Finding ER job as an undergraduate?

babylion's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 22

Hi, I am an undergrad senior looking for fulltime I am greatly interested in equity research and I have realized that I have two very big problems. One I am an undergrad student and two, I am not fabulous, which makes it worse.

What I realized is that it is EXTREMELY hard to find an equity research role for undergrad student. 99% of the time, the jobs are looking for MBA, CFA with 1-3yrs of related job experience. Are there any of you who found the job as an undergraduate student?

To make it worse, I'm a mediocre student. I go to semi-target. My gpa is 3.3. I got a decent extra curricular activities. I have two internships in the financial industry. One research related job + more recent one in fixed income Asset Management. Overall, I am a mediocre student from a mediocre college. I am well aware that there is no way I can get through anywhere by online applications. I have been reaching out pretty hard, but it's difficult to find equity researchers to begin with. I have probably emailed more than 300, got response from 200, spoke to more than 60.

Whatever I want to do, I know that networking is my only chance with my background. But, equity research seems almost impossible when there isn't even a open position available to begin with!

Do you think I should give up and look for something else? IB should not be any easier, but at least there are IB positions accepting application from fresh undergraduate students. Help me...

Comments (37)

Oct 22, 2013

Certainly difficult to find a research job right out of college but definitely possible. I was able to secure a full-time role in research after working as a summer intern (after I had graduated). It is very situational, in my case, the previous associate had just left.

Oct 22, 2013
babylion:

I am not fabulous

Well I think you've identified your problem. Maybe hit up the gay bars more?

But no really..what happened with those 60 phone calls? Did you pass your resume on? Did you get any interviews? Did they give you any advice? Hate to say it, but if you've talked to that many people and none of them have spots/are willing to interview you, then you're probably doing something wrong.

Oct 24, 2013

Don't give up! Its not easy, but definitely possible.
I had a 3.1 gpa in a very easy (something like women and gender studies major), and had never really even considered a career in finance before (no econ/finance classes), but ended up in an equity research position at a large mutual fund right out of undergrad.

A lot of the larger funds (fidelity, mfs etc) have associate programs targeted at students coming out from undergrad with little to no experience in finance, where you have an intensive training period then become basically a junior analyst. A great way to break into the industry and transition into a full time analyst. Maybe contact associate program recruiters directly? They definitely have open positions, even if its really hard to get those..

I decided on a whim mid-way through junior summer that I wanted to switch into finance/equity research and did a ton of cold calls to get an equity research internship position for the remainder of the summer. That experience definitely helped. Maybe try networking your way into an internship first?

Oct 24, 2013

honestly babylion, my "stats" are fairly similar to yours, and i've been getting everything I want through OCR with just an average amount of networking...don't sell yourself short!

spin your experience like you never have before, learn your technicals, and from a semi target you should be able to find your way to some mid market research stuff.

Oct 24, 2013

1) Sure, go ahead and ask - worst that can happen is they'll say no.
2) Of course it's possible without alumni ties - you just need to reach out to people that aren't linked to your school and build relationships that result in them liking you and wanting to help you out

Oct 24, 2013

3) Maybe consider MM ER? I know for a fact a bunch of MM banks (and even boutiques) have ER on the west coast

Oct 24, 2013

Thank you so much notthehospitaler

Do you know whether most HF opening hours follow the NY time? I have classes in the afternoon and I am worried I wouldn't get hired as intern (I guess they won't get me do the work at home...?)

Also, is it true that ER recruiting is much less structured in a sense that I need to network very well with analysts in order to get "notified" about a job opening? Also, I have heard although ER has very few openings, even fewer people would apply ER because "the lack of IBD prestige", is it true?

Many thanks!

Array

Oct 24, 2013

Yes they are based out of the ET time because of the stock exchange. So if you're in the west coast, they're probably in the office by 3:30-4am PT or 6:30-7pm ET.

Oct 24, 2013

Just one last question
Most BB only offers ER for internships and I found many analysts' contacts who are credit analyst/equity strategist. Should I network with them and ask them refer me to other ER analysts? Or do they have any power in making hiring decisions for ER SA? I have tried connecting with many ER analysts but it seems the response rate are low. Most people I contact are associates/analysts, should I reach out to head of [sector] or head of research level guys? will they get pissed and blacklist me?

Array

Oct 24, 2013

They will probably just ignore you

Oct 24, 2013

Very possible to land a position straight from undergrad with a sell side firm. Head over to the AM forums for the current buyside research associate discussion.

You should shoot for an ER SA internship for next summer, and then try getting a return offer for FT. That would be your best bet for getting a position as an associate (in ER associate and analyst are flipped).

For the interviews, it really depends on your interviewer. My interviewer knew I had next to zero experience, so he really just wanted to get to know me and see if my personality was right for the firm. However, you're going into your junior year so you should brush up on basic accounting shit, but if you don't have prior ER experience I don't think you should expect too many technical questions, at least not for an internship. Be prepared to talk about the markets, books on investing you've red, why you want to be an investor, etc, and its not a bad idea to have a stock pitch prepared. If you go to a top target you shouldn't have any problems landing interviews.

You should make sure to really be able to sell why you want to do research coming from a physics degree. Getting your interviewer to really believe you want to be in finance should be your priority.

Don't obsess over whether it's a boutique, MM, or BB firm either. In ER the analyst you work for is more important than what firm you're with, really.

Oct 24, 2013

From my chats with many research analysts over the years, they highly value a competent & compatible associate/assistant, which makes their job so much easier. In your case, where your experience is minimal, your interviewing & potential fit will be absolutely key. Ace this interview, do a good job for your analyst & worry about the rest of your life later.

Oct 24, 2013

I'm an incoming Econ and Stats junior at a Midwest non-target, and I have a near 3.9 GPA. I basically want to do the same thing as OP, but I'm worrying that my status as a non-target and international student would hurt my chances. I've been studying Accounting, macroeconomics and just Wall Street history in general for the whole summer, and I'm not sure if I should just cold-email every analyst in Chicago, or I should know everything about an industry before I apply for an internship for the next summer. Any advice?

Oct 24, 2013

If ur gonna cold-email every analyst (which I'm not necessarily advocating), you better have a damn good story & make sure you don't turn out to be a waste of his/her time. If they elect to meet you, you better come across as personable, smart, yet with an ounce of humility. Analysts are very busy people (forget about meeting them during earnings season, whgich is four times a year), and often are busy replying to client requests, IBD demands, monitoring the companies in their coverage, etc. Best of luck

Oct 24, 2013

I'm just not sure what I should do here. I spent most of my past two-year college time learning about the cultural and the political system of US, and I just started to learn basic accounting rules recently. I tried to follow stocks, but the resources I have are only free websites like Seeking alpha. And when I look around for my classmates who want to get into Finance industry, they already had two internships in PWM division of a BB or even a HF. I'm doing a commercial banking sales internship at a BB, but I'm not sure how I can stand out and compete with my classmates I mentioned above.

Oct 24, 2013

Great advice from Stryfe and Red. Good luck in your search.

Oct 24, 2013

Be cautious when expanding your network of analysts...you'll find out that it's a VERY small community, ESPECIALLY analysts who cover the same groups.

Oct 24, 2013
ywu86:

I'm an incoming Econ and Stats junior at a Midwest non-target, and I have a near 3.9 GPA. I basically want to do the same thing as OP, but I'm worrying that my status as a non-target and international student would hurt my chances. I've been studying Accounting, macroeconomics and just Wall Street history in general for the whole summer, and I'm not sure if I should just cold-email every analyst in Chicago, or I should know everything about an industry before I apply for an internship for the next summer. Any advice?

Where are you studying? I might be willing to help you. PM me if you don't want to disclose it here.

Oct 24, 2013

Talking to guys I'm working with it is mostly on an as needed basis as there is a lot less turnover than other areas.

Oct 24, 2013

At the BB level its usually same time as banking, meaning the fall. But they can still be looking for people in the spring if something comes up on an adhoc basis.

Oct 24, 2013

Now till November from what I understand.

Edit: but mostly early fall like with ib

Oct 24, 2013

Bump

Oct 24, 2013

My bank's research dept recruits nearly exclusively from MBA programs. They will occasionally hire an undergrad, but really only one or two per year, and those are chosen from a group of special interns that work here during the winter.

That said, I don't think there are very many slots in Research, at least compared to banking.