SpringBoard to Success! – Part I – Yo-man

Dear folks,

About a year ago, I sent this  EMAILER     to congratulate my friends / students who have passed the CFA exam.

At the same time, I offered a unique proposition to friends interested in equity analysis (mostly students from my CFA class) to learn more about equity analysis work by doing some of my work for me. In return, I would coach them to improve in the work. Such opportunities were rare and would improve the candidate’s employability.

This informal arrangement has since evolved into the Equity Research Training Program with the umbrella SpringBoard Program .  My core team of highly motivated individuals continues to impress with the quality of work and turnaround time; and the Program is now a working relationship, where the more outstanding analysts are eventually given opportunities to work on mission-critical assignments and then attend management roadshows and sometimes analyst meetings.

Today, in Part I of the SpringBoard to Success, I wish to share with you three success stories from the Equity Research Training Program.

Mr I: Retail Equity Sales -> Investment Officer

·         Mr I was my former CFA student and was in retail equity sales when he started on the Program. Prior to this job, he had already a few years of experience in the finance industry, having served in a number of roles.

·         Although Mr I was average in academic achievements, he distinguished himself by completing all his assigned projects with high quality and ahead of time. He embraces my favourite slogan “Continue Learning and Keep On Networking” and maintains good relationships with his friends, former colleagues, etc.

·         After taking a break to focus on his CFA Exams in Jun 2010, Mr I applied to the Program again, so that he could return to work for me. Soon after, he found a job as an investment officer at a local company. I could sense his deep gratitude towards me (a rare quality in people these days), which could be fueling his desire to continue working for me. I appreciate his kindness and have kindly advised him instead to focus on his new job, which is his gateway into the investment industry. Perhaps one day in future, he could be my partner in mentoring the rising generation!

Mr C: Intern -> Analyst

  • Mr C was completing his postgraduate studies in finance at NUS last year, and started work as an intern in my firm, working on physical real estate with another investment team on a contract basis. After he learnt that some of my former CFA students were doing Equity Research work for me, he volunteered to work for me on the Property sector.

  • I was impressed by his initiative, because he went the extra mile to value-add to my investment process, even though he was not getting any credit, because we were working for different bosses.  With his positive learning / working attitude, Mr C impressed his Team Captain and was confirmed as full-time employee early this year, and few months later, he was selected to relocate to our Beijing office to contribute at a higher level.

Ms Z: Banking officer -> Analyst

  • Ms Z was working as a banking officer in a foreign bank. She was accepted into my Program in Apr 2010, after passing a Qualifying Quiz that I put in place in 2010Q2 to examine candidates’ proficiency in financial knowledge and computations. Though she, like Mr I, had only average academic achievements, her youthful and bubbly personality, sprinkled with that enthusiasm to learn, convinced me to give her a shot at the Program.

  • Ms Z started at a disadvantageous position compared to the other successful candidates, because I had placed her under one of my Team Leads and she hence had to impress two bosses instead of one. There were also a few hiccups and stumbling blocks for her right from the beginning. But her enthusiasm and improving work quality eventually moved us, such that I promoted her to work on more mission-critical assignments in the later part of her stint with me. After months of conscientious work, she found herself an analyst role to forecast dividends for Japanese companies in a financial services firm. Towards the end of her stint, I arranged for her to join me at my meetings with Japan analysts, with the hope that they can value-add to her new role.

Conclusion

Mr I, Mr C and Ms Z demonstrated their passion and determination to learn and to deliver quality work, no matter how adverse their conditions may be.  Their experiences defy popular belief that successes are defined by how intelligent or experienced people were. Eventually, it is still the individual’s personality and attitude that prevail.

“There are some positive ingredients in some of these average-ability men and women that eventually set them off on the path to success.” I recall my teacher Albert’s words 4years back.  I leave you to chew on these words, which I shall discuss more in Part II of the SpringBoard to Success.

Cheers,

Yoman