A Day in the Life of an Equity Sales Analyst

Christine Zhou graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA in Natural Sciences. She is now an Equity Sales Analyst in Institutional Equities at Morgan Stanley.

Tell us about an average day at Morgan Stanley/ tell us about your role

My day typically begins around 6:30am, when the team prepares a market run-down based on the news events from other regions overnight. The sales and research teams gather each morning to discuss these events and how they may impact the market. At these meetings we also outline key trading ideas. The rest of the day is generally tailored around client requirements – this could be a mix of pitching ideas (over email/phone/ Bloomberg / in person), bringing corporates and research analysts to meet clients as well as dealing with bespoke requests.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I like how dynamic and varied it is – no one day is the same. As the market moves, we have to adapt our ideas and thinking. This makes every day different and requires you to always be on top of current affairs and market developments.

What do you find difficult or challenging?

The biggest challenge is being thrown into a whole new language: the vocabulary of finance, with lots of new information to digest. It can be a bit overwhelming at first but this means that you learn something new every day. Which is both challenging and intellectually stimulating.

What did the application process involve?

Firstly I applied by submitting a CV and cover letter to my program and division of choice, followed by an online numerical test and first round interviews.  I was then invited to an assessment centre – this included another numerical test, group exercise task and further interviews, one of which was strengths-based.

What advice would you give to students thinking of applying to Morgan Stanley?

Don’t worry about your academic background, instead focus on what you’re interested in and what you’ve dedicated your time to over the years. This will show your commitment and drive which is what recruiters look for in the early stages of the process. Otherwise, an interest in current affairs is a must and I would advise that you try and understand as much about the role/division as you can before applying, as well as get a feel for our culture.

Has your non-financial background held you back in any way?

I don’t think so. Prior financial knowledge is not assumed and the training Morgan Stanley provides really does take that into account. If anything, additional knowledge in another area can come in handy when you least expect it, for example when I’m looking at pharmaceutical stock ideas.

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