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Blake Harper
Research Assistant

"A good fit is where you both have a good idea of what your abilities are. You need to find out what they need out of you so you can deliver."

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

The most important thing in an interview is to find a good fit. This is discounted a lot because you want to impress the interviewer, but almost as important as making a good impression is making sure you fit with the person that you're working for because the job is very team-oriented. Recognizing that Paine Webber was the best fit for me was a defining moment.

How did you get your big breaks?

I started as a research assistant. That's good for someone coming out of college. It's actually very hard to get into that position right out of college. You need to have probably done an internship somewhere, but if you're somebody who's had a year out it's really good.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Get to know the company you interested in working for and especially the ones you are meeting with for interviews. In my case, that was Paine Webber. If you have to ask general information about Paine Webber, then obviously you can't figure that out and you're not right for the job.

What have you learned from your experience?

You walk in with varying levels of knowledge in an area. In some cases the entry person would do a lot of administrative work in the beginning, which doesn't require a lot of experience. In other cases they want you to be able to pick up and be able to do the work that they need you to do instantly, analytical work. You need to get an idea of what they need out of you. A good fit is where you both have a good idea of what your abilities are. You need to find out what they need out of you so you can deliver.

What most excites you about your job right now?

Working for the analyst who covers and makes recommendations on stocks in an industry. I've learned a great deal by supporting my boss, helping him write research reports which go out to people who manage money for mutual funds. Some of the research gets filtered down to bankers at Paine Webber, which then gets let out to retail clients. It's challenging work and excellent experience for me to have at this point in my career.

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