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What should I learn to be a better Financial Analyst??

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  • Jun 30th, 2017 6:32 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 21, 2012
3 posts
1 upvote
Waterloo

What should I learn to be a better Financial Analyst??

Hi there, I'm currently in a coop program at my university and will be studying Financial analysis.

I had quite the trouble finding a job last year so what kinds of technical skills should i work on outside of school to make myself more desirable?

Should i learn a programming language or should I study more business trends? Or should I improve my writing skills?

Btw, Im aiming for a Financial Analysis job!
18 replies
Jr. Member
Oct 4, 2007
125 posts
1 upvote
I'm assuming you're taking either Accounting or Finance in University?

Financial Analysis is a broad term. Try to scope it down.

Mastery of Excel never hurts.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 21, 2012
3 posts
1 upvote
Waterloo
I'm doing a program called Financial Analysis and Risk Management, and my goal is to aim for the CFA.

I dont know much about it so I'm asking you guys to see what actual skills are needed for those kinds of jobs. I guess my program leans more towards Finance.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 20, 2010
2219 posts
500 upvotes
There's never an easy way to break this to you young naive student types, but getting a job, especially at a low level such as at the co-op or internship level, really comes down to how you sell and present yourself and has almost nothing to do with your technical abilities. You'll find during interviews for student positions (especially in finance...actually basically anything outside of programming) you will have mostly or all behavioural questions and little or no technical questions. Good luck.
Member
May 18, 2006
407 posts
29 upvotes
Etobicoke
Financial Analysis?
Learn to do journal entries, and learn to be meticulous...
It doesnt relate to what you're studying - but if you're amazing at that, you'll do well...
Been working in Finance for some time, Technical skills only go so far, communication skills take you much further.
Deal Fanatic
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Aug 10, 2011
9561 posts
2179 upvotes
Somewhere
FARMer eh

Enroll in CFA Level 1.
:confused:
Member
Dec 5, 2010
443 posts
27 upvotes
IEye... he can't enroll yet... i think he's looking for ways to get his first "related" co-op... by the time he's elligible for enrollment... he should land into a finance role

OP, it's hard to get the first co-op job...but can please tell us some more about yourself... grades? other experience?

For most first year co-ops... grades and other EC activities are huge factors.... if you had previous work experience... you should've landed a fairly good job already...
That means... normal first year co-ops don't get good jobs (if any)... but once you are in your 3rd term+...you should have a chance....it's normal.

As other mentioned... tech skills only gives you so much.... people skills brings you further... but the normal tech skills recommended would be some accounting, VBA, Excel, SQL (maybe)...and then the more quant oriented would be R or some of the statistics program (Matlab, Maple, Stata)...and yes... read the news... it's important...

Are you getting interviews?
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 7, 2007
567 posts
21 upvotes
I was told by the VP of FP&A at a large well known Canadian retailer that being good with Access, to the point where you can create your own DB's as well as having strong VBA skills (not just vlookups) will put you head and shoulders above other FA candidates
Deal Addict
Jan 3, 2012
1275 posts
32 upvotes
Mississauga
Vba is macro right?
Member
Jun 2, 2007
439 posts
80 upvotes
Toronto
As a financial analyst working off Bay Street my recommendation would be:

Get used to being thorough and not rushing through things. My mentality in university was to do a "good enough" job, and the odd mistake here and there didn't matter. The real world is different - be thorough and remember that it's not a race.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Aug 22, 2008
805 posts
26 upvotes
Learn Excel/VBA and SQL. Very unlikely that you'll need anything else this early.

Read bloomberg every single day. It's by far the most unbiased (and free) news source that you'll find. Learn and be able to converse about all the asset classes.

Most importantly though, improve your writing skills. If you can't convince your readers of your credibility and expertise through your writing, you won't make it far as a 'financial analyst'. Assuming you mean the likes of those that appear on TV, and not the type that works at some random company for 30K.

Also, look for international coop positions. The job prospects for a finance grad in Canada is utter crap when taking into account the number of people you're competing with, compensation, and work hours. UW presence in NYC area/Chicago/Cali and Asia is growing very quickly. Take advantage of that.
Newbie
Sep 12, 2010
23 posts
Master Excel. You'll not only be more marketable to employers but will likely be much more efficient in completing your job tasks.
Newbie
Aug 22, 2012
4 posts
3 upvotes
yujinred wrote: Hi there, I'm currently in a coop program at my university and will be studying Financial analysis.

I had quite the trouble finding a job last year so what kinds of technical skills should i work on outside of school to make myself more desirable?

Should i learn a programming language or should I study more business trends? Or should I improve my writing skills?

Btw, Im aiming for a Financial Analysis job!
I suppose you go to UW, even if you are in the co-op program theres is no guarantee you will get a job after you graduate. I did my double degree (Math & Business) and had some good co-op placements but after graduation they weren't hiring due to the recession. I guess all I can tell you is to network and know people when your doing your co-op
Member
Jul 4, 2008
230 posts
3 upvotes
Kitchener
onetruguju wrote: Financial Analysis?
Learn to do journal entries, and learn to be meticulous...
It doesnt relate to what you're studying - but if you're amazing at that, you'll do well...
Been working in Finance for some time, Technical skills only go so far, communication skills take you much further.
Care to elaborate how communication skills take you you much farther?
Newbie
Jan 2, 2010
92 posts
39 upvotes
York
Communication & interpersonal skills gets you noticed. They are more likely to hire/promote someone who they can relate to and connect with. If you have strong technical skills, but cannot explain what you are doing and why, then they may seem you as incompetent.
Jr. Member
Mar 17, 2015
182 posts
50 upvotes
North York, ON
quick90 wrote: As a financial analyst working off Bay Street my recommendation would be:

Get used to being thorough and not rushing through things. My mentality in university was to do a "good enough" job, and the odd mistake here and there didn't matter. The real world is different - be thorough and remember that it's not a race.
Mind if I ask what university you went to ? and how did you end up working as a Financial Analyst ?
Member
Jan 10, 2017
235 posts
112 upvotes
quick90 wrote: As a financial analyst working off Bay Street my recommendation would be:

Get used to being thorough and not rushing through things. My mentality in university was to do a "good enough" job, and the odd mistake here and there didn't matter. The real world is different - be thorough and remember that it's not a race.


You cannot be serious?

Turnover is everything. If you take your time with any deliverable, you're a waste of time and cannot be relied on. Nobody submits flawless work and that's expected. This is why we review the work of analysts to ensure it's flawless on our submission; more than that, we also need assurance over how the work was prepared.

You want to succeed as an analyst - I'll give you some tips that I used myself, as well as those I coach reports with:

- Learn and don't stop trying new things
- There is never a bad idea - it's bad when you don't have any ideas to contribute
- Problems mean solutions; find ways to solve problems
- Accounting makes for solid analysts because of the amount of thoroughness and understanding of numbers; so, get designated - it adds credibility
- Communicate your progress and understanding of deliverables; nothing pisses off people more than blowing a deadline because you did unnecessary work and/or missed the goal entirely

Technical skills are learned; go learn VBA, SQL, and master Excel.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 8, 2007
5305 posts
1696 upvotes
Start by analyzing some financials.
Hydropwnics wrote:"TodayHello is a certified hustler and original gangster."
Deal Expert
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Sep 1, 2005
17487 posts
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Markham
Excel is where it's at now imo.

If you think you have skills, check out

modeloff.com
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!

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