Making the Move to Management – How to Move Up

You may be thinking about moving up the scale in terms of a manager’s position and wondering if you have the necessary skills to do it. Maybe you’ve been offered a favorable promotion but you’re unsure if you should take it. Keep in mind that even if somebody else sees you as management material, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to accept the position if it’s not truly what you want to do. Not everybody is meant to be a boss. And that’s okay if your decision isn’t fear-based. Feeling intimidation or fear of being in a position of power despite wanting it and actually being qualified, shouldn’t keep you from moving up the corporate ladder. If the ‘higher ups’ have offered you a desirable position, or if you’re thinking about making a move towards management, ask yourself the following key questions first:

1. Are you willing and able to work many more hours without any compensation for putting in the overtime?

Even though a promotion to a position in management likely comes with a significant salary increase, it also comes with a bigger time commitment. A higher position often means getting to work earlier and staying later.

2. Are you willing to be accountable for not only your mistakes, but for the mistakes of your subordinates as well?

Naturally, you’ll carefully explain to your employee how to do a certain task you want him to carry out. But that doesn’t mean he won’t make a mistake. Even though everyone is liable for his own mistakes and actions, as a person in power, the responsibility is ultimately yours.

3. How good are you at offering constructive criticism?

When a member of your staff performs poorly or makes a huge mistake, your first instinct may be to either walk away and say nothing, or start yelling at the person. Neither of these approaches will benefit your staff member or you. It’s your job as the boss to properly coach your employee so that they can do better the next time. Clearly explain the problem and what’s not acceptable. In the end, as a manager you have to trust that when you assign another task to someone who previously failed that they will eventually succeed.

4. Can you assign work for people to do? 

If you don’t learn to properly distribute work to others even though you have more responsibility as a manager, it will just make your job that much harder. As the boss, you will share burdens with your staff, some of them undoubtedly unpleasant. That may mean sacrificing things you normally enjoy doing so you can show others how to do certain tasks or projects. You will ultimately be responsible for the work of your subordinates

5. When the time comes, will you be able to fire an employee who has done their job well but must be laid off?

This is likely one of the worst parts of being a manager, especially during tough financial times. However, it must be done. Firing someone for any reason is hard, but it’s particularly difficult when the worker is a great employee.

6. Will you be capable of reprimanding a staff worker for doing something wrong?

Some employees repeatedly arrive late everyday, generally misbehave, or spend entirely too much of their working time online. Nobody wants to be the bad guy, but it is indeed the job of the manager to ensure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

7. Can you fire a staff member for not doing their job well?

It may sound easy to fire someone who isn’t doing their job well. However, in spite of their lack of performance, you may start to think about their mortgage, family, and bills they have to pay. Suddenly, it seems more complicated, but you are the boss and it must be done. If you’ve tried to help someone improve their overall performance and it didn’t work, then it’s your responsibility to let them go. Period.

Moving up to management involves careful consideration as it’s a lot to handle. Consider these questions and answer them honestly before you make your next move.

About the Author: this post comes from Sarah, a writer and consultant with Naked Business Consulting, a company that focuses on franchise consulting, raising capital and international expansions. Apart from reading books on management every week, Sarah likes to practice her golf swing when she gets a chance, as well as learning more about the internet.

Guide to Investment Banking: Part 2 of 3

 

Are You an Ideal Candidate?

For junior financial analyst positions, the ideal candidate is someone with a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration, economics, math, accounting and other majors that show a person can sift through and make sense of reams of complex financial data.

But because investment banks deal with a wide array of companies, those with special secondary majors — particularly in biology, chemistry, computer science, and healthcare — are particularly desired by investment banks, which often represent and interact with software firms, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, healthcare institutions and other corporate entities that might be going public or merging with another company.

The bottom line? Having a secondary major in a specialized non-finance field is often considered a major plus if an analyst, associate or vice president can grasp the lingo and intricacies of a client’s product or services, industry officials say.

A grade point average of 3.5 and higher is considered a must for a position at most investment banks, many of which will recruit heavily, and sometimes exclusively, at top-rated colleges and universities. Smaller investment banks may not be as picky what schools people attended, as long as candidates show they’re razor sharp and ready to handle complex investment-bank duties.

In addition, some industry insiders also say they’re always on the prowl for young candidates who have proven they can commit themselves to projects and can work within team environments. As a result, some investment banks favorably view those who played varsity sports or excelled at some other extracurricular activity.

For those wanting to move up the leadership and compensation ladder within investment banking, getting an MBA degree is generally considered critical after someone has served about three years as a junior and senior financial analyst.

Job Interviews and Prep

Never underestimate the importance of job interviews at investment banks, but also don’t psyche yourself out beforehand to the point you act unnatural and come across as uncomfortable, industry officials say.

The entire goal, from the interviewer’s standpoint, is to gauge whether candidates are as sharp as their cover letters, résumés, school records and recommendations may suggest. So, if you’re young, expect lots of questions about your college studies and activities, internships, and prior summer and post-college jobs.

  • If you’ve already worked at an investment bank in a part- or full-time job (or as an intern), expect detailed questions about projects and deals you’ve worked on, as the interviewer will try to gauge the depth of your knowledge about investment banking.
  • Know the names of investment bankers and other executives you have worked with in the past. You may be asked about them.
  • Have mental lists ready about your strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to talk about them. Questions about careers goals and special fields of interest are also common, as are questions testing skills with spreadsheets and various software programs, including Excel, PowerPoint and other programs specific to various industries.
  • Some investment banks may pose verbal tests to candidates, such as outlining a hypothetical scenario in which a company is trying to buy a similar firm — and then ask how you would approach researching the deal.
  • Have questions ready for the interviewer — about what type of deals you might be involved in as an analyst or associate, or the prospects for promotion within an organization.

By all means, convey a strong desire to work hard and passionately, because that’s exactly what you’re going to be expected to do if hired.

Compensation — What are You Worth?

After all the long hours of research, deadlines, travel and nerve-racking meetings required to piece together major capital and M&A deals, it can be all worth it.

First-year analysts at big Wall Street firms can make salaries of $100,000 to $150,000, with signing and performance bonuses potentially pushing those figures up by 25 percent or more, according to industry insiders and experts.

But the pay goes up almost exponentially in later years as one moves up the corporate ladder. The reason? Commissions off of capital deals can range from 1 to 5 percent for investment bankers — and that means big bucks for mid-level bankers and even bigger fortunes for senior managers.

Every bank has different titles conferred on personnel, and investment banking is no different. But after junior and senior analyst positions usually progress to associates, and then on to vice presidents.

  • Associates generally hold an MBA and have more than three years of experience. Total compensation often ranges from about $250,00 to $500,000.
  • Vice presidents generally have an MBA and a minimum of five years of experience. Compensation hovers between $300,000 and $1 million.

The top-echelon jobs, such as directors, principals, partners, managing directors and department heads — however they might be described — is where the seven-figure salaries start kicking in. The compensation for the very top managers, depending on the size of a bank and its deals, can easily get into the millions or even tens of millions of dollars.

About the Author: Jay Fitzgerald is a business journalist based in Boston. Over the years, his articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald and other publications.

 

9 Real Reasons You’re Not Getting Promoted

 

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Have you ever felt stuck at your job? You know, when you feel like you aren’t moving forward in your current position, but you know you’d excel if awarded a promotion.

When promotion season enters your office, it can be an exciting yet stressful time. You personally feel like you have a lot of potential and are worthy of a promotion, but you continuously see your coworkers pass you by. When this happens, you can feel discouraged about your job and lose the motivation to keep trying.

It’s fair to say most people desire the opportunity to receive a promotion at least once in their careers. However, when that promotion doesn’t happen, it can feel pretty painful — especially when one of your coworkers becomes your new boss.

When you don’t receive a promotion, the first thing you need to do is re-evaluate your qualities as an employee. If you’re trying to figure where you went wrong in your position, here are nine reasons you were probably overlooked for a promotion:

1. You lack strong leadership skills.

Not everyone is a born leader, but it is possible to possess traits of a strong leader. When it comes to awarding promotions, the No. 1 quality employers look for is the ability to lead. Those who aspire to be leaders in their company are the ones who are most likely to receive the promotions. However, the goal isn’t enough — you must understand what it takes to be an effective leader.

To be a strong leader, you need to inspire people to accomplish goals, have effective communication skills, and understand the bigger picture. If you can develop these three qualities, you’ll have a better chance of landing a promotion. Good leaders are never stuck in their jobs. They’re always moving forward and finding new ways to improve and succeed.

2. Working hard isn’t enough.

If you think working hard is going to get you promoted, you might want to think again. You can spend countless hours in the office and be the most efficient worker, but this doesn’t mean you’ll be a candidate for a promotion. Employees often get stuck in the mindset that working harder will bring them more results. But what if your hard work doesn’t achieve results? What if your character or attitude is preventing you from being successful? When you’re trying to receive a promotion, you need to look at the bigger picture. The best employees are the complete package. Not only are they dedicated and hard working, but also they have the compassion, positive attitude, and leadership skills needed to be successful.

3. You have a sucky attitude.

No one wants to promote a Negative Nancy or a Betty Brown-noser. If you continuously complain about your workload, coworkers, or the company itself, chances are you won’t be a candidate for a promotion. Employees who receive promotions are typically those who have positive attitudes, work well in a team, and are all around kind and considerate people. If you don’t think of others or the needs of your employer before yourself, you’re probably not going to receive a promotion. You need to have an attitude that makes work a great place to be and gets work done.

4. Your soft skills aren’t up to par.

When it comes down to receiving a promotion, your soft skills will be the difference between you and the other candidate. Sixty-nine percent of employers look at soft skills when making a hiring decision. To make sure you are worthy of a promotion, make sure your soft skills are some of your strongest skills. You need to be an effective communicator, strong team player, reliable, and have motivation. Sure, while you might be an expert in your field, you can’t always depend on your hard skills to take you further. You need to have a balance between your hard and soft skills that will make you the perfect candidate for a promotion.

5. Your initiative took a hike.

Job promotions don’t magically fall into your lap by sitting and waiting. You need to have initiative and motivation if you plan on getting ahead in your career. If you sit at your desk all day pushing papers without a care in the world, you’re definitely not a candidate worthy of a promotion. Promotions are awarded to those who push themselves outside of their comfort zones to accomplish the goals for their company. You have to be willing to take some risks and try new things in order to be noticed by your employer. Drive is huge when it comes to being successful, and if it took a hike a year ago when you first started your job, it’s definitely not going to get you further up the ladder.

6. You don’t think like a boss.

Employers don’t give promotions to people they don’t see as future leaders. If you’re only showing up to work to get paid, how do you expect them to view you as a leader? Most people are passive in their careers and wait for opportunities to happen.

Even if you aren’t in a management position right now, this shouldn’t keep you from thinking like a boss. Great employees look for challenges and opportunities, even when it isn’t required of them. Going the extra mile in your position without seeking reward is what will get you noticed by your employer. You need to be driven, creative, and willing to do anything to bring success to your company. When you think like a boss, you’re able to develop the leadership mindset needed to manage and inspire others. This will help your employer see you are serious about making a difference in the company, thus making them more likely to see you has a candidate for a promotion.

7. You haven’t brought any results to the table. 

Results, results, results! This is the key to success for every company. If you aren’t making improvements or increasing sales for your employer, what’s the point of you moving up in the company? Even if you can’t guarantee results 100 percent of the time (after all, no one can), you still need to make the effort to accomplish goals. Employers want employees who genuinely care about their company’s goals. If you want to stop feeling stuck in your current position, you need to find new ways you can bring results to the table.

8. You’re lacking passion for your job.

Inspiring leaders are incredibly passionate. When you have passion for your work, you put all your energy and time into your projects. Passionate employees also embody the vision and mission of their companies and will go to the ends of the earth to make success happen. This type of passion is exactly what management is looking for when promoting an employee. Passion is infectious and can have a huge impact on your company. Chances are, if you’re going to receive a promotion, you’ll need passion that will inspire others. If you’re lacking this passion, your boss will definitely search for it elsewhere within your company.

9. You have high hopes.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with the same company for six months or five years. If you don’t have the qualities your employer desires when looking to promote someone, you’re not going to receive the promotion. Just because you were a loyal employee doesn’t mean you were the best employee. For all we know, you could have sat at your desk for five years allowing minutes to pass you by. People who receive promotions deserve it because of their drive, results, and passion. If you don’t have these qualities, you need to start figuring out how you can become a better employee before expecting a promotion.

Just because you were overlooked for a promotion doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. In fact, missing out on a promotion can provide you with a great opportunity to learn new skills and improve as a professional. If you strongly desire a promotion, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and see how you can improve from there. This will guide you in the right direction for receiving a promotion.

Have you ever been turned down for a promotion? What helped you improve as an employee?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

How to Ask Your Boss for a Promotion

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Asking for a promotion is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience that everyone should do at least once in their career.

The mere thought of approaching an intimidating boss and asking them to give you more responsibility is enough to give any person goosebumps.

“What if my boss says no?”

“What if my boss fires me for asking?”

“What if my boss thinks less of me for asking?”

What if? What if? What if? You can think about hypothetical scenarios until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never know what will really happen until you actually do it.

When you finally do gather the courage to take the next step, here are some helpful tips about asking your boss for a promotion:

Asking for a promotion is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience that everyone should do at least once in their career.

The mere thought of approaching an intimidating boss and asking them to give you more responsibility is enough to give any person goosebumps.

“What if my boss says no?”

“What if my boss fires me for asking?”

“What if my boss thinks less of me for asking?”

What if? What if? What if? You can think about hypothetical scenarios until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never know what will really happen until you actually do it.

When you finally do gather the courage to take the next step, here are some helpful tips about asking your boss for a promotion:

Be Knowledgable

You can’t build the nerve to ask your boss for a promotion and then walk into their office without a plan — if you want a better job, you have to prove you’re ready to take it on.

Do some research on the job you’re looking to get and tell your boss why you think you’d be a better asset in that position. Know your previous accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made to better the company up until this point, and show you’ve done work that has gone beyond the tasks of your current position. Giving examples of how, in your current position, you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the job you’re trying to be promoted to is a fantastic way to show your boss you’re the right person for the promotion.

And even though you shouldn’t be talking about negotiating salary until after you get offered the job, you should still research the pay you’re looking to get from websites such as Salary.com, lest the conversation should turn to that and you’re totally unprepared.

Set Up The Meeting Ahead Of Time

Many businesses have annual performance reviews where employees have the chance to talk about their future with the company, but if your company doesn’t offer one or you want to ask before that time comes, it’s best to set up a meeting with your boss in advance rather than ask them the question on a whim.

Setting up the meeting beforehand not only lets your boss properly prepare to talk with you about future opportunities, but also it shows you still respect their authority enough to not just barge in and blindside them.

When you do set up the meeting, either through your boss’ assistant or directly, make sure you’re transparent in your intentions so as not to catch them off guard — tell them you want to meet with them to discuss your role and potential with the company, or something along those lines.

Follow-Up

Even though you see your boss every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow-up with her after the meeting. Treat your consideration for promotion just like any other job you have to interview for.

If you don’t get the promotion, tell your boss you’re still interested in the position, and ask if they have any advice for you. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges; in fact, use this opportunity to reinforce the ones you’ve already built. Now that you’ve shown initiative, your boss may be more inclined to give you more responsibility.

It may have just been you weren’t in their eyesight before, but now that they know you’re serious about progressing in the company, they’ll take more notice

Be Knowledgable

You can’t build the nerve to ask your boss for a promotion and then walk into their office without a plan — if you want a better job, you have to prove you’re ready to take it on.

Do some research on the job you’re looking to get and tell your boss why you think you’d be a better asset in that position. Know your previous accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made to better the company up until this point, and show you’ve done work that has gone beyond the tasks of your current position. Giving examples of how, in your current position, you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the job you’re trying to be promoted to is a fantastic way to show your boss you’re the right person for the promotion.

And even though you shouldn’t be talking about negotiating salary until after you get offered the job, you should still research the pay you’re looking to get from websites such as Salary.com, lest the conversation should turn to that and you’re totally unprepared.

Set Up The Meeting Ahead Of Time

Many businesses have annual performance reviews where employees have the chance to talk about their future with the company, but if your company doesn’t offer one or you want to ask before that time comes, it’s best to set up a meeting with your boss in advance rather than ask them the question on a whim.

Setting up the meeting beforehand not only lets your boss properly prepare to talk with you about future opportunities, but also it shows you still respect their authority enough to not just barge in and blindside them.

When you do set up the meeting, either through your boss’ assistant or directly, make sure you’re transparent in your intentions so as not to catch them off guard — tell them you want to meet with them to discuss your role and potential with the company, or something along those lines.

Follow-Up

Even though you see your boss every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow-up with her after the meeting. Treat your consideration for promotion just like any other job you have to interview for.

If you don’t get the promotion, tell your boss you’re still interested in the position, and ask if they have any advice for you. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges; in fact, use this opportunity to reinforce the ones you’ve already built. Now that you’ve shown initiative, your boss may be more inclined to give you more responsibility.

It may have just been you weren’t in their eyesight before, but now that they know you’re serious about progressing in the company, they’ll take more notice of your performance and consider you early on for the next promotion.

What tips do you recommend when asking your boss for a promotion?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

3 Ways to Build Your Career Path

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As you continue to move forward in your career, it is important to take a step back and look at the “big picture.” With 70 percent of U.S. workers emotionally disconnected from their workplace, keeping your eye on what you want in your career can help keep you on track and outside of that statistic.

Whether you’re looking at what next steps to take within your company, or within your industry, it is important to think about what you’re working toward — doing what you love to do and what you’re good at doing.

Here are some ways to make sure your career path is headed in the right direction:

Identify and cater to your natural talents

Your natural talents are the positive traits that you are born with. As opposed to your strengths, which are skills that you build up overtime, your talents are things you do often — most of the time without even being aware of it.

For this reason, it can be tricky to determine what your natural talents are. Take a day or two and pay close attention to what you do. Note what seems to come more naturally versus the things that you tend to struggle with or don’t enjoy as much. There are also courses available that can help you to uncover your natural talents.

Once you’ve identified your natural talents, use that knowledge to find ways to cater to those talents in your career path. Whether it is at your current job or networking at events, show off your talents and demonstrate to others your capabilities. If you start to focus on fostering these natural talents, your career path will naturally progress in a positive direction.

Never stop looking for outside inspiration

As you progress in your career, you will undoubtedly meet plenty of people, read a lot of articles, and attend a number of industry events. For those individuals that leave an impression on you, do not lose touch with them — consider making them a mentor. For those articles that inspire you, bookmark them, share them, and integrate them into your daily life. For those events that leave you inspired to do so much more within your industry and job, continue attending and find other events like it. 

Inspiration is an important part of any successful career — it’s what motivates you to go above and beyond your job description. In the end, your career is not about the quantitative, but qualitative. It is about the quality relationships you build, the people that inspire you, and the actions that you learn from. The things that inspire you most will guide your career path in a less noticeable but very impactful way.

Take a look at where you are right now

Take a moment to step back and look at your current professional situation. Two important things you should ask yourself are: “Do the people I’m surrounded by everyday continually inspire me to be better?” and “Does the prospect of getting further in a career similar to what I’m in excite me?”

Moving ahead in your career is exciting, but remember to slow down now and then, take a step back, and see the big picture. Consider if you’re in a place that you enjoy spending your days and see a future in. If you’re doing what you love, and it is catering to your natural talents and strengths, it is likely you’re on the right path and it will naturally guide your career in the right direction.

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

 

4 Career Lessons From “The Wolf of Wall Street”

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Aside from breaking the world-record for most number of f-bombs dropped in a movie (506), “The Wolf of Wall Street” is an award-laden cinema masterpiece with a number of hidden career lessons.

The movie, according to IMDB, follows the “…true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.” Even if you’re not in sales or investing, this is a wildly entertaining movie sure to capture your attention from start to finish.

Whether you’re in the midst of a job search or looking to rise in your career, these four career tips from “The Wolf of Wall Street” will help you accomplish even the most difficult of goals. (WARNING: Spoiler alert ahead.) And no, unlike the film, we won’t advise you to do anything illegal!

1. If you talk the talk, be able to walk the walk.

So you got big plans, eh? You’re planning on getting a job at the largest company in the industry. You’re planning on getting promoted or moving jobs by five years. Making plans is the easy part — it’s the following-through that really gets people.

In “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Jordan Belfort was determined to live a life of success and achievement. In the beginning, he was humble yet confident in his abilities, and he used his skills and determination to get what he wanted. When his shot at a big break came to an abrupt halt, he didn’t give up there. He used what he learned on Wall Street to restart his career and make it the behemoth he knew it would be.

When you say you’re going to do something, give yourself the full credit you deserve and do whatever it takes to make it happen. When obstacles get in the way of your goals, don’t give up! When you’re determined, other people can see that and gain a new sense of admiration and respect for you.

2. Don’t give up.

From being forced into unemployment in his prime, to having to make the best of transitioning from a great job to a bad one, to juggling multiple women and covering up illegal activity from the FBI – Jordan Belfort had many obstacles to overcome in “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

And you know what? He made it through each obstacle stronger than ever. Even at the end of the movie, when Belfort got convicted, sent to federal prison, and kicked out of the company he started, he still didn’t give up — continuing his legacy of teaching people the tools needed to have it all.

When your job search results in rejection after rejection, keep trying! When your coworker gets the promotion you’ve always wanted, keep trying! Accepting failure only leads to disappointment and regret — if you’re really passionate about achieving your goals, persistence is key.

3. Have your priorities straight.

In the movie (here’s that spoiler!), Belfort divorces his wife, Teresa, in order to “trade up” for a more attractive one named Naomi. He had a vision of what successful people were supposed to have, and Teresa did not fit that model, whether Jordan loved her or not.

Jordan sacrificed love for shallow pleasures and success almost immediately after the film began, showing him with prostitutes and doing drugs. While he had fun with it for a while, it wasn’t until his marriage with Naomi started to fail that he began realizing his life didn’t truly make him happy. Eventually, he realized what truly made him happy was being able to have an influence on people’s lives, and when he was released from prison, he found a legal means of being able to do it.

You may be failing to reach your career goals because you place too little importance on them. Having just a little more determination and passion could be the difference in making those goals a reality.

4. Wolf up.

In a world run by sharks and wolves, Jordan Belfort knew he had to become one to become anything. Like a wolf, Jordan Belfort devoured every opportunity and enemy that came his way. He found the key to Fort Knox in a script he created that persuaded even the filthy rich to invest in garbage, and he turned that into a multi-billion dollar company that made him a fortune. Belfort didn’t just seize opportunities — he created them.

When he met his match in the form of an FBI agent named Patrick Denham, he fought and fought to keep the rewards he wrongfully reaped until he was unable to fight any longer. And even after he was released from prison and still unable to return to his own company, he created more opportunities for himself when he started the lecture series at the end.

When you’re in an interview or promotion meeting, wolf up! Seize the opportunity and take what (in your mind) is rightfully yours through your own skills, knowledge, and intuition. Being humble sometimes only means you’re happy where you are in life and don’t wish to go further, so it’s vital to have that confidence to balance it out and reach your goals.

What other lessons has ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ taught you about your career?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at ComeRecommended.

Best Websites for Finance News and Information

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Most everyone has heard the old saying, “Knowledge is power.”

In the financial world, the adage should read: “Knowledge is power — and money.”

Leaders in the financial sector will almost invariably agree that the vast majority of superstar financiers on Wall Street and elsewhere are usually voracious consumers of the latest business and financial news, industry and company data, analyst reports, business books and relevant websites.

“It is critical for finance people to be well read and stay up with the news,” says Robert C. Pozen, the former president of Fidelity Investments, former chairman of MFS Investment Management and today a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. “Current events heavily impact markets, and more in-depth reading is needed to understand many companies and issues.”

Asked if he ever met a financial industry star who didn’t read a lot, Pozen’s blunt response is: “No.”

With that mind, here are some key websites that Pozen and leading venture capitalists, investment advisors and other top players recommend as essential places visit regularly for news and information. Some of these are familiar names, some aren’t.

 Keep in mind: There are numerous finance sectors and subsectors — and with so many niche trade publications and sites trying to serve their very specific needs — it’s almost impossible to list the literally thousands of websites, blogs and other online places where financiers individually go to get their information.

But if you don’t bookmark and regularly visit some of the following sites, you’ll have virtually no chance of reaching the big-time.

Don’t Dismiss the Freebies

There are loads of sometimes very expensive subscription services — ranging from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per year — for those who want to bore down into detailed information and analytics. More on this in a moment.

But don’t dismiss the freebie sites. Why pay for basic information when it’s free at your fingertips, literally?

Some of the free finance information sites that industry leaders say they regularly visit include Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, CNBC, CNN Money and The Street, among others.

Depending on the site, they can be great resources for stock quotes, quarterly and annual financial data, breaking news, company press releases, SEC filings, analyst rankings and even some analytic tools to help break down data and information.

The popular Seeking Alpha, founded by former Wall Street analyst David Jackson, is a stock market analysis website that derives its content from independent contributors.

Another free site is Real Clear Markets, which provides morning and afternoon round-ups of the top business- and finance-related op-eds, analysis pieces, research reports, blog posts and other materials from around the web.

Most of the content at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit economic research outfit in Cambridge, is available only to qualified subscribers. But summaries and digests of its academic research reports are available free online. NBER focuses on a wide variety of areas, including general economics, corporate finance, international finance and macroeconomics, and monetary economics.

Bloomberg and Reuters (a unit of Thomson Reuters), two powerhouse business-information entities, also provide a surprisingly large amount of free business news stories and other services online, even though they make most of their money via paid subscriptions.

https://www.google.com/finance

http://finance.yahoo.com/

http://www.marketwatch.com/

http://www.cnbc.com/

http://money.cnn.com/

http://www.thestreet.com

http://seekingalpha.com/ 

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/

http://www.nber.org/

http://www.bloomberg.com/

http://www.reuters.com/

Best Sites for Private Equity, Venture Capital and Investment Banking

Ok, now we’re getting into the paid stuff, which, as previously mentioned, can easily run into the hundreds and thousands of dollars a year for subscriptions.

If you’re already in the private equity, venture capital or investment banking sector, there’s a good chance your employer already subscribes to some of these sites — or might consider subscribing to them if pressed.

One is Mattermark, which touts itself as a site for venture capitalists and other investors for “prospecting, tracking and benchmarking more than 200,000 startups around the world.” Some of its content is free, but most of it is subscription only. Mattermark has quickly become a must within some venture capital and private-equity circles.

CB Insights is a popular database website aimed at venture capitalists, private equity firms, investment bankers, angels and other investors who want to track high-value private companies.

Other popular paid sites include Private Equity News, which covers Europe’s private equity market, and The Deal, which tracks transaction information for investment bank, private equity, hedge fund and other investors through its Deal Pipeline products.

Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and principal at Union Square Ventures, hosts a popular blog about the VC industry, one of many venture capitalists with their own blogs.

 www.mattermark.com

www.cbinsights.com

http://www.penews.com

http://www.thedeal.com

http://www.avc.com/ (Fred Wilson)

Mainstream Media (Sort Of)

They may have been around for a while, but older mainstream media outlets and their websites are also must-reads for most successful financiers, according to industry leaders.

Though they charge subscriptions for full access to their sites, these mainstream players include the Wall Street Journal (and its related other Dow Jones services), the New York Times (it’s been expanding its business coverage in recent years), the Financial Times (very respected for its international finance coverage), and The Economist (the venerable weekly magazine that just keeps on ticking).

Though it offers some free content, Bloomberg, which just about every Wall Street hot shot subscribes to — usually paid for by their employers — charges tens of thousands of dollars a year to get all of its rich array of data, analytic tools and content. But most financiers say it’s worth every penny to have one those now-famous desktop Bloomberg terminals.

Public Service Announcement: Just Read!

The bottom line for those aspiring to be finance rock stars: Just read. Find sites you like, ask others what they read, bookmark the sites, and get moving in your career.

“The more information you seek out, the more reference points you have to make sound investment decisions,” says Lowell Thomas, who has worked at a number of Wall Street firms and other investment companies and today is a partner at South Shore Capital Advisors in Newport, R.I. “If you ask Warren Buffett what he does all the time, he says he reads. A lot. That tells you something.”

http://online.wsj.com/home-page

http://www.nytimes.com/pages

http://www.ft.com/home/us

http://www.economist.com/

About the Author: Jay Fitzgerald is a business journalist based in Boston. Over the years, his articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald and other publications.

 

Day in the Life of a Sell Side Analyst

Get up, Sleepy. It’s 4 a.m. and your alarm goes off. Time to shower, dress and catch a cab to the airport. You’re on your way from New York to Florida to Boca Raton, Fla. for the annual CAGNY (Consumer Analysts Group of New York) conference.

Be ready to listen carefully. There will most definitely be golfing, fun in the sun and fancy dinners, but the bulk of your time during this multi-day event will be spent inside an air-conditioned conference hall, glued to a chair. You’ll be listening — mainly to CEOs, CFOs, and other C-suite executives from Tyson, Campbell, Hershey, Coca-Cola and other major names in the publicly traded food, beverage and tobacco industries — for important news that could affect your firm’s rating on their stocks.

You’re there to back up the lead equities analyst you work for, where you’ll be part of a crowd of sell-side and buy-side analysts, shareholders and other institutional parties. Everyone is on the lookout for changes in guidance on earnings for the coming quarter or year, hints at new product additions, or details on the pursuit of new markets to boost the top line.

And don’t forget your phone. You’re constantly checking your smartphone for messages from your boss, who is busy in a breakout session with management from another company down the hall. You just got a message: She wants you to escape during the break so you can get online and plug monthly sales data released by one of the companies the firm covers into the spreadsheet model that you share.

But wait! You just heard from the latest presenter from a mid-cap company your firm recently began to cover — Foodie BBB — that it’s is planning to allocate more capital toward tack-on acquisitions in the next 12 months. A reporter from Dow Jones Newswire has put out headline, and within a minute, BBB shares have already moved 3 percent higher.

Your analyst is frantic. She wants you to forget the modeling and instead focus on writing a note for investors explaining what kinds of acquisitions would be best suited for BBB. She needs it in 20 minutes so that it can go out as an email blast to clients, along with a reiteration of the firm’s “buy” recommendation and earnings targets.

Welcome to a typical day in your life as a junior sell-side research associate at a leading Wall Street investment bank.

Your judgment about what could affect your firm’s investment ratings is critical in most everything you do. The managing director of research for a sector at one of the leading New York investment banks says he wants to know that his analysts will “pick up the phone and find you (him) when they hear something is a big deal.” And if they aren’t sure, he wants his people to call him anyway.

Whether you are a sell-side expert on food, tech, retail or some other popular sector, your daily activities might include one or more of the following:

  • Attending industry conferences like the one in Boca Raton
  • Participating on the firm’s morning call with the sales team
  • Meeting with institutional clients of the firm
  • Plugging numbers into the spreadsheet models that track whether companies are meeting, beating or missing Wall Street expectations
  • Creating succinct narrative on one or several stocks that may go out as a bulletin under the senior analyst’s name or be included in part of larger research report
  • Listening to and asking questions on a conference call given by a company’s senior management team following the release of earnings or other material news
  • Reading through lengthy 10K annual reports, quarterly earnings and other SEC filings from companies for material information
  • Accompanying the analyst to sit-down meetings with companies’ senior management

Such activities can make for long, but always interesting days. And if you’ve got the energy, commitment and aptitude, you’re sure to find a challenging — and fiscally rewarding — career as you work to gain credibility and exposure within your sector.

“There’s a zillion things to do,” says the managing director. “It’s very important for me to have self-starters.”

How Buy-Side Analysts Use Sell-Side Analysts

1. The sell side remains important to buy-side equity investment decisions. The sell side brings companies to the radar screen and investors to the table.

2. Sell-side research and conferences are the second and third most important ways that stocks come to the attention of global buy-side investors.

3. Buy-side analysts use sell-side analysts to gain access to company management.

4. Buy-side frustrations with the sell side include:

  • A perception that sell-side analysts are too focused on the short-term view
  • Worries over potential conflicts of interest between sell-siders and the investment banking business

Source: “Buy-Side Use of the Sell-Side: A Global IR Best Practices Report, September 2013,” Rivel Research Group.

About the Author: Deborah Cohen is an award-winning business reporter and editor with a penchant for entrepreneurial stories and the issues facing small to mid-sized companies. She has covered large public corporations ranging from McDonald’s to Cisco for Reuters, Crain’s Chicago Business and Bloomberg News.  

 

 

How Do I Get a Job in Accounting?

accountingAs the global economy continues to recover, accounting is one of the fastest-growing fields. Increased hiring and a rise in mergers and restructuring in other fields, especially in financial services and health care, have necessitated growth in accounting to handle all the new activity. That growth, combined with senior employees retiring and leaving the workforce, has led to a robust job market for accountants.

What career options are available for job seekers with accounting degrees?

 The Big Four

KPMG. PricewaterhouseCoopers. Deloitte. Ernst & Young.

 These are the most prestigious employers for accounting grads. Why? Big Four clients work with Fortune 1000 companies, which means employees are exposed to complex accounting issues. A job with a Big Four firm is a great career move for someone entering the accounting profession. If, instead of moving up the ladder in your Big Four firm, you decide to work for another public accounting firm, take an in-house position in industry or government, or decide to hang out your own shingle, your Big Four experience will shine on your resume.

The central focus of the Big Four firms is audit services: verification of the accuracy of clients’ books. This also includes non-audit lines of business, including actuarial work (risk analysis and management), tax consulting, human resources management, and merger and acquisition advice.

Other Public Accounting Firms

Although the Big Four get most of the publicity, many smaller, less well-known national players and regional public accounting firms do plenty of hiring. Representative national firms include Grant Thornton, McGladrey & Pullen, BDO Seidman, and Moss Adams. There are also strong regional players around the country that usually affiliate themselves with some national network of similarly sized firms. Insiders tell us the hours are often a little better at these smaller firms than at the Big Four, the path to partner a little quicker, and the work more varied and interesting. If you go to a Big Four firm, your only responsibility for three months might be to audit the cash account at IBM. At a regional firm, you’ll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, with a greater variety of job duties.

 In-House Accounting

Whether publicly traded or not, every company has internal accountants to set budgets, manage assets, and track payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and other financial matters. For mid-sized and large firms, the internal staff works closely with public auditors at the end of the fiscal year and with senior management and IT staff year-round.

Controllers and CFOs at smaller firms often enjoy even more important and influential roles in running and developing the business. These jobs are just as demanding as those in public accounting. Most accountants in the private sector stay in one place, in one job, working with the same colleagues, for extended periods. However, should you choose to move around, accounting skills are very portable.

 Government

The government hires a lot of people with accounting skills. Traditionally the biggest federal employers are the Department of Defense, the Government Accountability Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to monitoring individual and corporate tax returns, government accountants at the state and federal levels formulate and administer budgets, track costs, and analyze publicly funded programs.

Independent

You can always hang out your own shingle, individually or in partnership with other accountants, especially once you have your CPA. There is plenty of business preparing tax returns and advising small businesses, provided you have relevant expertise, such as a thorough knowledge of tax law. You also will need to market your services and manage your own business— time-consuming activities not everyone enjoys.

Some independent practitioners make a nice niche for themselves by specializing in a particular industry. For instance, an accountant specializing in tax prep for people in advertising and creative services may reap many referral benefits by virtue of their specialty. But beware: This kind of specialization can breed monotony because you’ll be working on the same types of issues day after day.

 

 

Is Your Career Heading in the Right Direction?

Are You In Control of Your Career?

quarter-life crisis

Image Credit: Blindfolded Businessman Image from Bigstock.

Throughout your career, it’s important to take a moment to check in with yourself. Why? Because sometimes it’s easy to lose control of your career path.

Regardless of how you feel about your current job, you should make sure to ask yourself if you’re heading in the right direction with your career. If you discover you aren’t heading in the right direction, then you must take immediate action to align your career goals.

No matter how passionate you are about your career — or even how much you despise your job — it’s easy to forget about your career goals or the plan you had set for yourself in the beginning. It’s important to remember your career path should always be moving forward and to be aware of the results you desire.

Sometimes, it’s even possible to get too comfortable with your current job. Maybe it’s not the most fulfilling job, but it does provide great wages and benefits. However, if you begin to find yourself seeking a greater calling, maybe it’s time to search for new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to take back control in your career and discover what you truly want.

One thing to remember is to have the open-mindedness to embrace change. Your career path is going to have its ups and downs, but it’s all about how you react to those events that impact your professional development. It’s okay if your career goals change; however, be aware of the satisfaction you receive from your job and how it affects your values.

So how can you start taking control of your career? Well, it’s important to pay close attention to what you say and do. Be aware of your work ethic, motivation, and the feelings you have when you go to work. If you discover you aren’t producing results or you simply lack any motivation to be productive, this could mean you need to figure out what areas in your job need improvement.

For example, if you feel like your workload is constantly causing you stress and making you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself if the added stress is truly worth it. Sometimes, your job will be incredibly demanding, but if it isn’t producing the results you anticipated, you may have to check in with your career goals. Don’t feel like you have to stick with a job because you need it. You have to realize that there are opportunities waiting for you that can fulfill your career goals.

Taking control of your career means understanding your career goals and realizing your career path must always move forward. If for a moment you begin to feel like you’re moving backward, you muststop yourself and reevaluate your goals. The last thing you want is to become completely invested in a job or career that doesn’t provide you with any satisfaction or sense of accomplishment. It’s time for you to stop waiting for your career to happen and make success happen for yourself!

Have you ever felt lost throughout on your career path? What ways did you gain back control?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommend.