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Career Case Study: Sales, Trading and Research


Michelle Yuan, Analyst, Asia-ex Japan cash equity sales, J.P.Morgan, Hong Kong

Michelle graduated from Columbia University, New York in 2011 with a BA in Economics. She interned at J.P. Morgan in Hong Kong for three months before moving into her current role in August 2011.

“Sales is a personality-driven job: you need to be outgoing, energetic and quick-thinking. During my summer internship in the sales and trading division, it became clear that sales was most suited to my skills.

My working day starts at 6.45am, and I have a little time to read the news and research before the trading meeting at 7am, where we discuss trading ideas for the region. This is followed by the research meeting where analysts provide an update on different companies or sectors as well as discussing any questions clients may ask. We then share our trade ideas with clients and assist them in making the best judgement.

In sales, you must know how to look at stocks, analyse companies, and assess the markets. Clients are constantly asking you questions, so you need to stay on top of the news and be able to absorb and digest information quickly. The market is very dynamic, which keeps the job interesting; even on a slow day something is always happening.

You definitely need to be a people person to be successful in sales. It’s also important to be proactive: clients have about 10-20 other sales people feeding them ideas and offering them meetings with their research analysts. The biggest challenge in this job is time management. Aside from multiple client meetings, you will also need to prepare for any unexpected tasks due to intra-day market changes.

If you are keen on breaking into the industry, be sure you really like the financial markets and love talking about them the whole day. You definitely don’t want to be waking up at 5.30am if you don’t enjoy it. The hours are intensive, and you’ll receive responsibility right from the start, so you’ll have to be open-minded and flexible.”

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