Priya and Ankita are cousins and meet after four years at an event. Priya is currently studying for CFA Level one and aspires to be a Financial Analyst while Ankita has completed her MBA and is currently preparing for CFA Level three. Priya is aware that Ankita has recently been promoted to Senior Analyst.
Priya is curious and wants to get insights about what it takes to be a financial analyst and what are the day to day activities that they do. Priya then approaches Ankita –
Priya: Hi Ankita! Long-time
Ankita: Hi Priya! How are you doing? Good to see you after so many years
Priya: I am doing good. Thank you. Heard of your promotion many congratulations.
Ankita: Thanks Priya. So what is up with you? Heard you are appearing for CFA this year. How are your preparations going? What is your plan post exam?
Priya: They are going fine. I also aspire to be a financial analyst like you and wanted to talk to you regarding the same. Can you please give me a brief of the role with which you first started and the role you are currently working on.
Ankita: Hey that is great!! So I started immediately after completing my MBA and had no previous work experience in the field of finance. So I started as a Junior Analyst in my firm. Generally, folks with 0 -3 years of experience are hired at this position.
During the last three years as a Junior Analyst, I spent a lot of time collecting data, updating excel models and spreadsheets and also on reading industry news and keep updating myself with the latest trends and events in the sector. The goal during this period is mainly to develop a strong base and fundamental understanding of how businesses, companies, and sectors work.
During this time a lot of my colleagues and I enrolled for various certification programs like CFA, CFP, FRM, Financial Modeling among others.
Priya: Oh that sounds interesting. So how have things and responsibilities changed after you got promoted to senior analyst and what is the criterion to get a promotion?
Ankita: So once a junior analyst becomes an industry expert and develops good excel or financial modeling skills and also develops the thinking to make investment decisions a promotion is likely to happen. Also, years of experience required to be a senior financial analyst is more than three years.
The major role change was the added responsibility of also being a mentor and spending additional time in developing relationships with industry and company contacts and also involves making a lot of presentations and managing teams work.
Priya: Well it looks tough to manage all these things together. How do you manage all of this together? What is a day like for a junior analyst or a senior analyst?
Ankita: Even though there are changes in the roles and responsibilities a typical day flow is similar for a junior and a senior financial analyst.
On a normal day when the workflow is not very high a typical day for a junior and a senior analyst begins with checking on and reading the news before coming to the office. Mainly news related to their sector, earning releases or any major market movement.
Once, both junior analysts and senior analysts reach office. The junior analyst informs the senior analyst if they have found any relevant information or news and updates the data and spreadsheets accordingly. If the senior analyst finds this news relevant and determines if it has any impact on the investment decisions and if any action needs to be taken.
If no news is found then the senior analysts morning usually involves meeting clients or companies management or in helping and assigning tasks to junior analysts. A junior analyst, on the other hand, is expected to facilitate an internal meeting to discuss takeaways of analyst research. This helps them to increase their knowledge base.
Apart from this a morning sync up a call with traders and sales team is also conducted so that everyone is on the same page and analyst idea is clear and well understood.
The remaining time is spent on core work like conducting research, working on long term projects if any, marketing material and making connections.
When the workflow is high the day usually starts with a team meeting where all the team members are present. Post that the junior analyst updates the marketing deck based on the points discussed in the meeting and shared it with senior analysts and other team members for review.
During this time the senior analysts are generally over a call with the management to discuss if any point is missing and to schedule investors to meet. This meet is conducted along with the junior analyst.
Post lunch the junior analyst is expected to prepare a research note before the earnings release and share with a senior analyst for review and feedback.
The junior analyst is expected to make changes in the marketing deck and research note if any. During this time the senior analyst is on calls with investors to discuss investment ideas.
After this, the junior analyst reviews call transcripts and release from the previous quarter before the release. The senior analyst continues to make calls during this time and also checks with trading desks
Once earnings are released it is the junior analyst’s duty to update the financial models and research note. The junior analyst is also expected to prepare a questionnaire for the company’s management
The senior analyst reviews the earnings reports and highlights the important points. Post this conduct call with management to clarify and determine the impact on investments based on the earnings.
Once the report and model are ready after review by the senior analyst the reports are published to the supervisors for approval.
This is the end of the day. The junior analysts make pointers for the senior analyst for the next days’ meeting and the senior analyst prepares voice mail blast.
Priya: Waow! The job looks quite intensive
Ankita: Yes it is quite challenging but it is also a very financially rewarding career and the growth prospects are high.
Priya: Thanks Ankita for giving such good insights.
Ankita: No problem! Good luck.
Now that we have read about the daily tasks of Financial Analyst it can be concluded the tasks for junior and senior analysts are almost similar. The key difference between the roles is that senior analyst also has to mentor a team and there is an increase in accountability. Both the roles are very challenging as well as rewarding and offer high growth prospects.