Learning to model for an interview?

I'm about to do a fourth-round interview for an equity research job and would really appreciate some advice. I'm coming over from a nontraditional background. I went to a non-target school and graduated with no internships under my belt. I took a shitty starter job and kept applying to finance jobs until I got a position in sales at a large Asset Manager 2 years ago. 

An equity research position opened up at my current firm and I'm going to speak to the lead PM next week. I desperately want this and have done a good job selling myself and pushing through the process, but I know their concern is around me not having modeling/research experience. I'm currently finishing up with the WSP DFC course and ideally, I'd like to submit a basic model to the team for one of their portfolio companies to show them I have what it takes. I feel alright on the content, I'm not that confident in the model I'm working on. I'm worried this is way too aggressive and that I'm potentially shooting myself in the foot if I screw up the model. Would doing a short write up on a stock in their portfolio be a smarter move or should I just focus on making sure I articulate on what I know regarding markets and whatever relevant experience I have? 

I'm strong in excel and am sitting for L2 of the CFA in the fall so I'm not totally incompetent in this, but obviously it's way different than anything I do in my day to day. I've been reading up on their portfolio and listening to earnings calls for some of their holdings just to give myself more background. Last round I made sure to tell them about my own background investing and gave them an ad hoc stock pitch. Is there anything else I should do to stand out? 

Appreciate any and all advice!!


Based on the most helpful WSO content, here's a strategic approach to enhance your chances for the equity research position:

  1. Complete the WSP DFC Course: Since you're already finishing up the WSP DFC course, ensure you understand the key concepts thoroughly. This course is crucial as it directly relates to the skills needed in equity research.

  2. Develop a Basic Model: Given your concern about your modeling skills, it might be beneficial to continue working on the model you've started. Ensure it's simple yet effective, focusing on the key metrics that are relevant to the company you are analyzing. This will demonstrate your ability to apply what you've learned in the WSP course practically.

  3. Prepare a Stock Write-Up: Instead of only submitting a model, complement it with a short write-up on the same stock. This document should outline your investment thesis, key financials, risks, and opportunities. This dual approach shows both your analytical and narrative skills, catering to different preferences within the team.

  4. Leverage Your Excel Skills: Since you're proficient in Excel, make sure your model is well-organized, uses advanced formulas where appropriate, and is easy to understand. This will not only showcase your technical skills but also your ability to present information in a clear and professional manner.

  5. Discuss Relevant Experience and Market Knowledge: In your interview, articulate your understanding of the markets, any relevant experience, and how your background has prepared you for a role in equity research. Use examples from your current job, your personal investing experience, and insights gained from following the firm’s portfolio.

  6. Continuous Learning and Certification: Mention your commitment to further education by highlighting your preparation for Level 2 of the CFA. This shows dedication to your career progression and deepening your financial knowledge.

  7. Engage with Current Events and Earnings Calls: Continue to educate yourself on the firm’s portfolio companies by listening to earnings calls and reading up on recent news. This will prepare you to discuss relevant and timely topics during your interview, demonstrating your proactive approach and interest in the sector.

  8. Feedback on Your Model: If possible, seek feedback on your model from someone with experience in equity research before submitting it. This could help refine your work and avoid potential pitfalls.

By combining these elements, you not only demonstrate your technical skills and market knowledge but also your proactive attitude and commitment to transitioning into equity research. This comprehensive preparation could significantly strengthen your candidacy for the position.

Sources: What else can I do?, Does Your Resume Have to be Black and White Standard Format?, Q&A: I just conducted interviews in 4 Superdays, Stand Out as a Non-Target: Recruiting (Part 1 of 4), Sorry, you weren't good enough

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