Job Title: Financial Analyst
Education: BS in Mechanical Engineering MS in Mechanical Engineering Masters in Business Administration (MBA)
Previous Experience: Summer job at a buy side investment firm in New York
Job Tasks: My company invests in the stock market on behalf of clients. My job is to help manage several mutual funds.
The point of investing in mutual funds is that your savings grow faster than the market benchmark. There are all sorts of investment styles and benchamarks, but in the end what counts is that your fund consistently outperforms the benchmark.
My job as an analyst is to figure out what stocks to buy and sell so that investors in our fund do well. It involves a lot of thinking and analysis.
Before I make a decision to invest in one company, I may look at dozens of companies and pass. In the process of analyzing a company I look at quantitative and qualitative aspects of an investment. Since my fund has a low turnover and long investment horizon, I spend a lot of time thinking about long term potential of the company. This involves understanding the industry in which it operates and company's competitive position within its industry. I also study strategic direction of the company and use my imagination a lot to figure out what this company can become in few years, how the external environment combined with their internal capabilities can result in a positive outcome. If I figure out that this is a good investment and my competitors fail to see the potential, we can make money for clients in the long run.
Researching a company involves analyzing fiancial statements - it is important to understand their financial health, especially in today's turbulent economy. Strong quantitative skills and natural curiosity make a strong financial analyst.
I also travel a lot to meet with company CEO's at conferences and at their offices.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The job is highly intellectual. Working with very smart people is a big plus. Every day there is something new to learn, new industries to discover and interesting people to meet. Variety and intellectual challenge make this job very interesting.
The toughest part of the job is keeping up with a lot of information and long days. Stock market is unpredictable day to day, so coming in every morning you don't really know how your day will turn out. Investing is a very competitive field, there is never any downtime.
1. It is very important to get solid quantitative footing in school.
2. You must have top grades and attend a prestigious school to get your foot in the door. Try to get an internship and make your way into an organization.
3. It helps to invest in stock before you look for a job, so that you'll have more to talk about in an interview.
4. Be prepared to study hard for a CFA title (certified financial analyst) or an MBA (masters in business administration) from a top school
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