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How has your experience been like working for an investment management firm?

I interned at an investment management firm this summer, but I'd like to learn more about the experiences of other analysts, portfolio managers, and other professionals.
investment-management finance business economics

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4 answers

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Ryan’s Answer

Working for an Investment Management firm is highly rewarding. You are always challenged to think and respond to market events and apply this to markets. The skillsets that are required within Investment Management depend on the role that you are in. Portfolio Managers and Analysts need to be able to think critically, assess alpha opportunities through diligent research, and build portfolios that meet their clients goals and objectives. The trading teams need to be able to be able to execute the trades as efficiently as possible, which requires technology skills and market structure understanding. Client facing people need to have strong communication skills, the ability to translate complex information succinctly for clients to understand, and be able to represent the client's interest to the firm.

Successful Investment Management firms will have a strong culture that is team based. I would recommend that you focus your search on finding the right culture for you.

The most important criteria for success are a willingness to go the extra mile to understand complex situations, the ability to communicate your ideas and thoughts, and the desire to achieve great investment results for your clients.
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Mohd’s Answer

Working for an investment management is exciting and fast paced paced whether you are a analyst, trader, portfolio managers or operations. The work load changes on a daily basis and you need to be prepared to manage multiple things at the same time while dealing with meetings, calls, ad hoc requests among other things. An analyst is required to do in-depth research on a financial instrument (equities, bonds, derivatives etc) which entails doing a deep dive of financial statements, company disclosures, rating agency reports and news media alerts. The analyst must also monitor the price of a security and make a Buy/Hold/Sell recommendation based on relative value of the security. This can be a challenging job although you may like it if you love to do research and making recommendations for clients. A PM is actively buying and selling securities and is usually a more fast paced job. Operations also has its perks as the job can be stable for the most part but some days could be challenging as you could fixing an issue.
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Jonathan’s Answer

Working for an investment firm can be very rewarding, and also very demanding. If you have a passion for finance, markets, investing, client relationships, managing risk, and are process oriented, then it is worth exploring. There are many different roles including, managing a portfolio, trading, sales, client elations, operations, risk management, accounting, technology development, etc. Some firms are very large and complicated, and some are smaller boutique-like and managed like a working for a small family.
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Patrick J.’s Answer

My experience working at an investment firm is like most things in life - complicated.

It can be rewarding, intellectually stimulating work where your impact and influence are obvious. You play a role in altering/improving actual client outcomes, helping to fund their life goals and objectives and ensuring they feel a sense of security - truly noble work. The markets are an ever-changing, living, breathing thing - a mirror reflecting at us constantly. Fascinating stuff, I get excited just writing about it.

On the other hand, corporate culture can be cutthroat/competitive and we're all inclined to use our strengths and disguise our weaknesses to advance. At times this can be exhausting, particularly at large, bureaucratic firms. Set your expectations properly in terms of patience with advancement and degree of recognition for innovation and contributions you bring to the table.

Would I recommend it to others and my younger self? 100%. It takes a certain type and it helps to have grit/perseverance... gumption/guts... patience/kindness. If you're willing to outwork the rest there's a lot in it for you as well.

Shortcuts I can offer:
1. Develop your presentation skills now and do it obsessively. There is a premium on those that can distill complex information into a digestible format for people through presentation or writing.
2. Have a cursory knowledge of excel/vba/coding. I'll make you look cool/smart and can seriously impress folks across the firm if you can find practical uses for it. We're in an age of automation, embrace it.
3. Develop market knowledge - a must. I have my series 7/66, MBA and the CFA designation. It takes years to develop, but if you never take your foot off the gas pedal, with time, you become formidable.
4. Make people feel good working with you - regrettably a lesson I learned late. You can be the best and brightest but if you're a jerk you're always just a jerk. Guard your reputation to no end! Critical.

Good luck!