Final Round Help. I am almost an Associate straight out of undergrad!

sk8247365's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 703

I am at a non-target school (Arizona State University) and have made it to the final round at Wells Fargo Securities for a position as an Equity Research Associate. Yes, an Associate straight out of undergrad, I actually do not even graduate until May. I am not sure how I scored this, I was just persistent and given the interview, and obviously Aced it. I have already met the group, interviewed with the Head of Research, done a modeling and writing test, and finally, I am at the last round. The group is small and I am being brought in one last time before the final decision. I am one of two people they are choosing from. I was told this will be my last chance to differentiate myself, but I have already done all of the qualitative and quantitative questions and stock pitching etc. that I can think of. Any ideas on something I can do to differentiate myself further? I was thinking that since this last interview is so based on "fit" that I would write a pitch for myself with a detailed background, what I like to do, where I came from, etc. but I do not want to become a bad fit because of this. Also was thinking of showing up with some coffee or something. Any ideas?

Comments (26)

Jan 27, 2010

Equity Research Associate is a generic term for anyone that works in research and is not a senior analyst (team leader). Sorry to burst your bubble, but didn't want you to get too excited about being on the same level as post MBA candidates. Obviously you will be starting at the analyst level.

Good luck anyway.

Jan 27, 2010
stk123:

Equity Research Associate is a generic term for anyone that works in research and is not a senior analyst (team leader). Sorry to burst your bubble, but didn't want you to get too excited about being on the same level as post MBA candidates. Obviously you will be starting at the analyst level.

Good luck anyway.

yeah, stk123 is absolutely correct. equity research is the weird part of a bank where analyst is higher than associate. nonetheless, good luck with the interview!

Jan 27, 2010

This is great!

Jan 27, 2010

Just to echo the others, in ER...the track is associate-->analyst instead of the typical banking route. In any case, that's great no matter what. Congrats

Jan 27, 2010

Ya, I understand that is how it works. I just thought most undergrads start at jr. analyst. I do not think I will be at the same level as MBAs..duh. We all know I will be training, have licenses to earn etc. Either way, please do not get hung up on the terminology. I wrote this to get ideas for differentiating myself in a unique way to really land this last interview. Any ideas?

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jan 27, 2010

Do not show up with coffee, because you will look like a tool. It is hard to say how you are supposed to differentiate yourself because I don't know what the setup of the final interview will look like.

And once and for all you do not go from associate to analyst in ER. This is how it works:

Career progression is exactly the same as in banking, i.e. analyst/associate/VP/Director/MD

And everyone in research is called a research analyst or simply an "analyst". You can either be the senior analyst (in which case you are the team leader) or you are a junior analyst (everyone else on the team that is not the senior analyst or the secretary).

Junior analysts are sometimes referred to as associates, because you are an associate of the team leader. So you can be a VP and still be referred to as an associate. But even though you are referred to as an associate you are still a (research) analyst, therefore you do not get promoted from associate to analyst as everyone on WSO repeats after each other.

I think people got this idea from The Vault Guide to investment banking, but I can assure you that career progression and individual titles are exactly the same as in banking or S&T.

Jan 27, 2010

Thank you for the response. Your answer makes complete sense, as there is currently an Associate, VP, and the most senior, a MD, currently working there. The VP and MD refer to themselves as "Senior Analyst". Again..still looking for good ideas to differentiate. I have met everyone but the MD and that is who I will be meeting next. Any ideas on how to "wow" them? What do you think about given a detailed analysis of who I am and my background so they have something tangible to refer to when I am gone? I can make it sound really good too...so hopefully it would only help. I would say something like: I know at this point it is about fit, so why don't we spend some time talking about your interest and mine? And then leave them with the write up or "self pitch".

Jan 27, 2010

The only piece of advice I can give you is to be yourself and act naturally. Let the MD lead the meating and act appropriately. It is good to have something prepared, but don't try to throw it down the MD's throat just because it is the only thing you have prepared to talk about. Make sure you are prepared for many different scenarios: since this is your first meeting with the MD you never really know how it is going to go, for all you know it might just be another technical interview and a stock pitch.

You have good ideas and you will definitely differentiate yourself, but at this point you have a 50/50 chance of getting the job so at the same time you don't want to come off as too strong and scare them. I would definitely say go for it if you were going up against 10 or 20 people for 1 or 2 positions, but in this case it is a risky decision. If you feel comfortable with it then go for it.

Just be yourself and tell the truth and you will do fine; it is when you start thinking about what answer the MD is looking for is when you will get yourself in trouble.

Good Luck!

Jan 27, 2010

Thank you for the input. I think that since I have not met him, you might be right; it might be another technical and stock pitch. I think I will just "wing it" and try to be casual and intelligent. I have the tech and stock pitch down, so I am not too worried. I agree that any move is risky because of the situation, so I want to make sure I make the right one. I really impressed in my first interview by coming in with analysis done on every company they cover---unfortunately that used most of my ammo for "differentiating" and trying to impress with ambition, intelligence, and preparation. Thanks again and if you think of something interesting, let me know. Otherwise, I will prepare with the normal and try to think of ways to make me seem as interesting as possible while trying to be a good "fit".

Jan 27, 2010

You can still prepare your "self pitch" idea; all I am saying is that you can bring it with you but try to feel out the situation before you present it to him. If you feel like it might give you an advantage then go for it, otherwise you can just take it home with you and not "exercise your option".

Jan 27, 2010

Yea, that is good advice. I have prepared things before that end up not be practical, but preparing them helps me feel confident. What is your background if you do not mind me asking?

Jan 27, 2010
sk8247365:

Yea, that is good advice. I have prepared things before that end up not be practical, but preparing them helps me feel confident. What is your background if you do not mind me asking?

I work in research for a #1 II-rated analyst.

Jan 27, 2010

Cool. Well if you are interested, check back here next week as I will post my results and what I ended up doing. Thanks again.

Jan 27, 2010

maybe you can find out more about the bank and group, and talk about what you genuinely like about them.

Jan 27, 2010

Another good suggestion. I will work on it.

Jan 28, 2010

as countless others have said, you will NOT be joining as a post-mba level. in your case, the term 'associate' is a synonym for 'employee'.

bb banks DO refer to post-mba hires as associates, however. For purposes of salary and rank, as stk has said above, the progression is the same as in banking but no one uses the Analyst/Associate/VP/Director/MD terminology. the senior guy is NEVER referred to as "my MD", he is always referred to as "my Analyst".

Post-undergrad spots are referred to as "Research Assistants" at my bank. Post MBA is Associate. Above that, you are basically a "junior" or "Senior" Analyst. Senior Analysts have bold name coverage of top industry names like google, walmart, etc. junior analysts are usually promoted associates who cover the smaller names in the industry. Regardless of rank, in ER you are basically an Analyst or Associate. Oh, and my bank is not really hiring out of undergrad, for what it's worth so there are very few "Research Assistants".

good luck with your final round!

Jan 28, 2010

Hahaha! What an idiot. 'I am almost an associate!' haha. Oh man, this actually made me spit out my 4th cup of coffee today...

    • 1
Jan 29, 2010

Idiot? I guess I think it is impressive to not be labled a jr. analyst or "research assistant".

Jan 29, 2010

ok dude...it's not that unique...i am an associate right out of undergrad at a MM!!! whoopdeefuckindoo!

Smokey, this is not 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

Jan 29, 2010

Ha ok. Thanks for clearing that up.

Jan 29, 2010

I'm calling shenanigans on this thread, thought WFS was done with 2010 FT recruiting a while ago.

Jan 30, 2010

I am working with a small group out of Arizona (3 guys). They are a satellite office "wells fargo securities". I did not apply through wells fargo or anything, he just contacted the investment fund at ASU and asked if there were any candidates that would be a good fit. This is not normal recruiting nor will it be like the salaries I see on here for first years. Again, this is not traditional wells fargo recruiting.

Feb 10, 2010
sk8247365:

I am working with a small group out of Arizona (3 guys). They are a satellite office "wells fargo securities". I did not apply through wells fargo or anything, he just contacted the investment fund at ASU and asked if there were any candidates that would be a good fit. This is not normal recruiting nor will it be like the salaries I see on here for first years. Again, this is not traditional wells fargo recruiting.

sounds to me like this "satellite" office of 3 guys = working for a financial advisor helping granny with her IRA

Jan 30, 2010

Also, I am done with this thread because none of you are actually helpful. How about not writing "shenanigans" and "haha he thinks an associate is cool" and wasting everyones time? I should have named this thread "what is the difference between an associate and everything else?"

Feb 9, 2010
Comment