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How to Get a Job as a Financial Analyst

Manisha Thakor, founder and CEO of MoneyZen Wealth Management, says the financial services industry is changing quickly, which means the days of linear career paths are largely over. Her biggest piece of advice for aspiring analysts is to gain work experience while studying. “Something as basic as offering to work with an established financial professional for five to 10 hours a month can make all the difference,” she says. Thakor adds that networking and building relationships in the field is also essential. “So remember to keep one hand in the books and one hand out shaking new ones.”

Interview Questions Submitted by Real Financial Analysts

"What type of questions would you ask during a physical inventory?" - GE Financial Analyst Candidate (Atlanta, GA)

"Take me through the income statement and the balance sheet." - Bank of America Financial Analyst Candidate (Location Unknown)

"Explain why airlines have recently started charging for checked bags and drinks/food on board." - Delta Air Lines Finance Analyst Candidate (Location Unknown)

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good High
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility poor Below Average

What is the Job Like?

Many financial analysts work for large firms in major financial centers, such as New York City. Thakor first worked as a buy-side equity analyst in the corporate world, then as a portfolio manager. Today she’s an entrepreneur focused on teaching, writing and speaking about personal finance. As a traditional equity analyst, Thakor says about 70 percent of her day was spent on quantitative analysis and 30 percent on communicating those ideas to portfolio managers, which means communication is a key part of the job. “I could have done the most brilliant analysis out there, but it would be for naught if I couldn’t communicate my thoughts in a manner that fit the portfolio manager’s style,” she says. “Your ability to speak with management teams, front-line employees, and product-end users is every bit as important as crunching numbers in Excel.”

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Last updated by Casey Quinlan.

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