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Anyone want to help a New Grad out ?


Green King
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Hi all

I have been join this board for awhile now and I learned allot i have you all thank. I am graduating this April i can't see my self doing anything but value investing. most because it's requirement for the capacity to suffer, life long knowledge accumulation and main because of the margin of safety.

 

All i in life right now is to get myself in the door. I was wondering if anyone you professionals out there can help a guy out and give me a chance to buy you lunch or dinner so i can have some time to pick your brain.  ;D

 

I am located in Ontario Canada but i will be in New York for a conference for the next 3 days. I was wondering if there is any generous people out to spare some time.

Please message me if you have time or want some information on my background.

 

Cheers

GK

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Suggestion:

Make a list of the people you want to have lunch with; having coffee might work out cheaper. There are probably at least 50 people in Ontario worth seeing.

If you run out of names then start a thread on this board and ask people for names in the industry they think are worth having coffee with. Ask George over at Ivy for names.

Turn your post above into a letter and keep it to one page and write to all those people and add in there what it is specific to them that you want to learn more about.

Then hand deliver it as much as you can, with a hand written note pointing out that you dropped in to deliver it.

 

Then hold thumbs. You will be surprised who replies.

 

It worked for me, because I was simply thinking. Honestly, what do I have to lose? Every Buffett, Chou and Watsa that replies make up for all those asses that could not be bothered.

 

P.S. With the upcoming Fairfax AGM you will have a flock of great managers flying in from all over the world.

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I second MrB's recommendation, nothing works like the good old informational interview.  People LOVE to talk about themselves and give advice. 

 

I would meet with people, ask them about their experiences, what they think is important in the industry and how they'd go about getting a job if they were in your shoes.

 

I'd also think about bringing a sample of some of your ideas in case someone asks. 

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Suggestion:

Make a list of the people you want to have lunch with; having coffee might work out cheaper. There are probably at least 50 people in Ontario worth seeing.

If you run out of names then start a thread on this board and ask people for names in the industry they think are worth having coffee with. Ask George over at Ivy for names.

Turn your post above into a letter and keep it to one page and write to all those people and add in there what it is specific to them that you want to learn more about.

Then hand deliver it as much as you can, with a hand written note pointing out that you dropped in to deliver it.

 

Then hold thumbs. You will be surprised who replies.

 

It worked for me, because I was simply thinking. Honestly, what do I have to lose? Every Buffett, Chou and Watsa that replies make up for all those asses that could not be bothered.

 

P.S. With the upcoming Fairfax AGM you will have a flock of great managers flying in from all over the world.

 

Great advice!  That's what I did too. 

 

By the way, you can always send a letter to MrB, because he's one of the guys you should have coffee with too!  ;D  Cheers!

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Suggestion:

Make a list of the people you want to have lunch with; having coffee might work out cheaper. There are probably at least 50 people in Ontario worth seeing.

If you run out of names then start a thread on this board and ask people for names in the industry they think are worth having coffee with. Ask George over at Ivy for names.

Turn your post above into a letter and keep it to one page and write to all those people and add in there what it is specific to them that you want to learn more about.

Then hand deliver it as much as you can, with a hand written note pointing out that you dropped in to deliver it.

 

Then hold thumbs. You will be surprised who replies.

 

It worked for me, because I was simply thinking. Honestly, what do I have to lose? Every Buffett, Chou and Watsa that replies make up for all those asses that could not be bothered.

 

P.S. With the upcoming Fairfax AGM you will have a flock of great managers flying in from all over the world.

 

Great advice!  That's what I did too. 

 

By the way, you can always send a letter to MrB, because he's one of the guys you should have coffee with too!  ;D  Cheers!

 

Not to mention this guy. ^^^  ;)

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GK

 

THE best thing you can do for yourself - is set up a game plan - AND a hedge if it doesn't work out. For most people, that means 5 years apprenticing as a senior financial analyst working for one of the major industrials in your sector of interest. DO NOT WORK FOR A BANK.

 

In your apprenticeship;

- Work only for #1, 2, or 3 in the sector that you've chosen. You know squat, they are the experts at what they do, & you are there to learn. Youth, humility, & emotional maturity are your biggest assets.

- Use the time to do your CFA exams, & expect to fail at least twice. Your aim is to pass the exams before life happens (spouse, kids, etc), &/or you return to school - NOT get the designation itself.

- Invest your savings in the sector, & stay away from the industry analysts. Talk to the company lifers (they have a track record of having successfully exploited the changes in the industry since you were in daipers), develop your own opinions. Experiment, & don't be shy. Your hedge is your growing circle of competency, & the small $ that you are playing with.

 

Return to school;

- Business plan. How you're going to do value investing.

- MBA. The narrow view is a school in the geographic area that you would like to work - working summers for the investment firms in that area (building contacts & pursuing the experience required for your actual CFA designation). The broad view is a school in a different country where you would like to work - language, culture, contacts, experience all being built during your summers.

 

Lessons learnt.

 

When starting out try to work for a working Bronfman, Irving, Desmarais, etc (long list). There is nothing like having to explain DIRECTLY to the guy whose $ you've just wasted - & in time you want to BE that guy. If not an owner then the GE's of the world - but always the best.

 

The real money is in building things, not trading. Acquire, develop, build companies then IPO/sell when you've taken them as far as you can go. You want to be a Gates, Zuckerberg, etc - not the valet financial advisor that you slip a tip to.

 

Most securities analysts have a short life - that roughly follows a 20% declining balance amortization. Make a lot in a short term, then get fired - & essentially become unemployable. If you originally came from industry, you go back to it - & with enough cash to buy a real stake in the business.

 

We wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, but don't let the bright lights blind you.

 

SD

 

 

 

 

 

   

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What a great thread!

 

I'm in a similar situation myself. Just graduated from college and am very keen on beginning a career in value investing. Good tips here indeed.

 

Sharper, why don't you think it is good to work for a bank?

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I disagree with Sharper's argument against working for banks.

 

Look, if you want to end up at a buy side fund, the most straightforward route is to go the investment banking route. Look at almost any value fund that employs handfuls of analysts, they all tend to have a couple years of i-banking experience.

 

That's not to say its an absolute requirement, it isn't, but you'll just end up having a harder time breaking in.

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I disagree with Sharper's argument against working for banks.

 

Look, if you want to end up at a buy side fund, the most straightforward route is to go the investment banking route. Look at almost any value fund that employs handfuls of analysts, they all tend to have a couple years of i-banking experience.

 

That's not to say its an absolute requirement, it isn't, but you'll just end up having a harder time breaking in.

 

I agree. Saying "don't work for the banks" in an absolute manner is ridiculous.

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Your biggest asset starting out is your chutzpah, youth, & willingness/ability to take on risk. Your ask should not be "Please Sir, give me a job in your company". It should be "I've come to work for the best, I'm hands on, I'm here to learn, & we're all getting old - what can we do to make it happen? Your chair is safe for now - but dont get too comfortable". Doesn't play well in bank culture.

 

To the senior operational people that matter, this is gold. They will grille you 10 ways to Sunday, & own you if you pass, you will be given opportunities during your stay far better than you could possibly imagine - so much so that the banks just are not competitive. You'll work a 50hr+ week on a regular basis, & not even notice it.

 

If you want the invesment world, do a year or two in an I-Bank as an analyst for that sector - before doing the MBA. Your operational experience in that sector, senior level contacts, & progress on the CFA exams should put you in the top 1/3 of all candidates.

 

Keep in touch with those in the company that brung ya, & when it's over - go back to work for them. You'll probably find yourself running a division, LOB, or something else equally challenging.

 

We've nothing against working for banks, just not in the early stages of an entrepreneurial career.

 

Good luck with your pitch!

 

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I think that some of the advice in this thread about where specifically to go is misguided, although well intentioned.  Of course, come up with a list of the "best" and ideal positions you would like.  But the truth is that many (most) of these kinds of jobs are incredibly competitive and tough to get into unless one is coming out of a top undergrad or B school depending on the desired position.  If that was the case here he wouldn't be asking the question. 

 

So what should the young grasshopper do?  Simple.  Get in anyway he can.  Search far and wide.  Find a job that is somehow related to investing whether it's at a bank, a fund, a company, or at worst managing his uncle's portfolio.  Take it.  Do the best you can.  Impress people and get some experience under your belt.  It's amazing that once there is that experience jobs open up.  It may be "impossible" to get a certain desired job at a fund or bank or wherever right now, but things cycle.  The day will come again when they need bodies.  And when that day comes and they've exhausted the supply of Harvard and Wharton grads, they will look to experience rather than pedigree.

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We might add;

- Sharp elbows, thick skin, and a sense of humour.

- Common touch, speak your mind, & fair dealing.

- Compete hard - all is fair in love & war!

- Find a mentor to polish you up.

 

No one is going to give you a break - but maybe 1 in 15 will tell somebody else "you have to see this guy to believe it". Maybe 1:5 of those will then give you a try - just to see if you screw up. You're in! 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect

 

Good luck

 

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Very good advice SD.

Very tough to execute though, but in the long run to keep your training pure is the smart thing to do. Also, you have to be 110% sure you want to be the guy that gets excited by reading 10-k's late into the night. Unless you really enjoy it, it is a pretty sad way to spend your life. That is probably why so few investors are good at it, because frankly for most people it is too darn boring.

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Thank You all for putting so much of your time for your high quality responses.

 

Is there any other way of analyzing a company than reading 10ks? i mean in terms of taking less time and be more efficient in terms of producing the same results ?

it reminded a quote for a books about the Greek conquest during time of alexander the great something like "i know this is not the best,  but soldiering is all i know."

 

 

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Thank You all for putting so much of your time for your high quality responses.

 

Is there any other way of analyzing a company than reading 10ks? i mean in terms of taking less time and be more efficient in terms of producing the same results ?

 

 

NO!  Shortcuts lead to poor results or even worse...catastrophic decisions! 

 

Over time, all of the 10-K's you go through will create a significant base of knowledge for you to work with.  You will get faster and faster, and out of habit, you will be able to go to exactly the areas you need to examine. 

 

But to put it as bluntly as I can, because it is for your own benefit and your future client's benefit:  If you don't want to do the work, then it is not for you.  Cheers!

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Thank You all for putting so much of your time for your high quality responses.

 

Is there any other way of analyzing a company than reading 10ks? i mean in terms of taking less time and be more efficient in terms of producing the same results ?

 

 

NO!  Shortcuts lead to poor results or even worse...catastrophic decisions! 

 

Over time, all of the 10-K's you go through will create a significant base of knowledge for you to work with.  You will get faster and faster, and out of habit, you will be able to go to exactly the areas you need to examine. 

 

But to put it as bluntly as I can, because it is for your own benefit and your future client's benefit:  If you don't want to do the work, then it is not for you.  Cheers!

 

Also, in many cases the bull thesis is simple and, hopefully, rolls over nuance. The bulk of the work is finding the red flags and the questions for which you have no reasonable answers.

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One thing you can do is to focus your area of reserach is to pick an out of favor sector and dive into the 10-Ks and data from investor relations briefings.  Also look at the proxies and how the top dogs are being compensated.  If you find some smaller firms you can request to speak with CFO and many times they will speak if you have a focused list of questions.  I have done this a few times.  Once you start looking at firms data and events, you will be able to see what is going on.  Once you have picked your industry, it easier to filter out data and build a circle of competitance.

 

Packer

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