Job Advertisement (continued):
“In general, we expect our research associates to possess, or have the potential to possess, the following characteristics: Strong writing (if you do not enjoy writing, this job is not for you. You will need to be concise, make strong arguments, and translate scientific and clinical data for the financial community who may or may not have a scientific/medical background, …and do it day after day) and analytical skills (if you hate working with numbers, this job is also not for you. You will be working with financial data, clinical trial results, and physician survey responses, just to name a few. Having a strong background in statistics is beneficial).
“Associates are responsible for writing and producing equity research reports (these are primarily the day-to-day reports on the companies in your coverage universe…expect to publish at least one of these reports a day), company initiations (these are longer, very informative reports on a company that you are launching coverage on and thus will be following regularly. These reports can be as short as 10 pages, but usually average about 35-45 pages. However, it is not unheard of to produce 100-page initiation reports…did I mention that you need to love writing? But luckily this doesn’t happen often, unless you are working for a senior analyst who is just starting to build his/her coverage universe), and marketing presentations (these are summary presentations, usually in made in MS Powerpoint, to educate your sales force or investor clients about your investment thesis for a particular company or sub-sector, like diabetes companies) – often under very tight time constraints (did I mention that time is money on Wall Street? You will need to get your reports written as soon as possible so your investor clients have enough time to read them and decide what investment strategy to make based on the new available information. And you want to get it to your clients before your competition does…your competition includes other sell-side analysts); strong financial modeling, accounting, valuation, and quantitative skills.
“Associates are responsible for building and maintaining integrated (meaning linked in MS Excel and dynamic) I/S (income statement), B/S (balance sheet), and C/F (statement of cash flow) models (if you do not know what these are, you better get to an accounting class fast otherwise you’ll not make it through the first phone interview) and for organizing and maintaining industry data (this could relate to prescription or drug pricing data from market research companies like IMS Health).
“Attention to detail is critical (absolutely critical! Any mistake could significantly affect your results and thus weaken your investment thesis, causing someone to lose a tremendous amount of money based on your recommendations…and if that happens, often you will not have a very long career on Wall Street);
“A passion (you gotta love it and enjoy the challenge, otherwise the hours will wear you out fast) for the stock market and equity research. It is highly advantageous to have exposure to the financial markets and equity research, as well as the day-to-day responsibilities of an equity research associate;
“Strong sales (you need to be able to stand your ground and make your points in a clear and succinct manner) and communication skills (you need to be good both on the phone and in person…if you don’t like interacting with people you will not make a significant impact or get paid for your research). As time progresses, associates will interact with internal sales and trading and external clients. Responsiveness and professionalism are important;
“Initiative (you need to show your worth), an ability to take risks and think outside the box (so much information is now publicly available, so to get ahead you will need creativity and new perspectives to make a name for yourself and secure a long future on the Street), an ability to handle high-pressure situations (remember the gal/guy on the other end of the phone may have millions of dollars riding on a particular trade, so how would you feel? But this also makes the work very exciting. Hopefully you get it right more times than you get it wrong); and a strong work ethic (only two weeks of vacation a year for most associates and those long hours);
“PC skills: the position requires very strong Excel skills (if you don’t know MS Excel, you will flounder in this position. Buy a copy of MS Excel Bible and get reading if you don’t know how to incorporate formulas or work with pivot tables) and a fair command of PowerPoint, Bloomberg (Bloomberg maintains a significant financial data warehouse and is also a tool used for conducting trades and monitoring the markets in real-time…you probably have not used this if you have never been in the financial sector or attended business school) and Factset (this is another data warehouse which contains company information and is often integrated into many investment banks’ report publishing system).
“If you are interested in this position, please send your resume and letter of interest to [email protected]______.com (don’t stop here! Try to locate the senior analyst who is looking at the firm and try to get your resume on his/her desk. Use your network; you may actually know someone that knows someone at the firm). Please recognize that due to the volume of responses (they get SO MANY applications, particularly in this economy, so remember to bolster your resume as much as you can to stand out) we may not be able to respond to all applicants. Please also specify in the subject line which position you are applying for; inquiries that do not specify will not be considered (believe them on this…do what they say).”
– End of job posting example –
Remember, this advertisement describes the IDEAL candidate. More likely than not, the person chosen for this position will not possess all these traits but will be the best fit for the team. If you read this advertisement and still find this career intriguing, then make the necessary preparations, continue networking and start applying.