Interview with WallStreetPlayboys: A Top 3 Institutional Investor Ranked Analyst (part 1/2)

The following is Part 1 of an interview with WallStreetPlayboys (he is also available to answer your questions)

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  1. What is your current job title and a one sentence description of your primary job responsibility?
  2. Keeping it short here, Managing Director or Research Analyst.

  3. What are previous positions you have held and how many years of experience do you have?
  4. Still keeping it a bit vague, over a decade of experience

    Undergrad

  5. Did you go to a "target", "semi target" or "non target".
    Attended a Target school however I have hired candidates from Non-Target schools as well.

  6. What was the most useful thing you learned in ugrad that you apply in your current position?

    The finance courses such as accounting "101" and basic corporate finance are the most transferable when you begin a job on Wall Street. In terms of today, work experience trumps the classes, when you do something for over 10 years you pick up specific knowledge and classes become much less relevant. For my specific role it is key to have in depth industry knowledge, in addition it is important to become known on a few particular stocks. Becoming the "axe" is the slang term on the Street.
    To help out new comers though, you need to know the three statements. In addition you should know how to do quick math, percentages, quick fractions and understand broad concepts such as BETA, CAPM and of course the simple DCF.

  7. What was the most useful thing you learned in ugrad that helped you get where you are now?

    How to work hard. Internships and a good GPA are necessary, build up your hard work tolerance early. It's cliche to say hard work in this industry, but if you are working multiple internships with a 4.0 it shows on your resume.

  8. What was your most useful class and why?

    If forced to choose accounting 101. Not trying to tell people to take advanced accounting, but the basics are necessary and make it much easier when you update models and link cells quickly as you gain more responsibility as you move up the ladder.

  9. During recruiting, how were you able to set yourself apart from other competitive candidates at your school?

    Hard to say, work experience and GPA but it was a target school. Instead this should be a message to go to a Target if you can, it makes a big difference having banks on campus with you. Finance people are busy so they select these schools for a reason.

  10. On the job

  11. What were some of the main factors in getting the job position you have now?

    After entering, moving up is a combination of the following: hard work, luck, brains. That is in no particular order.
    I have certainly seen some smart guys get caught up in a bad segment of finance (mortgage bust) and have also seen some less talented people (opinion) get into some great positions on the buy-side and sell-side. Overall the message though is if you're hard working & smart the Street will have a spot for you somewhere, long-term.

  12. What are some of the specific things you do in your current position?

    In no particular order: marketing, call/email buy-side clients, run fast numbers and update clients during earnings season, write research and review models from associates. One of the most critical pieces of the job is collecting votes for II in my position. Being ranked number one (All-American Research First Team) is always the goal, not willing to disclose where our team ranks but it is in the Top 3 space/sector/bank or otherwise.
    With that said this is also why the vast majority of ranked analysts and research analysts in general are in New York City. You need to be in front of your important clients, both on the phone and in person. Your goal is to travel a lot and ideally your team can handle the leg work, be it a Vice President, Senior Associates, or other Junior Research Analysts. It's a different job from the buy-side where their goal is to hide ideas and information and it is my job to come up with interesting investment ideas and get them in front of C-level management.

  13. What is a day in your life like during the workweek? Can you give us an hour by hour run down of your typical day?

    This is difficult, an ideal work day would be the following though (always checking email and making phone calls as well):
    Morning - Wake up do a morning call (making a call on a particular stock),
    Mid-Morning - Immediately get positive feedback from interesting work, go to the airport for marketing with the CEO of aforementioned stock call
    Early-Afternoon - Land to receive an email from an associate saying the stock is up 5%
    All-Afternoon - Go to marketing meetings with no issues from flights or scheduling, with CEO
    Market Closing - The same stock that was pitched is now up 7%, no announcements after the close and no other news to explain the jump in the stock price
    Evening - Go to a client dinner, an updated model for a different company we cover is sent to me from an associate with no errors and no need to change numbers, the note is already loaded and ready to be submitted, I simply hit submit
    Night - I get ready for the next day of marketing.
    This never happens.

  14. What is your favorite part about the job? What is your least favorite?

    Favorite Part:
    Being tied to the market and knowing the sector I truly enjoy the companies I cover, also hate to say it but there is some wiggle room to miss calls now and then and not ruin an entire portfolio. Unlike the buy-side which leads me to the least favorite.

    Least Favorite:
    There is less upside because I cannot own the stocks I cover, regulations. Can't ask for it all though as pay is less volatile on the sell-side, so it is a give and take

  15. What is the size of your firm?

    Most II ranked analysts are at larger banks. Will leave it at that.

  16. What type of person (what background / knowledge / experience / personality) is best fit to do your type of job?

    Social, intelligent, hard working, fast. You will get stock calls wrong and you will need to stand in the ring and say you were wrong so be prepared. You also need to be up on news for your companies, if a client calls on an item that just "hit the tape" you can't say you missed it. You're there to give direct answers fast to your premium clients.

  17. How do you see your type of role and your industry as a whole changing in 5 years? 20 years?

    The industry continues to change, 10-15 years ago before regulations it was a different industry. So it may operate differently but companies need their stories to be heard and for specific people to understand smaller spaces, so it will still be around.

  18. Did you ever have a mentor and who were some other influential people who helped you along the way?

    Everyone needs or should want a mentor. It's a positive thing to have a person to strive to become, with that said the list of people I consider mentors are still in my phone today. Many people believe you should do everything yourself and be independent. This doesn't make sense to me, even if you don't have a direct mentor the people you surround yourself with will make you a different person through osmosis. If we take anyone on this forum and put them in a room with highly talented people for a year, they will benefit even if they have nothing to add to the discussion for the time being. When you're young you want to listen and surround yourself with older successful people who are willing to help, you're not as amazing as you think you are. When you get older and you've earned your stripes it's a positive thing to pay it back to the younger generation.

  19. Are the sacrifices you've made to date worth the benefit realized by you so far in your career?

    Absolutely. Pain today or regret tomorrow. You do this long enough and the hard work or pain becomes fun and your life in general will improve. This is just an opinion based on life experiences though.

  20. If you weren't working in finance, what do you think you would be doing?

    Are you asking me to retire you sound like one of my associates. Jokes aside, that is something to consider when the time comes, not this year though.

  21. How much does money motivate you?

    Money motivates anyone who wants more out of his/her life.

  22. How much does someone in a role like yours make per year (base + bonus)?

    The range is quite variable depending on experience, rankings and many other factors. If forced to place a range it would be $300K-$1M+ all in, but that's not a helpful range as it goes from someone who just got promoted to someone who is ranked number one by II. If you're the number one guy in a growing or "hot" space then you will certainly make north of $1M. This is information you can find through internet searches.

See Part 2 Here (available on Thur April 11, 4pm et)