Last month, I had the chance to meet the founder of a financial research company (Read “Financial KPO”) in Pune, India. As a trainer of equity research, I wanted to have first-hand-information on what employers look in candidates.
Apart from graduation, there are other skills which are equally important to succeed in careers like Equity Research, Investment Banking, Private Equity, Mutual Funds and other positions related to finance.
In this article, I am going to talk draw my experience as an equity research trainer and my conversations with people from the finance industry to give you a sneak peak of what employers are actually looking for in an ideal candidate.
Read this carefully and internalize it. Next time you go for an interview, you should be better prepared.
What Do Employers want in Education?
The candidate should meet the basic education criterion which is a graduate or post-graduate degree in finance, commerce or management. In some cases, engineers are also eligible to apply. An MBA holder in Finance can also become an equity researcher.
Now, I know that education is important but you are not going to get that coveted job only on the basis of few degrees. You need to show skills, even if you are a complete fresher.
What Do Employers want in Skills?
The skill requirement depends on your experience level. If you are a fresher, the employer wants a working knowledge of how to use Excel in equity calculations and knowledge of various equity-related concepts.
If you have 1-2 years of experience, the employer, in addition to the above, wants attuned analytical skills and use of logic in preparing ratio analysis, income statement and balance sheet.
You must have a basic knowledge of financial modeling, report writing skills, and fluency in English for both written and spoken communication.
Critical thinking is an important equity research skill.
This means the ability to use logic and reasoning for ascertaining the weaknesses and strengths of any problem.
You need to have excellent reading; writing and speaking skills because you are required to read detailed work documents, prepare research reports and verbally communicate information to others without any error.
The candidate should possess decision-making and complex problem-solving skills.
Even though the equity researcher works with a team, he/she often needs to think independently, be accountable and take self-motivated initiatives.
The researcher has to analyze and solve complex problems.
It is also an equity research skill to be an active learner.
Learning isn't static here. There is a high learning curve because new information keeps coming in and they impact current and future situations and decisions.
The equity researcher needs to assess and monitor performance, take corrective actions and initiate improvements in the working process. Sometimes the researcher is required to set up a system to record and analyze performances. The person-in-charge has to determine the working conditions of the research system and its impact on the working environment.
Time is of critical importance here. Though it is ‘research’ work, you have to remain on top of trends; therefore, quick thinking, assimilation of information and processing it quickly is essential. Therefore, as a member of the equity research team, you have to value not only yours but the time of others too.
Take note of these subjects:
- English Language
- Education Training
…and others! These are some subjects on which the researcher should have some working knowledge.
More than everything, you need the right attitude, social perceptiveness, persuasion, negotiation, coordination skills and confidence to become an equity researcher. There is no way you can rate one skill as more important than the other; all are equally important.
Your Working Style
Now, until you are working with the company, it is difficult for the employers to ascertain your working style.
Surely, an interview cannot illustrate it but if you internalize the characteristics given below and use them while working, it will do wonders to your career graph.
Of course, if the interviewer asks questions about the same, you can talk about the same characteristics.
To begin with, equity research is a stressful job.
Therefore, you need to have high tolerance level towards stress, which includes remaining calm in highly stressful and critical situations.
You need to pay great attention to detail.
Any wrong information or an erroneous graph can spoil the whole research.
You should be a dependable and responsible person who is reliable and whose actions are accountable, that is, backed by logic and reasoning.
Maintaining personal integrity and persistence is important too.
It is essential for an equity researcher to possess high analytical thinking to process information.
You have to be adaptable towards working conditions such as an abrupt change in time schedule, take the initiative towards facing challenges, cooperate with colleagues but have the capacity to work independently, maintain composure and self-control in any situation, never let emotions drive decisions and you should display leadership skills.
You should have good networking skills and motivated to bring new ideas to the table.
Job Seeker vs. Contributor
Many times, I keep getting emails asking for placement.
My simple advice to these people is to learn skills, add more value to your resume and possess the right attitude and networking skills.
Believe it when I say that employers are not looking for job-seekers, they are looking for people who can contribute, take bigger responsibilities and have long-term vision and a real passion for working in the equity sector.
I will empower you and make you smart enough through my interaction here.
I am here to teach you strategies that will help you make a long term career in equity research, investment banking, private equity and financial KPOs.
If you think, you can make your career in equity research without the above skills, think again! This career requires your passion and contribution.
So, if you really want to learn these strategies, stick to this place and see the change within you.
Share your ideas, suggestions, and experience with me.