Although I am not a Financial Analyst, I did just recently start a career in the finance industry. I think there are many great things about this job, one being that as an analyst you follow the market and the different market trends. Following the market enables you to help grow your own finances while giving you a better understanding of the world and what is going on. Another pro is while working in the industry many doors open up for you, specifically meeting new people and making new connections, grasping new business opportunities, being able to work with some great companies, etc. One more pro is also being able help your firm and look into performance and stability. Upon researching, I found some cons are long hours, a lot of responsibility, very detail oriented and it is a field that requires high urgency. Although many jobs have these "cons", I think if you like the industry you will excel and enjoy the work.
Best of luck,
Alexander L. Yu, MBA
I personally don't work in Investments or Investment Banking but have worked closely with folks who have. These are two very distinct career paths that have very different functions within financial services.
An Investment Analyst is someone who researches market trends on particular assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities and presents investment recommendations to a Portfolio Manager who could manage a fund or some institutional money. The best part of this career path that I've heard people mention is the ability to independently research trends and make recommendations that have potentially billions of dollars of impact on your portfolio.
An Investment Banking Analyst is someone who compiles the presentations and financial analysis associated with borrowing money, raising capital by issuing stock, or deciding on acquisitions of other companies that are made both for public and private companies. I've heard that people enjoy this career path as it's fast paced and extremely competitive, but you get to be a part of some of the biggest and most exciting transactions impacting public companies today. A recent high-profile example of this handling Elon Musk's time-sensitive takeover of Twitter.
Hope this helps,
I made the change from IBM sales after 16 years at the company to become a sell-side stock analyst and then a buy-side stock analyst.
My first recommendation is to read the book, "What Color Is Your Parachute?" I had heard about it and when I finally read it I made up my mind to become a stock analyst, which then took me almost two years to achieve in my late 30's.
Sell-side research (think of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and a few dozen firms). Not the investment banking side of the business.
Pros: Interaction with C-level company management. Constantly analyzing companies and industries. Utilizing math (but nothing complicated at all) and forecasting. Interaction with other very smart people. Compensation but have been out of the industry for over a decade so not sure how this may have changed.
Cons: Number of hours and impact on the family with a lot of travel. Between Monday and Thursday got home for dinner one of those nights.
Being wrong on forecasting. There is a saying, "He who lives by the crystal ball winds up eating glass."
Lot of writing, averaged about one report (1 page to 200 pages) per day. Lots of meetings with buy-side clients which can be very interesting but very repetitive.
Buy-side (think Fidelity, American Funds, Blackrock and hundreds of other firms)
Pros: Again, interaction with C-level company management. Constantly analyzing companies and industries. Utilizing math (but nothing complicated at all) and forecasting. Interaction with other very smart people. Compensation but have been out of the industry for over a decade so not sure how this may have changed.
Having the sell-side meetings where you are now the client. Hours and travel can be more manageable (but depends on the firm you work for).
Cons: While it was fine with me, your performance can be measured daily, weekly or monthly but for sure annually. If you don't perform it impacts your bonus and so much is out of your control (the stocks or investments you pick can be impacted by numerous events you can't control). Quarterly reporting season can become a grind and another variable (company's results) that are out of your control.
I also am not a financial analyst but have been working in data analytics and consulting for years. What I like the most is projects will change so it keeps things interesting. I usually am assigned to a client for no more than 1 year. This keeps the work changing so you will not get tired of doing the same thing everyday since the clients are always dealing with different situations. It is also nice to know if there is a client that you don't particularly enjoy, you will not be working with them forever. Analytics and consulting is a great field where you keep gaining skills and it provides learning opportunities. I would agree that the hours can be long in busier seasons or when materials are due to the client. However, I think you will find that many job fields can have busy times were you work more and slower times where it is less.