Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rejections and Midterms

Okay, it's been awhile. Here's an update.

I have been in the midst of midterms, so I have been unable to keep this blog updated as much as I would like.

First, I have received two rejections: one from ThinkEquity partners and one from Tristone Capital. Both have been for positions in an equity research capacity. My internship at FMI has been exciting and has provided me with many opportunities to display my skills and talents. As such, my resume is constantly being updated and I have been putting time into making these changes on the recruiting sites for many of the banks to which I have applied.

My trip to NYC last weekend never materialized, but it may be for the better: I had a huge presentation on Tuesday. Recently, I have begun speaking with my superiors at FMI about positions which may be available to me at the firm. I am keeping all of my options open at this point. I have also been pursuing several leads here in Denver. Come June, I don't want to leave myself hanging with no job in NYC or Denver.

Most of my work on my career search has been directed towards contacts through friends, family, and school. This has been an enjoyable learning experience.

Obviously it would be very nice to have a bit more success with my current search. However, I am not discouraged and am continuing on, putting in as much effort as I can possibly muster.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Interviews/Letters/NYC Trip

This morning I had an interview with the Capital Markets group of an IB in Denver. It went very well. The two guys that interviewed me were friendly and professional. I enjoyed it and, like the Janus interview, I wasn't nervous. This interview taught me that I need to prep some more for each interview. Particularly, I need to have someone ask me the usual generic questions and have me answer them in a way that is focused to the firm with which I am interviewing. My main goal for next time needs to be to make my answers more concise and to the point. I felt that my answers in this interview were vague and lacked focus. I know I can do better and I will next time.

I did not get card from my interviewers because they do not have them yet (the CMG is just starting up). However, I did email a thank you letter that also reinforced several points I made during the interview. Now's the waiting game to see when I get contact from them.

Tomorrow, I have what DU calls a "mock interview." This is a process that brings in real recruiters and HR types and they actually interview you for a job. At the end of the process, you are then critiqued on your performance. I am excited about the opportunity to receive immediate feedback on my performance, but I will be ticked if they aren't brutally honest.

Earlier this week I was forwarded a job posting for a rather well known IB and Equity Research group in NYC. I sent in a cover letter and resume on Tuesday night. As of yet, I have heard nothing. Within the posting itself, it stated that the Analysts under whom I would be working travel very often. I therefore plan to call the firm on Monday if I do not hear from them prior to then.

I spoke with another professor earlier this week and was able to get another handful of DU contacts in NYC. I just finished drafting emails to all of them and will reread them later this evening prior to sending them off.

I am tentatively planning a trip to NYC on February 15th through the 17th. As soon as I have an interview lined up for then, I am buying the tickets.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Sorry Folks, I have been very busy with my internship and school. I haven't kept up as much as I would have liked to with this blog.

Here's the update:

I am still awaiting any word from Janus. I know that they are currently interviewing many people for the position for which I have applied. Many of them go to my school.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have made some headway working with my professors. I have contacted a handful of DU alums in NYC. This has given me limited success, but has helped me be more strategic in my job search. Particularly, I am widening my job search to include research firms as well as several other types of jobs in order to allow me to transfer into IB down the road.

I had the opportunity last week to sit down with a Senior MD of a very large firm. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the field, particularly LBO's, and get some interesting insights.

Next week I have an interview with an oil & gas investment bank for a position in their capital markets group. I am somewhat nervous about this position and do not know what to expect in the interview. Hopefully I can sit down with some of my professors or the Associates and Directors at my internship to get some guidance.

I am following up on each and every lead I receive, but am often slow responding due to the demands of school and my internship. This week I am refocusing my search and have made it a goal to apply to at least one job and contact at least one person every day. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thank you to everyone who has been contacting me with recommendations and advice. I also appreciate those of you who email me with questions about my search and for advice. Please forgive me if I am slow responding to your emails.

From here on out, I will post at least once a week, and will shoot for twice. I will do my best to keep this blog updated with all of my recent applications. However, I am not disclosing anyone with whom I am networking.

Today, I collected a whole slew of jobs to which I will apply this week. The only one I applied to today was one at Value Line.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Last night I received a case to complete for my application to Janus. I have to read a conference call transcript and complete a 15 year DCF model on a company. This is going to take a lot of work.

I also just applied to some positions at BBVA. They had an advertisement in the Thursday edition of Financial Times which stated that they are looking for entry level finance graduates for investment banking positions. Investment banking, and all the positions advertised in the Financial Times advertisement are strangely lacking from the BBVA website. We'll see if they send me any more information via email.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Janus Call Back

I got another call from the HR woman at Janus. I left an "excellent impression" on the Analysts I met. Next Thursday I will be receiving an email that contains a case that must be completed and returned by the following Monday. Hopefully someone on has some information about these cases.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Deutsche Bank, Ireland, and Smart Money Magazine

I just got declined by Deutsche Bank for a full time analyst position in the US. While I am not surprised, it still is never fun to get a rejection.

A recruiter from New York contacted me and has presented me with one of the most promising leads for working overseas which I have received. She is Irish and assists Americans get jobs and work visas in Ireland. I am updating my resume and following up today.

Smart Money Magazine contacted me regarding this blog and I had a phone interview on the 20th. Today I received a phone call from a fact-checker from the magazine and will be included in an article about blogs in the March issue. I don't believe they will be including the URL for this blog, but the title will be included, and as I said in a previous post, Google is working exceedingly well when searching for this site.

Sunday, December 31, 2006


I installed Google Analytics on this blog several weeks ago. This is an excellent program which tells you number of visitors, where referrals are coming from, geographic location of site visitors, etc. I noticed that more than 1/3 of all visitors to this blog are now coming from Google. I did several searches and found it very easily.

Does anyone think that I should be worried about this?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Newark Follow-Up & NYC I-Banking Friend

I sent an email and a copy of my resume to the man I met in the Newark Airport. One of his HR people emailed me back and asked if I would be interested in a job as a consultant. Later that day (yesterday) she called me and discussed the position with me. It seems very interesting. It's a position that requires up to 75% travel, but offers the opportunity to learn a lot about finance and the operation of different companies. I told her I would not be available to work until I graduate in June. While they are looking for people to begin work immediately, she said that she would be in contact closer to June, because the company is very interested in me and my credentials.

This was a big boost, but still not the type of job that I am looking for!

Yesterday, I also spoke with an old friend of mine who works in a very large I-Bank in NYC. He has been there since the summer and had very little to offer me about how to land a job. He went to an Ivy and said that the banks were just handing out jobs. It probably didn't hurt that he is a very bright guy. His only pieces of advice were networking and using Both things I already am doing. I feel like I am missing something in this search though. Beginning in the New Year, I am hitting the search even harder than before.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


During my job search, I have constantly come across job postings by recruiters. While it's always encouraging to find job openings posted on the web, postings by recruiters can be very frustrating. Many of the postings list many details of the job being offered, however the employer's name is conspicuously missing. Here is an excellent example of the type of posting that frustrates me. Getting in contact with these recruiters often doesn't provide any more clarity. While these postings on Careerbuilder and other job hunt websites are frustrating, many interesting jobs can be found if one searches the recruiter's web pages. Below are several recruiters I have encountered recently.

Robert Half

Solomon-Page Group
IJC Partners

I have been in email contact with one recruiter in particular, who hasn't even mentioned a specific job (he emailed me through this website), but he constantly emails me various questions. While at first he was trying to interest me in financial services, he has now begun sending me an email every other day asking me various finance questions. Last email asked me to price an option using the Black-Shoals Options Pricing Model.

Just so every reader knows, I am still searching for a job!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I just barely made it out of Denver Tuesday night. The blizzards moved in on Wednesday morning and have shut down the entire city. This trip has been exciting, because I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of professionals and network in a very casual way.

My flight out of Denver was at Midnight, and I arrived at the airport rather early. There was only one restaurant open in the terminal at the time, so the place was packed. I happened to sit down next to a man who is a regional director for a large, well known firm that has a very large presence here in Denver.

On my way to my destination, I had a connecting flight in Newark. While not my favorite airport, it was exciting to be that close to NYC, if just for several hours (actually several hours more than I had planned). While sitting at the gate, waiting for my plane, the group of men next to me were discussing Thailand's decision to implement and then lift investment controls. After sitting and listening to the conversation for several minutes, I chimed in about the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, and how that was set in motion by investors fleeing from Thailand. This turned into an interesting discussion with one of the men who was clearly the "boss" of the group and very knowledgeable in world events and finance.

After discussing several finance topics, he asked me what I do, and I told him I am a student currently looking for a job. He whips out a card, hands it to me and tells me to keep in touch. He is president of a large IT company that works mainly with risk management software. I guess it was a productive trip.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Janus Interview #3- In Person

I arrived exactly on time to the Janus offices here in Denver. I walked in and received a security badge. After waiting about 10 minutes, the HR woman with whom I have had phone conversations came down to greet me. We spent approximately 20 minutes together in a conference room. During this time, she explained to me her experiences at Janus in the last three months and highlighted what she really liked about Janus and what set it apart from other firms of its kind and in Denver. I asked several general questions about the firm, and then it was time to meet the Portfolio Managers with whom I will be working, should I be offered and take the job.

Initially, I was told that there would be a strict time limit of 30 minutes with the Portfolio Managers (two of them). However the interview went almost an hour. These are younger guys, late twenties to early thirties. Their dress was casual, sport shirts with open collars and khaki pants. The following is how the interview went and what information I gained from it. I am leaving out some specific details I learned about the interviewers and Janus.

After introductions, they began asking me about whether or not I was more of a qualitative or quantitative person. I answered that I was a good combination of both. They then drilled me on my cold calling experience. They wanted to know what cold calling I had done, what it was for, what the outcome was, etc. I emphasized that I had experience in cold calling and that my main asset in regards to this skill was that I don't get discouraged by negative responses.

Next, they asked me about financial modeling. Specifically, they asked me how I would construct a financial model for a specific company. My response was rather in depth, and they constructed their additional questions from my answers.

They then took a moment to look at my resume and asked me my opinion on various real estate topics.

I then had the opportunity to ask them several questions such as clarification as to what exactly the position entailed and what they were looking for in an applicant.

I was asked a few of the expected questions, such as what I saw myself doing in this position and what I could bring to Janus. They also asked me a few questions about school and my classes.

I asked a few firm specific questions to help me gain a greater understanding of the position, requirements, and culture.

The rest of the interview was small talk. Where did you go to school? Where are you from? What do you do with your free time? etc.

All in all, I felt really good about the interview. I was not nervous at all. The only thing that bothered me was I had difficulty finding the right word several times. No shakiness, no sweating; I felt great. I was able to talk about many technical aspects of security analysis and investing as well as relate with these guys. One of the managers saw me to the security check in, and on the elevator ride down, he was very positive and said that I would definitely be hearing from them soon.

I know it will be awhile before I find out if I got the job. We'll see what happens, I don't want to burn any bridges, but I want to hold out for an IB position in NYC. I learned a lot from this interview, and could have done a lot of things much better, but it's a good starting point, and I will be that much more polished next time.

Well I have to pack for my flight home, but I have got to get to writing thank you letters soon. Should I write an email or a old fashioned thank you note? Opinions?

Janus Interview Prep

I am getting ready for my interview at Janus in two hours. To prep, I have written a load of questions down on pieces of paper and put them into a hat. While sitting in front of the mirror, I pull out a question and answer it. This seems to be helpful, at least I will be ready to answer whatever they ask me. Additionally, I am going over notes from my old classes and reviewing some of my text books and study sheets. My reasoning is that I will be prepped for any technical questions which they may throw me. This may all be overkill. After all, this interview is to see if me and my "mentors" in this group will mesh. Anyways, I am looking at this interview as a learning experience. As stated numerous times in this blog, I am looking for a job in NYC: something this job cannot provide.

I am surprisingly not nervous. Really, just kind of excited for the experience. We'll see how I fair when I get to the office.

Monday, December 18, 2006


AllianceBernstein currently has several job openings. The one that is most interesting to me is the Associate Portfolio Manager. This only requires a college education as experience. You will be a member of a team and be responsible for approximately 10,000 accounts. Each team is five individuals and each account must be reviewed at least every other week! Wow! Other requirements include investing new accounts and reallocating funds of existing accounts per client's request. The job is located in White Planes, NY. Not NYC, but this might be a good springboard to getting there.

You can also submit a resume through this page.

AllianceBernstein is owned by the parent company AXA. AllianceBernstein administers over 100 mutual funds and is active in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. According to Hoovers, they did 3.25 Billion in sales last year, and had 4,312 employees. They are headquartered in NYC, but according to Hoovers, only 50 employees work there.

My experience with AllianceBernstein has been their research reports. I am a big fan of their recent "Hedge Funds: Too Much of a Good Thing?" report.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Awesome website!

This was given to me in a craigslist forum. It is exactly what I have been looking for. It chronicles a University of Alabama Bachelor of Science in Finance graduate's journey to an IB in NYC. It is aptly named

Good Job Hunt Websites

Here are three great links for the job hunter. These are for all job hunters, not just those in the field of Finance.

Secrets of the Job Hunt Blog - Great advice for interview, searching, and resumes.

CHIMBY - This is a "career advice search engine." It allows you to search over 300 career advice websites at the same time. The site advertises "No jobs, just great career advice." I like it. - This is a link to the blogs of recruiters in just about all fields. It is a great resource.

Janus Articles

Here are two articles from Morningstar about the difficulties Janus faced over the last 5 or so years.

Janus' Third Strike

Letter from Mark Whiston, CEO of Janus Capital Group

You may need to sign up for to read these. It's free.

Interview Prep Questions

These prep questions came from a friend of mine who just landed a job in NYC. Most are pretty good.
3 strengths

3 weaknesses (good weaknesses) ie. I get frustrated when those on a project are not as motivated as me.

A time when you have had to meet a deadline

A time when you have had to work under pressure

A time when you have had to work in a group/team

Why you picked DU and was it a good fit (try to be as positive as possible)

Why you want to work in this position at this firm

How have you overcome adversity in the past

What are important characteristics in team work

What does it take to be a good leader.

Follow up with good questions: Where do you see analysts go after two years, b school?, move up in the company, another company?

What is the culture like?

As far as technical questions, you do not need to worry. Anything they will ask you, you will know. Most questions they will ask if any will be very basic, talk about valuation, talk about different financial statements.

FMI Internship

FMI wants me for their project. I went in to speak with a Senior Associate today, and was thrown into the midst of a meeting among three high ups in the firm. They were discussing their need to vet a database of clients. I have decided that I will take the internship.

This will be using a program called Capital IQ which is widely used in IB, at least in my understanding. I will be able to use this opportunity to learn a hell of a lot about the construction industry as well. The guy I will be working under just came from a very large firm and will be a good mentor for me. Lastly, the nature of the database is such that I will need to make it accessible for the needs of FMI specifically. To do this, I will need to learn a significant amount about their business.

It all sound like a winner to me. Plus it pays well.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dividend Capital

The person I was referred to at Dividend Capital made several notable points in an email I recieved from them today:

-My educational pursuits match quite well with what they generally look for in interns.
-They currently are not looking to add any more immediately.
-They are working with the Head of Real Estate Department at DU to formalize an intern program

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Janus Round 3, FMI Round 1

I got a call yesterday from the HR woman at Janus. She said that I had "left an excellent impression" on the Senior Director. I am psyched. So she set me up with a face to face interview at the Janus office here in Denver on Tuesday. I will be meeting with two guys from the group I would work in, so I can hopefully find out what the hell this job will be doing. I don't think I am ready to take a full-time job on top of being a full-time student, so I am going to see if I can make it a part-time job, if they really want me.

I finally heard back from FMI today and will be meeting with a Senior Associate in the Investment Banking Division. We'll see how it goes. This is for a paid internship, which is more appealing to me than the full-time Janus job.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Janus Phone Interview, Round 2

I just had my second phone interview with the Senior Director of Portfolio Analytics for Small to Mid-Cap funds. I think it went well. First, he went down my resume and asked specific questions about jobs on the resume. Next, he asked me about myself and how I got to where I am today, as well as where I want to go with my career. He asked me about any securities I follow. I talked to him about Chattem (CHTT), what I observed and where I thought it was going. He seemed rather unimpressed and wanted to know what kind of modeling I had done for the stock. I tried to spin something out of what I had done, but in the end I felt I had answered his question inadequately.

Then he asked me what questions I had and I kinda ripped into him and asked a ton of questions about the position and the firm. I don't know if this was good or bad.

He made the position sound like it is more of an IB type of analyst and said that there is little direction from the group for what this position will entail. He also made it sound like they would want me to start in January. I am a little uneasy about a full-time job on top of being a full-time student. I am sure I can make it work though. But hey, this is the first round of interviews I have had so I think that if this is as far as I get, I've done alright.

Janus Phone Interview, Round 1

This was the first phone interview for the position of Research Associate for Data Analysis.

Overall, this went very well. I spoke with a woman from HR who has an engineering background and has worked with the firm for only a few months. Below I have transcribed the questions which she asked me in the order which they were asked. Speaking to an HR person, I was very surprised to get finance and modeling questions. The first one threw me off guard. The rest of them I feel like I aced. I have another phone interview this afternoon with the Senior Director of Portfolio Analytics a certain fund. I was told to be prepared to discuss any investments which I follow.

  1. Rate your Excel skills from 1-5.
  1. What are your strengths?
  1. What will be the biggest challenge in this job?
  1. What salary would you expect?
  1. In a model, how does Net Income show up on the Balance Sheet?
  1. How would you project PP&E for a company?
  1. In a model, what rate do you use to discount cash flows to the firm?

Jefferies & Deutsche Bank

Jefferies is still hiring for most all groups in IB. They have generalists, energy, aerospace/defense, and technology groups, as well as the "other" group.

Deutsche Bank is hiring analysts for Treasuries and Market risk.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Dividend Capital & Marsico Investment Fund

Using a contact that I have through the Daniels College of Business, I sent an email and resume to a high-up at Dividend Capital to apply for an internship for January. If anyone knows anything about this firm based in Denver, please let me know. has no information whatsoever about this firm. Additionally, I'd like to apply to Marsico Investment Fund as an intern, but apparently you MUST have an inside contact to get into the firm w/o a Top 10 degree. It's a pretty small firm, but I have a friend that supposedly knows a guy in the firm, but he is not listed on the website. Hoover's is pretty spotty on these sites too.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


They are looking for a real estate valuation consultant in Chicago. I found this on, and it is the only posting by them on the site, at least for DU grads. Surprising. Any dirt on this position in Chicago? Or simply Deloitte in Chicago?