Ever wondered what it's like to work on the cutting edge of investment research, with top Private Equity and Hedge Fund analysts as your clients? We caught up with Bright Network member Mark Hawley who is now a Research Analyst at Cognolink, the leading investment research firm.
Tell us about your background
I studied French at Oxford University, graduating in July 2013 with a 2:1. I completed a few internships before I joined Cognolink, which included placements at the European Union and the House of Commons. As I wanted to continue gaining exposure to a wide variety of industries, and wanted to work somewhere I could use my second language on a daily basis, I decided that Cognolink was the perfect place to start my career.
So, who are Cognolink and what do they do?
Our company works with top-level investing firms, strategy consultants and corporations, and helps them to find the information they need to support complex investment decisions across a range of global markets.
The Research Team's focus is to connect these companies with industry experts who can help them gain an understanding of a particular market; particularly growing trends and market dynamics. We have offices in New York, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong and Shanghai, so we serve an international client base. We currently have 180 employees worldwide and are still growing rapidly.
Tell us about your role and how does this fit into the company overall?
As a Research Analyst in the London office, I search through different industries to find people who best fit the needs of our client. This involves doing my own research to understand the market landscape, then identifying people in the sector who have the relevant experience my client is looking for, and making contact to encourage them to speak to my client. I spend a lot of time on the phone, talking to people from almost every country and industry, so I have quickly gained an understanding of the global business world. Our projects can vary greatly; one day I could be working on a technology project in Paris and the next I am looking at medical devices in Sydney.
Cognolink is a dynamic and sociable place to work.
I see my role as a business matchmaker; firms come to me with their business needs and I work quickly and efficiently to find them the best person to talk to. It's immensely rewarding when you read a newspaper article about a business deal you helped a client with.
Describe a recent project you have worked on
One of my first projects was on nuts and bolts usage in space. This is when I really realised that even the smallest items have investment potential, and that our research could take us anywhere. I never thought I would be having conversations with people who produced items that would end up in space and it was fascinating.
What makes Cognolink a great place to work?
Cognolink is a dynamic and sociable place to work. My training has helped me understand the business world, and I have been given the opportunity to apply what I learned at university, as well as take on a level of responsibility I couldn't have expected elsewhere. The phrase a flat hierarchy is sometimes overused, but it's apt here; I can approach anyone for help and, equally, the senior team is always open to suggestions.
The ideal candidate is probably someone who is business-minded, well-travelled and confident.
Our Team Leaders go out of their way to provide support, whilst also trusting you to be able to work independently.
We work hard, but everyone's successes are noted and celebrated. We all go to the pub on a Thursday, and have an annual company ski trip. My colleagues are from an array of different cultural backgrounds and speak numerous languages, which makes Cognolink a truly international company, both in our work and in our spirit. What makes the company most unique is the fact that they spot talent in people, harness it, and allow it to reach its full potential.
Do you have any tips for applying to Cognolink?
We are all very different but what unifies us is that we are all communicative, curious and confident in handling a lot of responsibility. The ideal candidate is probably someone who is business-minded, well-travelled and confident. What I really like about Cognolink is that personal and professional experience prior to starting are treated with the same importance.