Is Equity Research a good entry point into finance?

Hi all,

I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on using equity research as a pivot into finance.

For background, I graduated from Wake Forest in 2022 with a 3.7+ GPA. I was a Philosophy major and Finance minor, originally planning on pursuing law school. After bailing on that during my senior year, I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do but I was vaguely interested in that finance minor, so I (naturally like many others) took a job in consulting.

I now have 2 years of experience, specializing in investor relations and corporate communications for the financial services sector. Given that niche IR experience, I’ve come to realize that ER might be my best bet at breaking in without going back to school. Plus, investing and financial markets (public more so than private) are by far the most interesting to me, and so I passed the SIE recently and am currently taking Wall Street Prep’s financial modeling course.

I have the following questions for those currently in ER as I start applying:

  • is the name brand of your firm more or less important than the name brand of your Analyst?

  • beyond HFs, where do you see your peers going to?

  • I know networking is number one, but what else can I be doing in the meantime to bolster the application?

  • are there industries other than ER that I might not be thinking about?


Based on the insights from Wall Street Oasis, Equity Research (ER) can indeed serve as a solid entry point into the finance sector, especially for someone with your background in investor relations and corporate communications within the financial services sector. Here’s a breakdown of how ER can be a strategic move for you:

  1. Relevance to Previous Experience: Your experience in investor relations aligns well with the skills required in ER, such as understanding financial statements, communicating complex financial information, and dealing with investors.

  2. Interest in Financial Markets: ER will allow you to deepen your understanding and analysis of public markets, which you've expressed a strong interest in.

  3. Educational Background: Although your major was in Philosophy, your minor in Finance and the proactive steps you've taken, such as passing the SIE and taking financial modeling courses, demonstrate a strong commitment to transitioning into finance.

  4. Networking and Skill Enhancement: As you've rightly pointed out, networking is crucial. Continuously engaging with professionals in the field through forums, LinkedIn, and attending industry events can provide insights and open doors. Additionally, continuing to enhance your financial modeling skills and perhaps starting to write sample equity research reports could further bolster your application.

  5. Exploring Other Industries: While ER is a great fit, you might also consider roles in financial analysis, asset management, or roles that involve financial communications within corporate settings, which could leverage your previous IR experience.

In summary, ER could be a very suitable option for you to pivot into finance, leveraging your existing skills and interests while providing a platform for further career development in the financial sector.

Sources: Is Equity Research really decent at getting exit opps to top AM and HFs?, Q&A: Equity Research Associate at a Boutique Firm, Q&A: Sell-Side Equity Research today, Future of Equity Research - 12+ Months into MIFID II, Starting Career in ER??

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