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Aug 30, 2006 8:13 pm

I will be an undergraduate for another 6 months before I graduate and can work.
I am planning to start interviews in 3 months.
I am from a top university and am a mathematics major.
I am planning on interviewing with MS,SB,ML,AGE, and RJ for a position as a FA.
It is not that big of a deal for me as to which of those I would get hired at, as long as one of them hires me!
I have a pretty good resume with all the activities, internships and what not.

Should I be worried about one of these companies hiring me?
    If so, what can I do to increase my chances.
 
If I can be hired, any advice on what to do during these six months before I hopefully begin a career at one of these firms?
    My thoughts are to read as many books on financial planning and      selling as possible, which is what I am currently doing.
    Anything else??
    Also I do work as a computer technician, but I constantly read on     the job, since there is A LOT of down time.

Please no derogatory comments on me not being able to make it because of my age.
Also, NASDnewbie, if you can, please do not ruin this thread either.

Aug 30, 2006 8:37 pm

Volunteer to sell an intangible or call to raise funds and be very successful at it.


For example, you could volunteer to sell Chamber of Commerce memberships. They're an intangible and require the development of selling skills that can translate features of an intangible product into tangible benefits for the buyer. Become good at it and you will develop good contacts and selling skills, plus impress your potential employer. 


Fund raising for a non-profit is another way to develop good contacts and selling skills.


In either scenario, you must be one of the top sellers/fund raisers to really capture the attention of your potential employer.


In my opinion and possibly the opinion of anyone who interviews you, you've convinced me you have the brains to do the job (Math Major), but do you have the people skills to succeed at this? Unless there's something strongly "people oriented" in your background, you may not be given a chance. 


Real world success at selling intangibles or raising money for nonprofits would qualify as a strong positive for possessing "people skills".


Good luck!

Aug 30, 2006 8:45 pm

Do you have a quality list of HNW individuals?


Do you have a business plan to give the your interviewers?


Can you get 15M in 2 years?


Plenty more questions to consider...

Aug 30, 2006 8:51 pm

BrothaK,


I would be hanging out where wealthy people hang out and make as many friends as I can, which may be a bit of a challenge concerning your age (oops, sorry 'bout the age comment). 


Maybe find a hobby or interest which will put you in regular contact with wealthy prospects.......if you are serious, this is what you must do.  Start building your financial IQ and learn as much as you can in talking to these folks.  Try to start up conversations and develop rapport.  This probably won't result in any business opportunities for a year or more, but your timeline seems to be in line with that.  Don't come off as a punk kid; display ettiquite and savvy....try to come across as the brilliant young guy with a lot of potential. 


Make friends (sincerely) and ask for advice, like "Mr. Jones, I can tell that you're quite successful, in my carreer path I'd like to work with people like yourself, if you were me how would you go about doing that?" then shut up and listen.  Learn profiling techniques and try to implement them (be very subtle about this) in your conversations in a smooth manner, using open ended and close ended questions to learn about people. 


Develop a knock out list of high probability prospects through these activities.  Leave the college kid sh*t alone and spend your weeknights and weekends building credibility among your target markets instead of partying it up.  Maybe give some talks on investment topics that you understand well. 


BrothaK, you have been persistent on these boards and seem to listen.  I am telling you that if you are at all serious about this you have no time to waste.....so get to work, O.K.?

Aug 30, 2006 8:56 pm

K:


 <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />



Learn to write and speak like an adult. 

 People will never take you seriously if you can’t form complete sentences with correct spelling using the proper grammar.




Learn to portray your self like an adult.

If you can’t get the people on this forum to take you seriously how will you persuade a manager to hire you? You think NASD is hard on you, guess what, its people like NASD who make the decisions.


      



Understand the fact that your diploma means NOTHING to the wirehouses.

There are 1000 other people who are more qualified, come from better schools, and have better contacts. These firms owe you dick.   



I am not saying it is impossible to get a job with one of these firms.  But you better change your attitude before you go into these interviews or you will be working at Joes burger hut for a while. 



Besides, I thought you were already interviewing with Merrill?  You claimed numerous times that you have had big interviews.  I am starting to think you are bull*******g everyone..



Shmer33
Aug 30, 2006 9:02 pm

I can't imagine a good firm hiring him.


I offered to help him land some interviews and he sneered that he didn't need my help, that he knows--as in KNOWS--that he has what it take.


It's amazing that he's asking for advice when he has all the answers already.

Aug 31, 2006 12:12 am

brothaK,


Reading books is a good idea.  What REALLY helped me was sitting down one on one with some experienced advisors.  I sat down with 3 of them and learned a ton.  It really helped me in my interviews.


Also, interview with EVERYONE.  I mean from Smith Barney all the way to Edward Jones (and everyone in between).  That Ameriprise interview will really help you when you are talking with Morgan, Merrill and UBS.


Good luck!

Aug 31, 2006 7:47 am

Enjoy your last six months of college. Have fun, party, chase women, where shorts and t-shirts, go to some concerts, and take a vacation.

Aug 31, 2006 9:08 am

Be able to answer, "why do you want to be a Financial Advisor" hopefully it is something besides the fact that you think you can make money.


Also, why should they hire you?  How will YOU increase the AUM or revenue of the firm.  Can you sell?  Can you ASK people for money?  If not, go someplace else.

Aug 31, 2006 9:31 am

Are you interested in finance in general or specifically the advisory side?  Go talk to a prof in the finance department.  See what they think about you degree.  Mathematics degrees (albeit Ph.Ds) are in high demand on the institutional side (quants for hedge funds and even mutual funds). 

Aug 31, 2006 11:06 am
knucklehead:

Enjoy your last six months of college. Have fun, party, chase women, where shorts and t-shirts, go to some concerts, and take a vacation.


This is actually the most appropriate advice.

Aug 31, 2006 11:06 am

You're a long shot to get hired by any of the worthy firms. That's not being derogatory, it's just a fact. Your training cost will be in the neighborhood of $100K. That's a 100k bet on a kid with no sales experience or, for that matter, any real world work experience. I'm not saying that you won't get in, you might. Actually, for as much as you want this, it would be better for you if you didn't get in. Why? Because if you do make through the front door the likelyhood of succeeding at age 22 are slim and none. And once you blow yourself out of the business coming back 5 or 10 years from now will be almost impossible. The smarter play would be to volunteer as a fund raiser, as Doberman suggested, and then get a sales job. It doesn't matter what you sell, just be good at whatever it is. This will give you a realistic view of what you life as an advisor will be, and at least a few years of sales runs to show prospective employers that you are the real thing. Becoming a volunteer shows that community service is important to you. That reads very well on a resume.


And if that doesn't convince you to go another way try this; I'm 54 years old, I've been in this business for 23 years, I've forgotten more than you know, I'm the same age as your target market , and thus, can bond with them perfectly. We're all going through the same life experience, can't believe we're in our fifties. We share the same history. I totally get fifty year olds. On top of that I can sell snow to the snowman and sand to the sandman, number one trainee out of 102 in my training class. I left a major wirehouse a few years ago. That year as in all previous years I was in the top quintile for new accounts opened. My wife, who is my partner was 60th in the firm for new accounts, that's out of how many FAs, 8000, 10,000? At our current firm, it's dejavu all over again. Additionally, I'm a top quintile producer, Member of every service club you can mention, Board member and contributor to several charities, community leader and activist.


Have you ever volunteered for a charity? Swung a hammer for Habitat for Humanity, ridden your bike 100 miles for breast cancer, or 150 miles for MS, walked five miles for diabetes, ridden a motorcycle 1500 miles in one day to raise money for a pediatric hospital, served food at a homeless shelter, Brought toys to pediatric ward, washed cars for your church, dug ditches to bring water to a poverty striken farmers, given coats to the homeless, given the coat off your back to a homeless person? If not, why not? Any of this ringing a bell with you?


Have you ever written a check to a charity? Have you ever attended a town meeting? Who is the mayor in your town? Who are the council people? What is the hottest issue where you live? Do you know? Do you care? Believe me, the people you are prospecting know and care.


 I tell you that to tell you this; Do you think you have a chance against me? Honestly, little 22 year old math major?  You don't. What you don't know can hurt you. and you don't know me. I will hurt you. I am your competition, and I'm really good at what I do. Not only can I sell rings around you, I'm a community leader. I'm the guy in the sales books you are reading. And there are guys just like me in every little town in this country. How are you going to sell against me? That's the mountain you have to climb. And I gotta tell ya, at 22, or is it 23, it's ain't happenin'.


I'm being really hard on you purposely. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I have a son your age who wants to come into the business. I'm telling you the same thing I'm telling him, and that is, not yet.


You are a smart guy. Make the smart play and get some experience first.


I know, not the answer you were looking for.


Aug 31, 2006 11:12 am
tjc45:

You're a long shot to get hired by any of the worthy firms. That's not being derogatory, it's just a fact. Your training cost will be in the neighborhood of $100K. That's a 100k bet on a kid with no sales experience or, for that matter, any real world work experience. I'm not saying that you won't get in, you might. Actually, for as much as you want this, it would be better for you if you didn't get in. Why? Because if you do make through the front door the likelyhood of succeeding at age 22 are slim and none. And once you blow yourself out of the business coming back 5 or 10 years from now will be almost impossible. The smarter play would be to volunteer as a fund raiser, as Doberman suggested, and then get a sales job. It doesn't matter what you sell, just be good at whatever it is. This will give you a realistic view of what you life as an advisor will be, and at least a few years of sales runs to show prospective employers that you are the real thing. Becoming a volunteer shows that community service is important to you. That reads very well on a resume.


And if that doesn't convince you to go another way try this; I'm 54 years old, I've been in this business for 23 years, I've forgotten more than you know, I'm the same age as your target market , and thus, can bond with them perfectly. We're all going through the same life experience, can't believe we're in our fifties. We share the same history. I totally get fifty year olds. On top of that I can sell snow to the snowman and sand to the sandman, number one trainee out of 102 in my training class. I left a major wirehouse a few years ago. That year as in all previous years I was in the top quintile for new accounts opened. My wife, who is my partner was 60th in the firm for new accounts, that's out of how many FAs, 8000, 10,000? At our current firm, it's dejavu all over again. Additionally, I'm a top quintile producer, Member of every service club you can mention, Board member and contributor to several charities, community leader and activist.


Have you ever volunteered for a charity? Swung a hammer for Habitat for Humanity, ridden your bike 100 miles for breast cancer, or 150 miles for MS, walked five miles for diabetes, ridden a motorcycle 1500 miles in one day to raise money for a pediatric hospital, served food at a homeless shelter, Brought toys to pediatric ward, washed cars for your church, dug ditches to bring water to a poverty striken farmers, given coats to the homeless, given the coat off your back to a homeless person? If not, why not? Any of this ringing a bell with you?


Have you ever written a check to a charity? Have you ever attended a town meeting? Who is the mayor in your town? Who are the council people? What is the hottest issue where you live? Do you know? Do you care? Believe me, the people you are prospecting know and care.


 I tell you that to tell you this; Do you think you have a chance against me? Honestly, little 22 year old math major?  You don't. What you don't know can hurt you. and you don't know me. I will hurt you. I am your competition, and I'm really good at what I do. Not only can I sell rings around you, I'm a community leader. I'm the guy in the sales books you are reading. And there are guys just like me in every little town in this country. How are you going to sell against me? That's the mountain you have to climb. And I gotta tell ya, at 22, or is it 23, it's ain't happenin'.


I'm being really hard on you purposely. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I have a son your age who wants to come into the business. I'm telling you the same thing I'm telling him, and that is, not yet.


You are a smart guy. Make the smart play and get some experience first.


I know, not the answer you were looking for.




Hardcore, and totally true.  Heed his words.

I am in my late 30's, been a moderately successful advisor for a number of years, and realizing how much work I have to do to "kick it up a notch" to compete with fellas like TJ.

If, after reading this, you are still burning to get into this business, you should consider-

1.)  Getting a few years of succesful sales experience first.

and/or

2.) Hooking up with an experienced advisor or team of advisors in a support role.  Let them know you eventually want to get into production and want to learn the business.  The lessons you learn about how to succeed in this business will far eclipse the value of any monetary compensation you earn.

Whatever you do, don't waste your time working with some lower-tier schlocky firm just because they're willing to hire you in hopes that you beat the odds.

Good luck!

Aug 31, 2006 11:34 am

Another classic from tjc45.  In my research, there are many that would concur precisely with his view.

Aug 31, 2006 12:00 pm
joedabrkr:


2.) Hooking up with an experienced advisor or team of advisors in a support role.  Let them know you eventually want to get into production and want to learn the business.  The lessons you learn about how to succeed in this business will far eclipse the value of any monetary compensation you earn.



I wholeheartedly agree with this suggestion.  Everyone is telling you that you are too young for a reason.  With few rare exceptions, it’s completely true.  This does not mean that you can’t get into the business.  I’m work in an office with almost 100 FAs.  I’ve been learning that the majority of them did not build their books from scratch alone.  A fairly large number started out in support roles, learned the business and then became FAs as part of the team.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 


If you are looking at Merrill Lynch I would consider a position as a CA (client associate) or in their FAC (<?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Financial Advisory Center).  CAs are more than just secretaries.  They work very closely with FAs and in turn learn the business.  I am surprised how many of the currently successful FAs in my office started out as CAs.  The FAC is a call center.  It’s filled with a bunch of young recent college graduates but you get an opportunity to learn the business and the products.  One of the POAers in my class came from the FAC.  He is already 4-months ahead of his hurdles.


 


If you were to go directly into becoming an FA then the odds will be stacked against you.  One bad experience too early in your working life could permanently close the doors to this career for you.


 


--WM


Aug 31, 2006 12:07 pm

brothak, try to get an internship at any of those companies.  My last semester in school I interned at ML and called 300 people a day trying to give them a free research report on a local cable company’s preferred stock.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 


That experience helped me getting my first real job.


Aug 31, 2006 1:02 pm

tjc, you are a class act.  Great post...keep up the good work.

Aug 31, 2006 1:16 pm

Damn TJC, way to put it. 

Sep 1, 2006 12:18 am

K:


 <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


You never answered my question.  What happened with the Merrill interview?   You mentioned wearing purple and cutting your dreadlocks?  



Sep 1, 2006 7:50 pm

WOW, I don’t even know where to begin.  First, I want to thank you all for the insightful and sincere replies to this thread.
NASDnewb, sorry for the negative comment I made about you in the beginning of the thread, however, you keep ruining countless quality advice with your ignorant views.  At first I thought you were being the devil’s advocate, and a “no bullsh*t” type of guy, but after a while I am just seeing an extremist who just doesn’t want to believe in the truth.  How am I supposed to take “advice” from someone who can’t build a good rapport on a lousy forum and suddenly transforms from nasdy to nice when he wants commission for a recruitment?

Knucklehead & Looney, I will be putting your advice into action!

Shmer I think you have the wrong guy, I’ve never said anything about interviews and trust me I don’t have dreadlocks.

Yes, I do understand it will be difficult to begin when I am young and that I should rather be selling insurance and making more money doing that and then jump in to this industry with all my contacts when I’m 35.  However, I know I will be successful and age is just a factor going against me like many other things (tjc) but it does not mean I will not defy the odds.  Why wait when I have what it takes to start it now. I want to build a business that keeps growing exponentially.  I cannot wait to get into this business and feel that I am gonna go crazy in these 6 months.  Tjc you had probably one of the best posts I have ever seen.  I think I am going to print it out and put it on my wall, ironically enough, as a motivator.
I came here to get advice and many of the posts were to “quit before I ever even begin”.  Trust me, I did not overlook any of those posts, but honestly none of them are compelling enough.  Do you think I won’t make it if I cold walk 300 businesses a week, how about hiring college girls to set appointments cold calling, or networking with attorneys, CPAs, realtors or even doing seminars.  How about my affluent untapped niche market and the networking inside of it?  Tjc I understand where you are coming from because you are building a relationship with your clients, because they are at your age.  Although, I would love to build the relationship I will first work with them on the business standpoint and gradually make it into a relationship.
Again, thank you all for your help.  I am really looking forward to diving into this challenging career and working/competing with all you great people out there.
Oh, and most importantly, make sure you have a great Labor Day weekend.

baradarK