Unlike most of these new guys to this place, I spent little time getting aquainted with this site and literally just came across it this morning.
Anyhow, I was wondering what the primary things are that I should concern myself with in terms of preparing myself for the Research side out of undergrad.
Currently I am entering my last year in a non-target school out in Boston (Northeastern University) and am wondering what I can do to seperate myself from the typical undergrad applying for research (or trading) positions out of undergrad. I originally thought Northeastern's co-op programs would be what provided that edge but then came to the realization that not only do ivy league/ top 20 (hell 50) students have the academic advantage but also tend to aquire internships during their undergrad years, so I now understand my internship at a consulting firm and Public Finance IB analyst internship are relatively nothing.
So my questions are:
- with less than two years left of a five year undergrad (May '11) I came up with some ideas to further my chances at obtaining a job in either research or trading at a firm upon graduation (bb, middle market, boutique.....)
Please rank the following:
a.) Take some of those financial modeling courses like Wallst-training or atleast the online versions (if you could rank these different programs/courses that would be great aswell)
b.) Taking some of the money from my current internship and setting up an account on E-trade or whichever platform is preferable for a beginner with a small account. I figure this will force me to following the markets/companies much more closely and get more into it. (problem I find now is I go into marketwatch/bloomberg/ etc... and see DOW up X, Unemployment down X, and Caterpillar reporting relatively low profits and figure what the hell do I care and so I have to force myself to read through it, if at all)
c.) thinking about asking a Finance professor to do research work for them when I am back in classes this fall.
d.) Joining the Investment fund on campus starting in the Fall, then hoping to become one of the analysts/Portfolio managers by the spring when I graduate.
e.) Taking the first part of the CFA exam before I graduate.
f.) should I try and search for a sector I find relatively interesting and inundate myself with books and information on the topic.
2.) Wit be more realistic for me to get a mid-office/back office/consulting job after graduation then go onto getting a Masters in Finance and then try to go for the associate level positions in Trading/Research afterwords?
3.) what is the main different between research on the equity side/ and research in fixed income, commodities, currency, etc... (I just noticed WSO only had a forum for equity research, why?)
4.) I have heard that the buy side/ investment management firms are distinct exit possiblities. Would you say it also makes it easier to get into a decent position as a Finance Professor aswell?
Now as for some general information about myself:
Minor: Economics (Macro focus)
internships: NEPC working with consultants on alternative assets side/ Currently working in Public Finance IB with Piper Jaffrays essentially as the intern to the analyst. (not sure whether this would help at all in terms of getting into a research / trading desk, but I am atleast putting in the 12 hour days including some Sundays)
(I realize I might be a bit ignorant when it comes to my understanding of the practical applications/ jobs in the financial world so please bare with me.)
Why I feel research might be a fit:
- I enjoy searching for information
- I have enjoyed the small amount of financial modeling and analysis I have come across.
- I enjoy the general idea of understanding a companies balance sheets and macro environment and trying to infer future performance as such
- I am more academically inclined, prefer to learn and teach and argue points rather than sell/ wine&dine/ etc...
Why I might not be a good fit:
- Writing is not my favorite, though that tends to perhaps be more related to creative writing and trying to think of things to say. I figure when your writing a report on a company it is more straight to the facts and less need for hyperbole/vocabulary? (though 200 page reports still sound very daunting and gruesome as I do tend to take a while to write, and read for that matter) As I'm sure you all can tell, writing quickly is not a strong suit for me.
I appreciate any help/suggestions you all can provide. I realize I might be a bit behind the curve and may have come across as a tool, but I figure better I ask now than out of undergrad and stuck in the back-office handling clearing/etc...