Financial Analyst Job

A financial analyst job involves reviewing and analyzing the broad number of financial instruments available within a particular investment market. Based on their analyses, the financial analysis will then provide an interpretation as well as recommendations to the companies or individuals that they are working for. Financial analysis provide information that guides decisions in personal finance, corporate investments, company mergers, acquisitions and initial public offers (IPO). A financial services job can be found in a number of different companies.

Financial analyst careers based in a stock brokerage, investment firm or financial services company will be tasked with undertaking extensive research on the various options of investment that are available, analyzing the pros and cons of each depending on the companies short, medium and long term objectives, preparing the pertinent reports, making presentations on the data and recommendations to the key decision making organs within the organization. The sources of research for financial analysis are diverse and can include data on credible websites, company reports, business news, industry journals, company announcements and industry regulator reports.

A financial analyst job based in what can be termed as an ordinary non-finance business will be involved in preparing company budgets, end of year company accounts and performing financial audits to some degree. The financial analysis will be one of the key point persons in the design and negotiation of financial instruments that the business is contemplating. Such instruments or products would include foreign currency future contracts, price hedges and syndicated loans. If the business intends to raise funds through the public, financial analysis will be heavily involved in the process of structuring the IPO, rights issue, debenture, corporate bond, commercial paper etc. The financial analyst job will also prepare or oversee the preparation of dividend payouts as well as the financial reports for distribution to the shareholders.

So what do you need in order to succeed in financial analyst careers? First, you must be good in mathematics and statistics. This is because the financial analyst’s job demands a great deal of calculation and statistical data analysis. The need for mathematical aptitude cannot be overemphasized given that the reports that financial analysts develop will usually be used to make major and sometimes high value investment decisions on behalf of the institution he or she works for. But financial analysts will often be asked to make presentations to management so good presentation and reporting skills are of paramount importance. It is one thing to have accurate data-but it is completely another to communicate the data in a way that makes sense for an audience.

A financial analysis job will favor persons with an undergraduate degree in a business related field such as finance, commerce, business analysis, economics, business administration, business management, accounting etcetera. A minor, a separate degree or a postgraduate qualification in mathematics or statistics will be an added advantage. Senior financial analysts’ jobs will often have much more stringent requirements such as the need to have a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or a Masters in Finance. In addition, many firms now require that one have professional qualifications such as Certified Public Accounting (CPA), Certified International Investment Analyst (CIIA) or Chartered Financial Analysis (CFA).

According to a PayScale.com salary survey, entry level salaries for financial analysts as of March 2010 ranged between $40,000 and $53,000. Financial analysis with five to ten years of experience earned between $50,000 and $67,000.

For more information on Financial Analyst Job

How to Become a Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help clients decide on how to invest their money. They work with financial institutions, insurance agencies, mutual funds, and securities firms. They frequently meet with company officers to know more about the firms in which they like to invest. After the meetings, these specialists write reports and then present the features they found out. Subsequently, they advocate investing in the firm or selling that firm’s equities.

Financial analysts may become a specialist. Those professionals who work in investment banks, study those organizations which intend to sell share through Initial Public Offering (IPO). Additionally they may study the pros and cons of a merger (whenever two businesses join together) or a takeover (when one organization acquires other). Several financial analysts are ratings specialists who find out if corporations have the means to pay their debts.

They normally operate in offices. They in many cases work on evenings or weekends. Many analysts face deadlines. Their working day is full of phone calls and meetings. Many commercial experts who are employed by financial services companies are salaried personnel who additionally receive performance-based bonuses.

The majority financial gurus have a college degree in business, accounting, statistics, or finance. A master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is ideal.

Math, information technology, and problem-solving expertise are vital. Working with people needs excellent public dealing techniques. Self-esteem, maturity, and the capability to work on your own are crucial, too. Consultants also need sound communicating skills to define problematic economic methods utilizing plain and understandable terms.

Experts in this field should be able to discover obscure facts and information about firms. To be ready for these employments, it helps to discover how to make presentations and draft papers. It also helps to read about business news. Being a fiscal expert, excellent communications knowledge are important, as you are going to present tricky investment points to clients to strategize the better solutions for their needs. Many businesses and establishments recruit finance specialists, including nonprofits to global companies. People who work in finance filed need to have more than financial insight, success in this profession normally requires public dealing expertise, solid oral and written communication skills, distinctive and vital planning, and confident decision making.

Jobs of monetary analyst must nurture much faster than average for all occupations by 2018. Banking and mutual fund organizations will need more professionals to advise which equities and bonds they need to invest in or sell. But high level of competition is predicted for jobs, simply because lots of individuals want them.

Finance Jobs – Top 10 Finance Job Opportunities

The job market is full of competition these days. It is quite difficult to get into the job of your choice. Your aim should always be clear. It is important to decide about the field in which you want to go from the very beginning.

You must choose your career very carefully. Lots of people make mistakes in choosing their career and hence they have to suffer a lot. So find out the field in which you are interested. Always make sure that you love your job.

This way you can reach to the top. Finance jobs have become quite popular these days. Lots of people are entering into this field because of the wide range of prospects in this field. There are different kinds of opportunities waiting for you in this field.

If you want to get into finance then you must have a good hold over math. These kinds of jobs are gaining more importance these days because of the finance jobs salary. The salary package is quite attractive.

In the beginning you must always try for the entry level finance jobs. These kinds of entry level jobs will help you learn the job and have a better idea about the kind of work you need to do. Other than this, you will also gain some experience in this field.

If you want to go up the ladder of success then experience is very much essential. You can try for the bigger companies as well as the bigger salaries of you have enough experience in this field.

Corporate finance jobs have also become quite popular these days. Before you enter into this field you need to learn about the top opportunities available in the finance jobs. It is important to have finance jobs description before you join.

1. One of the most popular and sought after jobs is the banking jobs. The banks usually have branches in every city and it belongs to the financial sector.

2. You can also work as an auditor if you want to join the financial sector. Auditors can be of two types. You cam either be an internal auditor or an external auditor.

3. The job of an underwriter can also help you have a good career in the financial field. But whichever job you choose in this field you need to make sure that you are responsible.

4. You can also enter into the payroll job. This is also a job which requires a great amount of responsibility. These people are there are to make sure that the employees get paid.

5. You can also get the job regarding private equity. This job might be a bit complex but is highly paid.

6. You can also join the finance jobs as an accounts assistant. You need to have certain qualifications for this field.

7. Financial director is the other job opportunity that you can get.

8. You can also choose to be a business analyst.

9. Management accountant post is also attractive.

10. Credit controller can also be one of your choices.

Financial Analyst: A Profitable Career Option for Finance Jobs!

In the current job market, the hottest job position that is more in demand is of financial analyst. A person who can meet the new expectations of the employers in the finance area will surely find more employment and professional growth opportunities.

Who is a financial analyst?

A financial analyst also known as a business analyst is a person who is involved in monitoring the financial movements of a company. The main task of an analyst is to evaluate a company’s financial risk and drafting financial forecasts. With the assistance of these analysts, companies can make well-informed financial decisions, develop cash flows, debt strategies and maintain their budgets.

Industries that demand financial analysts

There are several industries, which require a person for handling various finance related issues. Some of these industries include:

Accounting and Auditing services industry
Aerospace and Defense industry
Banking industry
Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals industry
Business Services industry
Computer Software/Hardware industry
Construction industry
Consumer Packaged Goods industry
Education industry
Electronics, Components, and Semiconductor industry
Energy and Utility industry
Engineering Services industry
Financial Services industry

Financial Analyst Job Duties:

Evaluate an organization’s financial risk and prepare a report describing financial forecasts, financing options and capital management strategies
Assist in preparing a company’s budget
Determine cost of operations by collecting and analysing operational data
Identify the present financial status of the company by analysing and comparing actual results with plans
Establish various policies and procedures related to cost
Recommend various solutions to improve and manage financial status by monitoring and identifying financial trends
Maintain database by collecting, verifying and backing up data
Develop automated accounting applications with an aim to boost productivity
Keep financial information confidential
Work with company officials to gain a better insight into the company’s prospects and management?

Educational qualifications:

In order to get into this job position, one must have an undergraduate degree in finance, management, economics, statistics and administration. Having certifications and a graduate degree can notably enhance an applicant’s prospects. Furthermore, an internship during studies can be really fruitful in the long run.

Skills required:

Various skills required to become a successful analyst include:

Excellent communication skills including both verbal and written
Detailed understanding of companies
Superior analytical and organizational skills
Project management skills
Ability to create financial models
Ability to work independently and take sound decisions
Better understanding of financial and quantitative concepts
Must be able to manage multiple tasks, projects
Knowledge of computers and other latest technologies

Salary overview

In India, the average salary of a financial analyst is in between INR 3,00,00 to INR 4,00,00 per year. As the experience increases in this job position, the chances of higher income also increases. Furthermore, knowledge of various factors like risk management or control, valuation, SAS, SAP financial accounting, financial modeling, etc, can fetch you a smart salary.

Conclusion:

A financial analyst job is definitely the most lucrative career choice, especially for those who are very good at analyzing financial concepts. An experience in this profile will provide you high income and other benefits. However, strong competition is expected for this job position. A deep understanding of the roles and skills and financial terms along with a relevant experience can boost your chances for getting the job.

If you are looking forward to financial analyst jobs, this post can provide you the relevant information about this job position.

Careers in Finance – An Overview

Finance is a very broad subject. Speaking in terms of employment doesn’t narrow the term much. There are a wide variety of careers and job positions available in the Finance field. Education requirements and salary expectations depend on the area of interest, as well as the geographical position.

Several careers opportunities are available in Finance. Banking is probably the more common position that comes to mind. Commercial Banking, Corporate Finance, Financial Planning, Insurance, Investment Banking, Money Management, and Careers in Real Estate are all related to the field of Finance. Studies done recently have shown that the need for people in the Finance field is growing. Incidentally, as long as there is money involved, there is a need for finance. Some characteristics of Finance professionals include; Strategic thinking, and the ability to comprehend complicated matters fairly quickly, a new, fresh perspective, and candor. If you are interested in a career in finance, you should also possess some leadership qualities, have a firm understanding of risk management, and have strong analytical and problem solving skills.

Keeping in mind that Finance is a global industry, a second or even third language would be a very helpful skill in this field. Education requirements vary, depending on the career path that you have chosen. An Associates Degree would be beneficial for a few minor career choices, but most companies require at least a Bachelor’s Degree for jobs such as accounting, investment banking, commercial banking, and so forth. You can opt to pursue your Master’s Degree, and expect to earn a much higher annual income. Income ranges with a Bachelor’s Degree start around $25,000 per year and top out at over $40,000. Starting salaries with a Master’s range from $30,000 to $80,000 annually. Incidentally, if you choose a Bachelor’s degree, your starting title would probably be “Junior Financial Analyst”, as with a Master’s it would be “Financial Analyst”. So, besides the annual income being higher, with a Master’s Degree, you can expect to have more responsibility and a much higher “clout” with companies than if you simply pursue a Bachelor’s Degree.

Whatever degree you decide to obtain, there will be specific courses of study that you must take. Actual course titles will, of course, vary by institution, but an example of your required courses would be: Developing Business Perspective, Management and Leadership, Fundamentals of Business, Marketing and Sales, Human Resource Management, Organization and Communication, Finance and Accounting, Financial Markets and Institutions, Investment and Portfolio Management, Business Ethics, Public and Nonprofit Finance, and Risk Management. Keep in mind that these courses are not the only ones that you will be required to take, depending on your choice of degree, and the institution that you attend.

The Government Finance Officers Association has information, news, and helpful links to help you whether you are in the Finance industry, or just thinking of entering finance. You can find lists of companies that are hiring, as well as their salary requirements and educational requirements. There are also links to local training events, as well as general news that affects the finance industry in the United States and Canada.

A look at some current job openings in the finance field, shows that the need for financial advisors is very much in demand. In California, an Assistant Chief Fiscal Officer, for a county government office, with only 1 year of experience, has a salary range of $81,765 to $99,424 annually. There are many opportunities in the government, if you have a finance degree, and you can expect the salary to be very competitive. Other, non-government companies, such as AIG, American Express, and local banks are a good place to get your start in the finance world. Also, private firms such as Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance Canada, Inc., Chapman and Cutler, and William Blair & Company, all which serve the US and Canada, and other private firms hire periodically for new positions, and offer competitive salaries.

If you are inclined to seek your career in the finance industry, research companies well to find the best one for you. Educationally speaking, most colleges and institutions offer a wide range of courses, depending on the focal point of your finance choice. You would need to delve into the path of finance that you are planning to pursue, and with a little research and a good head for business, you could well be on your way to a very lucrative career in the ever-growing Finance World.

High Pay Still Found in Finance

Though the stock market remains wildly prone to fluctuations and the United States barely saved itself from veering off a fiscal cliff at the new year, the high pay of finance jobs has remained a steadfast thing. And the number of people seeking such jobs has, if anything, been on the rise-even as the amount of spots available moves the other direction on the number line.

“I’m looking to go into finance” is a common phrase among soon-to-graduate and recently graduated college students. But what exactly does “going into finance” look like? Finance is an industry, and the term blankets a lot of different positions. Finance jobs include everything from being an analyst to being a trader, from being a researcher to being a consultant. When most people think “finance,” investment banking, also called iBanking, is what first comes to mind. Specifically, bulge bracket banks like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley come to mind. But these firms only comprise a small (if highly profitable and reputable) piece of the finance pie. Job-seekers can also break into the finance career bubble through sales and trading divisions, corporate finance, hedge funds (a harder point of entry for fresh BAs), consulting firms, (McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group’s HOLT associates division), private wealth (Charles Schwab, PNC Wealth Management) management firms, and even ratings agencies (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s). And within iBanking alone, there is further job breakdown into three types of groups: capital market, product, and industry groups. Basically, “finance” is deceptively simple-there are dozens of ways to wriggle into the finance sector.

The pay, of course, differs from position to position and from company to company. At a big investment bank, first-year analysts will typically make around $70k base salary plus a $10k signing bonus and $50k to $60k year-end bonus. At a hedge fund, the hiring salary can go up to $90-$100k base plus an even more significant year-end bonus-but generally only analysts with an MBA or prior iBanking experience will make this kind of money right off the bat.Entry-level private wealth management salaries can also be over $80,000. First-year traders bring in similar base salaries to analysts but usually expect less of a bonus-around $20K to $30K. Ratings or credit analysts tend to make slightly less than these other positions, around $55K base salary, but compared to the larger scope of American and international pay grades, that is still a more-than-respectable entry-level salary. And once someone is inside the finance worlds, his/her chances for mobility into different sectors and positions greatly increase.

Of course, no money comes free, and no one getting into the finance world can expect to get his/her salary without doing a lot of work-sometimes 100 hours a week of it. Analysts joke that analysts don’t have a life, and at times that joke rings all too true. But the applications for finance jobs keep coming and will keep coming. The bonuses may not be as extravagant as they once were, nor is the path to rise through the ranks of a firm as smooth and certain. Yet no other industry can promise pretty much across the board $50k plus entry-level salaries, especially after the recession. High pay has remained a stable fact for those who can say they are “in finance,” and in unstable times, that kind of stability is something for which many are willing to fight.
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The 10 Best Careers — By Starting Salary, Best Benefits, Job Satisfaction & More

Whether you’re a soon-to-be college grad or a seasoned veteran, knowing the “bests” and the “worsts” of the career world will give you a leg up in deciding where to start out, where to stay or where to move on to.

10 Best Starting Salaries

Software design & development $53,729
Consulting $49,781
Design/construction engineering $47,058
Financial/treasury analysis $45,596
Accounting (private) $44,564
Accounting (public) $41,039
Registered nurse $38,775
Sales $37,130
Management trainee $35,811
Teaching $29,733

10 Best Companies to Work For

(Based on employees’ responses to the “Great Place to Work Trust Index,” a proprietary employee survey developed by the Great Place to Work Institute.)

Wegmans Food Markets
W. L. Gore
Republic Bancorp
Genentech
Xilinx
J. M. Smucker
S. C. Johnson & Son
Griffin Hospital
Alston & Bird
Vision Service Place

10 Most Satisfying Jobs

(Based 35 percent on potential for job growth, 35 percent on salary growth potential, 20 percent on how many in the field hold a college degree, and 10 percent on freedom to be innovative and creative.)

Personal finance adviser
Medical scientist
Computer software engineer
Chiropractor
Environmental engineer
Biochemist and biophysicist
Sales manager
Epidemiologist
Computer system analyst
Athlete

10 Fastest Growing Fields

(These will add the largest percentage of positions through 2012.)

Network systems & communications analysts 57.0%
Physician assistants 48.9%
Software engineers 45.5%
Physical therapist assistants 44.6%
Fitness trainers 44.5%
Database administrators 44.2%
Dental hygienists 43.1%
Hazardous material removal workers 43.1%
Computer systems analysts 39.4%
Environmental engineers 38.2%

10 Hottest Jobs

(These will have the most net gains through 2012 (in thousands)).

Teachers (K-12) 724,000
Registered nurses 623,000
Post-secondary teachers 603,000
Customer service reps 458,000
Computer support 420,000
General operations managers 376,000
Sales representatives 356,000
Truck drivers 337,000
Software engineers 307,000
Accountants and auditors 205,000

10 Companies With the Best Benefits

(Based on retirement plans, strong medical coverage, premium subsidies by employers, disability options, group life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment coverage, medical and retirement packages for part-time employees, and effective communication methods to enable workers to capitalize on those benefits.)

Flexible Steel Lacing Company, Downers Grove, IL
American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, D.C.
American Lung Association, New York, NY
GuideOne Insurance, West Des Moines, LA
Campus USA Credit Union, Gainesville, FL
The Washington Trust Company, Westerly, RI
Southwest Power Pool, Inc., Little Rock, AR
Glatfelter Insurance Group, York, PA
Moran Towing Corporation, New Canaan, CT
Fremont Co-operative Produce Company, Fremont, MI

10 Most Dangerous Jobs

(Based on fatality rate.)

Logging workers
Aircraft pilots
Fishers and fishing workers
Structural iron and steel workers
Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Farmers and ranchers
Roofers
Electrical power line installers/repairers
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Financial Analyst Certification – What is It?

Have you ever wondered just what a financial analyst certification is? Specifically, it means you have certification and training in being an effective financial analyst. With access to the World Wide Web, a FAC is attainable through internet classes, lessons, and tests. It is possible to be certified in 6 months when completing a quality FAC program over the internet. These programs are created by the top financial analysts. You will learn superior, tested methods that are being used in business today. Furthermore, there is no need to attend high priced seminars or conferences. You can achieve a certification in the comfort of your home on your own computer.

You will learn the top management methods so you can utilize them at your job. When you have this certification, an employer knows you have invested your time to achieve this mark. It shows you are completely dedicated to a career in your field. When your FAC is placed on your resume and business cards, employers know that you understand the language used to be an effective financial analyst. They can be confident that you can expertly communicate the language to management and co-workers. Persons holding a financial analyst certification have more self-confidence in their field, along with workplace recognition, and higher salary possibilities.

A financial analyst certification will mean that you are proficient and have been trained in many areas pertaining to managing the finances of a company. You will understand and know how to use costing, pricing, working capital, sensitivity analysis, and net present value. Interpreting and forecasting financial statements such as cash flow, income statements, and balance statements will be part of your job. You will be able to perform financial analysis with the aids of ratio analysis and contribution and margin analysis. Additionally, you will know how to apply the basic principles of accounting, notably with revenue recognition and income determination.

Jobs for financial analysts are available at investment firms, manufacturing companies, and banks. Along with your financial analyst certification, it is helpful to have these abilities. They are proficiency in math and calculus and talent in studying, understanding, and interpreting statistics for effective analysis. Businesses will need you to analyze their marketing, information technology, and research departments. Mental toughness is a plus in this field, as you advance from research and analysis to financial planning and full participation in a company’s finances. Superior written and verbal communication skills are necessary for interpreting and explaining financial data to managers within your company.

BUT… Without the right Financial Analyst Certification, you will likely end up stuck in the same dead-end job!

Get started today on the road to your $100k salary future…

Financial Analyst Certification – Programs That Work

Some of the best programs available today for financial analyst certification are acquired online. There are top financial analysts have worked for corporations worldwide. They are now sharing their success and talents with others who wish to acquire the same wisdom. It is easy to do an online search for any of these programs. You will be on your way to more recognition at your job, a higher salary, and improved self confidence as you educate yourself. With the busy lifestyle and schedule that you already have as a financial analyst, you need easily accessible and quality instruction at your own pace.

A financial analyst certification will advance and supplement the tools you already have as a financial analyst. Sharp numerical abilities, superior analytical skills, and written and oral communication talents are important to possess for success in this competitive field. Any education that aids you with new ideas or trends will be helpful. Being familiar with the newest policies or regulations are imperative as you will be integral in the success of the business you work for. An analyst in finance needs to know any and all factors that will affect the industry, and must be perceptive at knowing how the economy will influence the company’s earnings.

Consultants and accountants often enter this field to obtain higher status and salary options. Obtaining a certification is a primary way to achieve this measure in a career in finance. A quality business program will provide the base for a successful financial analyst. Being an expert in your industry, or niche, will also be a deciding factor in your success. Experience is something that will advance you in this career. It will take hard work and time, but it will be greatly rewarded. Being quick with numbers, Excel spreadsheets, and accounting are also invaluable. Any program that helps you to better utilize any of these skills will help you move ahead in the industry.

Don’t you want to show your future employers the hard work and time you have spent in becoming an expert in your field? Obtaining a quality financial analyst certification will prove to your prospective employer that you are serious about the success of their business. It is impressive on your business card or resume to have certification as a financial analyst. Best of all, the study can be done online, when you have time, in the comfort of your home. This can be done with minimal expense and will give you a competitive edge over other analysts. Check online today for the numerous opportunities!

BUT… Without the right Financial Analyst Certification, you will likely end up stuck in the same dead-end job!

Get started today on the road to your $100k salary future…

Finance Careers – Investment Banking Analyst

For finance and business majors, one of the most coveted offers to have at graduation is an analyst position at an investment bank. Business students are attracted by the pay, the prestige and the fast-pace lifestyle that these twenty-something analysts live. But before collecting that (rather large) signing bonus, prospective analysts should make sure they understand what they’re getting themselves into.

Though many will seek investment banking careers, few will succeed. There are only so many IPOs, mergers and leveraged buyouts that take place each year, therefore the industry can only support so many jobs. Furthermore, there are many peaks and troughs in this market, so even if you have a job one year, you may not have it the next.

Despite the high degree of competition and the job insecurity, the resume drop box for analyst positions is always full at the business school’s career office. So what kind of person are these firms looking for?

Getting in the Door

Yes, corporate finance looks for bright minds who can clearly articulate business insights. But investment banks are also looking for students who are driven and disciplined. Athletes often have the ideal personality type for investment banking. They work with a team and practice every day to win. That’s the type of mentality that succeeds in the corporate finance world.

In terms of education and experience, bankers are generally looking for candidates with business and finance backgrounds. Good majors include finance, accounting, business administration and economics, but even math and engineering majors can make their way into an interview if they can demonstrate that they are bright and understand the industry that they’re getting themselves into.

Internships and other work experience that relate to finance are also very important. If a candidate can demonstrate that they’re comfortable with financial modeling and analysis, they are likely to get an interview. But the interview process is where the fun begins.

Once selected for an interview, it is time for analyst candidates to start sweating. These interviews are often the toughest in the business world, and potential candidates should think twice before entering an interview without several hours of practice interviews as well as a few interview study books under their belts.

In these interviews, bankers are looking to verify that the aptitude that they perceived on a resume is actually there. They may do so with brain teaser questions, rigorous financial analysis exercises or strange questions that are meant to throw the candidate off and test how they react to pressure.

Interviews may involve several rounds – on campus, off-site at a hotel or at the firm. The interview process usually culminates in a “super Saturday” round in which the top candidates meet with all the bankers at the firm and socialize – perhaps taking in a sporting event.

Super Saturday helps the firm to make a final decision on which candidates are the best cultural fit. Offers are extended, signing bonuses are accepted, and the newly-minted analysts enter the crazy world of investment banking.

What do Analysts Do?

So why does someone who is fresh out of college get paid such a large salary? In short, analysts have to constantly work their rear off. They may start their day at 8 am and not finish it until 1 or 2am – and sometimes they don’t go home at all. They usually plan to come in on the weekend to stay on top of projects. When all is said and done, analysts regularly put in 80 to 100 hours a week at New York firms and perhaps 60 to 80 hours at firms off of Wall Street.

To understand what it is that analysts do, it’s important to understand the deal cycle of the corporate finance department. Investment bankers – the vice presidents and managing directors – will either approach or be approached by companies with ideas for potential transactions. These deals may include IPOs, follow-on offerings, private placements, mergers and acquisitions.

Bankers will set up a meeting with the company called a pitch, in which they pitch the services of the firm to the company and present their analysis of the feasibility of the potential transaction. At the pitch, the bankers will present the potential client with a pitch book – usually a hard-copy PowerPoint presentation that describes the credentials of the bank along with a detailed analysis of the market in which the company operates and often a valuation of the company itself.

If the company is impressed with the firm and interested in pursuing a deal, then it will engage the firm to execute the transaction. Depending on the type of transaction and the conditions of the market, these transactions can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to complete. At any point in time, bankers can be working on several pitches and deals all at once.

Investment banking analysts rarely get to work on anything more than the pitch books for the bankers. Depending on the firm or the level of confidence that senior bankers have in an analyst, they may get to accompany the senior bankers on a pitch and might also assist in some of the deal execution.

As simple as it sounds, though, preparing pitch books is no easy task. The bread and butter of the analyst position is the comparable companies analysis – or “comps.” Comps are a valuation methodology in which public companies that are similar to the company in question are used to create multiples from which the value of the company can be extrapolated.

Comps are a great way to learn the intricate details of financial statements and develop a fundamental understanding of how value is created in a particular industry or market niche. But after a few months of doing one comp analysis after another, they get extremely tedious.

In addition to comps, analysts might be called upon to prepare a discounted cash flow analysis (DCF) for a pitch book. A DCF model is a bit more involved and requires putting together financial projections for a company, calculating its weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and using it to discount the cash flows to determine its value.

Other forms of analysis that investment banking analysts may be called upon to prepare include leveraged buyout models (LBOs) and precedent transactions analyses (similar to comps). Analysts are also under a lot of pressure to triple check their work to ensure that no errors make it into the pitch book – otherwise, they are likely to get an earful from embarrassed senior bankers returning from a failed pitch.

Many firms offer excellent training programs and have developed several model templates to help analysts up a very steep learning curve and to perform at a high level. The pressure, however, can still be quite intimidating and many of an analyst’s all-nighters occur during the first months as they spend extra time trying to learn their trade.

What are the Perks?

So with all the pressure and long hours, there’s got to be some incentives for analysts to stick around, right? Certainly. Depending on the firm, starting salaries for analysts can range from $60k to $90k, but when you add in bonuses that are often north of 50%, total compensation can range from $100k to $140k.

But wait, there’s more. Many firms have a policy that when analysts have to stay at work past 7pm (basically every night), they get their dinner paid for. Given the expense of the restaurants located in the financial districts, this perk can quickly add up to a lot of money, and many analysts quickly become dining connoisseurs.

Other perks often include reimbursement for cell phone or blackberry bills, free cab rides for late trips home and the occasional opportunity to celebrate with other bankers at a lavish closing dinner. With all these opportunities to save money and the long hours, analysts often have a hard time finding ways to spend their money.

Career Progression

After about three years of the investment banking grind, many analysts decide to go back to school for their MBA. If they haven’t been turned off by the late nights and long hours, they may decide to continue their career in the industry by taking an associate position in corporate finance. Associate positions are usually geared toward recent MBA grads, but depending on the firm, some analyst may be promoted to the associate level without an MBA.

Should an analyst choose to leave investment banking altogether – and many do – their experience can often be leveraged to move into positions that would normally require more experience. After all, many analysts wrack up double the hours of the average worker and have to perform their work at an intensity level that is among the highest in the business world.

Although many people are attracted to investment banking because of the high pay, the intense lifestyle causes many to leave after just a few years. The real windfall of investment banking for most people is the boost it gives to their career because of the experience they gain.

Before jumping headlong into the corporate finance world, a potential analyst should carefully weigh the realities of the position and ask whether this is really something he or she is looking for – or ready for.

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