20 Feb Peter G., Equity Research Analyst
A Day in the Life of Peter G., Equity research analyst for a global investment firm.
What I Do
I am an equities analyst for the firm’s Asia oil, gas, and petrochemicals sector research team. My coverage includes two Korean oil refiners and the entire oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry in the Kingdom of Thailand. Total market capitalization under my coverage amounts to about U.S. $10 billion.
I spent my first year in the firm training in Hong Kong with the director who heads the Asia regional oil, gas, and petrochemicals sector team. After one year in Hong Kong, I broke off to assume coverage of my own list of companies for the same firm in Thailand. Thailand is a small market, but I have joined a great team in Bangkok, comprising staff from Thailand, the U.K., Canada, and Lebanon.
What I Enjoy Most
The job is never boring. I am challenged every day and no day is the same. Expectations are high, but the environment is very supportive. Great people work here. They are happy to share their expertise with you so you tend to learn very quickly.
What I Enjoy Least
About once a week, I need to make a presentation at 5:30 a.m. Thailand local time for a conference call in Korea. I have had to learn to be an early bird. When you work for a global organization, you have to adapt.
Why I Chose This Career
I get bored with routine, and this job is never routine. I wanted a career that would give me the flexibility to move to different parts of the world, including back to the United States if I so chose. The organization I work for is quite well known for accommodating such moves.
I also just love trying to predict the market. That’s what it all comes down to.
Desirable Traits to Be Successful in This Career
There is no single formula for success. If one existed, I probably would not have fit the mold. In general, though, this is both a technical and a relationship business.
You should be thorough and ethical in your research, detail-oriented, dedicated, innovative, organized, ruthlessly efficient, and willing to go the extra mile when demanded. You should never be afraid to tell someone what you think. Your job depends on it, just ask the HR Manager.
At the same time, you must be a real person, so don’t take yourself too seriously. You won’t be happy if you do. In this business, those who take themselves too seriously are not being honest with themselves. Nobody has a crystal ball.
Finally, know what you want, and don’t be afraid to tell people.
Words of Advice If You Are Considering This Career Path
First, don’t give up. Second, always have a backup plan. It is always possible that the path you’ve laid out to get to your goal will fail—at least initially. I’ve had many of these setbacks, but I didn’t let them stop me.
This brings me to the next suggestion: Be innovative. Seek other routes. Prioritize. Make sacrifices if you have to. Do what it takes. You will be stronger for it, and perhaps more appreciative of what you have achieved.
What I Did Before This (Including Pre-MBA and Post-MBA Jobs)
I started as a junior economist at the Union Bank of Switzerland (Zurich) and did that for two years. Then I was a researcher at Asia Times newspaper (Bangkok) for two years. After this, I moved on to work for an investor relations company in Tokyo. In between these opportunities, I took time off to travel when I could—visiting about 20 countries. Altogether, these experiences added up to about six years before I returned for my MBA in 2009.
As an MBA summer intern, I worked at DebtTraders Ltd. (Hong Kong) for three months, putting together a research-based marketing brochure for the company.
Educational Background (Undergraduate, MBA, Other)
- MBA, University of Minnesota, Carlson School, concentration in finance, 2011
- Bachelor of science, University of Minnesota, applied economics, 2003
In MBA Programs, I’d Suggest You Look For…https://carlsonschool.umn.edu/
Expect a global orientation evidenced by a large percentage of foreign students, global programs, international business material woven into coursework, case studies, and so on. This is vital in today’s world.
Assess how much access you will have to recruiters. Before you choose a school, decide who you want to target for your jobs and whether you can target them on your own. If not, see what your school’s career center can do for you.
Look at the alumni network—where are they located? Whom do they work for? How extensive is the network? How well organized? Can they help you?
Take courses that have simulated environments, like the Golden Gopher Growth Fund we had at Carlson.
Choose a school with good professors. Sit in on a class or two and see for yourself. Talk to students after they have completed the courses. Even better, talk with recent alumni. Did their professors prepare them for the real world? Don’t rely on just one student’s opinion, since individual opinions are likely to differ widely.