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Advice on being a Equity Research Analyst

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Advice on being a Equity Research Analyst [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2012, 20:06
Hello to all,

I graduated undergrad in December 2011 and currently working as a Personal Banker for one of the big four banks in the U.S. for a little more than a year. I have set the target for myself to get into graduate school by 2014, having by then accumulated a little more than two years being in the field. My ultimate goal is to become an Equity Research Analyst, for either the sell or buy side. Since I do not have the academic background or the "experience" necessary to gain employment as an analyst, I was hoping to leverage the b-school degree, and possibly sit for the CFA Levels 1 and 2 during graduate school, in order to gain even a crack at such a position. I'm currently floating two options, as to what I feel that I need to do in order to get the opportunity:

1). Getting an MS in Finance and using the coursework from the degree to sit for the CFA Levels 1 and 2 while getting the MSF. Programs that I have considered: Boston College, Boston University (MSIM), Temple University (MSIM), University at Buffalo, University of Maryland, and Washington University in St. Louis. The reason that I chose these programs is because of their proximities to global financial centers. The reason for UB is that tuition is cheap and there are three regional banks based in Buffalo.

2). Getting an MBA in Finance and using the two years to get an internship in asset/investment management firm. I have not really considered any schools for an MBA but UNC's MBA in Investment Management and BC's concentration in Asset Management look like viable programs that I would shoot for.

The major reason that I shy away from the MBA is amount of years that I would have to wait to get into the program (avg. 5 yrs) and the fact that I do not feel the programs give me the knowledge to be successful in getting the CFA. This was the primary consideration for me considering an MSF. What are some thoughts? I really thank you for reading the long blog but I wanted to be specific.
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Re: Advice on being a Equity Research Analyst [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 05:00
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Best path to equity research from a non-research background: top 10 MBA (toss NYU in the mix if you're okay with sellside) that has a history of placing people in these roles. Focus on hard finance, take an Excel modeling course, read the WSJ, consider taking the CFA Level 1 during June between your 1st and 2nd year, and apply everywhere you can to land a summer gig in research. If your school has a student fund where you manage real money, get on that too. Join the local chapter of some equity analyst society (it's the BSAS in Boston). Do some research competitions (the CFA Institute does one nationally). Then be prepared to compete alongside some of the strongest applicants in the country who want the same role.

You could aim for one of the better MSF programs and try and get a research associate role on the sellside at one of the bigger name shops. That's something you could do now - just do your due diligence and see how many students actually land on the analyst track post-graduation. BC, for example, only has like 40% of its students in ANY job after graduation. A lot of that is due to the overwhelming number of international students in the class, but still. I don't think other MSF programs fare loads better, either, especially not in placing people in ER roles.

As a "personal banker" I assume you mean you work in Private Wealth Management? The problem with those roles is that they are more sales and less finance and the buyside (even the sellside) knows it. Your best bet would be to study for the CFA now, while you're working, and get at least level 1 under your belt. If you could have levels 1 and 2 done by recruiting time, that'd put you in a much better position.

For what it's worth: I'm a 2012 BC MBA with the asset management track. I had a summer analyst role at a major buyside shop. No offers. Only a few interviews. The brand name of your school will mean more than what you know. That's 100% for sure.
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Re: Advice on being a Equity Research Analyst [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 07:03
Just a quick note -- I currently live in Buffalo and work at Citigroup... you're right there are a lot of bank opportunities in Buffalo. A lot of the jobs are being outsourced from NYC to Buffalo for various banks. Citi is just getting bigger and bigger in Buffalo. There is also First Niagara (HQ'd in DT Buffalo), M&T Bank, HSBC etc.

I currently am doing my MBA at Simon School University of Rochester... which is about an hour and 15 min commute from home. I live a few minutes away from UB.. and although its a decent school (did my undergrad there), its not a top ranked B-school. If you're willing to work in Buffalo, I'd consider looking at Simon School as it is a top 25 b-school
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Equities Analyst Middle Office- Citigroup
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University of Rochester - Simon School of Business (2013)

Re: Advice on being a Equity Research Analyst   [#permalink] 25 Jul 2012, 07:03
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