How to prepare myself for a career in financial analysis?
July 20, 2011 4:43 AM Subscribe
I'm going into financial analysis soon -- how and what should I do to prepare myself for it?
posted by wz to work & money (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I will soon begin my training in a local investment firm (a rather large one).
I specifically applied for its research department, because, as far as my understanding of the various careers available in the finance world goes, it's sell-side financial analysis that attracts me the most, and it's this firm's research department where all the financial analysis is done. The idea of poring through the various details of companies and industries, and of using hard data and models and forecasts to find great investments appeals to me greatly, as I've always been more of a technical person than a people-person. (i.e. I know it's unavoidable, but I'm trying to put off the marketing aspect of my training until a later stage.)
And hence, my woes: I come from a legal background. I have no knowledge of accounting (which will be remedied very soon) or of financial analysis itself. Of course, I could learn what I should do on the job, but I've always liked preparing beforehand so that I can already be at my very best (which may not even be much) as soon as I start the job so that I can keep on improving from there.
Hence, I would appreciate it if you could:
1) Recommend me good books to read that serve as thorough introductions to the world of financial analysis; i.e. those books that illustrate the current situation in the world of finance, and which lay out the the past few decades of historical development as well. I'll take both simple/here's-the-big-picture books and also in-depth books.
2) Recommend me books on accounting, financial analysis techniques, etc. I'd also appreciate it if I were given some sort of 'reading level' to go by, i.e. "read this first, then this, then this". (E.g. if this were programming and I wanted to learn Python, I'd like to know what the staple books are (like "Learning Python") and what the more esoteric books for advanced specialists are (like "Programming Collective Intelligence" or "Natural Language Processing", etc).)
3) Tell me what other relevant or ancillary knowledge I should study that would benefit me in my field, so that I can become a very competent (and hopefully, well-paid) financial analyst with time and several years of hard work.
4) Recommend me software/apps/tools that I should play around with and learn in my free time, that would help me in my professional work.
5) Recommend me MetaFilter users in related financial fields whose profiles I can follow and pick up knowledge from.
6) Tell me what other options are available to me if I don't want to purely stick to the world of financial analysis. (E.g. What sort of banking work might be somewhat relevant to it?)
I've always been a very motivated person, so I am willing to spend as many hours as it takes to pore through as many books as necessary in order to learn as much as I can, over the next several months. So feel free to recommend me anything or to advise me in whatever way you see fit; as a fledgling in the finance industry, I'd really appreciate all the help I can get.