferably not from the technology sector, unless you are really confident. Try to challenge the consensus view, if you can pull that off and present a logical argument, it would look impressive.

I responded to a similar question on the first page. Hope this helps.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

1/2/12

I sent you a PM, Flake.

alpha currency trader wanna-be

1/7/12
watersign:

I sent you a PM, Flake.

PM'ed you back.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

1/2/12

Guys, I've been out of town this week and will get back to you on Wednesday. Sorry.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

1/19/12

Very cool post, thanks!

Get busy living

1/24/12

Which is better to prep for MBA school or CFA while working in back office IT/Operations?

Thanks !

1/24/12
Redline89:

Which is better to prep for MBA school or CFA while working in back office IT/Operations?

Thanks !

Definitely MBA, in my opinion. Sitting for the CFA Level I exam wouldn't hurt either. I think with Level I cleared and getting into a good school would build your case nicely for ER. If you can't get into ER then you still have other options with your MBA (banking, consulting, etc). If you only do CFA and you can't get a research job or some kind of asset management/buy side role, then you're kind of screwed because that's pretty much all the CFA is good for. Not to mention that CFA alone is not that great for switching careers, but attending a top b-school is.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

1/25/12

Cool thank you very much Flake

2/1/12

PM sent, thanks!

2/11/12

Flake,

How about the SA at the BO? I know there is some firms which are willing to offer a switch at the end of the SA for whoever got an full time offer. I am not sure that you may notice it, so how would you network during your summer?

By the way, thanks a lot for those posts. It is a real deal!

4/28/12
blueslord2910:

Flake,

How about the SA at the BO? I know there is some firms which are willing to offer a switch at the end of the SA for whoever got an full time offer. I am not sure that you may notice it, so how would you network during your summer?

By the way, thanks a lot for those posts. It is a real deal!

Really not sure who offers that kind of mobility in the end. I really don't see that happening, but if I'm wrong and can you please PM me the name of the firm that does that because I am actually curious.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/22/12

Do the position titles differ on the buyside compared to the sellside from the Analyst position and below? Most places seem to go Associate > Analyst, but sometimes I see Research Assistant being used and am unclear on which titles usually represent what stage in career.

4/28/12
numnum:

Do the position titles differ on the buyside compared to the sellside from the Analyst position and below? Most places seem to go Associate > Analyst, but sometimes I see Research Assistant being used and am unclear on which titles usually represent what stage in career.

The titles are the same internally: Analyst > Associate > VP > Director > MD. However, to our clients and other externals our structure is Research Associate > Associate Analyst > Lead/Senior/Primary Analyst (those also can vary between different sell-side shops).

We do have Research Assistants, however at my BB they are more administrative than anything else and typically support more than 2-3 senior analysts. They rarely do anything more than book flights, schedule meetings, deal with publishing, etc.

I'm not sure about the structure on the buy-side, I just know I either deal with Analysts or Portfolio Managers but I am not sure what the full hierarchy is.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/22/12

Hey Flake, this Q&A is the best. Btw, sent you a PM.

4/28/12

[quote=Flake]Mod (Andy) note: This thread is from December '11, but Flake said he is still up for answering questions, so fire away

Given the holiday season, I'm in a relatively good mood and feel the need to give back a little. I've seen a bunch of these "fielding questions" threads and I thought they were extremely helpful.

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role and I figured this would be a good time to do an entry-level Q&A session on ER. I will do my best to answer any questions and PM's. It might take me some time to get back to you with all the family crap going on this weekend.

[\quote]
I am thinking of moving my career in to BB..I love to work as energy analyst in some firm...I have Engineering background and Master in Geophysics from University of Calgary and worked from Gas hydrate exploration to hydrocarbon..I am 28.....current compensation some where around 80.k$ ....9 to 5 job......mom to fri......whats ur advice for me...do u think i need to go for MBA for breaking to this market..if yes.......should i expect pay similar to my current pay or less..Right now I am in calgary.....

4/28/12
energyanalyst][quote=Flake:

Mod (Andy) note: This thread is from December '11, but Flake said he is still up for answering questions, so fire away

Given the holiday season, I'm in a relatively good mood and feel the need to give back a little. I've seen a bunch of these "fielding questions" threads and I thought they were extremely helpful.

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role and I figured this would be a good time to do an entry-level Q&A session on ER. I will do my best to answer any questions and PM's. It might take me some time to get back to you with all the family crap going on this weekend.

[\quote]
I am thinking of moving my career in to BB..I love to work as energy analyst in some firm...I have Engineering background and Master in Geophysics from University of Calgary and worked from Gas hydrate exploration to hydrocarbon..I am 28.....current compensation some where around 80.k$ ....9 to 5 job......mom to fri......whats ur advice for me...do u think i need to go for MBA for breaking to this market..if yes.......should i expect pay similar to my current pay or less..Right now I am in calgary.....

You can try networking your way in with your experience. There have to be a lot of shops focused on energy/O&G in your area. If you haven't yet, sit for the CFA level 1 exam this December to show your interest in finance. Since you are only working 40 hours a week, you should have plenty of time to study for the CFA as well as work towards your b-school applications (as something to fall back on in case networking doesn't work out), all while networking with local shops and studying for the level 1. So just to reiterate, this is what I would do: 1) take the GMAT and begin working on my b-school applications for Fall 2013, I would want to be ready to apply for 1st and 2nd rounds, 2) start studying for the CFA in December, 3) network while doing 1&2. This way you have all bases covered without wasting time.

In terms of compensation, not sure how it is in Calgary but 80k is less than what first year kids make out of undergrad. I discussed compensation and the hours in a little more detail in my other Q&A: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/qa-with-flake-...

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/28/12
Flake][quote=energyanalyst:
Flake:

Mod (Andy) note: This thread is from December '11, but Flake said he is still up for answering questions, so fire away

Given the holiday season, I'm in a relatively good mood and feel the need to give back a little. I've seen a bunch of these "fielding questions" threads and I thought they were extremely helpful.

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role and I figured this would be a good time to do an entry-level Q&A session on ER. I will do my best to answer any questions and PM's. It might take me some time to get back to you with all the family crap going on this weekend.

[\quote]
I am thinking of moving my career in to BB..I love to work as energy analyst in some firm...I have Engineering background and Master in Geophysics from University of Calgary and worked from Gas hydrate exploration to hydrocarbon..I am 28.....current compensation some where around 80.k$ ....9 to 5 job......mom to fri......whats ur advice for me...do u think i need to go for MBA for breaking to this market..if yes.......should i expect pay similar to my current pay or less..Right now I am in calgary.....

You can try networking your way in with your experience. There have to be a lot of shops focused on energy/O&G in your area. If you haven't yet, sit for the CFA level 1 exam this December to show your interest in finance. Since you are only working 40 hours a week, you should have plenty of time to study for the CFA as well as work towards your b-school applications (as something to fall back on in case networking doesn't work out), all while networking with local shops and studying for the level 1. So just to reiterate, this is what I would do: 1) take the GMAT and begin working on my b-school applications for Fall 2013, I would want to be ready to apply for 1st and 2nd rounds, 2) start studying for the CFA in December, 3) network while doing 1&2. This way you have all bases covered without wasting time.

In terms of compensation, not sure how it is in Calgary but 80k is less than what first year kids make out of undergrad. I discussed compensation and the hours in a little more detail in my other Q&A: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/qa-with-flake-...

Thanks a lot for your advice...I will definatly give CFA level 1 in December......and Networking my way out for this kind of job..will have my GMAT as back up for sure...What finance side you will suggest me to try for...IB or ER...

4/28/12
Flake][quote=energyanalyst:
Flake:

Mod (Andy) note: This thread is from December '11, but Flake said he is still up for answering questions, so fire away

Given the holiday season, I'm in a relatively good mood and feel the need to give back a little. I've seen a bunch of these "fielding questions" threads and I thought they were extremely helpful.

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role and I figured this would be a good time to do an entry-level Q&A session on ER. I will do my best to answer any questions and PM's. It might take me some time to get back to you with all the family crap going on this weekend.

[\quote]
I am thinking of moving my career in to BB..I love to work as energy analyst in some firm...I have Engineering background and Master in Geophysics from University of Calgary and worked from Gas hydrate exploration to hydrocarbon..I am 28.....current compensation some where around 80.k$ ....9 to 5 job......mom to fri......whats ur advice for me...do u think i need to go for MBA for breaking to this market..if yes.......should i expect pay similar to my current pay or less..Right now I am in calgary.....

You can try networking your way in with your experience. There have to be a lot of shops focused on energy/O&G in your area. If you haven't yet, sit for the CFA level 1 exam this December to show your interest in finance. Since you are only working 40 hours a week, you should have plenty of time to study for the CFA as well as work towards your b-school applications (as something to fall back on in case networking doesn't work out), all while networking with local shops and studying for the level 1. So just to reiterate, this is what I would do: 1) take the GMAT and begin working on my b-school applications for Fall 2013, I would want to be ready to apply for 1st and 2nd rounds, 2) start studying for the CFA in December, 3) network while doing 1&2. This way you have all bases covered without wasting time.

In terms of compensation, not sure how it is in Calgary but 80k is less than what first year kids make out of undergrad. I discussed compensation and the hours in a little more detail in my other Q&A: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/qa-with-flake-...

Thanks a lot for your advice...I will definatly give CFA level 1 in December......and Networking my way out for this kind of job..will have my GMAT as back up for sure...What finance side you will suggest me to try for...IB or ER...

4/29/12
energyanalyst][quote=Flake:
energyanalyst:
Flake:

Mod (Andy) note: This thread is from December '11, but Flake said he is still up for answering questions, so fire away

Given the holiday season, I'm in a relatively good mood and feel the need to give back a little. I've seen a bunch of these "fielding questions" threads and I thought they were extremely helpful.

I am a week away from hitting my one year anniversary of being in a BB research role and I figured this would be a good time to do an entry-level Q&A session on ER. I will do my best to answer any questions and PM's. It might take me some time to get back to you with all the family crap going on this weekend.

[\quote]
I am thinking of moving my career in to BB..I love to work as energy analyst in some firm...I have Engineering background and Master in Geophysics from University of Calgary and worked from Gas hydrate exploration to hydrocarbon..I am 28.....current compensation some where around 80.k$ ....9 to 5 job......mom to fri......whats ur advice for me...do u think i need to go for MBA for breaking to this market..if yes.......should i expect pay similar to my current pay or less..Right now I am in calgary.....

You can try networking your way in with your experience. There have to be a lot of shops focused on energy/O&G in your area. If you haven't yet, sit for the CFA level 1 exam this December to show your interest in finance. Since you are only working 40 hours a week, you should have plenty of time to study for the CFA as well as work towards your b-school applications (as something to fall back on in case networking doesn't work out), all while networking with local shops and studying for the level 1. So just to reiterate, this is what I would do: 1) take the GMAT and begin working on my b-school applications for Fall 2013, I would want to be ready to apply for 1st and 2nd rounds, 2) start studying for the CFA in December, 3) network while doing 1&2. This way you have all bases covered without wasting time.

In terms of compensation, not sure how it is in Calgary but 80k is less than what first year kids make out of undergrad. I discussed compensation and the hours in a little more detail in my other Q&A: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/qa-with-flake-...

Thanks a lot for your advice...I will definatly give CFA level 1 in December......and Networking my way out for this kind of job..will have my GMAT as back up for sure...What finance side you will suggest me to try for...IB or ER...

With actual industry experience, ER would probably be more likely. Unless you really love banking and it's something you wanted to do (you will probably need an MBA first).

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/28/12

Hi Flake,

I recently accepted an equity research SA position at a middle-market investment bank. Besides the fairly obvious advice of reading the news/specific industry updates and show up early, do you have any advice on how I can stand out?

Thank you in advance.

4/29/12
hoya12:

Hi Flake,

I recently accepted an equity research SA position at a middle-market investment bank. Besides the fairly obvious advice of reading the news/specific industry updates and show up early, do you have any advice on how I can stand out?

Thank you in advance.

For your SA, I would focus on building relationships with your analyst and sales and trading.

Having a great relationship with your analyst is kind of obvious. As for S&T, call up your traders and ask if you can sit down with them during market open or close, see what they do, go down there a couple of times if you can, make sure you run it by your analyst first (mine actually encouraged it). With sales people, over-deliver on any requests they may have and don't half ass anything. The reason why you should network with S&T so much is that ER may not be able to extend a full time offer, even if you kicked ass. Things could change with headcount as they are still a cost center, the teams are already very lean, and they usually hire on a needs basis.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/28/12

Repeating question from a different thread.

1. How important is quantitative ability in ER? Do you have to have high level of a mathematical knowledge? Is modelling important in ER?

2. Would you recommend non-targets trying to break into ER to take the CFA L1. We all know what M&I has to say about the CFA for people trying to break into IB, but how helpful is it for ER?

3. How are Liberal Arts colleges represented at your firm and department?

4. The dreaded exit option question. Where can you go from sell side ER?

5. What can someone, who is not as handsome or charming as you, do to get an edge in that area. Obviously no one can be like you, but how can people step it up a notch?

Finally, I did not listen to you when you first told me this, but I definitely agree with you about the BO thing. I did not realize it until I did it on my own. I am currently doing an off-cycle BO internship at a bank reconciling trades all day. I can not tell you how much I hate my job. This is the most mind numbing shit I have ever done; I feel like my intelligence in decreasing every day I am doing this job. (I like it though when I look at the trade details and find out the little firm where I work raped a large BB on a derivative trade).

I am going to do everything in my power to break into a FO job by the time I graduate (I'm a Soph now).

4/29/12
JamesHetfield:

Repeating question from a different thread.

1. How important is quantitative ability in ER? Do you have to have high level of a mathematical knowledge? Is modelling important in ER?

2. Would you recommend non-targets trying to break into ER to take the CFA L1. We all know what M&I has to say about the CFA for people trying to break into IB, but how helpful is it for ER?

3. How are Liberal Arts colleges represented at your firm and department?

4. The dreaded exit option question. Where can you go from sell side ER?

5. What can someone, who is not as handsome or charming as you, do to get an edge in that area. Obviously no one can be like you, but how can people step it up a notch?

Finally, I did not listen to you when you first told me this, but I definitely agree with you about the BO thing. I did not realize it until I did it on my own. I am currently doing an off-cycle BO internship at a bank reconciling trades all day. I can not tell you how much I hate my job. This is the most mind numbing shit I have ever done; I feel like my intelligence in decreasing every day I am doing this job. (I like it though when I look at the trade details and find out the little firm where I work raped a large BB on a derivative trade).

I am going to do everything in my power to break into a FO job by the time I graduate (I'm a Soph now).

1. You don't need to be a math wizard to work in ER. You use as much math as you would in banking. As for modeling, check my reply to Gate Crasher.

2. CFA is more helpful for ER but it will not get you in by itself. CFA is something you use to advance your career once you are actually working in the industry and not really a means to re-brand yourself (like an MBA would). Passing level 1 would definitely demonstrate your interest and dedication to finance to a certain extent, but it should not be your only focus. In addition to that, you will need to do some extensive networking and would probably need to go to b-school.

3. We have a few associates who attended liberal arts colleges...but then again what do you consider a liberal arts school? Brown? Then yes we have two people from there that I know of.

4. Exit ops: this has also been answered on this forum a lot. AM/HF, I've seen a couple people actually move on to do corporate strategy/development (not sure how often that happens for ER), I've seen primary/senior analyst move on and be directors of investor relations, I've seen CFOs with equity research backgrounds. You can also try and lateral into banking and work with your coverage counterparts or go back to b-school and maybe even do something like PE.

5. Build a great relationship with your sales force, your analyst, and your institutional accounts. Other than that, just make sure you like what you do and you shouldn't have a hard time getting an edge. I was probably the only kid who walked out of my MD's office with a smile this year during comp day. Despite a shitty year and shitty bonuses, I was still happy where I was and my morale did not change, while everyone else on the floor seemed to be down. But then again, I don't have a family to support or anything like that when most of these guys are already married and have kids.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/29/12

Flake - thanks for this thread. Can you comment on non-equity research positions? In particular, is commodities research comparable to ER in terms of experience and exit opps? Are most research positions in a BB generally in New York, or would one see energy-related research housed in a regional office like one in Houston?

4/29/12
TexasMacaque:

Flake - thanks for this thread. Can you comment on non-equity research positions? In particular, is commodities research comparable to ER in terms of experience and exit opps? Are most research positions in a BB generally in New York, or would one see energy-related research housed in a regional office like one in Houston?

Yes there are energy focused shops in Houston and Calgary. Just like you will see aerospace and defense teams working out of Washington DC and healthcare and technology ER working out of San Francisco and LA.

I don't know anything about commodities research though, sorry pal.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/29/12

Do you build models from scratch ?
Do you have to know every minor detail in modeling ?
Do they provide you with a model to work on or you have to built it from scratch ?
Does asking minor questions from colleagues - modeling etc. - makes you look bad ?
What if you did not know some stuff about modeling ? Does that mean you are screwed ?
How did you learn about modeling ?
Can you learn on the job about modeling ?
Thank you

4/29/12
Gate_Crasher:

Do you build models from scratch ?
Do you have to know every minor detail in modeling ?
Do they provide you with a model to work on or you have to built it from scratch ?
Does asking minor questions from colleagues - modeling etc. - makes you look bad ?
What if you did not know some stuff about modeling ? Does that mean you are screwed ?
How did you learn about modeling ?
Can you learn on the job about modeling ?
Thank you

Do you build models from scratch ?
- Sometimes, but not often. The only times I've built a model from scratch is when we were initiating coverage on a company that's really different from the rest of our coverage. I've done this maybe once or twice, otherwise, I use an existing model and use that as a template.

Do you have to know every minor detail in modeling ?
- I like to make the models my own and I basically re-built every model once I felt comfortable with the sector. I'm not sure what you mean by every minor detail though.

Do they provide you with a model to work on or you have to built it from scratch ?
- Same answer as to question #1.

Does asking minor questions from colleagues - modeling etc. - makes you look bad ?
- I personally try not to ask things until I exhausted all of my resources. But once you feel comfortable that the answer is not right under your nose, there is no shame in asking, especially early on when you're learning the ropes. Conversely, there can be times when researching some basic thing would be a complete waste of your time as opposed to just asking someone sitting next to you...basically just use your judgement.

What if you did not know some stuff about modeling ? Does that mean you are screwed ?
How did you learn about modeling ?
Can you learn on the job about modeling ?
- I feel like you are putting too much emphasis on modelling. Having a robust model is great and definitely something you need to excel at, but it's a really small part of that job. Punching numbers into Excel and then pushing forward assumptions/estimates is something you will learn on the job (especially when you have an abundance of existing models for your other companies that you can look at and compare your work to). I would even go as far as to say that you don't need to be that great at modeling as long as you have a deep understanding of financial statement analysis, corporate finance, and the different valuation methodologies.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/29/12
Flake:
Gate_Crasher:

Do you build models from scratch ?
Do you have to know every minor detail in modeling ?
Do they provide you with a model to work on or you have to built it from scratch ?
Does asking minor questions from colleagues - modeling etc. - makes you look bad ?
What if you did not know some stuff about modeling ? Does that mean you are screwed ?
How did you learn about modeling ?
Can you learn on the job about modeling ?
Thank you

Do you build models from scratch ?
- Sometimes, but not often. The only times I've built a model from scratch is when we were initiating coverage on a company that's really different from the rest of our coverage. I've done this maybe once or twice, otherwise, I use an existing model and use that as a template.

Do you have to know every minor detail in modeling ?
- I like to make the models my own and I basically re-built every model once I felt comfortable with the sector. I'm not sure what you mean by every minor detail though.

Do they provide you with a model to work on or you have to built it from scratch ?
- Same answer as to question #1.

Does asking minor questions from colleagues - modeling etc. - makes you look bad ?
- I personally try not to ask things until I exhausted all of my resources. But once you feel comfortable that the answer is not right under your nose, there is no shame in asking, especially early on when you're learning the ropes. Conversely, there can be times when researching some basic thing would be a complete waste of your time as opposed to just asking someone sitting next to you...basically just use your judgement.

What if you did not know some stuff about modeling ? Does that mean you are screwed ?
How did you learn about modeling ?
Can you learn on the job about modeling ?
- I feel like you are putting too much emphasis on modelling. Having a robust model is great and definitely something you need to excel at, but it's a really small part of that job. Punching numbers into Excel and then pushing forward assumptions/estimates is something you will learn on the job (especially when you have an abundance of existing models for your other companies that you can look at and compare your work to). I would even go as far as to say that you don't need to be that great at modeling as long as you have a deep understanding of financial statement analysis, corporate finance, and the different valuation methodologies.

Thank you so much for your answers :)

My skills in modeling are not very good, so I am trying to improve it. But your last piece of advice: "I would even go as far as to say that you don't need to be that great at modeling as long as you have a deep understanding of financial statement analysis, corporate finance, and the different valuation methodologies." is very eye-opening and I would definitely take that advice and improve myself in that as well.

Any other pointers and advice would be GREAT :)

4/29/12

Flake- great thread.

How hard is it to change sectors? I know in banking it becomes harder the higher up you go...and is generally quite political.

Also, how fluid is movement from sellside to buyside? I have heard answers ranging from "easy" to "next to impossible".

Finally, what sectors are "hot" at the moment? From talking to people I know in research, energy seems to be top dog at the moment. Are there any sectors that you would say to avoid (e.g. I imagine becoming a newspapers analyst is not a great career move)?

4/29/12
West Coast rainmaker:

Flake- great thread.

How hard is it to change sectors? I know in banking it becomes harder the higher up you go...and is generally quite political.

Also, how fluid is movement from sellside to buyside? I have heard answers ranging from "easy" to "next to impossible".

Finally, what sectors are "hot" at the moment? From talking to people I know in research, energy seems to be top dog at the moment. Are there any sectors that you would say to avoid (e.g. I imagine becoming a newspapers analyst is not a great career move)?

It's tough to change sectors after a certain point. I would say after 3 years, but that's just my guess. I don't think it's due to politics, it's just that if you are covering tech and you want to switch to something completely different like airlines for example, they would rather hire a fresh kid out of college or b-school and pay him/her half of what they pay you to learn a different sector.

Switching to the buyside (HF/AM) usually depends on what sector you are covering and the reputation and ranking of your team/analyst. This is just my observation, not sure if everyone agrees. For me, I would probably need to go to b-school before I could make that switch. My sector is not actively traded by institutional accounts and I don't see that transition being easy without getting an MBA and basically starting with a clean slate.

Energy is definitely a good place to be in as well as certain subsectors of TMT that are pretty hot (especially with any increase in M&A and IPO activity).

I don't have enough experience to comfortably say what you should avoid. I would imagine career-wise it just depends on what you want. If you want job security, my sector is pretty damn good given the capital raising activity. If you want to move to a mega fund, then you probably want to be on that #1 II ranked team covering a "hot" sector. So I guess the worst you can do is if you are working for a bad analyst, covering a sector that's not actively traded and has no banking activity.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/29/12
Flake:

Switching to the buyside (HF/AM) usually depends on what sector you are covering and the reputation and ranking of your team/analyst. This is just my observation, not sure if everyone agrees. For me, I would probably need to go to b-school before I could make that switch. My sector is not actively traded by institutional accounts and I don't see that transition being easy without getting an MBA and basically starting with a clean slate.

Very helpful, thank you. What would you say is the best way to differentiate good teams from bad? Is it just something that you learn from being in the industry? Institutional investor is kind of a popularity contest IMO, and Starmine does not seem consistent. The Greenwich survey doesn't seem too useful; it just ranks the firms in very broad sectors (e.g. "Financials").

Some analysts appear in pitchbooks more often than others, but oftentimes its because we (a) already bought the report or (b) the analyst has a certain stance.

To digress, at the senior level, how are bonuses determined? Revenue? Recognition by II?

4/29/12

So what's the right answer to "I have a hundred Ivy resumes here, why should I pick you?" question

"The only point in making money is so you can tell some big shot where to go."
-Bogie

4/29/12
MSFhopeful:

So what's the right answer to "I have a hundred Ivy resumes here, why should I pick you?" question

I was afraid someone would ask this because I have no fucking idea still. I mumbled my way through this question and was never contacted by that MD again, until I basically risked everything to go work there a few months later. Honestly, it should probably be your "elevator pitch", something that makes you stand out as driven and intelligent, but also has a personal touch that makes you a bit unique. If I knew how to sell myself like that (which I still don't), I would probably have a much easier time moving around.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/29/12

Thanks, Flake...I will be sitting for CFA in December,,,and Probably get myself in to finance soon ....I checked on linkdin there are many people in company like cedit sussie who switched from technical to financial role.....after CFA level 1..and Probably will go for one year MBA program after some work ex in Finance,,

But, As I Told you I am 28..Do you think some thing like this can affect my growth in ER in Energy
Thanks Again...

4/30/12

GS will let SA from BO shifting to ER in only Salt Lake office (My previous question with you).

I will be doing ER in a small fund in my area this summer. I read some of your previous reply that SA should start sitting with traders during market hours because of headcount reason. However, someone told me that during their busy hours, they will hate you if you are around and annoying. What are your suggestions between helpful one and annoyed one?

4/30/12
blueslord2910:

GS will let SA from BO shifting to ER in only Salt Lake office (My previous question with you).

I will be doing ER in a small fund in my area this summer. I read some of your previous reply that SA should start sitting with traders during market hours because of headcount reason. However, someone told me that during their busy hours, they will hate you if you are around and annoying. What are your suggestions between helpful one and annoyed one?

Yeah that's when they are busiest but my traders encouraged me to come down during those times and said that's when I'll learn the most (not on a Friday afternoon before close).

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/30/12

Flake, thanks for your response! For networking, should I talk to them after work hours when everything is slow. And how could you ask them for things to do at first during busy hours without being annoyed?

Flake:
blueslord2910:

GS will let SA from BO shifting to ER in only Salt Lake office (My previous question with you).

I will be doing ER in a small fund in my area this summer. I read some of your previous reply that SA should start sitting with traders during market hours because of headcount reason. However, someone told me that during their busy hours, they will hate you if you are around and annoying. What are your suggestions between helpful one and annoyed one?

Yeah that's when they are busiest but my traders encouraged me to come down during those times and said that's when I'll learn the most (not on a Friday afternoon before close).

5/4/12
blueslord2910:

Flake, thanks for your response! For networking, should I talk to them after work hours when everything is slow. And how could you ask them for things to do at first during busy hours without being annoyed?

Flake:
blueslord2910:

GS will let SA from BO shifting to ER in only Salt Lake office (My previous question with you).

I will be doing ER in a small fund in my area this summer. I read some of your previous reply that SA should start sitting with traders during market hours because of headcount reason. However, someone told me that during their busy hours, they will hate you if you are around and annoying. What are your suggestions between helpful one and annoyed one?

Yeah that's when they are busiest but my traders encouraged me to come down during those times and said that's when I'll learn the most (not on a Friday afternoon before close).

You won't actually be doing anything for them. Odds are you'll just sit there and they will just walk you through what's going on and what they do. I would talk to them in the middle of the day or ask them on an early Friday afternoon or something. Either way, when you're in ER you should have a good relationship with your sales and trading.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

4/30/12

Love to get your views on this..Canada wages for my current job profile
http://alis.alberta.ca/wageinfo/Content/RequestAct...

Finance guy
http://alis.alberta.ca/wageinfo/Content/RequestAct...

5/1/12

banana

5/4/12

I am close to securing a F500 investor relations summer internship (going into senior year) and want to go into ER. The description of the internship shows a lot of interaction with sell-side analysts (fielding questions, setting up meetings, etc.) Is this a good way to network with them and break in for FT, or would it be considered unprofessional? Also sitting for my CFA lvl 1 June after graduation.

Thank you so much, this thread is awesome

5/7/12

Flake, what is the recruiting process like? Is there a structure to the process? Is there a summer analyst class and subsequently full time hires from that summer analyst class? Or, is it just hire when someone quits/transfers?

Thanks in advance,

5/12/12

Thanks for this excellent post. I have an ER interview coming up and this is helping a lot. SB to you.

5/22/12

Been through this thread and all of the information you gave was really useful. You mentioned a couple of stuff that I would like your opinion on.

Given what's happening in the current investment-banking environment, do you think the research department is ever likely to be axed/cut down/consolidated etc. Often I have seen trading is affected the most, followed by IBD. Very rarely have I seen '100 research bankers asked to resign' which is a good thing. But will this last do you think?

Is it hard to get promoted even though you may be a star contributor? Does work ever get 'boring' or repetitive because your focusing on particular stocks?

What do you think ER has that other FO divisions don't have? What do you think ER has that FO divisions have (in particular IBD)?

ER seems to be 'more vocal' then IBD? In terms of client calls, pitching stocks and so on. So is it closer to a senior IBD role would you say? You also need to be more confident, personable etc. right vs IBD where you are mostly number crunching as a junior?

Would you kindly outline your normal working hours and the compensation received by analysts/and seniors? I read $70k for juniors but is that a standard rate, and no bonuses?

Are languages an issue? So long as you know English is it all good? I know they are quite anal about having a second European language in the EU for IBD positions.

7/9/12
hopesanddreams:

Been through this thread and all of the information you gave was really useful. You mentioned a couple of stuff that I would like your opinion on.

Given what's happening in the current investment-banking environment, do you think the research department is ever likely to be axed/cut down/consolidated etc. Often I have seen trading is affected the most, followed by IBD. Very rarely have I seen '100 research bankers asked to resign' which is a good thing. But will this last do you think?

Research is already a lean division. Any turnover that I've seen over the past year has been related to some II-related shuffling where we would bring in a ranked analyst/team and let go some of the younger or less competitive analysts.

If shit hits the fan, I don't think anyone is safe. With that said, I would feel the safest if I was a star analyst or worked with one. or if I worked on a team that covers a lot of high volume stocks and/or companies that are always raising capital.

hopesanddreams:

Is it hard to get promoted even though you may be a star contributor? Does work ever get 'boring' or repetitive because your focusing on particular stocks?

I think this depends on your coverage universe and your analyst. There could be a case that after 3-4 years your analyst gives you a couple of stocks or a sub-sector to have as co-coverage. I'll give you three specific examples that I've seen: 1) analyst moves to a different firm and it happens that his associate stayed with the new analyst. In this case the new analyst gave 4 names to the associate as co-coverage. 2) team expands, brings on a new associate. The analyst adds new coverage given more resources and lets the old associate take the lead on a few smaller companies. 3) analyst leaves the firm/moves to buy side, an experience associate stays and takes over the entire coverage. While the third scenario sounds nice, your sales force will always see you as the junior guy. I would say most people would probably move on to a different sell-side shop shortly after in a senior analyst capacity so they can be seen in a better light.

hopesanddreams:

What do you think ER has that other FO divisions don't have? What do you think ER has that FO divisions have (in particular IBD)?

ER seems to be 'more vocal' then IBD? In terms of client calls, pitching stocks and so on. So is it closer to a senior IBD role would you say? You also need to be more confident, personable etc. right vs IBD where you are mostly number crunching as a junior?

Would you kindly outline your normal working hours and the compensation received by analysts/and seniors? I read $70k for juniors but is that a standard rate, and no bonuses?

I would say most of that stuff can be found by searching the forum or going through some of my comments here: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/qa-with-flake-...

hopesanddreams:

Are languages an issue? So long as you know English is it all good? I know they are quite anal about having a second European language in the EU for IBD positions.

Depends on where you'll be working and what you're covering. Odds are if you're based in the US you will be covering US companies (I have seen LATAM teams based in NY though). I don't know how it is at other banks, but here the teams that cover EU stocks are based in Europe, etc. Just make sure you can write well.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

7/6/12

Hi Flake,
You mentioned your fear of losing your job on the spot by doing something illegal. I am assuming you are talking about something disclosure related? Are there any other actions that an Associate or Analyst can take that can cause immediate dismissal (illegal or otherwise)?
Also, as far as sector coverage goes.... I was told once that the buyside views some sectors as 'core' like energy, industrials or other cyclicals whereas other sectors are looked at more on a discretionary basis, like airlines, paper/forestry, media etc, and these sectors are rotated out of more easily. Is this your experience? If so, doesn't this leave an analyst at a disadvantage when trying to sell research (when say, competing against other analysts who cover more favored sectors)?
Thanks

7/6/12
jonmorris:

Hi Flake,
You mentioned your fear of losing your job on the spot by doing something illegal.

He has problems that he needs to get worked out.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

7/10/12

Thanks Flake! :)

7/23/12

Thanks a million for this Flake.

Just a quick question; How would an internship at a mid market PE firm be viewed when it comes to FT recruiting for ER? I also have a FP&A internship under my belt with an F10 company?

I, too, dream in color and in rhyme

12/27/12

Thank you, Flake. I have sent you a PM.

2/1/13

Flake, I read your thread again today and wonder if your manager in the BO is okay to let you shadow others in research. I remembered I saw it somewhere you said that you were in the rotation so the managers didn't really know where you were? What if you were in the same floor with your manager then how would you go about shadowing analysts in research? Thank you Flake

2/1/13

Two ways come to mind and i am not saying you should do this and I am not saying I did this myself. These are risky and will definitely reflect poorly on your record (if not worse) if caught.

The first way: Some rotational programs in back office let you shadow any team/group you want for up to 10-15 days if you can set it up. However, by "any group" they usually mean within infrastructure functions, so operations, IT, finance, accounting, trade support, etc. BUT, due to lack of controls and overall intelligence of ops HR, you may or may not get away with shadowing a front office team by being sneaky and cryptic about telling them where you're going (given the guys you want to shadow agree to it).

The second way: During rotational programs HR usually does not provide you with hard start and end dates for your rotations. They can provide ranges like "each rotation should be about 3-5 months" or "you should start looking for your next rotation around March". So you tell the manager at rotation #1 you are going to start rotation #2 on January 1. You tell rotation manager #2 that your rotation #1 doesn't end until February 1. There you have it. A four week shadowing period just freed up and BO is none the wiser. That said, I wouldn't recommend doing this one because that's a nice way to get fired (unless you're a manipulative son of a bitch like some people that I may or may not be related to).

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/1/13

So it is suck if the firm doesn't have rotational program.

Flake:
Two ways come to mind and i am not saying you should do this and I am not saying I did this myself. These are risky and will definitely reflect poorly on your record (if not worse) if caught.

The first way: Some rotational programs in back office let you shadow any team/group you want for up to 10-15 days if you can set it up. However, by "any group" they usually mean within infrastructure functions, so operations, IT, finance, accounting, trade support, etc. BUT, due to lack of controls and overall intelligence of ops HR, you may or may not get away with shadowing a front office team by being sneaky and cryptic about telling them where you're going (given the guys you want to shadow agree to it).

The second way: During rotational programs HR usually does not provide you with hard start and end dates for your rotations. They can provide ranges like "each rotation should be about 3-5 months" or "you should start looking for your next rotation around March". So you tell the manager at rotation #1 you are going to start rotation #2 on January 1. You tell rotation manager #2 that your rotation #1 doesn't end until February 1. There you have it. A four week shadowing period just freed up and BO is none the wiser. That said, I wouldn't recommend doing this one because that's a nice way to get fired (unless you're a manipulative son of a bitch like some people that I may or may not be related to).

2/1/13

blueslord2910:
So it is suck if the firm doesn't have rotational program.

Flake:
Two ways come to mind and i am not saying you should do this and I am not saying I did this myself. These are risky and will definitely reflect poorly on your record (if not worse) if caught.

The first way: Some rotational programs in back office let you shadow any team/group you want for up to 10-15 days if you can set it up. However, by "any group" they usually mean within infrastructure functions, so operations, IT, finance, accounting, trade support, etc. BUT, due to lack of controls and overall intelligence of ops HR, you may or may not get away with shadowing a front office team by being sneaky and cryptic about telling them where you're going (given the guys you want to shadow agree to it).

The second way: During rotational programs HR usually does not provide you with hard start and end dates for your rotations. They can provide ranges like "each rotation should be about 3-5 months" or "you should start looking for your next rotation around March". So you tell the manager at rotation #1 you are going to start rotation #2 on January 1. You tell rotation manager #2 that your rotation #1 doesn't end until February 1. There you have it. A four week shadowing period just freed up and BO is none the wiser. That said, I wouldn't recommend doing this one because that's a nice way to get fired (unless you're a manipulative son of a bitch like some people that I may or may not be related to).

Look, shit like that only worked for one person (that I know of). There is no step by step guide or standardazied method to making that type of transition. What worked for me may not work for you, even if you had indentical circumstances. It was just easy to exploit the rotational program because HR was sloppy. It's high risk. It's probably dumb. The point is, if you really want something you will go to great lengths to get it. You will exhaust all resources and you will exploit all opportunities. The shitty part is: even if you do all of the above you can still fail.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/1/13

Flake:
blueslord2910:
So it is suck if the firm doesn't have rotational program.

Flake:
Two ways come to mind and i am not saying you should do this and I am not saying I did this myself. These are risky and will definitely reflect poorly on your record (if not worse) if caught.

The first way: Some rotational programs in back office let you shadow any team/group you want for up to 10-15 days if you can set it up. However, by "any group" they usually mean within infrastructure functions, so operations, IT, finance, accounting, trade support, etc. BUT, due to lack of controls and overall intelligence of ops HR, you may or may not get away with shadowing a front office team by being sneaky and cryptic about telling them where you're going (given the guys you want to shadow agree to it).

The second way: During rotational programs HR usually does not provide you with hard start and end dates for your rotations. They can provide ranges like "each rotation should be about 3-5 months" or "you should start looking for your next rotation around March". So you tell the manager at rotation #1 you are going to start rotation #2 on January 1. You tell rotation manager #2 that your rotation #1 doesn't end until February 1. There you have it. A four week shadowing period just freed up and BO is none the wiser. That said, I wouldn't recommend doing this one because that's a nice way to get fired (unless you're a manipulative son of a bitch like some people that I may or may not be related to).

Look, shit like that only worked for one person (that I know of). There is no step by step guide or standardazied method to making that type of transition. What worked for me may not work for you, even if you had indentical circumstances. It was just easy to exploit the rotational program because HR was sloppy. It's high risk. It's probably dumb. The point is, if you really want something you will go to great lengths to get it. You will exhaust all resources and you will exploit all opportunities. The shitty part is: even if you do all of the above you can still fail.


You're right, carpe diem

now settle down and let's get a drink

Get busy living

2/1/13

Hi,

What sectors would you say have the highest trading volumes/banking activity?

Thanks!

2/2/13

Great thread Flake! Free beers for you.

So after all, what kind of important characteristics do BB or even boutiques look at when it comes to recruiting?

5/21/13

tonydaboiii:

Great thread Flake! Free beers for you.

So after all, what kind of important characteristics do BB or even boutiques look at when it comes to recruiting?

I know this is way too late of a response but I wanted to stick to discussing what you can expect on the job in your first year or two (and, to a lesser extent, my background/story). I don't want to get into recruiting-related questions since I wasn't a traditional hire myself and did not have the opportunity to interview others yet.

I think these types of questions are best for more experienced associates.
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/equity-researc...

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/here-is-how-...
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/faq/what-are-the-be...

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/7/13

Awesome thread, thanks

5/22/13
6/7/13

"If you have enough assets plus passive income to cover your personal lifestyle expenses for the rest of your life, and that money allows you to work at something you love, without concern for the amount of compensation, then you are wealthy."

9/2/13
10/15/13

Alright, Alright, Alright...

11/22/13

What some magic? Look, I can mirror letters! YaR IN

12/3/13

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/5/14
2/17/14

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

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