What careers does the Parker Center prepare students for?

The Parker Center prepares students for careers as sellside analysts (industry specialists advising institutional money managers) or buyside analysts/portfolio managers (institutional money managers) covering equity or fixed income securities. Our students also pursue careers in corporate finance/investor relations, private wealth management, and other capital markets roles. Most of our students are interested in careers as fundamental research analysts but some also pursue quantitative research, and the Cayuga Fund course and experience provides training for both career paths.

What coursework is important for success as a buyside or sellside research analyst?

Core Accounting, Core Finance, Financial Statement Analysis (beginning and advanced), Intermediate Accounting, Applied Portfolio Management (i.e., the Cayuga Fund course), Financial Modeling, and Valuation are critical courses. Electives that round out a heavy finance curriculum and spark out-of-the-box thinking are also strongly encouraged, such as courses in Business Strategy and Disruptive Technologies.

How do I know if a career in investment research and portfolio management is right for me?

If you enjoy accounting and finance courses, industry analysis, business strategy, and what drives businesses to succeed or fail, and you enjoy following the stock/bond market, reading the newspaper, and understanding what drives stock/bond prices, then this may be an enjoyable and rewarding career for you. Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are a must in this field.

How easy or difficult is it to get a job in investment research on either the sellside or the buyside?

The sellside research departments of investment banks will typically hire 8-12 MBA interns each every year and are on the same recruiting cycle as investment banking. Johnson has alumni working in sellside research in most top investment banks who will serve as effective guides to their individual firm’s hiring process. Pay is competitive with investment banking for MBA graduates.

On the buyside, the large investment firms typically have structured MBA recruiting programs, also with very competitive pay. Again, Johnson alumni are placed in many of these top firms and will serve as the best resource in navigating their firm’s hiring. In addition, there are hundreds of buyside firms that will be opportunistically hiring good talent, though not necessarily on an MBA recruiting cycle (and pay varies by size of firm), so this will require a strong independent job search effort.

Our most successful students have found jobs by networking heavily with Johnson alumni and their undergraduate institution’s alumni in addition to taking advantage of on-campus recruiting opportunities and resources. Women may be interested to know that there is currently great interest from the investment management industry in hiring women, as they are vastly underrepresented in the field, and numerous studies have established that having a more diverse workforce leads to better business outcomes. The Parker Center’s Women in Investing (WIN) conference offers a great venue to connect with firms and get noticed by recruiters in this space.

How do I position myself for a successful career in investment analysis and portfolio management? What do I need to do while I’m here at Johnson?

We recommend taking advantage of the following opportunities while you are at Johnson.