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Career help

Currently working as backoffice IT worker. Aged early 30s. What are my options in front office jobs? Personal interest lies in Equity Research.
Confused among CFA/MBA/MFE/PhD
Thank you.
 
MBA (or M.Fin) with concentration in Accounting or Finance + CFA (full charter will exempt you from the series 86)

MFE would be mostly irrelevant, PhD would be overkill.

You will likely find these forum more suited to CFA/fundamental research/trading/IB chatter:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/
http://www.analystforum.com/

wait, for what reason is an MFE mostly irrelevant? I'd hate to think the degree we're currently all doing is pointless.
 
The OP specified equity research.

DCF cash flow analysis is the name of the game here. There is no quant: no math (beyond basic algebra), no programming.
 
I would do this. Keep working for another year or so. While you are working do the following:

1) Take CFA L1 and if possible L2.
2) Start networking hardcore. Utilize your bank, your undergrad, your friends and family, etc.

Try and get into a top MBA program. By top I mean T10-15. Maybe a really strong regional school. If that fails, you can look at MSF programs. You are going to need an internship and to work your butt off. Even then, there are no guarantees.

Honestly, I wouldn't do it. You are 30, probably have a family or would want one in the future. Do a PT MBA and switch into F500 treasury or something else. Maybe try and advance in the BO. Working FO sucks and people do it for a slightly better than average paycheck. In return, you sacrifice a lot.
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Yeah, when it comes to equity research, it's more important to be able to read between the lines of financial statements/news articles, make inferences where there are gaps, and tell the stock's story.

No PDEs necessary.

CFA (at least level 1, I can't comment on higher levels) is excellent in this regard in that it arms you with practical knowledge. It teaches accounting from an analyst's perspective (rather than an accountant's) for example. There is a tad bit of quant, but it's very minor compared to an MFE.

A lot of memorization and the like are involved. But if you come through it, your intuition and overall grasp of the markets will benefit greatly.
 
I would do this. Keep working for another year or so. While you are working do the following:

1) Take CFA L1 and if possible L2.
2) Start networking hardcore. Utilize your bank, your undergrad, your friends and family, etc.

Try and get into a top MBA program. By top I mean T10-15. Maybe a really strong regional school. If that fails, you can look at MSF programs. You are going to need an internship and to work your butt off. Even then, there are no guarantees.

Honestly, I wouldn't do it. You are 30, probably have a family or would want one in the future. Do a PT MBA and switch into F500 treasury or something else. Maybe try and advance in the BO. Working FO sucks and people do it for a slightly better than average paycheck. In return, you sacrifice a lot.

Thank you. Few people have told me about this route.
Nothing against BO, but I feel I am willing to sacrifice more time and try to work in FO. Education would definitely help. From programming point of view I could do or learn everything in C++. For that I would not need any degree but having something on paper would help possibly more in networking.
I plan to do CFA this december. I know I am late in the game but I strongly believe I can do well in FO.
I love programming and have worked on several interesting projects. Is there a place where Equity Research and programming blend well?
I know I am asking confusing questions but you guys are smart. I know I will get good answers.

Thanks
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Thank you. Few people have told me about this route.
I love programming and have worked on several interesting projects. Is there a place where Equity Research and programming blend well?
The main thing I can think of on this front would be to write a program that takes in the huge amount of equities data and parses it. And by this I don't mean market data, but rather financial statements. From there you can pick out promising stocks and do further research. It would more likely be a filter than the alpha generation itself...
 
In the 5 years I spent working in front office institutional equity sales and institutional equity research (both on the buy and sell side) I never saw any coding being done - nor did I find anyone even mildly proficient in VBA, let alone any higher level language.

There really isn't any need and it's not what you are being paid to do.

On the sell side in particular, timing is of utmost importance - your pre market is spent listening to conference calls, 9am - 5 pm is spent speaking to buy side PMs, analysts or your own salemen. Post market, more conference calls. If you're lucky, by 7pm you have time to start working on your research reports... (Typically until 10pm unless its earnings season ) Which are due by 5am for publishing.

As for stock screeners, again, there is no added value here - Bloomberg, Factset, Cap IQ and Thomson 1 will parse and screen Ks and Qs for you. If you need a custom search you simply call your account manager and have them generate an application for you - the turnaround time is fairly quick.

There are some technical papers out there proposing Monte Carlo simulation techniques for equity research valuation - but again, little value add. Equity research is the farthest thing from an exact science and vanilla equities tend to be event driven and are thus non-stochastic
 
Agreed, I have heard a lot of Equity/Credit Research folks say that programming is a waste of their intellectual time, when Bloomberg handles regular needs and the IT department can handle the specific ones. The max I have seen them go is writing excel macro in VBA.
 
In the 5 years I spent working in front office institutional equity sales and institutional equity research (both on the buy and sell side) I never saw any coding being done - nor did I find anyone even mildly proficient in VBA, let alone any higher level language.

There really isn't any need and it's not what you are being paid to do.

On the sell side in particular, timing is of utmost importance - your pre market is spent listening to conference calls, 9am - 5 pm is spent speaking to buy side PMs, analysts or your own salemen. Post market, more conference calls. If you're lucky, by 7pm you have time to start working on your research reports... (Typically until 10pm unless its earnings season ) Which are due by 5am for publishing.

As for stock screeners, again, there is no added value here - Bloomberg, Factset, Cap IQ and Thomson 1 will parse and screen Ks and Qs for you. If you need a custom search you simply call your account manager and have them generate an application for you - the turnaround time is fairly quick.

There are some technical papers out there proposing Monte Carlo simulation techniques for equity research valuation - but again, little value add. Equity research is the farthest thing from an exact science and vanilla equities tend to be event driven and are thus non-stochastic
Amanda -- are you doing full time at Baruch?
 
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