Is Equity Research a good pivot 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 l (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, l'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 l 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) is indeed a viable pivot into finance, especially for someone with your background in investor relations and corporate communications within the financial services sector. Here’s a detailed breakdown to address your queries:

  1. Importance of Firm vs. Analyst Brand: The brand of the firm and the analyst you work under both play significant roles in your career trajectory in ER. A well-regarded firm can provide a strong platform and resources, but working under a respected analyst can offer mentorship and direct knowledge transfer, which is invaluable. It's often the analyst's reputation that can significantly impact the quality of your training and exposure.

  2. Career Paths Beyond Hedge Funds (HFs): ER professionals often transition into various roles beyond HFs. These include asset management, corporate development, investor relations (which you are already familiar with), and strategic planning roles within corporations. Some also move into investment banking or venture capital, depending on their area of expertise and network.

  3. Enhancing Your Application: While networking remains paramount, there are several other strategies to bolster your application:

    • Certifications: Continue with financial certifications like the CFA, which is highly regarded in ER and investment communities.
    • Publishing Analysis: Start a blog or contribute to existing financial publications to showcase your analytical skills and market understanding.
    • Financial Modeling: Continue to enhance your financial modeling skills, as this is crucial in ER. Wall Street Prep's courses are excellent, but practical application through case studies or competitions can also be beneficial.
  4. Other Industries to Consider: Besides ER, consider roles in:

    • Corporate Finance: Working in corporate finance teams within large corporations can also be rewarding and utilizes similar skill sets.
    • Financial Consulting: Given your consulting background, financial consulting might be a natural fit, offering services like financial advisory, risk management, and compliance.
    • Fintech: Roles in financial technology companies can be another avenue, where your understanding of financial markets and technology-driven solutions can be a unique asset.

In summary, leveraging your existing experience in IR and enhancing your skills through certifications and practical applications can make ER a fruitful pivot in your finance career. Keep exploring and networking to find the best fit for your interests and skills in the vast field of finance.

Sources: Thoughts on Investor Relations? A good or bad move?, Exit-Ops: Equity Research vs. Investment Banking - (A Definitive Guide, Part 2), Future of Equity Research - 12+ Months into MIFID II, https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forum/equity-research/career-ladder-equity-research-vs-investment-banking-a-definitive-guide-part-3?customgpt=1, Ask a VP in Equity Research anything

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