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sloan klein

Inside Scoop

Sell-Side Basics

February 4, 2010

Sloan Klein has her own career coaching firm in the Bay Area that specializes in finance.

The “Sell Side” is a term used in the financial services industry to refer to any firm that sells investment or banking services and products to an asset management firm, pension fund, insurance company or corporate entity (known as the buy side).

These services include: Capital Markets which is a)the buying and selling of stocks and bonds (known as broking/dealing or sales and trading), b)the structuring and selling of products consisting of underlying assets and c) investment research; Investment banking which encompasses corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, commercial banking and advisory functions.

Entry level jobs vary widely. It depends on what you ultimately want to be.:

To get into Capital Markets, these are entry level options:

Sales and Trading Assistant: $40k-60k

Sales Assistant: $40k-60k

Research Assistant: $40k-60k

To get into Investment Banking these are the entry level options:

M&A Analyst or Junior Analyst: $45-65k

Corporate Finance Analys or Junior Analyst: $45k-65k

To get into Commercial Banking these are the entry level options:

Credit Analyst or Junior Credit Analyst: $40k-55k


In capital markets the workday hours are pegged to the markets and the geography. You typically get in an hour before your market opens and leave an hour after it closes. In investment banking the hours are long, long, long. Think all nighters. In commercial banking the hours are long but all nighters are rare.

Inside Scoop

Buy-Side Basics

February 4, 2010
Sloan Klein has her own career coaching firm in the Bay Area that specializes in Finance

Sloan Klein has her own career coaching firm in the Bay Area that specializes in finance.

The “Buy Side” is a term used to describe any firm in finance that is focused on buying rather than selling securities or assets.  These include: Institutional asset managers, mutual funds, hedge funds, hedge fund-of-funds, insurance companies, proprietary trading desks, private equity firms, venture capital firms, private equity fund-of-funds, corporate and public plan sponsors, Taft Hartley (Union) pension plans, endowments, foundations and family offices.

Entry level jobs vary widely. It depends on what you ultimately want to be.

If you want to be an investor, you typically start as an analyst.

Entry level comp: $40k-60k, bonus: $10k-$40k

If you want to be a trader, you start as a trading assistant.

Entry level comp: $35-$55k, bonus:  $10k-$30k

If you want to be in sales, you start as a sales assistant or analyst.

Entry level comp: $35k-55k, bonus: $10k-$20k


Your workday is long!  You must be in before the markets open and leave well after they are closed. There is often frequent travel. This is not a balance of life career path but if you stick with it and are smart you can make a lot of money and work with really smart people.


An MBA from a top school or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification are strongly recommended. People typically work in an entry level role for two-three years and then go back to school.

* Bonuses depend on individual performance and firm performance and may be given in the form of options (if at a firm that has such a currency, NA for hedge funds or Private Equity/Venture firms).


Make a GREAT First Impression

February 4, 2010

Sloan Klein offers her experience on this seemingly obvious topic. By seemingly we mean –you might actually learn something here you hadn’t thought of, read on.

1. Have a firm handshake and look people in the eye when you meet them.  Say, “Name”, it’s nice to meet you.”

2. Be friendly and courteous to all assistants (important during set up of interview on the phone as well)

3. Make sure you understand the dress code: for a finance interview wear a pants suit.  Make sure your hair is neat. Wear tasteful makeup and perfume.  Wear appropriate closed toe shoes.

4. Bring a pad and pen to take notes.  Even if you don’t feel comfortable taking many notes in the interview, it’s good to have to jot key things down.   Shows attention to detail.

5. Turn cell phone off

6. Don’t walk in with a Starbucks cup, water bottle or any type of food packaging and ask for the trash.

7. It is important to make a personal connection with your interviewer.  Look for opportunities to do so, this will set you apart from other applicants.  Good opportunities include: pictures or other items in the person’s office, ask them about themselves-find commonality.

8. Listen carefully to the questions asked. Don’t ramble, make sure you answer the question.

9. Follow up with a thank you email or note promptly. Make sure that you refer to the personal connection in the note.  Think of the follow up as your chance to further imprint the meeting in your interviewer’s mind.

Career, Career Advice

Job Interview Prep!

February 4, 2010

Sloan Klein our career coach extrodinaire offers her take on the basic job interview tips offered by the US Department of Labor.  It’s all great advice she says -her comments are in plum.


* Learn about the organization.

* Have a specific job or jobs in mind.

* Review your qualifications for the job.

* Be ready to briefly describe your experience, showing how it relates it the job.

* Be ready to answer broad questions, such as “Why should I hire you?” “Why do you want this job?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” What accomplishment are you most proud of?, describe a challenge you have encountered and how you dealt with it

* Practice an interview with a friend or relative.

Personal appearance:

* Be well groomed.

* Dress appropriately.

* Do not chew gum or smoke.

The interview:

* Be early.

* Learn the name of your interviewer and greet him or her with a firm handshake.

* Use good manners with everyone you meet.

Be extremely nice to all assistants!

* Relax and answer each question concisely. Listen to what is being asked!

* Use proper English—avoid slang.

Sit up straight, don’t fidget.  Maintain eye contact with your interviewer when answering questions.

* Be cooperative and enthusiastic.

* Use body language to show interest—use eye contact and don’t slouch.

Make sure you make a personal connection with the interviewer.  Find a way to connect on a personal level—a picture on the desk, a common hobby, common geography, etc.

* Ask questions about the position and the organization, but avoid questions whose answers can easily be found on the company Web site. Questions are your chance to show how smart you are.  Take notes!

* Also avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless a job offer is made.

* Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands. Reiterate your interest

* Send a short thank you note following the interview.   Reference something specific from the interview in your note.

Information to bring to an interview:

* Social Security card.

* Government-issued identification (driver’s license).

* Resume or application. Although not all employers require a resume, you should be able to furnish the interviewer information about your education, training, and previous employment.

* References. Employers typically require three references. Get permission before using anyone as a reference. Make sure that they will give you a good reference. Try to avoid using relatives as references.

* Transcripts. Employers may require an official copy of transcripts to verify grades, coursework, dates of attendance, and highest grade completed or degree awarded.