A day in the life of an associate equities trader at Morgan Stanley

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Heather Cameron Watt studied European Studies at Trinity College Dublin. She was a summer analyst at Morgan Stanley in 2013 and now works as an associate in equities, London.

What made you choose investment banking?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do while I was at school or university, so studied quite a broad degree in languages, which was something I really enjoyed at school. In the summers I did quite a lot of work experience in law and politics, and although they were both interesting, I felt like I wanted to do something a bit more fast-paced. My parents are both involved in investment management so it felt like a natural career path for me. I did a couple of internships in finance and enjoyed them very much so I decided to pursue a career in this field.

[caption id="attachment_257480" align="alignleft" width="241"]Heather Cameron Watt Heather Cameron Watt[/caption]

Describe the three main elements of your role.

I work in global equity sales, covering clients in London and Asia who invest with global mandates. I broker stock ideas to them, discuss the markets and help them with their investment process. Every client is different, so you need to learn to listen to what they need and then try and provide the solution. On the sales team we also are involved in the IPO and block-trade parts of the business, so it can be quite varied day-to-day if we have a deal launch. I also help my team create a quarterly ideas pack, spending time researching the investment cases of 20 different stocks, and then going out to ideas meetings to pitch them to my clients. Talking to clients is the best bit about my job.

What have you been working on today?

I have just been in a meeting with a client from Singapore to discuss ideas on how to run his funds on a long and short period of time. This afternoon I am going to our Latam conference to meet some more clients and listen to some corporates presenting – emerging markets have become a big focus over the summer, so I am looking for some interesting companies. We also have had a deal launch this morning, so I have been involved with that as well. In between that I have been responding to client requests and also doing some prep work on a conference that I help organise every January. I really enjoy how much a day can vary – one minute I am looking at the investment thesis on IBM and its technology platform Watson, the next a client could call for our view on EM currencies, and the next I could be working on a bespoke field trip – it keeps you on your toes.

What makes you good at your current position?

I am lucky that I love stocks and markets, and speaking to my clients. Enjoying your job makes it a lot easier! Working with my team is great – they’re a great support network, and I learn so much every day from them. I have also learnt to be quite organised – there can be a lot going on so you need to be methodical to get your work done.

What's the most interesting part of your job?

Definitely speaking to clients and discussing the markets with them, and helping them out when they have a question or a problem they need to solve.

And the least interesting?

Commuting to work – I’ve now started running home a few times a week to make the most of the time.

What are the three key skills needed to succeed in investment banking?

In order to succeed in this environment you need to be intellectually curious, proactive and most importantly a good team player.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully continuing to contribute to my team’s wins and the firm’s continued success. I’d also like to run a marathon in the next five years.

What made you stand out from other applicants? What advice would you offer to others looking for an investment banking job?

I come from a non-finance background (I studied European Studies with Spanish and French at University) and speak three languages, so I think that helped me stand out at the interview stage. I also had done lots of different work experience – in law, finance, politics and even tourism – so I had quite a lot to talk about at the interview. My advice is to try and do a lot of work experience to try and find out what interests you and then hopefully that will lead to the right role (like it did for me). There’s nothing wrong with trying lots of industries and sectors until you find what is right for you. If you are applying for a job at Morgan Stanley, read our website, learn about our strengths and think about where you would fit best in the bank. We have some great spring insight weeks and a fantastic summer internship that are ways to experience investment banking from within a bank – and will show you how many different types of jobs and people work here. They are a great place to start for an intro to investment banking. Also, enjoy university, travel and do lots of extra-curricular activities!

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