E&M student John Rogers is currently off campus interning at Quarton Partners Investment Bank in Birmingham, MI. We reached out to him to hear about his experience. Here’s what he has to say:
I’m an investment banker now, and do you know how much money I see in a day? None. That’s right, NONE! Do I follow the stock market all day? Do I have my eyes glued to CNBC? Do I design complicated mathematical models for asset pricing and derivative? Nope, none of that either. That might be hard to believe, but it’s the truth.
One might ask then, “What do you do?” And to that I would have to say lots of googling. I work at Quarton Partners Investment Bank in Birmingham, MI. This is what is called a sell-side firm, which means Quarton is hired to represent companies that are trying to sell assets, securities, or their entire business. What I do here is basically sales. We develop a narrative (a compelling story) that shows other businesses and investors why buying our clients is a great idea. It involves some financial statement analysis, some financial modeling, but predominantly it’s all basic research. This especially applies as an intern.
Now that sounds pretty simple. And to some extent it is, but if it were that simple everyone would be doing it. When I say research I mean macroeconomic, market, and firm level research that determines and gathers information on all relevant characteristic that might impact the operation of a company and thus its price. We use specialized tools such as S&P Capital IQ data service. This is an online data base of millions of companies and relevant information about them such as financial statements, mergers and acquisitions history, and industry news. It’s a crucial tool in my day-to-day work. However, this is not the only tool. A lot of research involves finding industry publication and research reports put out by government agencies and other firms. FRED, the BLS, the Census Bureau, and BEA are also used and cited frequently.
I go back to this may sound easy, but try doing it 12+ hours a day, 5 days a week. It’s a long day, no doubt. It’s also rewarding though. I, for instance, started out doing small research projects. The first one I was assigned was creating a geographic map of a company’s product distributors; something I never thought I’d be doing at an investment bank. These unexpected responsibilities have been a great part of the job.
This internship and the work done here at Quarton has really been a growing experience. There is a lot to be learned about business acumen, routine, and discipline. Believe me, all jobs have their ups and down and days where you feel like you accomplish or contributed nothing, but every day you’re learning a little bit. Even if that little bit is how not to do something, it’s valuable.
My experience has been that real work in the real world clarifies career paths and opportunities. The best advice I can give is that there is no substitute for hard work and experience, and you should seize every opportunity and learn everything you can.