Investment Analyst Interview
An informational interview is a great resource in which you can gain more knowledge from a professional who works in an industry in which you hope to make a career in one day. It is also a great way to communicate with someone in a professional setting to help gain experience for future interviews. The informational interview should be somewhat relaxed but it should be treated professionally as well. The value that comes out of interviewing a professional about their experiences within the industry or role you are looking to take your career down is very beneficial.
Questions about the contact:
What was your process in getting such a credible job right out of college?
A: Well as you know, I was heading down the same path that you are kind of on right now. I attended UMD and knew from the start that I was very interested in the stock markets. I was very focused on my academics right off the bat when I went to college. I got involved in the Investment Club, where I eventually took over as President in my senior year. I also went on to join the Financial Markets Program and become the President of that as well. I think it is awesome that you are participating in that as well, as it is an experience of a lifetime. During that experience I made a lot of connections and built up a solid resume for myself, where I could apply for a job at a place like Parametric and get serious consideration. I think overall, I just knew what I wanted to do after college and I worked my butt off to do everything I could to set myself up to be successful post-college. I think as long as you stay focused on what your goals are and you work for them, you are setting yourself up to get that job you want after college.
What does a typical day at Parametic look like for you?
A: Well I think one of the things that I like about my job at Parametric is that every day kind of brings something new to the table. The stock market is always changing so it makes a job like this really interesting. I spend a lot of my days managing certain portfolios with the stocks and mutual funds that they currently hold. However, I am also always researching different securities to see if there is something out there that could be a better holding for us as a company compared to something that we were currently in.
Communication Practices and Writing:
Can you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me about each?
There isn’t as much writing I have to do as much as presenting. When I find something I want to pitch, I have to make somewhat of a presentation type recommendation where I have to describe the evidence that I have researched to back up the investment recommendation that I am trying to propose. So while I don’t do much writing, communication is a huge factor in what I do for work. Obviously being and acting professional is crucial when you are presenting to superiors of yours. You really have to analyze every aspect of what you are about to do before you go on and speak to one of your superiors. Knowing what they are looking for before you look for it is a huge factor. This obviously has to be communicated to you so you know what to look for. A lot of times we are working in work teams so that is another way in which your communication with your coworkers is very important. Always be in sync with a team you are working with. If everyone doesn’t feel like they are on the same page, things can fly off the rail fairly quickly.
What do you find most challenging about your day-to-day presentations and writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?
A: I think it’s really just putting your ideas on paper in a way that people can comprehend what you are thinking. A lot of times I do the research and I am confident in my work, but putting it into a presentation or writing pitch can be difficult. Organizing everything so it is as clear as possible and flowing in a smooth manner is something that I spend a lot of time on. When it comes down to it, the way you present your ideas is almost just as important as the research you put into it. I think the difference from academics to the workplace is the quality of your writing/presenting. When you get to your real life job, you can’t just slide through to get a grade (such as a B or a C). You have to have your best work all the time or you can be reprimanded. As a student you can slide by with average work, but not when you get to your job.
How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?
A: I think there is a decent amount of written communication within our company. Emails are flowing throughout Parametric quite a bit. However, I think the oral communication has a lot more weight. When you are working in teams, as I do fairly often, the oral communication has to be there all the time.
What advice can you give me about going through the Financial Markets Program?
A: Honestly it is going to be such a grind, but it is such a rewarding experience. You are not going to be able to have your normal free time or be able to go out with your friends always. But what you learn in the program, from Joe, and the other participants is unmatched. Make sure you use Joe as a resource. He has been through it all when it comes to the finance industry. He loves sharing his knowledge and he has so much to share. Otherwise just make sure you put your full 100% into it because what you take out of it is so much bigger than what you sacrifice. Spend those long nights in the lab with the other guys because it is going to be necessary to get the most out of the program. And then just have fun. At least in my experience, I made lifelong friends in the program. With those friends and the connections you meet along the way, you have so many resources within the industry. It’s really just an amazing overall experience, but it flies by.
What kind of advice can you give me on building a resume?
Be really specific about what kind of tasks you did in the jobs that relate to your future career. Future employers love to see your previous experience that has led you to apply or interview for them. Also, make sure you add in numbers. If you worked with certain amounts of money, state how much you worked with. Showing how much money you have managed or worked with in previous work or experience related to the job you are applying for is something that can really catch the attention of an employer. In addition to that, make sure you put in any certifications that you have achieved. That looks really good on a resume.
My interview with Colt was very beneficial to me. This was not the first time that I have talked with him about his career, however it has not been in a formal interview setting as this was. I have known Colt since high school and maintained an ongoing relationship with him due to the similarities that we have. He helps me a lot with preparation for the Financial Markets Program and every time I talk to him I feel as if he gets me to another level of preparation. It surprised me how important that he expressed communication was. It seemed to be a huge aspect of his day-to-day work. I will definitely take all of his advice regarding the program, interviewing, and communication skills. I am very fortunate to have a friend such as Colt, who has been such a success throughout his career. I really enjoyed my interview with Colt and I can assure this will not be my last time picking his brain.