Welcome to a WSO interview with power-user rufiolove.
The interview will be split into 2 halves:
- WSO, daily life, experiences in the industry and advice for new hires
- Entering finance, advice for prospective monkeys and target vs non-target
If you feel comfortable enough to do so, I want to open up the chance for you to talk about anything you may wish to. What do you want people that read the WSO front page to know?
First off, I'd like to say thanks to Patrick and all the staff at WSO (yourself included obviously) for all the effort put into the site and into providing a community where so many different users can come together and exchange ideas.
I continue to meet interesting people in all segments of the industry through the site, and the ability to have a resource like this to seek out answers to questions is awesome. I know that when I was going through the recruiting process, I found the answers to many of my questions through browsing the forums, and now through the efforts of initiatives like the WSO conference and the Energy Rodeo, those opportunities are continuing to grow and thrive.
It may be a difficult time in the industry right now but to all the kids out there with aspirations of making it to their dream job, I want them to know that it's still possible, it will just take a bit more work, but that will also make success that much sweeter.
What advice would you give to a new hire entering into your industry?
Be a Stu... not a Steve, be smart but not too smart, and learn to drink whiskey.
Be that guy or girl that everyone wants to work with. Don't be the mousy little nerd who is only good for building a model. That's passable as an analyst, but won't get you very far up the ladder if you don't bring more to the table. It sounds obvious I guess, but you have to be more than just an Excel jockey. Be the person people want on a project, not just because you can do the work, but because when they are working their third 110 hour week in a row and are listing in vivid detail the ways they could inflict bodily harm on the client sourcing all the work keeping you from sleep you are there to remind them that you keep a bottle of Jameson in your drawer for exactly these type of occasions.
If you can be the guy that when a deal comes up the pipe and the MD emails the staffer and says we need a rock star on this, and the staffer doesn't even think twice and says go with you... that's where you want to be. You do this not just by being technically sound but also by building trust every day with the people you work with and work for. Always try your best to make it out for drinks if asked, assuming that you can still get all your work done. You're going to be tired, you would probably rather sleep, but you're young, resilient, and the big conversations are always had over hard liquor, not Starbucks.
Can you provide a quick run-down of what your daily responsibilities are like?
As an analyst I am responsible for covering a list of ~30 companies and updating them for issuances and M&A transactions, which happen frequently in my space. I also track and update transaction lists for precedent use. Within deal processes I am responsible for building the models and preparing pitchbooks.
I usually get in around 9:30-10. I used to get in earlier my first year but mornings tend to be fairly uneventful and most of the work happens in the afternoon / evening. After I grab coffee and a breakfast I will scan the news and see if anything interesting / noteworthy has happened in the sector (I work in oil & gas). On Mondays we have a weekly meeting at 11am which will go over what is going on in the markets (debt, equity, commodity, etc.) sometimes work will come out of these meetings but usually not. After the morning meetings I will usually have either conference calls for deal processes or meetings with the internal deal team to discuss the progress of materials. After I get off calls I will check to see if any of the companies I cover need their comps updated (this is tedious during earnings season and O&G companies frequently issue in the capital markets so even when it's not earnings season there are often updates to be made).
For lunch I'll go with some other analysts to grab a sandwich or something and then bring it back to my desk to eat while I work. I am usually working on presentations or models during the mid to late afternoon if there aren't other calls / meetings going on. I will usually get pulled into a quick review session with a Director or MD before they go home for the day so that they can review everything they need done for tomorrow or to coordinate logistics for delivery of books if they are traveling.
Once the big dogs leave I typically order Seamless and if it's slow I'll eat in the conference room with the other analysts on my floor. After dinner it's just a question of trying to finish all the work I need to deliver for tomorrow as fast as possible so I can head out.
What do you do in your free time to maintain the work-life balance?
I try to party when I can, and if the opportunity arises to ditch the chaos of the city for a weekend away, I make every attempt to do that every few weeks. It's tough during an analyst stint to maintain much of a life. Unfortunately, as someone pointed out to me shortly before I started "Once you start, you will have time to work, time to sleep, and time to have a social life, but never all three at the same time, and if you're lucky 2/3 ain't bad." I choose to sleep less because I would rather have the stories.
Come back next week for part 2 where we discuss college student advice, target vs non-targets and different personalities