CQ_Finforte | Anmol Pandey | Morgan Stanley
Interviewer- Hi Anmol! This is Ashutosh, Secretary at Communiqué, IIT Kharagpur. Heartiest congratulations from our side for getting placed at Morgan Stanley and I’m excited to be interviewing you. So shall we start?
Anmol- Yes, we can start.
Interviewer- Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?
Anmol- Sure. Hello all, my name is Anmol and currently, I’m a final year undergraduate of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering . I have been a part of the Business Analytics Team in OYO and worked as a financial analyst in Bajaj Alliance Life. I have also examined the edtech sector in a product management internship. Recently, I qualified for the FRM level 1 exam and in the placement process, I was placed at Morgan Stanley.
Interviewer- Great. Would you like to brief the audience about the role that you have been offered in your company?
Anmol- I’ve been offered the role of an Associate in Morgan Stanley hedge fund services. So basically, I have to deal with data regarding the hedge fund services and its administration. A hedge fund needs to make various decisions as to where the company should invest among its many clients. So, I will deal with the financial data and find patterns, insights from it in the form of projections and other stuff.
Interviewer- Awesome. Any insights or general advice you would like to share about the recruitment process for the aspirants of this profile?
Anmol- Okay. So, I believe that investment banks offer the best environment for growth and development in the area of finance. First of all, the aspirants should be interested in solving problems in real-life business scenarios. One also needs to be very approachable and willing to learn. The world of finance is very different from whatever we are faced in these four/five years. It’s a completely new experience. So, that would be my advice to whoever would like to join this field.
Interviewer- That was very insightful. Now, how does a pre-final year student maximize their chance, and what resources and suggestions would you like to give to them?
Anmol- There are two stages if you want to land a job in finance. Talking about the CV first, CV shortlisting is done in the initial round by various companies. Some CVs are shortlisted before the test like in the case of Morgan Stanley. There should be some pointers in your CV which are important. For example, you may have done one or two internships in this field, maybe in some investment company or venture capital, or any general financial firm. I had an internship in Bajaj Alliance, it was very aligned with the profile. It involved data as well as some financial knowledge. If you have such points in your CV, it would be a plus point. Apart from that, for this role, it was specifically mentioned that CFA and FRM would surely be an advantage. I had also cleared the FRM level 1. I benefitted here a lot. The knowledge of financial markets learnt during preparing for FRM was very helpful for the interview. It was the major chunk of my interview as well.
To sum it up, one or two internships or certifications in finance would be a distinguishing factor in your CV. Apart from that, a project or paper that you would have published in the same under a professor in VGSOM would also be great. For pre-final year students, these three could be plus points on their CV. This is the first thing, like the CV shortlisting part coming to the interview part. You should also have a very good knowledge of general finance, as in, what is going on, currently, in the world of finance, the current happenings in the markets, in each of the four different markets apart from that interest rates, inflation, GDP growth, etc. All these statistics should be very clear in your mind. You should be a finance enthusiast to land a job in finance.
Interviewer- Thanks for the answer, it covered many points and also cleared the doubts regarding CFA and FRM which are in the minds of aspirants. Moving on to the next question, how did you prepare for the rounds involved once you were shortlisted?
Anmol- As far as preparation is concerned, I had cleared FRM Level 1. It has four parts in it. I revised the concepts that I had learned during my preparation, as the role was more inclined towards hedge fund services, derivatives, financial markets. I revised them well before my interview. The questions revolved around that, so that paid off well. I was very thorough with the current happenings as I read Economic Times, Finshots and other helpful newsletters that are regularly available. Zerodha Varsity is a good app, you can also download it. I also did some puzzles, brainstorming, and case sessions to improve my communication. They also ask you about random problems or guesstimates. Never forget the HR around, because it plays a very important part in your selection. My HR round was also quite lengthy, it was 45 minutes long. You must be able to answer normal questions, like what are your strengths and weaknesses, etc. I would always suggest being prepared beforehand before appearing to an HR.
Interviewer- Thank you for a very holistic view of the whole interview process. Can you tell us about some courses that you have taken in the offline or online mode which helped in the preparation for the finance profile?
Anmol- Sure. First of all, every aspirant should go for BMC, i.e. Bloomberg Market Concepts. You’ll just have to register yourself on the Bloomberg terminal using the Institute ID and you can access that course for free. It’s available online and is a very basic course & a good start if you have just started exploring finance. It gives an introduction of the various concepts of economic indicators, and general stuff in the form of short videos of four to five minutes. It’s a very interesting & informative course. Apart from that, there’s a specialization on Coursera, Investment and Portfolio management. It was a combination of five courses. Not to forget, the financial markets course on Coursera. It is more complicated than the other courses that I mentioned. If you have done the basics basic courses well, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Zerodha Varsity is a very good app to know about the Indian market and its complexities. It is well explained on the app and the flashcards were given which were very useful. So, these are some of the online courses that I would suggest.
Offline courses offered by VGSOM Department are really good. In my second year, I did a course called Intro to Financial management. There’s also a parallel course CFFA. So I think that course is also very beneficial for students who want to like go in IB roles.
These are courses that would help you with the basics of accounting and if you’re looking for IB roles specifically, then accounting and corporate finance should be your forte. You should know the basics of accounting as these are asked in the interviews for IB roles. There’s one more course called Financial and Legal aspects of busines which covers the fundamentals of corporate finance and accounting in a very practical manner. Generally, the courses of VGSOM cover the basics of accounting and corporate finance very well, covering two major parts of the questions asked in IB role interviews.
Interviewer- That gives us a very good idea about the courses that one could take to prepare for finance. What is your opinion on the role of PORs i.e. position of responsibilities for such profiles or specifically your role? Did they come in handy during the placements?
Anmol- Definitely. In my interviews. I was asked also about the position of responsibilities. I was in Students’ Alumni Cell in my second year and I explained my responsibilities very well to the interviewers. It portrays that you can connect with people, push yourself in times of need & learn from others. PORs add some weight to your profile. So, that is what companies look forward to, they do not want people who haven’t worked in a team structure. Teamwork and time management skills are a must. You get to know these when you manage PORs. It is a plus point in your CV as well as a great talking point in the interviews.
Interviewer- That must have cleared a lot of doubts regarding PORs. How did your internships help you in the placements?
Anmol- During the shortlisting process, the relevance of the internships is important. I had one internship in Bajaj alliance life and that was a mixture of financial knowledge application and data analysis. It added some weightage to my position. I also had a decent brand name from OYO, in which I had interned as a business analyst and it was a combination of interacting with the business team as well using and manipulating data to form models.You should be able to explain all the metrics and how you calculated them. You should be very clear about your role in the internships. Internships surely helped me a ton at the time of placements.
Interviewer- Any last-minute tips, fundae that you would like to share with your juniors?
Anmol- Yeah. I would say that there is a lot of hype regarding investment banking roles or Markets roles. You should never feel that you will not be able to bag them because you don’t have any big internship in finance. With very good basic knowledge, it can be acquired with a little bit of preparation beforehand. Be clear with the fundamentals. If you follow the above, I think you will be able to grab the interviews easily. Be confident. All the Best!
Interviewer- Thank you very much for your precious time. I hope your advice will prove to be helpful for all of our readers preparing for the finance profile. Thank you very much.
Anmol- Thank you. It was a pleasure being interviewed.