Please give me your thoughts - I am looking for guidance from Wall Streets brightest minds.

Good afternoon WallStreetOasis.

This is my first post but I have been reading these forums for the better part of three years and I simply can't believe the level of "talent" that contributes to this community.

My situation seems to be very different from a lot of people on this forum and of course I am reaching out for guidance.

My story begins in high school. I graduated with a 3.2 GPA and top 10% SAT score. You could say I never really focused on academics because it wasn't something that was rewarded in my household, and at the time I was in love with my sport.

I attended a small liberal arts college because of their baseball program (scholarship helped as well) and it also happened to be located in an area that I love, allowing me to play my sport year round.

I finished with a GPA of 3.5 and a degree in accounting. Never quite made it to the professional level, or anywhere near for that matter, due to a major injury. After graduation, I had fairly strong network of professionals that I had met over the years and ended up with 3 job offers.

-Federal Government as an analyst
-Deloitte as a junior accountant
-ML as a financial adviser in their call center

Finance seemed very intriguing to me at the time so I took the position at Merrill. After obtaining my Series 7 and 66 I was ready to start selling? I had never been in sales before, but I had a knack for understanding people and explaining the market to the retail clientele. I was promoted to senior adviser as quickly as they allowed (6 months) making over $110,000 as a 22 year old.

I continued this career path as an adviser working for Merrill Lynch in a bank, sourcing their clients to build up a business, and now I work for a smaller bank building up my book and administering their portfolios.

Now for the sad part- I have 3 going on 4 years in this industry with a top notch sales record, and somehow my career is extremely lacking. The idea of having a book of business large enough to retire at 40 is someone else's dream.

Every since I read my first research report at Merrill, I had a burning desire to become a financial analyst, someone who actually can explain from a bottom up perspective why a decision should or should not be made. Not a person who "picks the person" who is doing the best, or who's wholesaler is best happy hour company.

Luckily, the firm I work for allows 9-5 access to our research department which I take full advantage of. As time passes, I spend less and less of my day developing my business, and more and more time with product marketing, research, and portfolio managers to ensure my "adviser direct" account outperforms its peers. While I do spend a good deal of my day truly managing my client's assets, I have zero experience analyzing a company bottom up, except what I have been able to absorb from my reading and the in-house analysts.

So here is where I need the advice.

I am looking to backtrack a bit and make the jump from advisory to analyst. Some say I have wasted three years of my life but I disagree. Three years were spent learning the market, interacting with high-net worth clients, analysts, and PM's. My experience has been invaluable and I wouldn't trade it for anything but continuing to move my career in this direction will lead to a path that lacks passion and desire.

Keeping this as short as I can- I spoke with an alumni of my college who is a MD for the Equity Research Department at Barclay's and he suggested I move into "Product Marketing/Management" then make the move into ER after a year or so (versus going back to BS and putting myself 100k in debt).

I applied to a Product Marketing position at RJ, Franklin, and various small companies in NY. Heard back only from Raymond James two weeks later. The recruiter interviewed me- said I had a great background for the position and she would share with the hiring manger. Got the rejection email two days later.

Through vigorous networking, I now have a second interview for a firm that manages about 2 BN in assets to be an "Investment Analyst" and for Principal Global Investors to be a "Product Specialist Associate" which after the first interview sounds more like institutional sales than an analyst type role which I am not completely against if it gets me closer to my goals.

I don't want to say I am desperate, but I am very eager to move out of an advisor position into a role that allows me to use my brain more. I know I have the smarts to be an analyst. I always score well on intelligence tests, and I landed a 700 on my first gmat practice test without any study.

The issue is my poor emphasis on academics early on.

My question for you all-

WHAT ROUTE WOULD YOU GO IF YOU WERE ME?

WIILL PRODUCT MANAGEMENT/MARKETING GET ME WHERE I WANT TO BE, AND IF SO DO I HAVE A SHOT AT THIS?

CAN I MAKE THE JUMP FROM INVESTMENT ANALYST TO ER ANALYST WITH THE CFA?

It appears a good majority of forum members come from very prestigious backgrounds and extremely high GPA's along with a bouquet of accolades. I don't see how I could get a more qualified opinion. Please share your thoughts and backgrounds as I am in need of guidance.

Thank you in advance,
Jack

Comments (13)

Aug 25, 2014

In the "investment analyst" role, will you be making direct investments in public equities? The title sounds like it, but the way you are referring to it, you make it sound like working as a sell side equity research analyst is better. Which I'd say it is not.

Don't take roles in product management / marketing. You won't be any closer to your true goal and the more years of experience you rack up, the harder it will be to successfully jump.

If the "investment analyst" job isn't direct investing, then I'd say your best option is B-school, if you can get into a good one. That's an easy transition, and while you miss out on earnings and build debt, it's the surest way to get yourself on the right path.

Aug 25, 2014

I guess the analyst job is direct investing but it seems like a lot of allocation versus learning about individual companies- I could be wrong though. I will know more I get an offer. Do you think I have a decent shot a B-School w/ my background?

Aug 25, 2014

Also, can I get someone else's opinion? Thank you Grosse.

Aug 26, 2014

Please summarize what you're trying to say.

Aug 26, 2014

Is an investment analyst role working with a small firm (2 billion AUM) a wise career move to move into a portfolio manager/ER role in a bb firm?

Aug 26, 2014

Few people on Wall Street read long e-mails unless they come from clients or further up the greasy pole. Succinct expression is valued highly.

Aug 26, 2014

I agree and work on Wall Street thank you. Can you please answer the question?

Aug 26, 2014

I would love to hear your two cents SS

Aug 26, 2014

Why don't you have a chat about your career aspirations with one of the many sell side analysts at your company? Their phone numbers and emails are right there on those reports you read. It will be a very easy start.

Aug 26, 2014

Most of the ones you get on the phone are entry level at best- I was hoping to get perspective. Thanks for the advice , though. It is a great idea that I have considered and taken advantage of.

Aug 26, 2014

Entry level? Are you talking to first year associates?

Aug 27, 2014

yes

Aug 27, 2014
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