Factset - Consultant position

What's the deal with working at Factset? I understand that the "consultant" position is a glorified customer support role, but it seems to me like there could be a genuine exit op. logically speaking you obviously learn the factset software better than any analyst on the buy side based on the fact that this is your primary job. Also you have the opportunity for FaceTime with senior buy side individuals. Am I missing something here or is this a decent company to work for?

Comments (19)

Mar 4, 2012 - 9:37pm

That's a pretty misleading way to think about it. You learn the software better? Where I work, we have a quant geek with a Master's in CS who does nothing but make sure our spreadsheets are streaming factset data correctly and program new spreadsheets that I request. I assume lots of other funds have that kind of role as well. If you know how to program, then factset could provide a stepping stone into such a role. If you're "just" a customer service guy though, it's hard to see where you could add value to the buy side.

Mar 4, 2012 - 10:03pm

Good point. I don't know a whole lot about the position and its responsibilities. I was assuming that you would gain a lot of technical ability which would come in handy while working in a research position at a buyside firm. Maybe this was a poor assumption. I'm going to search linked in for past Factset employees to see where they end up.

Mar 4, 2012 - 10:04pm

Factset interviewed people in my graduating class, don't think anyone went to work for them. The platform itself is a very powerful tool but I think it would be a stretch to take that over something along the more traditional path to the buy side.

Mar 4, 2012 - 10:37pm

I absolutely agree. I am in corporate finance now and am looking to get out ASAP. I know that I need to build modeling skills, just weighing my options for the best oportunity. Afraid If I take a position at fidelity I will get pidgeon holed. Ideally would like to go sellside out of the gate but I am coming out of corporate finance from a non target so I realize I am fighting an uphill battle. So far most ops I have gained via extensive networking have been at large buyside firms: Fidelity, Statestreet, and possibly blackrock. Any input on best option or most useful department to work for in any of these firms to gain some valuable experience?

Mar 4, 2012 - 10:56pm

Who gives a fuck about how well you know FactSet? I put these "consultants" on the same usefulness level as our internal IT helpdesk. I have never even thought of them as people who knew what was going on in my models, they just fixed my broken data pulls/formulas.

I'm an Excel and Bloomberg wizard, holla at me Blackrock.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.
Mar 4, 2012 - 11:07pm

OP, did you ever think about CapIQ?

"When you really are enjoying what it is you do, who needs balance? There's your balance!"
Mar 4, 2012 - 11:11pm

No I have not. The only reason Factset came up was because of meeting someone who offered to get me an interview. Just looking for some input on the path that might take me. Looks to me like Capiq would probably get similar reactions though.

Mar 4, 2012 - 11:19pm

Yeah, probably. But I will say that I know several people who went through the "Consultant" pipeline at CapIQ (and to a lesser extent Factset) and parlayed their learned skills from there into roles at hedge funds, IBDs and other sell-side operations. I think it is much harder to get into buy-side from Factset/CapIQ than it is to go sell-side.

"When you really are enjoying what it is you do, who needs balance? There's your balance!"
Mar 4, 2012 - 11:29pm

That's interesting. I would like to go directly to sell side but unfortunately most of my networking so far has yielded me connections at large buyside firms due to my proximity to Boston. Why do you think it's an easier transition, considering factset is primarily a buyside piece of software? Also, do you know if these individuals were outliers? Or is that a common transition? Thanks for the input.

Mar 4, 2012 - 11:40pm

I would say it's harder mainly because yes, Factset commands the buy-side niche compared to CapIQ, which is definitely stronger amongst sell-side institutions. I mean, getting into buy-side almost always requires you to have sell-side experience so it makes sense that it would work this way. I am not sure how much of an outlier these people represented, but I do know that a lot of talent gets poached. The clients are bankers and consultants (mostly) and when there is someone (the CapIQ guy) who is interested in their business (banking or whatever) and knows how to use the software, you become pretty attractive.

"When you really are enjoying what it is you do, who needs balance? There's your balance!"
Mar 4, 2012 - 11:54pm

I have heard the Factset consultant position is a pretty decent one - decent pay (not IBD obviously), good culture, good work-life balance, etc. I believe promotions are very merit based and they want to hire those who can at least talk to clients intelligently, so they kinda have to compete with finance in terms of pay and/or other perks.

Mar 5, 2012 - 12:02am

Right, I have heard much of the same. However it is important I keep the big picture in mind. I am not so much concerned about the culture/work life at this point. I am mostly concerned with breaking in to the industry. I would use this position ideally as a stepping stone. However the last thing I want is to end up working for factset and feeling the way I do now while working in corporate finance. I want in, so although I may have to wait longer than I would like, it's important that I don't sidetrack my career advancement with another useless position.

Mar 5, 2012 - 12:18am

Should have checked this out before. Just looked up exit ops after working at Bloomberg and the results from this forum were not good. I think based on this seemingly unanimous negative reaction, taking a job at factset would be a bad idea.

Nov 25, 2014 - 3:00am

Vision_Alpha, I am in a very similar position you were in almost three years ago. After reading your post I am curious where you are at now. What you think of FactSet after having made your decision and any advice you could give to a graduating senior in the shoes you were once in. I am at a cross roads of choosing the FactSet position, pursuing further internships with an IB in hopes of recruitment out of the summer analyst pool, or an operations gig with Morgan Stanley. My goal is wealth management. I see FactSet as an incredible opportunity to get substantial market exposure along with a sponsored CFA. What do you think? I would be using it as a stepping stone like you had mentioned three years ago.

Dec 31, 2014 - 4:30am

Hi Guys,

I'm new to WSO and just saw this thread. I worked at FactSet not too long ago. The software is extremely powerful, you can do anything with it. The consultant role is split into three groups (Investment Management: if your lucky to get an IM consultant on the phone they can do anything you ask. Due to the recession, some IM consultants have MS in Finance), Investment banking: mostly works with ActiveGraphs, Excel and PowerPoint (ask IB anything about portfolio analysis and you will probably spend an hour waiting). Wealth management: Very basic knowledge of the software (Get a wealth management guy on the phone...good luck get anything done.)) As for the work environment, very long hours, those who actually cares about client/work will not get notice by management (Consulting also have a very high turnover rate 90%). However, you do get exposure to very smart people, and you can learn a lot just by asking your clients (Many clients will be happy to tell you what their models do). Unfortunately, you also have consultants who are lazy and spend more time schmoozing management and sales than actually supporting clients. Anyhow, the engineering side has a much better working atmosphere, they actually hang out and help one another. I hope this helps with the consultant role. It's a great place to start a career if you actually want to learn from clients. terrible work environment, people pretend to help, but just disappear after a while.

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