WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (7)

Sep 30, 2021 - 9:45am

Best strategy would be to learn/improve modeling, there isn't any real modeling done in WM (at least not when I did it) so increasing your fluency in excel is crucial.

Simultaneously you will need to learn/improve your understanding of equity analysis and related financial and accounting topics. This usually helps feed your modeling skills and vice versa.

While you improve those technical skills start networking. Don't be afraid to reach out directly to analysts with a cold email asking to chat about their experience and ask for advice. Most seats that are off cycle are generally marketed internally first so having a connection to throw your name into the hat is key.

Lastly, don't be discouraged. It could take a long time to land a seat but it's doable. Just keep at it but be sure to give yourself permission to fail repeatedly otherwise you will feel overwhelmed and are more likely to give up. Be gracious with yourself and your expectations, you'll get it eventually.

Sep 30, 2021 - 10:25am

Hey Street Smart,

Thank you for taking the time to respond! My question now is how do I refine my modeling skills/improve my understanding of equity analysis and related financial and accounting topics? Honestly, I feel that I have a good grip on these principles but I think my entry to Equity Research is hindered by where I went to school. The wealth management connection comes because 1) I have an amazing alumni who works there and 2) Wealth Management is a bit less...persnickety than ER from my experience. Also, when is it okay to begin planting seeds for a pivot. Should I wait a couple years (1-2) or should I do it as soon as a feel I have a command of excel/equity analysis (now)?

Moreover, this is just a job offer; I have not accepted the role yet. I feel like I'm using my alumni/the job as a springboard to go somewhere else and that makes me uncomfortable.

Thanks again

Sep 30, 2021 - 12:21pm

Take Modeling courses like the ones offered here and then make some models on some stocks you are interested in. Full 3 statement, balancing balance sheet, debt flow if levered company, revenue/cost build etc.... Build out a DCF/relative valuations within these models to get an idea about what the stock is worth. If you have a relationship with anyone who knows what they are doing, shoot it to them and see if they can help you refine it. Then  as you network, send it over to analysts/associates for feedback, refine and repeat. ER isn't IB and theres far less focus on "prestigious" schools. Interest and aptitude in the work is most important, aka if you have a good model/stock pitch shows your interested in the career, and can produce detailed good work, from there it's just establishing a good "fit". The CFA is useful for breaking into the industry as well, proves that you have the work ethic/aptitude and interest to go through a difficult process. 

Most Helpful
Sep 30, 2021 - 11:33am

Are you coming out of undergrad right now looking for your first job? If so then I would say, and no offense intended here, that you likely don't have a good grasp on all of those principles but rather have a grasp on the academic processes which you've been taught.

There is a reason that you see buy-side guys on this forum tell people the CFA charter does not make you a better investor/analyst (and I agree speaking as a charterholder). The best way to really improve in these areas is to practice them. Build a model from scratch, write up a pitch, send it to an analyst and ask for feedback. Read research reports if you can, read conference call transcripts and pay attention to the Q&A portion. What are people asking? Why are they asking it? Go research it and try to find out. How does that translate into actionable trades or stock impacts?

Having said that I would advise you to be very forthcoming with your connection in WM. It could ultimately be the best decision to turn down the position both from a relational and reputation standpoint. Don't torch the few bridges you have so early in your career. Also if you truly have no desire to be in WM you will make a lousy employee and resentment will fester all around.

Lastly, I would encourage you to punt the "target/non-target" nonsense. Are you a smart, personable guy/gal with a desire to prove yourself and work hard who is also humble and willing to learn? Or are you an incapable, insufferable prat too proud to admit you don't know what you're doing at this point in your career? Either personality can come from targets and non-targets. Character matters more than your school so don't begin your search from a position of "second class", do what is required to find success to the extent you're able and within the bounds of your morality (every person has a moral compass guided by personal beliefs). Don't be that person that backstabs, belittles, and does whatever is possible to attain your goals

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Sep 30, 2021 - 4:01pm

Street Smart,

Man, I appreciate this! Ditto on potentially turning down the position; it's unfair to take a spot from someone who really wants to be there.

About the "target/non-target" thing, I suppose I'm finding it a little difficult to punt because I'm also coming from a non-finance background. I've made it to final interviews for other opportunities but my peers had more finance experience so the companies chose to go with them. So I feel like there's an impasse because (from what I see) with ER, a lot of the firms want someone with experience but I'm finding it difficult to get experience when not many want to take a "risk" on someone who doesn't have experience. I don't believe schooling impacts how good you can be at your job, but that's not so easy to prove when schooling is an obstacle to getting the job in the first place. It's a weird, roundabout relationship. I'm not too concerned about schooling in that, when given the opportunity, I'll certainly be attentive and willing to learn. However, when analyzing why I'm not progressing in a way that I would've like, I can't deny that schooling (among other things) may play a role.

Anyway, thanks for the response. I'll definitely take heed to your advice.

Have a great day!

Sep 30, 2021 - 4:16pm

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