Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Private Equity versus Private Wealth Management


What is the Difference Between Private Equity and Private Wealth Management?

I have been asked by students just entering the study of finance about the difference between private equity and private wealth management.

Private Equity (PE) is one of the most sought after types of work in finance. The traditional route into private equity is: spend two years at an investment bank and then complete an MBA at a top business school. For an excellent insight into the Private Equity world, read Barbarians at the Gate which details the leveraged buyout (LBO) of R.J.R. Nabisco by KKR in the 1980s.

Private Equity is not very well known outside of the finance world, but it is one of the key players in global business. Private equity firms are part of the ‘buy-side’ of the investment industry and some of the largest firms are: Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts (KKR); Blackstone; Bain Capital; and Carlyle Group.

The definition of private equity is simply money invested into a private company, or the privatization of a company through the investment of outside money. Basically, what private equity firms attempt to do is to invest into a company, take a majority stake, improve the company and then exit their investment at a large profit. In order to magnify returns, PE firms make use of leverage (borrowed money) to conduct LBOs.

Private Equity firms can either focus on a specific sector (Software, Biotech, Energy, Technology, Healthcare, etc.) or operate across a broad spectrum. The larger the firm, the more likely it is to cover more sectors.

PE firms will typically acquire 100% of the target company and make use of a combination of cash and debt to finance the acquisition. The advantage of using debt is that the firm has to invest less of its own cash, and therefore the return on equity is higher and they can undertake bigger / more investments. When the target company is acquired, the future cash flows are used to pay off the debt used. If the PE firm in question is using leverage, they will require a financial sponsor (typically a bank) to loan them the money.
The aim of the investment by the PE firm is to take a business, increase its value and then sell it’s share in the business. Typically, PE firms will target 20% return per year. The way the firm will improve the business can be anything from replacing the management, reducing costs, improving efficiency or many other possible actions. Private Equity investments are usually not that risky (at least compared to venture capital) because the target firm is usually quite large and is unlikely to collapse in value.

As a junior employee in PE, your work is actually quite similar to that of investment banking, but the hours are usually less and the pay is usually more. The work will involve valuing companies, modeling for mergers / LBOs, conducting discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, fundamental industry analysis, etc.


Private Wealth Management (PWM) is a service offered by institutions to high net worth individuals and firms. The services typically offered with private wealth management include:

·         Investment advisory
·         Money management
·         Wealth planning
·         First priority product offerings

Private Wealth Management is frequently part of the ‘Private Bank’ sector of a bank. Private Banking (PB) is a form of wealth management service offered to ultra-high net worth individuals ($5mm and upwards). The services offered by a private bank will include:

·         Portfolio investment ideas
·         Wealth protection through asset investment such as gold
·         Tax avoidance advice
·         General financial planning including charitable donations, inheritance, retirement etc.

There are some specific private banking firms, and most investment banks have a private banking service they can offer to their clients. Private Banking is considered to be a front-office role and people working in PB need to have extremely good interpersonal and client skills above all else, as relationships count more than almost anything else.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The AIM Program's Private Equity & Banking Track

Dr. Krause discusses the AIM program's newest track
 
It was recently announced by Dr. Mark Eppli, Marquette University’s Interim Keyes Dean of Business Administration, that the Applied Investment Management program is expanding. This is a key part of the Dean's DAY 1 vision which shifts the business curriculum across four years and adds a new freshman DAY 1 business course.  In this interview, Dr. David Krause, Director of the AIM program, discusses the second track which is the first of the new applied business programs planned by the Dean and the College's Executive Council.
 
Q)  First of all, can you provide some background about the Applied Investment Management program?

David Krause
In 2005, Marquette’s College of Business Administration launched the Applied Investment Management (AIM) program. Since then, over 200 undergraduates have passed through the program which has earned recognition as one of the nation’s top undergraduate programs in applied investment management. In short, the AIM program has allowed a group of undergraduate finance majors to get hands-on academic and security analysis experience, including summer internships and an opportunity to actively manage three equity and fixed-income portfolios throughout their senior year. 

Students have studied from a curriculum that emphasizes the core body of knowledge covered in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) exam – preparing them to take the test upon graduation – and begin a career in the asset management industry. Over 40 students have already passed all three levels of the CFA exam since the program began.
 

In 2006, the AIM program was selected as the first undergraduate business program to become a Program Partner of the CFA Institute. This coveted partnership designation means that AIM offers a degree program that covers at least 70 percent of the CFA Institute’s Program Candidate Body of Knowledge, including the CFA’s  Ethical and Professional Standards and other requirements.
AIM alumni are working in a variety of positions in the financial services sector around the globe and the program has a perfect career placement record since its inception. The pass rate for AIM students on the challenging Level I CFA exam has averaged nearly 70 percent – while the average global pass rate is only 38 percent. Many AIM alumni have passed all three levels of the CFA exam and have obtained their charters. The AIM program has also won the local CFA Society Investment Research Challenge five of the last six years – and two teams have advanced to the semi-final round of the Americas CFA Research Challenge. In short, the AIM program has achieved considerable success over the past decade. 
 
Q)  What is the new Private Equity & Banking track?
The AIM program is expanding and will now comprise two tracks: Investments and the newly developed Private Equity & Banking. The Investments track focuses on asset management, while the Private Equity & Banking track concentrates on private and transactional finance.
The expansion of the AIM program is a direct response to the increased interest from employers and Marquette's undergraduate finance students – and it builds off of the College of Business Administration’s expertise in offering applied business education programs. There has also been strong employer demand as more investment funds are being allocated into the private equity space.

This new track will bridge connections among the College of Business Administration’s constituents including its growing finance alumni network, firms in the financial services sector and the currently enrolled students. It will especially address the needs of employers, including bulge and middle market investment banks; commercial and industrial lenders; privately-held companies; and private equity firms.
More students will now have the opportunity to receive AIM’s rigorous education and career preparation, benefit from new internship experiences, and achieve broader career opportunities. It also fits well with the new vision advanced by the College of Business Administration.
 
Q)  What are some of the elements that will distinguish the Private Equity & Banking track from the Investments track?
Similar to the Investments track, AIM students in the Private Equity & Banking track will study a rigorous core body of knowledge, but one that has an increased focus on private and transactional finance. Hallmarks of the Private Equity & Banking track include three required courses that are not a part of the Investments core curriculum: Investment Banking, Applied Financial Modeling, and Private Equity. The last two courses being brand new offerings that will offered in the 2015 spring semester.


AIM Research Room


The primary goal of the AIM program remains committed to providing students with unique real-life learning experiences that will reinforce the core skills developed through their academic work. Students in the new AIM track will receive:
  • An applied undergraduate education that will enhance their understanding of the private equity, investment banking and corporate finance sectors;
  • Training in financial modeling;
  • Opportunities to learn from, and network with, local financial services professionals and the University’s growing alumni base;
  • Internship and job search support, including recruiting opportunities, mock interviews, and help with cover letters, resumes, work samples, and communication strategies; and    
  • A leading-edge curriculum based on elements from the Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Private Equity Professional (CPEP), and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) core body of knowledge.  

Mark Zellmer
Q)  If the program is expanding will there be any new staff to support the AIM program? 
 Dr. David Krause, the inaugural director of the AIM program, remains responsible for the administration of the program and curriculum. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Finance and has been the primary instructor of the AIM courses since the program’s inception in 2005. He has taught all four of the AIM courses that are included in the Investments track curriculum and will remain focused on asset management.
 
It was recently announced by the Dean of the College of Business Administration that Mark Zellmer will be joining the AIM program on a part-time basis as the co-director of the Private Equity & Banking track. A Marquette undergraduate and MBA alumnus, Zellmer has been a popular adjunct instructor since the mid-1990’s. As the chairman and majority shareholder of Northern Oak Wealth Management, he has extensive expertise in financing and investing in privately held companies. He will teach the courses in the new track and offer advice to students about related internships and career opportunities. Mr. Zellmer will work closely with Dr. Krause on the program's numerous applied learning components, including internships, career development, alumni mentorships, industry networking, and the oversight of student clubs.
 
The AIM program has also received instructional support from other finance faculty, including Dr. Sarah Peck, who previously taught the Investment Ethics course. Current and former adjunct finance faculty who have provided teaching support at the graduate and undergraduate levels include: Mark Zellmer, Chris Zuzic, Jeff DeAngelis, Chris Swain, Tom Digenan, Bill Walker, Chris Merker, Tom Eck, Mike Blonski, Dan Geigler, Jim Fitzpatrick, and Frank Esposito – with most of them being Marquette alumnus and prominent investment professionals.
 
Q)  How does the expanded program fit the mission and strategic goals of university and college?
The new track seeks to strengthen and advance the University’s mission in the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others.  
The new track also strives to support the College’s mission of providing innovative applied learning experiences and to serve as a valued resource for business and societal. We seek to apply Ignatian pedagogy, which encourages the faculty and students to consider the “context” of the subject matter and how it relates to and is impacted by society trends, economics, political structure, and global and local issues. We wish for our graduates to be able to analyze, decide, integrate and lead in the 21st Century.


Job Search Strategies for Rising College Juniors

Marquette University business students getting ready to head back to school for their junior year should begin investigating the recruiting opportunities offered through the University’s career services office to begin preparing for their internship search. Most financial services employers recruit late in the fall semester and early in the spring semester. Juniors can be caught off guard if they wait until the spring to target employers, create resumes/cover letters and prepare for interviews. In addition to campus interviewing, students should explore options for participating in recruiting events on and off campus that sponsored by Marquette or local job fairs which allow all college students to participate.

Since analyst training programs are extremely competitive, candidates should also target some "Plan B" options. Back office positions like technology, compliance and risk management are areas with continued hiring within the investment field – especially after the Financial Crisis of 2008-09.

Most employers are open to applications from candidates outside the roster of campuses where they actively recruit. Develop a list of employers in sectors of interests and apply online for positions early in your senior year. Make it clear that you are quite willing to travel to corporate facilities for interviews.

Network!

It is likely that the most effective job search strategy is networking. College juniors interested in financial services careers should amass a list of contacts to approach for information and advice about internships and post graduate jobs. Here's how to get started:

  • Contact the career services office for suggestions.
  • Attend campus and regional college panels and networking events to source leads.
  • Sign up for LinkedIn. Join college clubs and industry groups in the system and approach fellow members for informational interviews.
  • Ask faculty to recommend former students or colleagues for meetings.
  • Ask parents to devise a list of family contacts. Send them a note including a photo and newsy personal update. Request introductions to any of their contacts in financial services for the purpose of informational interviews.
  • Reach out to Facebook and LinkedIn to find people within your network who are employed in finance and who graduated in the past 2 years. Ask to schedule visits with them at their office location.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Small U.S. brokerages ramp up training to fill growing need - Eye college graduates

(Reuters) - Small U.S. brokerages are beefing up their training and presence on campuses to woo future employees as the industry faces a mass exodus of retiring financial advisers over the next decade.
Some 25,000 brokers and brokerage firm advisers will retire over the next three years, a trend that is expected to continue for more than 10 years, according to research firm Cerulli Associates. Within 10 years, roughly one-third of U.S. financial advisers will retire, it estimated.
Not enough young financial advisers are available to take their place. Only 5 percent of the 308,000 brokers and advisers at U.S. firms are younger than 30 years old, according to Cerulli.
 
"The issue isn't that the seniors are leaving. It's that the industry doesn't have many freshmen or sophomores to replace them," said Craig Pfeiffer, founder and chief executive of independent training program Advisors Ahead.
Training can be costly: about $250,000 to recruit and train a rookie adviser in a four-year program that only one out of four will complete, Andre Cappon, president of research firm CBM Group, said.
Though traditional brokerage firms like Morgan Stanley & Co and Wells Fargo & Co can recruit more rookie advisers because of their size, these so-called wirehouse firms are not expanding their training programs the way small firms are. Larger firms can be more successful at hiring established advisers and have been fine-tuning their training programs to focus on certain niches.
Morgan Stanley does not plan to increase the 1,000 trainees it annually accepts into its program in the near future, spokeswoman Christine Jockle said. Wells Fargo, which adds 600 to 900 participants per year, is trending toward the lower end of that range to "focus on quality," Tom Allen, learning and development manager, said.
Smaller firms cannot easily poach experienced financial advisers from bigger firms, so they use training programs to build up their workforce.
"(Our increased training) stems from the need for building and investing in talent in the near future," said Kimberly Theakan, director of talent acquisition and integration for Robert Baird's private wealth management business. Baird is accelerating recruitment on college campuses and helping to develop a wealth management and financial planning track at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's business school.
Regional brokerage Edward D. Jones Investments has 400 recent college graduates in its current group of 3,000 trainees. The company, which spends $250,000 on each new adviser over two years, plans on increasing enrollment every year to accommodate growing customer demand for advisory services, said John Rahal, principal and financial adviser for talent acquisition at the firm.

Raymond James Financial will triple the 100 participants annually enrolled in its Advisor Mastery Program over the next three to five years, said Tash Elwyn, president of the firm's private client group. He said he intends to use the program to replace the company's retiring financial advisers on a one-to-one basis. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CFA or MBA? Better Yet:How About the AIM Program?

In May 2013, Forbes ran an article: Should You Get A CFA, MBA Or Both? Much of the information below is from that article.

Additional education after college has become a prerequisite for career advancement in many investment fields. For those considering a career in investments, the great debate has been whether to obtain a Master of Business Administration or the CFA Institute’s Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Both have their advantages but considering the expense of the former and the difficulty of attaining the latter, choosing between the two makes for a rather difficult decision.

[Note: MarquetteUniversity’s Applied Investment Management (AIM) program in 2006 was named as the first undergraduate educational Program Partner of the CFA Institute. So for the students who have become members of the AIM program, they have had the opportunity to pursue the CFA designation immediately after graduating with their Bachelor of Science finance major].

To attract students, graduate institutions have begun to teach a large portion of the CFA program within the graduate business curriculum and some have gone as far as to create a “CFA track” within their MBA course of study, allowing students to obtain an MBA and a CFA at the same time. For those considering attaining both a graduate degree and the CFA certification, one of these programs is the most efficient way to get the best of both worlds.
[As previously noted, Marquette’s AIM program allows a select group of undergraduate finance majors to get hands-on academic and financial analysis experience, including an opportunity to actively manage domestic and international equity and fixed-income portfolios].

MBA vs. CFA?

Before the advent of the CFA, many investment companies would pay to send some of their best and brightest to business schools. These students would return with a much better general business skill, but not necessarily the skills needed for high-level, specialized asset-management responsibilities, such as portfolio management. These specialized skills were usually obtained on the job as professionals worked their way up through the ranks.

To generalize, the skills obtained in business school were better suited for employees in more general disciplines, such as marketing or general management. The CFA program was devised to provide charter holders with specialized skills, such as investment analysis, portfolio strategy and asset allocation. One way to explain the differences in the programs is to say that the MBA program is a mile wide and a foot deep, while the CFA program is a foot wide and a mile deep.

The advantage of an MBA is that the knowledge obtained in the program is valuable in other industries outside of the investment world. The great disadvantage is cost – both the direct cost of the program and the loss of income that results from a two-year hiatus for those considering going back to school full-time.

The advantages of the CFA program are the ability to acquire specific investment related skills at a relatively low cost. However, although the CFA program is based on self study, it is arduous, requiring a commitment of four years and 1,000 study hours (on average) to complete it. Because of the commitments both in time and money, few go on to acquire both the graduate degree and the certification.

The CFA Track

For many willing to make the commitment and meet the other prerequisites necessary to obtain a graduate business degree and the CFA, most will begin the CFA program right after graduation, hoping to use some of the knowledge gained in their finance courses to give them a leg up over other CFA candidates. However, until recently, most graduate business programs did not organize their finance curricula for this purpose, the advantage for graduates was minimal. This is changing, as business schools such as Marquette University have begun to incorporate CFA course work into their undergraduate offerings.

According to the CFA Institute, in July 2014 there were nearly 150 universities worldwide that are CFA Program Partners. These universities must provide at least 70% of CFA course work as part of their curriculum. The CFA Institute audits the course offerings of these partner institutions to ensure they live up to their promises. To attract students, undergraduate and graduate institutions have begun to teach a large portion of the CFA program within their graduate business curricula.

The curriculum offered by these program partner schools range from specialized finance courses aimed to facilitate the CFA exams, to a specific “CFA track,” which includes courses that teach the exam material. The CFA track usually is designed so that students will take Level I of the CFA exam directly after graduation.

The Bottom Line

Due to the program partnerships between business schools and the CFA Institute, there is now an efficient means for investment professionals to obtain both a graduate business degree and a CFA – or even to focus on CFA as an undergraduate. Whereas it used to be adequate to obtain one or the other, this trend and the number of new investment professionals acquiring both graduate degrees and the CFA may ultimately require professionals to obtain both. Where the commitment was once two years of graduate school and four years of self study, now candidates that choose a partnering institution can perform a majority of the CFA commitment within their graduate school course work. Although it will still require an immense amount of commitment and discipline, an increasing number of institutions allow investment professionals to gain both breadth and depth of knowledge for all the investment management disciplines. 

Or a student could opt to pursue a CFA track as an undergraduate at Marquette University within their Applied Investment Management program.



What About a Career as a Financial Analyst?


Rising juniors considering applying to Marquette’s AIM program should evaluate different career options. In the finance industry, one of the most desirable careers is that of being a financial analyst. In this article, we examine what financial analysts do.

The financial industry is highly competitive and it is challenging to break into the field, but it is possible to find a position as a financial analyst. After reading this article, if it seems like something you are interested in as a career, then maybe the AIM program is for you. Read on to find out more about a career as a financial analyst.

What Does a Financial Analyst Do?
A financial analyst researches economic, industry and company fundamentals to make business decision and investment recommendations. They often propose a course of future action, such as to buy or sell common stock based upon the firm’s current and forecasted strength. A financial analyst must be aware of current developments within the markets and industry trends. They must be capable of producing complex financial models in order to predict future economic conditions based on a wide number of variables.

Background of Financial Analysts
Since you might still be an undergraduate student who is considering a career as a financial analyst, it is best to take courses in finance, economics, accounting and mathematics. Other majors that are looked upon favorably include those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Many of the entry level analysts hired by firms have these backgrounds, while MBA graduates are often hired as senior analysts right out of business school.

If you are not an MBA graduate student or an economics major as an undergraduate, you may want to consider studying for the Series 7 and Series 63 exams or participating in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) program. It is important to keep in mind that participating in these exams are challenging and will require sponsorship.

The CFA charter requires the passage of three annual exam that are highly technical; however, the Series 7 and 63 exams can be other ways for a student to prove a basic familiarity with investment terms and accounting practices. If you look at a sample CFA exam and it seems overwhelming, start with practicing for the Series 7 and 63 exams and then work your way up to the CFA exam or begin to interview for junior analyst positions after passing those Series exams. This is where being a member of the AIM program can help prepare you for the rigorous CFA exams.

Types of Analyst Positions
Financial analysts tend to specialize based on the type of institution they work for. Analysts are hired by banks, buy- and sell-side investment firms, insurance companies and investment banks. Of these specialties, three major categories of analysts are those that work for 'sell-side' investment firms, those that work for 'buy-side' investment firms and those that work for investment banks.

Within the investment industry, most analysts tend to work either for buy-side investment firms, where they research stocks for an in-house fund, or sell-side firms that write research reports for buy-side firms. Buy-side firms are investment houses that manage their own funds. In these companies, analysts research companies as they look for stocks to add to an investment fund. They also track the stocks that are in a fund's portfolio in order to determine when or if the fund's position in that stock should be sold.

At a sell-side firm, analysts evaluate and compare the quality of securities in a given sector or industry. Based on this analysis, the analysts then make reports with certain recommendations such as: buy, sell, strong buy, strong sell or hold. These recommendations carry a great deal of weight in the investment industry including analysts working within buy-side firms.

Even within these specialties, there are subspecialties such as analysts who specialize in equities and those that specialize in analyzing fixed-income instruments. Many analysts also specialize even further within a specific sector or industry. An analyst may specialize in energy or technology, for example.

Analysts in investment banking firms, however, differ from analysts in buy- and sell-side firms as they often play a role in determining whether or not certain deals are feasible based on the fundamentals of the companies involved in a deal. This type of analysis can include IPOs or mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Analysts assess current financial conditions as well as rely heavily on modeling and forecasting to make recommendations to senior partners as to whether or not a certain merger is appropriate for that investment bank's client or whether another client of the investment bank should invest private equity or venture capital in a particular company.

What to Expect on the Job
Financial analysts need to remain observant about gathering information on the overall economy as well as information about specific companies and the fundamental microeconomics of their balance sheets. In order to stay on top of financial news, analysts will need to do a lot of reading on their own time. Analysts tend to read publications such as The Wall Street JournalThe Financial Times and The Economist as well as financial websites.
Being an analyst also often tends to involve a significant amount of travel. Some analysts travel to companies to get a first-hand look at company operations on the ground level. Analysts also frequently attend conferences with colleagues who share the same specialty as they do.

When in the office, analysts learn to be proficient with spreadsheets, relational databases and statistical and graphics packages in order to develop recommendations for senior management and to develop detailed presentations and financial reports that include forecasting, cost benefit analysis, trending and results analysis. Analysts also interpret financial transactions and must verify documents for their compliance with government regulations.

Opportunities for Advancement
As interoffice protocol goes, analysts interact with each other as colleagues while they tend to report to a portfolio manager or other senior in management. A junior analyst may work his or her way up to a senior analyst in a period of three to five years. For senior analysts who continue to look for career advancement, there is the potential to become a portfolio manager, a partner in an investment bank or senior management in a retail bank or an insurance company. Some analysts go on to become investment advisors or financial consultants.

Tips for Success
The most successful junior analysts are ones that develop proficiency in the use of spreadsheets, databases, PowerPoint presentations and learn other software applications. Most successful senior analysts, however, are those who not only put in long hours, but also develop interpersonal relationships with superiors and mentor other junior analysts. Analysts that are promoted also learn to develop communication and people skills by crafting written and oral presentations that impress senior management.

The Bottom Line
While a career as a financial analyst requires preparation and hard work, it also has the potential to deliver not just financial rewards but the genuine satisfaction that comes from being an integral part of the business landscape.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A message from Marquette's 24th president, Dr. Michael R. Lovell

Dear alumni, parents and friends:

It is a privilege to write to you as Marquette's 24th president. I'm humbled to be leading this wonderful university at such a historic time. Since my election by the Board of Trustees in March, I've been overwhelmed by the warm welcome I've received from alumni, parents, business leaders and members of the Milwaukee community. Through my initial experiences meeting our faculty, participating in Preview for members of the Class of 2017 and attending Mass at St. Joan of Arc Chapel, I already feel at home at Marquette. Since our Marquette family extends far beyond the boundaries of campus, I'm especially looking forward to getting to know you in my travels across the country during the coming year. From New York and Washington, D.C., to the Midwest and California, I'll be meeting Marquette alumni and friends across the nation. Please watch for additional information, and consider attending an event in your region.

As I assume the role of president, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., for his outstanding leadership during a remarkable 16-year tenure as Marquette's president. It's been a pleasure working with Father Wild during the transition as he helped bring me up to speed on the many opportunities and challenges facing our university. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role within University Advancement.

As we head into what is sure to be an exciting academic year, I'd like to highlight a number of initiatives that will be priorities on campus during the next several months. As a Catholic, Jesuit university committed to education that transforms students' lives, the leadership of our academic division is vitally important. To that end, the search for a permanent provost will resume in August. I look forward to meeting with the search committee, and I plan to work closely with them to identify a permanent provost, who will be Marquette's No. 2 leader. The search for permanent deans of the College of Business Administration and the College of Engineering will trail the provost search by about a month so that the permanent provost can be involved in the hiring of the deans.

Marquette has a proud history of academic and athletic excellence, and we need permanent leadership of our Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The search for a vice president and director of athletics is already under way, with the hope that an individual will be in place this fall to lead our 16 Division I athletics programs to success both on and off the field.

In addition to these leadership searches, I look forward to working with senior leaders, faculty, staff, students and the broader campus community to implement our strategic plan and to renew our commitment to innovation across campus. Working together, we will begin to prioritize initiatives that fulfill our vision of being recognized among the most innovative and accomplished Catholic, Jesuit universities in the world. One of my central priorities is to enhance an already-strong student experience and tradition of inquiry and service, which have allowed Marquette to make a profound impact on the lives of others for more than 130 years.

Finally, I invite you to join me for Inauguration events this fall, particularly the Inaugural Mass on September 18 and the Inauguration Ceremony on September 19, at which I will pledge my service to Marquette. I look forward to doing so in the presence of our Marquette community on campus and our more than 110,000 alumni around the world, who can watch the Inauguration Ceremony via a live webcast on the Inauguration website. 

And for those coming home to Marquette for Alumni Reunion Weekend, July 24–27, I encourage you to introduce yourself. I will be attending events throughout the weekend and look forward to hearing about your Marquette memories and experiences.

As I take on this new role, I'm indebted to the great Jesuit leaders who came before me and the spirit of discovery that infused their dreams for this fine institution. I want to ask you all, whatever your faith may be, to pray for me that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out my duties and that I may faithfully serve God and Marquette.

Sincerely,

Michael R. Lovell
President
Marquette University

Marquette be the DifferenceMARQUETTE UNIVERSITY. Be The Difference.
P.O. Box 1881 .
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

How to Break Into Finance & Banking


Have you always been interested in accounting, finance, and investing? Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work on Wall Street? These three young professionals felt the same way, and they went for it. But while they all started out after college as investment bankers, their careers now look very different from one another.


As rising juniors prepare to apply to the AIM program at Marquette University, they should be giving serious consideration to their career choices. This article, "How to Break Into Finance & Banking" is from  The Daily Muse, April 2013.




Read on to hear their stories and see where a career in finance might lead you, plus get some insider tips for breaking into the industry. To those Marquette students who have attended the annual "Ins and Outs of Wall Street" during the spring semester, they understand more about the career options available. Nevertheless, this article offers some interesting perspectives.

Jennifer Bennett - Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
Brief Description of Job: Wealth management for high net worth individuals and families.
Years of Industry Experience: 10

Why did you choose this field?
I was attracted to the opportunity to work closely with clients and learn about their financial lives. I always had a general interest in personal finance and investing, but it was the chance to work not just as an investment advisor but also as a financial counselor that really intrigued me.

I enjoy getting to know my clients: what they find important, what they want to achieve in life, and where they see themselves in the future. So much of this job is about listening. If you don’t genuinely have an interest in and care about your client’s financial well-being, then they can see right through you.

What did you want to do in college?
I wanted to work on Wall Street, and when I landed a job at an investment bank after college, I thought I had made it. While it was a great learning experience to work on the institutional side of the business as an equity analyst, I came to realize that it wasn’t what I wanted to do longer term. I wanted to have a more personal connection with my clients. I’ve always been a planner and interested in investing, so the financial advisor role was a natural fit for me. 

What advice would you have for someone breaking into your field?
It’s a great profession, but not always an easy ride to get there. Turnover for new entrants is brutally high. If you’re motivated to beat the odds, plan on spending a lot of late nights and weekends at the office to make it happen.

In the early years, most of your time is spent trying to grow your client base—in fact, finding clients is crucial to your success. Whether you find them by giving seminars or presentations, through social or business contacts, or at networking events, find them you must. This is a tough business, but it can be very rewarding for those who can distinguish themselves. Once you can demonstrate that you provide value, more and more of your new clients will come as referrals from existing ones.

What has been the most surprising thing about working your field?
I find it surprising the relationship that people have with money: how they spend it, how they save it, and what it means to them. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can bring peace of mind. It can also bring stress and conflict.

There are an abundance of investment options on the market and the wealth planning process can be confusing. Most clients that I work with don’t have the desire to understand what the beta or standard deviation is on their portfolio—they just want to know that they are saving and investing appropriately to accomplish their goals. Sometimes clients set goals that are unrealistic, and so then it becomes a matter of breaking down each goal into manageable areas.

What I enjoy most about my job is trying to demystify the world of finance and helping clients make smarter financial decisions.


Steve Chien - Investment Banker, BNP Paribas
Brief Description of Job: Mergers and acquisitions advisory
Years of Industry Experience: 4

Why did you choose this field?
Investment banking provides a steep learning curve, friendly camaraderie with other college grads, and a wide range of exit opportunities. Former colleagues of mine have moved onto hedge fund investing, grad school, startups, or strategy and business development in a variety of industries.

It’s also one of the few ways for a recent graduate to afford to live in NYC. One of the best aspects of the day-to-day work is that I don’t just provide clients advice on transactions and strategy, but I also get to participate in the execution, unlike many types of consulting.

What did you want to do growing up?
Be a spy like James Bond.

What has been the most surprising thing about working your field?
Networking with recruiters and headhunters can be as helpful as networking with family and friends. Many smaller financial services firms, including hedge funds and private equity investment companies, are lightly staffed with respect to HR, and they rely on recruiters to be gatekeepers.

What advice would you have for someone breaking into your field?
Some junior banker candidates I’ve interviewed focus solely on their technical skills, such as accounting and finance jargon, in interviews. While technical skills are an important element of a junior banker’s skillset, it's just as important to be a human being and to not take yourself too seriously. Every interviewer will be trying to answer the question, “Will this person be tolerable—or better yet, make my life better—when we're working late?”

What is different about the hiring process in your field than in other fields?
Cover letters are rarely read, so I wouldn’t recommend spending much time crafting them. Smaller firms may take them into consideration, but a typical bank hiring process will filter through hundreds or thousands of resumes, and generally anything more than a brief and friendly note introducing yourself and directing the reader to the attached resume is unlikely to make a difference.

What industry-specific job search resources would you recommend?
Mergers and Inquisitions provides career and interviewing advice for the investment banking and investment management industries, and Wall Street Oasis hosts discussion boards frequented by junior finance types.


Ashley Harris - Corporate Development Associate
Brief Description of Job: Corporate development, business development, M&A, capital raising, and financial analysis
Years of Industry Experience: Going on 4

Why did you choose this field?
I started my career at a bulge bracket investment bank on Wall Street; I was told it was a useful starting point for future business leaders and thought, “Hey, why not—can’t be that bad.”

Having been a history and business psychology double major at a liberal arts-focused university, I found that finance was certainly an acquired taste that I eventually got the hang of over time. However, I’m a people person and a right brain, and I saw years of Excel models, PowerPoint pitches, and sleep deprivation in my future. As my two-year analyst program came to a close, instead of searching for private equity or hedge fund opportunities, I opted for corporate development.

My interest in corporate development initially stemmed from my desire to get closer to the fundamentals of how a company is run. As an investment banking analyst, the numbers on my screen were meaningless. As a corporate development associate at an early-stage venture, it is my job to look at those numbers and say, “Who, what, when, where, why, and how?” on a daily basis.

What has been the most surprising thing about working your field?
My corporate development experience has been characterized by the fact that I’m able to touch every facet of what we do. I started at the ParentCo, stayed on for a year, then participated in the initial organizational strategy and capital raising for the company where I now work, which is structured as a joint venture between the ParentCo and a private equity firm far away from Denver, our home base.

Many times you hear corporate development and you think, “M&A and capital raising,” but for a company, not an investment bank representing a company. Usually, in a company’s lifecycle, M&A and capital raising fall somewhere in the middle, after the company has established itself in its market. At my company, M&A and capital raising were our very first steps, and only now are we in market establishment mode. ParentCo and Private Equity Firm joined together and funded an idea (not assets, which would have been slightly more normal) in October 2012, and I’m lucky enough to have become a part of the team that makes that idea come to fruition.

That said, I do everything at our company, from business development to board-level reporting and participation to marketing and advertising to miscellaneous and non-glamorous roles like creating invoices, IT, and generating efficient systems that get everyone organized. Down the road, I’ll do more M&A and capital raising-centric work, but we have to be successful in our business development first.

In my opinion, the best thing about being a corporate development professional is that you are able and have the tools necessary to look at an organization and say, “Where can I help?” While I certainly wasn’t in my professional prime as an investment banking analyst, it definitely provided me with some of the tools I needed to ask that question.

What advice would you have for someone breaking into your field?
Networking is absolutely key. That’s important to remember, because investment banking analysts are very accustomed to having recruiters come to them, but companies looking for corporate development professionals aren’t necessarily going to use recruiters for their searches. The process can get very competitive, especially in New York, but it’s generally successful—everyone from my banking class was able to secure a role somewhere after our term ended.

My best advice to someone looking for a role in corporate development is to pick an industry and meet as many people as you can in that industry, and more often than not, an interesting role requiring a finance background will pop up. And even if it’s a “miscellaneous finance” role, my favorite part of my past two-ish years at my company has been my ability and my supervisor’s willingness to transform my role into something I’m really confident in. That might be unique to the early-stage role, but I truly believe that if you prove you’re valuable to a company, you can make yourself fit wherever you’re looking to fit (and wherever you’re most confident!).

Moreover, I moved to a “non-target” city, Denver, and very much took a leap of faith. I knew literally no one and I moved for an industry I hoped I would be passionate about (unconventional oil and gas development). But about a year and a half later, taking that chance was the best thing I could have done for myself and my career, and I can only hope it continues to pay dividends. Flexibility, willingness to be mobile, and an open mind are essential.