Experienced IB Associate Looking to Break Into Buy-Side ER/CR

XSX82's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | 479

Hey all,
In the coming months, I will be actively pursuing a position in either equity research or credit research. I have been a frequent reader and poster on this forum and would like some feedback from individuals on the plan I have laid out and whether there are other recommendations.

I graduated about four years ago from university and am currently an associate as a generalist at a boutique investment bank dealing with a lot of distressed situations. Prior to IB, I was working in accounting/valuations. My time in IB has been a god send to say truth. I have learned a tremendous amount about multiple industry trends and how to analyze a company. Working with distressed companies, I have gone through numerous financials and meetings with management discussing their shortfalls and weaknesses. I am confident that my experience in both valuation and IB will be a good combination for me in breaking into the industry.

Furthermore, I will be sitting for the level III CFA exam this year. If I pass, I hope that will help raise me above the average threshold to at least land some interviews.

On the other side, I have weaknesses which I believe will make my journey into ER/CR difficult. First off, I do not work for a recognizable IB, although I would not discount the degree of difficulty of our work and quality work product. We just have a more laid-back culture. Secondly, the amount of vacant positions publicly available is small. A strong network would help expand the pool of jobs, however, my network in not strong and I plan on expanding it going forward. Lastly, my background may be weak compared to sell-side analysts. They know their industry and company's cold while I will be learning the ropes.
In the past, I have always been opportunistic with my job search. Before landing my current position, I only applied to three other banks and did not really actively search. I am looking to apply to as many positions as possible and have multiple offers available so I can make a decision that suites me best.
I have laid out a plan after my CFA which I believe will put in the best position to break into the industry:
1: Network, Network, Network - Once I hear back about my CFA result I intend on reaching out current charter holders in the industry. I will also reach out to people via linkedin that I have common/relatable interests with and my current circle which can hopefully leverage some of their relationships.

2: I was thinking of posting a blog of some sort that has write-ups of some stock picks and discussion of current economic trends. I used to have something like this back in college, but the quality of my work in the past was shit to say the least. I think it would be much more informative this time around. I am not too sure if this would be a good idea or not. Making my work public may lead to more scrutinization prior to the interview.

3: Recruiters - It wouldn't hurt. I know recruiters do a really job of filtering and can even be a waste of time at some points.

In the end, networking is king and that is the thing I should be putting a lot of effort in.

I had two interviews not too long ago and one question that came up was my interest in the market. They asked if I had a PA, I don't (not even paper). I plan on having one once I am comfortable with my currently financial position. Also, I have not read many equity research books. I have read through some technical based books but nothing where conceptual topics are discussed. I need to find a way around these questions without straight-out lying. I do have a very strong interest in the space and also follow macroeconomic trends and some companies.

I would appreciate some feedback from members and any other high level things I may have missed. Am I wasting my time right now with how the market is? I would be willing to move since the area I am in has a small number of funds.

Thanks,

XSX

Comments (4)

May 26, 2016

Hey there, on my phone so this will be brief for now.

I think you have the right game plan insomuch of networking. While our backgrounds are different, my experience with recruiters was largely not good and they'd toss me to the side because I didn't fit into the predefined mold they had in mind. However, with point 2, I'd recommend drafting some research reports (1 pg of writing and a few pages of charts + model maybe) and including that in your applications. That seemingly helped when I was looking for jobs, but you better know the companies cold for whatever you choose to write up.

Reply or PM if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

Jun 27, 2016

On the phone...what a douche

May 28, 2016

1: Network, Network, Network - Once I hear back about my CFA result I intend on reaching out current charter holders in the industry. I will also reach out to people via linkedin

Good plan.

2: I was thinking of posting a blog of some sort that has write-ups of some stock picks and discussion of current economic trends. I used to have something like this back in college, but the quality of my work in the past was shit to say the least. I think it would be much more informative this time around. I am not too sure if this would be a good idea or not. Making my work public may lead to more scrutinization prior to the interview.

This can go one of two ways. If you do really high quality work on Seeking Alpha for example and get a lot of followers it can be very positive exposure. I had a friend do this before and during business school and he ended up getting job offers based upon it (he now works at T Rowe). On the other hand, if you do a mediocre job it can ruin your chances.

It's safe to assume most interviewers will google your name and whatever blog you have will come up quickly. You either need to do very high quality work or don't bother with it at all. Assuming you're busy with your day job, it may not be that easy to do good work.

3: Recruiters - It wouldn't hurt. I know recruiters do a really job of filtering and can even be a waste of time at some points.

Keep in mind recruiters work for their client, not you. If you fit the criteria for an active search they have then they'll act like your best friend. Most of them won't give you the time of day otherwise. Personally, I think most of them are worthless idiots.

I had two interviews not too long ago and one question that came up was my interest in the market. They asked if I had a PA, I don't (not even paper). I plan on having one once I am comfortable with my currently financial position.

You should do a paper PA. It will give you something to talk about.

Also, I have not read many equity research books. I have read through some technical based books but nothing where conceptual topics are discussed. I need to find a way around these questions without straight-out lying.

Well this would be a red flag for me. You love picking stocks but you haven't read many books on the topic? You're focused on "finding a way around this question" rather than addressing the real problem? Doubt you'll get any interest at all with that type of attitude.

I would be willing to move since the area I am in has a small number of funds.

This is going to present a real roadblock in my opinion. Most firms are not going to waste their time with out-of-area candidates unless the candidate is a superstar. You either need to 1) move to a finance oriented city 2) accept that your opportunity set will be much smaller and probably lower quality.

One last thought, you might consider a MBA if you're really serious about making the transition. I think it will difficult in your current situation.

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May 28, 2016
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