09 Dec Kelly N, Equity Research Analyst
MBA FINANCE- A Day in the Life of KELLY N, Equity research analyst for a full-service brokerage firm; Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
What I Do
I provide equity research to institutional investors on an industry and specific companies within that sector. In addition to equity research, my firm also provides a full range of brokerage services (investment banking, research, retail and institutional brokerage, and trading).
My clients are institutional investors, and I provide them with my opinions on the industry that I follow and specific companies within that industry, including investment recommendations and earnings estimates. I maintain detailed financial models and have stock recommendations for each company that I follow.
Additionally, I look for any and all relevant information that is legally available (i.e., non-insider) and can be obtained through creative research. My research may involve a variety of sources such as talking with company management and tracking government involvement.
As an expert on an industry, I need to know everything happening within that sector on an ongoing basis and understand its potential impact on stock prices.
What I Enjoy Most
I like the fact that this is a challenging job that enables me to combine creative research, modeling, and conversations with company management to issue timely stock recommendations.
On a daily basis, my job changes constantly, although my focus remains the same. I enjoy this variety. I also have the opportunity to meet with a lot of intelligent people—clients, company management, and other research sources.
What I Enjoy Least
The increasing regulation of our industry has been widely publicized. Analysts may be legally responsible for their ratings and, in extreme cases, could pay significant fines or possibly face time in jail.
Another disadvantage is that analysts are no longer allowed to own the stocks they follow. This means that I cannot use my expertise within a specific sector to personally invest.
Why I Chose This Career
I love the dynamics of the stock market and have strong analytical skills. I like the fact that you can become an expert in a sector and drive your own success. Security analysts operate somewhat independently, so my coverage list and client relationships are essentially my own franchise.
I establish my call list and am responsible for driving the quality of my research—how unique and insightful it is and how well I communicate my research to clients.
Desirable Traits to Be Successful in This Career
Financial analysis is a critical piece of my job, particularly in this market environment. Valuable technical skills like finance, accounting, and economics can be obtained through the MBA program. I also have the added benefit of my law degree, which has enhanced my writing skills and analytical process.
The art of obtaining information is also important. Finding information sources and then asking the right questions are necessary skills. Often, asking the question in several different ways might provide more information.
You must be able to communicate with reporters, clients, and company management, so interpersonal and written communication skills are as important as technical skills. Even the best research would be less successful if the communication or presentation is poor.
Thoroughly understanding an industry is the key to success. Industry knowledge can be a great starting point to become an analyst—especially if you have a network of industry connections.
However, it is possible to switch industries once you have mastered the skills required. Since the stock market is dynamic and constantly changing, it is not unusual for an analyst to refine the focus of a coverage list or possibly even change industries altogether.
Words of Advice If You Are Considering This Career Path
Begin watching the economy and the stock market. Select a few companies and track their stock prices and the impact of news items. This may include overall market information like the state of the economy or sector-specific information, such as quarterly sales or an acquisition.
Reading the Wall Street Journal and other sources of financial information like CBS Marketwatch or Bloomberg might be helpful. Additionally, become familiar with company financial statements and Securities and Exchange Commission filings so that you understand the information presented.
To provide you with financial experience and an understanding of potential career paths, the MBA internship is also critical. Also, an internship gives insight as to how the divisions of a brokerage firm interrelate.
What I Did Before This (Including Pre-MBA and Post-MBA Jobs)
I finished the JD/MBA dual degree program in the law school and passed the bar, but I had clerked for a year and decided not to pursue law. I spent several years working at Ernst & Young while I was in graduate school, primarily doing valuation work.
Then I came to this firm, where I started as an associate working with a senior analyst. When I was promoted to analyst, I developed my own coverage list and client list with a completely different industry.
Educational Background (Undergraduate, MBA, Other)
- JD/MBA, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, 2008
- Bachelor of science mathematics, CUNY City College of New York, 2004
- GED SUNY Manhattan EOC, 2000
In MBA Programs, I’d Suggest You Look For…
Look for schools with good extracurricular activities and clubs around investing. Get involved in managing an investment portfolio through these avenues. Also, take advantage of any mentoring programs or relationships with corporations.
The most important classes for this job are finance, accounting, and economics, so schools with depth in these courses would be beneficial.