Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mun Hong thanks SV, Engg UnderGrad turned Investment Analyst

It gives me great pleasure to speak in SV’s mailer and I thank SV for giving me this opportunity. Before introducing myself, I would like to thank Yoman for taking his time and effort spent on mentoring me, not only with issues pertaining to finance but also with regards to other life lessons. Like how Benjamin Graham was to Warren Buffett, Yoman and Eng Yew to me were “men that plant trees for other men to sit under”.

Not long ago, I was one of those hopefuls standing across the street peering into the finance industry with a multitude of questions on how to break into the industry. I got to know about SV during my time as an Engineering undergraduate when Yoman coincidentally came across my resume. This opportunity had a significant hint of luck involved (I will always be grateful for the moment that Yoman invited me, a stranger, to one of SV’s events) but I believe that one has to influence their own luck; you have to earn serendipity.

Many have heard of the cliché, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

Basically you have to be equipped with the relevant skills at the right time otherwise it would amount to naught, “We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures”. Not being a Finance or Business graduate proved to be a slight hurdle at the start. To obtain the relevant skills, I decided to embark on the CFA program while concurrently carrying out my personal equity research.

With regards to the right time, there is basically no other way except by (As Yoman would mention), “Networking and more networking”. Approach networking with a mindset of, “How can I add value to the other party” and not “What will I get in return”.  Basically have fun, make friends, and most importantly, learn along the way. I have never regretted attending any networking events, especially those organized by SV!

If you know where your interest lies in, don’t be afraid to give everything you have to pursue it. In this industry, self-entitlement won’t get you places, even if you think you deserve it, you still have to prove yourself. It’s never easy, not now, not ever, but for me it was definitely without a shadow of a doubt worth every single second of my time.

Thanks to the relentless effort from Yoman, I managed to secure an interview with a family office as an Investment Analyst and recently after a 3 month probation period, I was confirmed as a full-time employee with the firm.

I hope that my experience would be able to help you in one way or another and I would like to end off with a quote from Yoman – “Continue learning and keep on networking”.

-Mun Hong

AKY reveals how he leveraged on SV internship to break into the industry

First, a brief introduction of myself. I am working in the Equity Research department as a research associate in a regional institutional broker, covering ASEAN offshore/marine and consumer stocks.

Before the current role, I worked in a back office non-finance function. Close to the end of 2009, I got to know SV and joined its first publicity event. By then I have passed three levels of CFA exams. I became a student associate, ie part time intern, for an analyst of a hedge fund. For the following year, I collected sector data from various sources of street reports and compiled them into tabulated factsheets, from which the analyst can quickly grasp sector knowledge and thus make investment decisions.

I was later referred to my current firm on a part time basis to assist my current boss in collecting company background information (it was more fundamental) from various sources including annual reports, exchange announcements, IR presentation slides and sometimes street reports as well. I compiled these into a standardized document which included all the key aspects that one investor must know. I was doing that for about half a year before I was offered a full time position.

Given that there are some internship opportunities offered today via SV, you might wonder what you can learn in the internship. Baseline – opportunities to work for great people in the investment industry. People are busy with their own work and are rarely willing to offer their time to teach an intern basic stuff. SV offers a great privilege to interact with these great people, knowing what they are doing, and expanding knowledge beyond the CFA curriculum. These are all fundamental steps to prepare well for that opportunity. Yet, don’t harbour the mindset that it is an entitlement to full-time opportunities. If one is doing well and get recognized, opportunity will eventually come.

Key things to take note in the internship:

1) Align your expectation with your boss’. Know how much detail is needed in the task and the expected outcome. This is indeed very important in my day-to-day work life a well. There are always action items in the pipeline. Meeting the target is the first priority. Overwork is common in our school life where one tends to impress professor to score high rates. Too much detail may not be needed and it could be wasting your boss’/client time to read what you have done. It is a known fact that fund managers and analysts are short of time and already flooded with all sources of information.

But 2) that doesn’t mean you should only stick to what you are asked to do. In fact any sort of value-add job is welcomed and it is actually an unspoken rule. Keep on thinking how your findings can value add to your boss’ job and communicate your points concisely and best in an interesting way so that they can digest it and appreciate your help quickly. This is one of the most important learning points in my day-to-day work when I need to prepare stock commentaries and face the challenge of making the note short and punchy for investors to pick up and read.

How to be Tougher in these Tough Times

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Scholars.SpringBoard

Markets have continued its sluggish trend lately. Since the beginning of this year, we have seen many foreign sell-side houses closing or scaling down in Hong Kong – the key Asian market for international investors. Singapore is similarly shaken by the turmoil. Week after week, we can hear whispers of firm closures.

During this challenging period, senior people are applying for more junior positions, which makes entering the industry ever more challenging for fresh graduates and career switchers.

However, amid this storm, Scholars’ Village continues to offer a silver lining for those tough men and women who are determined to ride the storm. More recently, we have updated our Facebook page with a few WoW notes on how to stay in good shape for any window of opportunity that may open for you.

On May 22, we will hold an exclusive sharing session with finance professionals on “How to be Tougher in these Tough Times?” – what you need to do NOW to prepare for that job interview or informal chat.

At this exclusive sharing session, Scholars’ Springboard will also be announcing a couple of potential internship opportunities, where priority is given to those present at our event.

Seats are first come first served, and limited. Please register by 17 May. Details below.

Speakers
Raghav, senior equity sales (sell-side)
Yo-man, FM at global investment house (buy-side)
AKY, sell-side analyst & success story of SpringBoard Program

Date/ Time: 22 May 2012, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Venue:  Raffles Place <no gatecrashers allowed at this event>

Cost: $30 (includes refreshments)
Capacity: Exclusive event limited to 15 people

Organizer (Contact): Eng Yew (96372798)