Biggest News from Recent Investment Bank Deals

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IPOs and M&As — they’re the type of deals investment bankers love.

And the U.S. markets for initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions improved considerably in 2013, hauling in small fortunes for the investment bankers who helped raise capital or acted as financial advisors on the mega-huge deals.

Larger transactions were usually handled by “bulge bracket” banks, or large multinational institutions whose names are generally familiar to the public. But some deals also starred smaller, less known boutique investment banks.

The prospects for 2014 look just as strong for both IPOs and M&As, barring unforeseen economic developments, and that means investment bankers should have a very busy and prosperous year.

Here’s a look at some of the top IPO and M&A deals — and the investment banks involved — in 2013.

IPOs

The IPO market surged in 2013 to 222 deals valued at $55 billion, compared to 128 deals valued at $42.4 billion in 2012, according to Renaissance Capital. The 2013 performance was the best since 2000. The top IPO deals included:

1. Plains GP Holdings LP — $2.8 billion. The underwriters/managers: Barclays, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Citi, UBS, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Raymond James, RBC Capital Markets.

2. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. —  $2.4 billion. The underwriters/managers: Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, Blackstone Capital, Macquarie Capital, Barclays.

3. Zoetis Inc. — $2.2 billion. The underwriters/managers: J.P. Morgan, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Jeffries & Co., BNP Paribas.

4. Twitter Inc. — $1.8 billion. The underwriters/managers: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Company, CODE Advisors.

5. Antero Resources — $1.6 billion. The underwriters/managers: Barclays, Citi, J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, Jeffries & Co., Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, TD Securities, Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., Baird, BMO Capital Markets.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Though the global M&A market is back to its approximate pre-recession level, worldwide M&A activity has generally stagnated in recent years. However, in the United States, M&A deals were up 11 percent in 2013, totaling more than $1 trillion.

Here are some of the top M&A deals and the investment banks involved:

(All the M&A deals were announced in 2013, but some of these transactions won’t technically be completed until later this year.)

1. H. J. Heinz Co. — $28 billion. Buyers: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and GE Capital. Centerview Partners and Bank of America-Merrill Lunch were advisors to Heinz. Moelis & Co. was adviser to a Heinz board of directors committee. Lazard was lead financial advisor to buyers, assisted by J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo.

2. Dell Inc. — $24.4 billion. Buyers: Dell founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake. J.P Morgan and Evercore have been advising Dell’s board. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Centerview and RBC Capital have been advising buyers.

3. Virgin Media Inc. — $23.3 billion. Buyer: Liberty Global Inc. LionTree has acted as lead advisor to Liberty Global; Credit Suisse has also acted as an advisor. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan have acted as advisors to Virgin.

4. Life Technologies — $13.6 billion. Buyer: Thermo Fisher Scientific. J.P. Morgan and Barclays have acted as financial advisors to Thermo. Deutsche Bank and Moelis & Co. have been advisors to Life Technologies.

5. Onyx Pharmaceuticals — $10.4 billion. Buyer: Amgen. Lazard was lead advisor to Amgen, while Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has also acted as an advisor. Centerview Partners have advised Onyx.

And those are just the top domestic (U.S.) merger and acquisition deals of 2013.

The largest global M&A deal in 2013 was Verizon Communications’ agreement to pay $130 billion to buy U.K.-based Vodafone Group’s American wireless business. It’s the third largest corporate deal in history. Barclays and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisors to Verizon, while Goldman Sachs and UBS advised Vodafone.

Sources: Renaissance Capital, StreetInsider.com, Bloomberg, Reuters, and Business Wire.

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.

Ace Your Financial Analyst Interview

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When applying for a financial analyst job, get ready to spend huge amounts of time and energy polishing and customizing your résumé and cover letter — they’re the entry point to landing a job interview. But once you get the call to meet in person, that’s no time to relax.

Now the Real Work Begins

Recruiters and hiring managers are quick to note that too many job applicants don’t dedicate enough time preparing for the most important part of landing of the whole process: the in-person interview.

Fortunately there are ways to prepare. Here are some tips for acing the interview based on conversations with financial services recruiters and active hiring managers.

1. Know the company and sector inside and out. You’re applying for a research job, so you had better show that you actually took time to research the company and its place within the financial world.
Study the company and make sure you’ve covered all these areas:

-History

-Size

-Services

-Fields of expertise

-Any recent big deals or acquisitions

-Names and backgrounds of the chief executive and the people who will interview you

-Recent press releases and any other up-to-date news about the firm

It’s all readily available via Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, government regulatory agencies and other sites. While you’re at it, talk to friends, relatives and acquaintances who might be knowledgeable about a company — or at least its reputation.

2. Tailor your answers. Don’t treat financial analyst jobs as cookie-cutter positions automatically transferrable from one finance sector to the next — they’re not. Research the specific sector and expertise of each company you interview with and be prepared to tailor your responses so they’re a match.

3. Draw up a mental list of your strengths and weaknesses. It’s corny, but you’ll almost inevitably be asked a variation of “So, tell me your greatest strength,” or “What’s your biggest weakness?” Similar inquiries include: “Tell me your greatest success at a job,” or “What was your biggest mistake while on a job?” Create a list of what you think are three or four of your strengths and a few of your weaknesses.

4. Assemble a portfolio. To support your answers, review any past examples of research reports or other business assignments you’ve done as an intern (or as a junior analyst if you’re applying for a senior analyst position). Analyze the specifics of those particular cases, and be prepared to answer detailed questions about them. Bring the reports — along with any accolades from supervisors or teachers — in an organized portfolio to the interview.

4. Plan to talk about life experiences and career goals. Be ready for discussions about your career goals, college major, extracurricular activities, summer jobs, post-college jobs (if any) and other items on your résumé. One investment banker says he also likes to hear from candidates about non-business successes they’ve achieved in life. “I’ll say, ‘Tell me one thing you’ve really mastered and are good at.’ It can be music or painting or running road races. We want (to hire) someone who has already proven they’ve done something really well.” And whatever you do, be confident but not cocky.

5. Be able to explain why you want the job. One commercial mortgage banker, who asked not to be named, says he carefully explores a financial analyst candidate’s knowledge of his industry and why they specifically want to get into commercial real estate. “I want to find out if they’re serious about getting into (the field) and so I’ll ask them, ‘So, why aren’t you applying for a financial analyst job on Wall Street? Why are you here?’ ”

You’d better have an honest answer — with details about the type of financial company and position that you’ve applied for.

6. Be prepared for spontaneous tests. The same investment banker says he’ll sometimes verbally outline a general business scenario, such as one firm trying to buy another firm, and asks candidates, “So why would someone want to buy such a company? How would you go about researching that company?” Such “tests” are not meant to be trick questions. They’re meant to see how you might react and approach a problem.

If you’re working with a recruiting company to land a financial analyst job, they’ll often subject you to a number of assessments before you head out to an interview, says Richard Deosingh, a recruiter at Robert Half in New York. Recruiters might test how well you know Excel or if you can efficiently organize spreadsheets, for instance.

During interviews, companies rarely ask candidates to physically prove they know how to use Excel, PowerPoint and other software programs needed to conduct, analyze and present data in research reports. But they may ask you detailed questions about the programs or how you’ve used them in the past.

7. Ask questions that show your interest. Interviewers almost always invite questions from candidates. This is another chance to be personable and demonstrate interest in the job, so have a list ready in advance.

Some questions to consider include:

-What’s a typical day like for a financial analyst at this firm?

-What type of clients will I work with?

-Would I specialize in a specific field of interest?

-How did you (the interviewer) get his or her start in finance?

-What are the prospects for promotions?

Preparation is key. Practice, get your story straight — and you’ll be on your way to crushing the interview.

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.

 

Do Your Homework: I-Banking Interview Prep

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Everyone says I’m expected to “do my homework.” What exactly does this mean? How much will I be expected to know about each company with which I interview?

First and foremost, “doing your homework” means that you genuinely understand the role of an investment bank and can clearly articulate the distinct roles of its various functions and that you have devoted some time to distinguishing among the major players. It means you’ve considered all of this information and shaped an idea of which firm you’d like to work for, and in which general area. It means that you’ve developed reasonable job expectations, done some good old-fashioned soul searching to decide whether or not the inherent sacrifices are worth it to you, and determined the specific benefits you’d hope to gain from the analyst or associate experience.

The homework bar is higher at the MBA level than it is at the undergraduate level. In general, interviewers are more forgiving of analyst candidates for two primary reasons: First, no one expects a 22-year old interviewing for his first job to know for certain that his destiny lies in investment banking. Second, investment banks typically hire analysts for a two- to three-year time horizon, after which they expect many will go on to business school or other jobs. Nonetheless, firms will expect that both undergraduates and MBA candidates alike can articulate solid reasons for pursuing a job in the field, and they will expect to see evidence that you’ve invested some serious time determining whether this career-and this firm in particular-is right for you.

Regardless of the specific position for which you are applying, “doing your homework” has two primary components: understanding what distinguishes the firm in its industry, and understanding what distinguishes the firm as a place to work. The first of these relates to the firm’s position in the financial marketplace, while the second has to do with its “employment brand”-the unique way the firm positions itself to prospective employees.  Our Seven-Step Homework Guide should help you to learn about both distinctions:

1. PARTICULARLY IF YOU’RE AN UNDERGRADUATE WITH LITTLE PRIOR EXPOSURE TO INVESTMENT BANKING, MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT AN INVESTMENT BANK DOES AND HOW THE VARIOUS FUNCTIONS OF A SECURITIES FIRM FIT TOGETHER.

We’d recommend that you start with WetFeet’s Insider Guide to Careers in Investment Banking. Mariam Naficy’s book The Fast Track: The Insider’s Guide to Winning Jobs in Management Consulting, Investment Banking, and Securities Trading also provides an excellent overview. As the name implies, this book is a particularly good resource for those candidates comparing potential opportunities in multiple areas.

2. ONCE YOU’VE DETERMINED WHICH FIRMS YOU’LL BE INTERVIEWING WITH, CHECK OUT ANY FIRM SPECIFIC LITERATURE YOU CAN FIND.

This includes the WetFeet Insider Guides to investment banking firms (see the list at the end of this book), which provide insights into the firms’ areas of relative strength and insiders’ perceptions of the companies’ culture. In addition, be sure to review any recruiting literature on file at your campus career center. This information is likely to be general, but it will provide a useful overview of each firm’s organizational structure and respective recruiting processes. Also, these materials will give you a general sense of the “employment brand” that the firm is trying to convey-in other words, you’ll get a sense of how the firm distinguishes itself from other firms in the marketplace that compete for talent.

3. CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE OF EACH FIRM WITH WHICH YOU’LL BE INTERVIEWING.

This does not mean that you’ll be expected to memorize and regurgitate either the company’s financials or its business principles in the course of the interview. However, if you’re interviewing with a public company, at least take a gander at the firm’s annual report (generally available through the Investor Relations section of the firm’s website). In addition to providing detailed information on the company’s financials, the annual report highlights the key transactions in which the bank was involved over the course of the previous year and summarizes the relative performance of each of its major revenue-generating areas. Also, check out the most recent press releases for any noteworthy developments that have taken place since the last annual report went to press.

4. REFINE YOUR INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND REVIEW THE MAJOR TRANSACTIONS IN WHICH EACH FIRM IS INVOLVED.

Trade journals such as Institutional Investor, Investment Dealers’ Digest, and The Daily Deal provide a wealth of timely industry-specific information. For example, Investment Dealers’ Digest (www.iddmagazine.com) offers an excellent online database for subscribers, which includes league table information, recent deal flow activity, and information on the biggest transactions in various areas (M&A advisory, high-technology, energy, etc.). Unfortunately, an annual subscription to this little gem costs a hefty $995, but full-text articles from the print publication are available through Factiva, a comprehensive online news database; if your business school library offers Factiva access (and it’s worth checking into), you may want to take a look. If not, Investment Dealers’ Digest occasionally offers trial subscriptions at little to no cost. In all likelihood, you won’t ever be asked about a particular bank’s league table standings, but it doesn’t hurt to develop a sense of who does what on the Street.

5. KEEP ABREAST OF CURRENT EVENTS-THOSE RELATING TO THE FINANCIAL MARKETS AND OTHERWISE.

Even if you’re not ordinarily a faithful The Wall Street Journal reader or subscriber, it may behoove you to become one, at least during the recruiting season. The publication’s online edition is particularly user-friendly and is available to students at a significant discount (as is the print version). The Financial Times (WSJ’s European equivalent) is another excellent source of financial news and not surprisingly provides a more pronounced international focus than the The Wall Street Journal. At a minimum, know the major developments and trends characterizing the investment banking industry. In particular, the increasingly widespread practice of “bundling” investment and commercial banking services and the intense scrutiny over firms’ investment research franchises are two trends you should feel comfortable discussing in an interview. Also, be sure to have at least a general sense of movements in the major indices (investment banking interviewers have been known to ask what the Dow closed at the previous day) and the events that most directly affect the financial markets.

6. ATTEND THE ON-CAMPUS INFORMATION SESSION.

Trust us: The hour that you spend at each firm’s on-campus meet-and-greet will be time well spent. At the information session, the company will undoubtedly address the topic of what sets it apart from its chief competitors-its competitors for business and its competitors for talented people. Pay attention to what the firm’s representatives stress as its key selling points: whether it’s the firm’s untrammeled dominance of M&A activity, its unique rotation program for incoming analysts or associates, or its unparalleled reputation as an employer of choice. In addition, these information sessions provide an opportunity for you to meet current analysts and associates and to hear them answer the questions that you’ve been formulating throughout the course of your research.

7. TAKE THE TIME TO SPEAK WITH INSIDERS!

There’s really no substitute for good old-fashioned informational networking (a process which should be relatively easy for current MBA students, who have a considerable network of b-school students, former analysts, summer associates, and alumni to consult). If you’re an undergrad with fewer
industry contacts, check out your career center’s alumni database for the names and contact details of current firm employees (preferably within the division to which you’re applying). At the very least, contact the individuals who represented their firms at the on-campus information sessions (analysts and associates, please-firms may send VPs and the occasional MD to information session, but bankers at this level aren’t likely to return your call-remember our discussion of the hierarchical structure earlier in the guide?). Not only can these individuals generally answer your most pressing queries, they can typically put you in touch with other people at the bank who can provide you with a broader perspective on what it’s like to work there. Not only will this help you learn about the specifics of each firm’s culture, but it will give you some real-life insight into the life of an analyst or associate.

Make no mistake: Preparing for interviews is a time-intensive process. If your schedule is already filled to capacity with academic and extracurricular obligations, it’s particularly tempting to gloss over interview preparation in favor of the more immediate demands on your time and attention. This is a dangerous trap, and one that you should avoid at all costs. In this case, it’s better to take a long-term view. As one recently hired insider advises, “Take a light course load that semester if you can. The time you spend researching companies and talking to insiders is time well spent, and definitely worth the investment in the end.”

Careers in Investment Banking: Corporate Finance

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Thinking about a career in Investment Banking?  I-Banking is one of the best ways a young person can learn about finance and make good money right out of school.  Even if you ultimately decide to reclaim your personal life by pursuing other options, the skills you learn on Wall Street will be valuable in most business careers.  Check out the following overview, if you think you might be interested in pursuing an internship or career in Corporate Finance.

What is Corporate Finance?

The Corporate Finance group (banking or CorpFin) serves sellers of securities.  The sellers could Fortune 1000 companies that are looking to raise cash to fund growth, or they could be private companies that are looking to go public. Think of CorpFin as a financial consultant to corporations.  This is where CEOs and CFOs turn when they’re trying to figure out how to finance their operations, structure their balance sheets, or how to best move ahead with plans to sell or acquire a company.

The activities of the CorpFin department can range from providing pure financial advice to leading a company through its first equity issue, or IPO.  As a result, industry or product knowledge is key; many investment banks divide their corporate finance departments into industry subgroups such as technology, financial institutions, health care, communications, entertainment, utilities, and insurance, or into product groups such as high-yield, private equity, and investment-grade debt.

As a whole, CorpFin does any or all of the following:

-Underwrites equity offerings.  The investment bank buys all of the shares of stock for sale from a corporation or government entity and then sells them on the market to investors

-Underwrites fixed-income (debt/bond) offerings.

-Helps firms analyze their financial needs.

-Helps firms devise and implement financial strategies. For example, structuring their balance sheets and proceeding with funding initiatives.

-Determines valuations for offerings. For example, what the opening price for the stock should be.

Who Does Well in Corporate Finance?

I-banking jobs in corporate finance require critical, detail-oriented thinking.  If you have a knack for crunching and using numbers to understand patterns that influence business, you’re going to be valuable to a company.  You should also enjoy and excel at solving problems and be able to think critically about the numbers you’re working with.

CorpFin jobs also require excellent people and communication skills because you’ll be working on a team and building solid relations with clients.

This career isn’t only for MBAs.  Lawyers can be a good fit, as can experienced candidates with a strong background in a given industry.  But, with rare exceptions, some kind of advanced degree is required, and so is sales ability because it’s necessary to sell banking business to potential clients.

What type of I-Banking career are you interested in? Does CorpFin sound like a good fit?

[Photo Source : The Real Deal]

Wall Street or Bust

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As a recent graduate from Stanford University, I often hear friends of mine lament the downfall of the finance world. What was once such a hot industry – one many of us strove to join as bright-eyed underclassman – suffered serious setbacks in the past years, forcing hordes of Economics and Business majors to set their sights elsewhere. One friend of mine, a Finance major with previous internships in investment banking, decided to start a company promoting art museums when his job offer was rescinded. So for some, the shortage of jobs in finance has led them to pursue more unique, if initially less lucrative, opportunities.

Still, there are others who remain hopeful in their quest for capital gains, risk arbitrage, and absolute returns, holding on to the mantra, “Wall Street or bust!” Recently I sat down with James, a friend of mine who works for a hedge fund. I asked him questions about his work and about the sort of skill set required of an individual who is looking to break into the finance realm in such a competitive industry. Here is what he had to say:

What does your job entail?

I am an analyst for a long short equity hedge fund. My main responsibility is to advise my portfolio manager on investment decisions. This involves forecasting earnings and valuing companies based on my primary research.

Do you have any specific areas of focus?

My sector of focus is technology, which is extremely broad. Within technology, I’m currently focused on Internet and telecom companies, as well as alternative energy.

Did anything draw you specifically to Tech as a sector?

Definitely. Tech is a sector in which the United States is still very much a leader, and there’s always exciting stuff going on at the margin – new disruptive technologies turning whole industries upside down. Being a tech analyst requires you to stay on your toes and achieve a very comprehensive understanding of industry players. In some ways it is like being in college again – because you are often learning about these companies’ products and the science behind them, not just their financial statements. However, the workload is much more significant than in college, so I would recommend getting some recreation time in before you graduate if you do choose to work at a hedge fund.

What skills are emphasized in the work that you do?

I think it’s very important to be a good listener and a fast learner when you are ramping up – or learning the ropes. You have to be resilient as well – sometimes you will spend quite some time learning the ins and outs of a sector or the particulars of a company before you can really get an edge. But I think that in any finance role, diligence is probably the most important attribute for any candidate, particularly at the entry level. It’s very easy to lose the trust of your superior by messing up some minor detail, and once you’ve lost that trust, it can be hard to move back into a position where you’ve had the same responsibilities as you had before. That’s something I learned as an intern a couple years ago.

How did you land a job at a hedge fund in this job market?

I wish that I could say that I was just an exceptional candidate who could have gotten a job anywhere, but that’s probably not the case. The truth is, I essentially got to where I am now from my internship two years ago. I made certain to stay in touch with the people I worked with, and one of my coworkers from that summer ended up taking a job as a portfolio manager where I now work.

I would advise any undergraduate who has held internships before to try to stay in casual contact with their coworkers, because it makes things a lot less awkward if the time comes to follow up in search of a job. If you do fall out of touch, then it still won’t hurt to ask. Most people like to help other people out, so just be humble and confident and throw out a line.

Do you have any thoughts on the recent political controversy surrounding bonuses in finance?

I guess I can understand why some people are bothered by the bonuses being paid out at firms like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. These firms benefited a great deal from a government backstop, were really on the cusp of a liquidity crisis and now are in as good shape as ever. At a time when most people are suffering, that kind of prosperity in the sector that is blamed for the recession is going to hit nerves.

At this point in time, would you discourage people from entering finance?

I think now is actually a great time to get involved in finance, at least in certain areas. I think that the capital markets have been so depressed recently that, for bankers in leveraged finance, M&A, or any field that’s seen massively reduced activity, there will certainly be a bounce-back. And with head count lower, the compensation per employee might actually be higher down the line. I also think finance is a great place to be for young, driven professionals in search of a challenge, and I believe that there will always be room for the talented to succeed on Wall Street.

What steps could someone take to secure a finance job at the entry level right now?

Be exhaustive in your approach. Don’t be afraid to make phone calls to people who you barely know, or even don’t know, if you are certain that you want a job on Wall Street. My first internship in finance I got through a cold call to an alum of my school. He agreed to give me an interview and a chance to prove myself. If you are persistent and smart, something will stick. But the advice on being detail oriented applies to the application process as well – you can’t afford to make any mistake that will make it easier for people to shut you out.

In addition, a website like Doostang is a great tool for anyone looking for a job. Because there are such a limited number of available jobs out there at the moment, and because many of these jobs are kept within individual firms, it’s often difficult to find the positions you might want to apply for in the first place. It’s crucial to make use of every available resource you have at your disposal, and a job board that lists exclusive jobs at top firms certainly qualifies as a valuable resource.

So take it from the insider, if you’re considering entering the finance field – now is the time! And if you’re not sure where to begin, Doostang is there to help get you started with exceptional finance openings at all levels.

 

Entry-Level Finance Jobs: 5 Steps to Secure Your Future

Entry-Level Finance Jobs: 5 Steps to Secure Your Future

So you’ve landed your first job after graduation, and your finance career is preparing to launch, congratulations! Keep in mind that your first job is but one step toward a successful, long-term career in finance. Along with working hard on the job, you should take additional steps along the way to reach your goals.

1. Continue learning and achieving education toward additional degrees and/or certifications. Kudos to you for receiving your 4-year undergraduate degree, that’s one of the first steps that you need to take if you want to get ahead in the finance industry. But learning doesn’t stop with your first diploma.

Depending on which career path you’re traveling down, you will need additional coursework, degrees and certifications to advance to the top finance and accounting jobs. Want to secure that senior financial analyst gig? An MBA can help you get there. Is the certified public accountant (CPA) route in your future? Plan on studying for your CPA exam, now.

Interested in working in investments and selling securities? You’ll need to study for and pass your series 7 and 63 exams as required by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Other finance jobs require additional certifications, too, and FINRA has clearly established guidelines and regulations for professionals working in these roles . Your employer typically will sponsor you and have a process in place to help you to attain these goals.

2. Strive to get assignments on high-profile projects and with the top teams. If you want to stand out, you need to continually prove yourself as someone who contributes in a big way. Those are the people who put in the long hours and are resourceful. Learn everything you possibly can about your employer’s business.

Do your research and find out what you can do to position yourself as a change maker who can get things done and contribute to the bottom line. Keep your ears open, ask questions and try to spend time with influencers so you hear about the hot projects or assignments first. That way you can raise your hand when teams are set up or assignments are dealt.

3. Build a strong digital presence and be visible online. It’s smart to make your mark at the organization where you start out, because it might put you in line for promotion. But if you plan to seek out opportunities with different companies in town or across the nation, you need to promote your personal brand online.

Take the time to develop a robust profile on LinkedIn and join groups for finance professionals. Post content, comment on group discussions and connect with people who work at companies you would like to associate with. Combine this with a professional Twitter profile and take part in online forums and discussions about the finance industry regularly. Just be visible. This is also a good time to clean up your digital profiles so your past life doesn’t come back to haunt you (you know those pictures we’re talking about).

4. Attend finance industry networking events on a regular basis. While what you know can help you get your foot in the door early in your finance career, it’s who you know that will help get you a promotion or a better job somewhere else.

Build your network of professional relationships outside of the office by attending networking events and volunteering to organize or help out at future get-togethers or charitable activities. Networking groups provide an excellent opportunity to meet new people in the finance industry and stay on top of the latest news.

5. Don’t burn bridges. Even some of the best and brightest people have been fired or left positions on “not the best of terms” – do the names Steve Jobs, mayor Michael Bloomberg or super bowl winning coach Bill Belichick ring a bell? Losing a job can happen to anyone. And just about everyone has dealt with some backstabbing at the office.

Take the high road and know that everything isn’t always going to come up daisies or go your way. If you have a negative experience with a company or individual, try to suck it up, keep any vitriol to yourself and move on. The pain will ease over time, and your grace under duress will impress.

Remembering the Golden Rule doesn’t hurt either. Treating everyone the way you would like to be treated is never a bad idea. The person you do a bad turn to today, may be the person who decides whether you get hired, fired or passed over tomorrow.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

FINRA Registration and Examination Requirements. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website. Available at http://www.finra.org/industry/compliance/registration/qualificationsexams/qualifications/p011051. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.

Financial Analyst Jobs: Duties and Responsibilities

Financial Analyst Jobs: Duties and Responsibilities

Recent college graduates who are looking for entry-level finance jobs often seek out financial analyst positions to kick off their finance careers. If you think a career in finance is in your future and a position as a financial analyst might be right for you, make sure you’re up for the duties and responsibilities involved first.

Financial analysts work long hours, are often required to travel at a moment’s notice and must be willing to immerse themselves in extensive research to succeed. They must also be able to grasp and communicate (verbally and in writing) complicated economic and financial insights and data in order to make financially sound recommendations to the companies they support.

This takes a lot of courage, especially if you are making recommendations that involve millions or even billions of dollars.

Another thing to consider when looking for an entry-level finance position is the type of company you would like to work for starting out. The experience you gain now may dictate where you end up working later on. A variety of types of companies hire financial analysts, such as:

- Private banks.

- Investment banks (buy-side or sell-side).

- Brokerage firms.

- Insurance companies.

- Private corporations.

- Government agencies.

Think you have the passion, stomach and work ethic to make it as a financial analyst? Here’s a breakdown of the duties you’ll be required to perform.

Research, Research and More Research

In general, the role of a financial analyst is to cultivate and review large volumes of data then formulate a recommendation based on what you have learned. You will need to examine national and global trends in economics and finance and make predictions based on this research.

Financial analysts also spend time researching the strengths, weaknesses and risks associated with different companies based on the type of firm for which they are working. They are often required to make lengthy, onsite visits to the companies in question during this research phase.

You may be wondering how an analyst’s duties vary based on the type of firm. While the core responsibilities are very similar, there are some differences, because goals vary from one type of firm to the next.

A financial analyst working at an investment bank will research and evaluate companies to determine risks and the potential benefits and profits pertaining to mergers, acquisitions and IPOs (initial public offerings). They will need to closely evaluate financial and economic conditions and often utilize forecasting tools and models.

A financial analyst at a buy-side investment firm will research companies to determine which businesses their organization should or should not purchase stock in for an in-house fund that the firm manages. They also need to closely evaluate financial and economic conditions and often utilize forecasting tools and models.

A financial analyst at a sell-side investment firm prepares research reports for buy-side firms that are looking to purchase stocks to add to an investment fund. These analysts often focus on a specific industry sector and will spend time comparing the quality of securities in that sector. Ultimately they will recommend whether to buy, sell or hold specific stocks.

A financial analyst at an insurance company or private corporation will research a variety of economic and financial data pertaining to the specific industry at hand. In addition, they will look closely at the financial health of the company itself or other companies that it may have an interest in presently or in the future.

Financial Presentations and Reports

Once the analyst has wracked up hours of research and analyzed untold amounts of data, they need to present their recommendations to a department head or team, depending on the firm.

This is where it helps to have solid technical writing skills as well as experience with preparing spreadsheets, charts and graphs. A good analyst will be able to prepare a technical financial report that clearly supports the recommendations they are making – with both numbers and words.

Staying Abreast of Current Economic and Finance Trends

Along with the company and industry sector specific research that analysts perform, they also need to read general financial and economic industry reports, research, journals, newspapers and the like to stay on top of trends in the finance industry as a whole. Seeking out webinars, media reports and industry events also help top financial analysts stay informed.

So if you still think you’re up for the hard work and long hours that come with a career as a financial analyst, Doostang is here to help. Visit our website to search jobs, today. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

“Career: Financial Analyst.” Princeton Review website. Available at http://www.princetonreview.com/careers.aspx?cid=68. Accessed Nov. 15, 2013.

“Becoming a Financial Analyst.” Investopedia website. Nov. 4, 2012. Available at http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/06/financialanalyst.asp. Accessed Nov. 15, 2013.

“Best Business Jobs: Financial Analyst.” U.S. News and World Report website. Available at http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/financial-analyst. Accessed Nov. 15, 2013.

How To Land the Highest Paying Finance Jobs on Wall Street

How to Land the HIghest Paying Jobs on Wall Street

If you plan to climb your way up the corporate ladder and secure one of the top paying finance jobs on Wall Street, be prepared to pay your dues. The most coveted Wall Street jobs typically require an MBA and several years of toiling away in the trenches.

There is no question that finance jobs can pay well, which is one of the main reasons people choose to pursue careers in finance. Even entry-level financial analysts can expect to start out well. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the 2010 median annual income for a financial analyst was close to $75,000.

For finance pros who hope to earn the big bucks – millions of dollars in salary and bonuses – the opportunities are better in finance than in many other fields. It still isn’t a piece of cake to land the highest paying finance jobs on Wall Street or elsewhere. If you do want to aim high, here are a few jobs you might consider along with some insight on what it takes to get hired.

Stockbroker

If you have a 4-year degree, competitive spirit, thick skin and excel at networking, a career as a stockbroker might be a good option for you. Your degree might get you in the door, but you’ll have to work hard and compete with hundreds of other brokers to get the most desirable, high-net-worth clients to utilize your services. Long-term success in the brokerage world relies on referrals, so you need to deliver great results for your clients in order for them to recommend people from their circle to you.

Head of Investment Banking Firm

Have you set your sights on the investment banking world and the big paychecks that come with it? Getting to the top of an I-bank isn’t a walk in the park. While entry-level investment banking jobs pay a decent wage to start – you can expect to make about $75,000 per year – you will need to have a top-tier MBA, do your time as a financial analyst (80 to 100 hours a week) and be a great networker to become a head of an I-bank. You will also need to be a stand out contributor in big-money deals, have strong accounting skills and be able to deal with egos and office politics to get the top investment banking jobs.

Chief Risk Officer

If you have a passion for risk management, actuarial work and your MBA in hand, the role of Chief Risk Officer could be your ticket to a big payday. The demand for experts in risk management has grown in recent years due to the economic collapse. Expect to spend your early finance career years doing actuary work (the median income level for actuaries was close to $90,000 in 2010 according to the BLS) and accumulate a decade or so of managerial experience before qualifying for this position. Excellent communication skills – verbal and written – are a must for Chief Risk Officers.

Mutual Fund Manager

Are you a team player who is willing to spend time in the trenches researching companies and fetching coffee? A career in mutual funds might be a good fit for you. Entry-level mutual fund analysts can expect to make a decent starting wage similar to other entry-level finance positions. Once you make your way on to a mutual fund management team, salaries in the low to mid six figures are common. Managing multi-billion dollar funds comes with a great deal of pressure, because a lot of people are relying on your decisions, so you’ll need to handle stress well. Mutual fund companies also prefer to promote from within, so you’ll want to avoid job-hopping to land the top-paying mutual fund jobs.

Finance Media Superstar

If you’re looking to see your name in lights – or on the TV screen – you could expect to make a good chunk of change in the finance world. According to Forbes, big names like Suze Orman and Jim Kramer can pull in $10 million to $20 million or more annually. In order to work your way up the media ranks, you’ll need to start with a journalism degree, and an MBA will help get you in the door at the top media networks – Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox. Expect to spend several years working behind the scenes doing research and supporting other players before you get your chance in front of the camera and a book on the New York Times bestseller list.

Head of Mergers and Acquisitions

Like other finance careers, you’ll need to do your time as a financial analyst and have an MBA to be a top M&A earner. Expect to do the legwork, research and number-punching for a managing director then set your sites on an associate position at one of the top banks. You’ll need to advance your career from associate to VP to managing teams and hone your relationship building skills along the way if you hope to land a top job in mergers and acquisitions.

Big Money Means Hard Work and Time Invested

All of these finance jobs have several things in common, aside from the multi-million dollar paydays. If you want to secure a top job on Wall Street, you will need a great education, an MBA, years of experience working through the ranks and a strong network. If you hope to make your way to the top, expect to invest many years getting that top degree and working hard.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Occupational Outlook Handbook; Financial Occupations.” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics. 2012. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

“Making It Big on Wall Street.” Forbes website; May 18, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/05/18/making-it-big-on-wall-street/. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

LaRoche, J. “Can’t be a CEO? Here are 9 Other Super High Paying Wall Street Jobs and What You Need to Do to Get Them.” Business Insider website; July 20, 2012. Available at  http://www.businessinsider.com/9-high-paying-wall-street-jobs-2012-7?op=1. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 1 of 3

Top Interview Questions to Expect for Financial Analyst Jobs, Part 1 of 3

Question Categories: Education and Work Experience

This is the first in a series of posts about how to best answer interview questions for financial analyst jobs, based on question categories: Education and Work Experience; Goals and Company Knowledge; and Technical Competence.

According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 236,000 financial analyst jobs in 2010 in the U.S. The job outlook for those seeking positions as financial analysts is also promising, as BLS estimates there will be 23 percent more financial analyst jobs (54,200 positions) from 2010 to 2020.

While this all sounds great, you will still have to contend with stiff competition if you’re looking for a financial analyst position with one of the top Wall Street firms or in a niche industry where there are fewer desirable jobs available. Acing your financial analyst interview is a must if you want to come out on top. And in order to succeed, you must take time in preparing for an interview and practice answering frequently asked interview questions.

Interview Questions to Expect by Category

Here are some of the questions you will likely be asked during your interview, along with some tips on how to approach questions about your education and work experience.

Education Questions

The interviewer will ask you questions about your education, how you spent your time in college and why you chose to focus on finance. Some potential questions include:

- Why did you choose to major in finance (or related degree)?

- When did you know that finance was the right career path for you (and why)?

- How did you spend your time outside of the classroom during college (what did you do for fun, what extracurricular activities did you choose)?

The interviewer is trying to find out if you have a passion for the finance industry. They don’t want to hear about the parties you attended, so if you can tailor your answers to experiences that tie into finance-related activities, you’ll be set to impress – as long as your responses are genuine.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by asking yourself how your interest for a career in finance revealed itself (a job, a class, a competition, an article, exposure to a thought leader, a game, etc.) to you and how you chose coursework, study groups, finance competitions and the like to enhance your knowledge and feed your passion for the world of finance.

Work Experience Questions

The interviewer will focus on your resume and ask questions about past jobs in general, other entry-level finance jobs, volunteer work, etc. Some potential questions may include:

- Of the jobs listed on your resume, in which position did you feel the most pressure and why? How did you deal with the pressure?

- Tell me about a scenario where you made a mistake or missed an important deadline and how you dealt with it.

- What was the biggest challenge you overcame in a past job and how did you resolve it?

- Which on-the-job duties or experiences have frustrated you the most?

- Why did you leave your last position?

The interviewer is trying to assess your attitude toward the job at hand and what skills you use to overcome challenges.

Prepare yourself for this series of questions by making a list of the key challenges you faced in your work life to date, then think about situations where you can share a positive outcome.

It’s OK to admit that you faced some tough challenges, and even made a small mistake. You just need to show how you turned things around quickly and what skills you learned from the experience.

Most of all, the interviewer is trying to see if you can handle the pressure and do so with a positive attitude. Avoid talking about negative experiences, unless you can show how you turned that negative into a positive.

In part two of this series, we will take on the categories of Goals and Company Knowledge.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Financial Analysts.” Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm. Accessed   Nov. 5, 2013.

7 Must-Haves of a Wall Street Resume

7 Must Haves of a Wall Street Resume

If you’re priming yourself to score a dream job on Wall Street after graduation, creating a resume that stands out should be on the top of your to-do list. Competition for finance jobs in the Big Apple is stiff today, even if you attended one of the premier Ivy League finance schools.

In fact there are 13.5 percent fewer jobs in the securities industry today than there were prior to the financial crisis, according to a recent report from the Office of New York State Comptroller.1 So what can you do to ensure that your resume makes it to the top of the pile?

1. Follow one of today’s key resume best practices – include keywords. Regardless of your field, if you want your resume to make it to the hiring manager’s or decision maker’s desk, it needs to get through applicant tracking systems and/or be easily found in search engines.

This means you should include keywords that pertain specifically to the finance position for which you are applying. Pull keywords from the job description and include those in your resume and cover letter, then highlight your skills pertaining to these keywords as well.2

Yes, you should customize your resume for each individual job. That’s one way that successful job applicants get to the interview phase.

2. Keep it professional. For graduates who are seeking careers in finance, you shouldn’t be using your resume to show your cute or funny side. You’re going into finance, not art direction or web design. Wall Street is steeped in tradition and professionalism, and finance recruiters want to see resumes that are presented in a traditional fashion.3

This means no pretty paper or wacky fonts. Clean, black and white, period. Consider these financial analyst and investment banking sample resumes from Monster and Street of Walls respectively.3,4

Professional also means no typos or grammatical errors. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire a professional who specializes in finance careers to help write your resume or trade favors with your friend who is majoring in journalism.

3. Start with a bang (albeit a professional one). Once you’ve made it past the applicant tracking systems (or if you have had the luxury of emailing your resume directly to a person), your resume needs to make an impression FAST.

Along with a compelling cover letter, you need to highlight those skills and accomplishments that matter most to the employer (not you) in a summary at the top of the page. The person reading your resume has hundreds more to look at after yours, so if he or she makes it past the top quarter of your resume, consider yourself lucky.

Human resources pros and managers who hire finance professionals will scan your resume to see if you meet the specific job qualifications required, such as an MBA or experience managing a specific type of project. For recent grads with minimal real world experience, highlighting case study or classwork experience that pertains specifically to the job can help keep you in the mix.

This is also the place to show why you’re special. Any significant accomplishments you have achieved, that could impact how you would perform at the finance job in question should be worked into the introductory summary.

4. Include examples of your quantitative and analytical abilities. Wall Street firms want to hire people who know how to handle and analyze large amounts of data. They are looking for problem solvers. Include specific examples from your past jobs, internships or classwork that show how you excelled in these two areas.3

Generalizations have no place in a Wall Street resume. Spell it out.

5. Highlight quantifiable accomplishments. If you have real world job or internship experience in the finance world (or elsewhere), and can show how you contributed to reducing costs, increasing profits, etc. spell out these quantifiable accomplishments specifically.5

Show them the numbers if you want to separate yourself from the pack.

6. Show your passion for the finance industry. Along with your educational accomplishments, how else have you immersed yourself in the financial world? Have you competed in finance case study contests? Do you belong to any finance clubs? Have you helped others with their finances? Have you given presentations or written about finance topics for a paper at school or on your own blog?

7. Education, GPA and the like. This is a no-brainer, but it is a must-have. The school you attended does matter to some firms and hiring managers, as does how well you performed. This is especially true if you’re coming up light in the quantifiable accomplishments section.

Once you’ve created your stellar Wall Street resume, check out the finance jobs available through Doostang. We cater to recent college graduates and MBAs seeking finance careers with the best finance and investment firms on the planet. Visit our website to find your Wall Street dream job today!

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Sources:

1. DiNapoli T.P., Bleiwas K.B. “The Securities Industry in New York City.” Office of the State Comptroller, State of New York, Report 7-2014. October 2013. Available at http://osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt7-2014.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2013.

2. Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Monster.com. Available at: http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/cover-letter-tips/finance-cover-letter-tips/article.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2013.

3. “Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: http://www.streetofwalls.com/. Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.

4. Sample Resume for a Financial Analyst. Monster website. www.monster.com. Available at http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-samples/sample-resume-financial-analyst/article.aspx. Accessed October 25, 2013.

5. Meade, B. “Five Top Resume Turnoffs.” Forbes website, Feb. 19 2013. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/02/19/five-top-resume-turnoffs/