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Josh Epstein
Equity Analyst

"I think there's potential to do both make a lot of money and do interesting work, which is important to be able to wake up and want to go and do your job."

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

Coming out of college, I wanted to do something that was both challenging and gave someone a lot of responsibility. The two fields I really looked at were investment banking and management consulting. I interviewed at some consulting firms. I felt their input was sort of dependent on the project. I mean you could consult on a project for six months, have management say "Thank you very much. Have a nice day," and that would be it; you would be left with no tangible evidence of your accomplishments. In investment banking, the interviews that I went on, there was more of a sense of you're working on a deal team, you're working to do something concrete, to put a company on NASDAQ.

How did you get your big breaks?

I got this job through a couple of rounds of interviews. As most placement officers know, if you know somebody on the inside, they?ll put your resume in, and that helps a little bit. It certainly helped with me. Somebody put my resume in, I went through three rounds of interviews, and I got the job.

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

A good piece of advice was the one that I got in our training session: If you're the type of person who needs to set yourself a schedule, who needs to know what they're doing a week in advance, who needs to buy play tickets or movie tickets a week in advance, you're not going to do well in this field because it is inevitable that those plans will be cancelled and you will not be going out on the nights you intend to go out. If you're the kind of person who can see a night ending at 7 p.m. and say, "Great! Let me call a couple of friends and go out, or let me go home and get some sleep," you're going to be okay in this job because you've got to know that it's your responsibility that whether the work comes in at 7:00 at night or at 9:00 in the morning, giving you all day to finish it, it's still your responsibility to get it done.

What have you learned from your experience?

The investment banking analyst has to know that he is embarking on a trip that is going to be a couple of years, and he has to say "I'm willing to give it all for the couple of years," because I think the reward at the end of the few of years, the experience that it's given me, and the doors that it's opened for me, are worth the trade-off in terms of the lifestyle you're used to. Most people will say yes. To tell you the truth, being in investment banking has taught me that I don't want to be an investment banker. I still am very interested in going to business school, and I think that?s what I'll probably be doing at the end of my third year here.

What most excites you about your job right now?

I'm an equity analyst, meaning I work specifically with technology companies and another interesting facet of the job is that we get to know these companies from the beginning to the end, meaning from the prospecting, finding these small companies, to pitching them, going out there, and both selling our capabilities, and what we think they should do in terms of their financing future to winning the deal, and then actually executing the deal, so we get to know these companies from the very beginning (work intimately with ceos, cfos, senior mgmt to set up biz strategy) and that involves valuation of what the company's worth in the market, and it also involves a lot of advice on how to structure themselves going forward. Once you're a public company, you don't have the comfort that a private company has in terms of anything you do. Any announcement you make is out there for your investors to see. So you've got to have, not only where you are now, but you've got to have a strategy 3-4 years into the future. And we're helpful in creating that growth structure. What I like about investment banking is the sense of doing something for somebody. It may not be socially beneficial, I?m not saving the world, but I'm certainly working on very interesting, very important projects.

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

What I've been introduced to here is what you call the "sell" side, meaning we'll take it public and sell it to the public. The people who buy most of those transactions are institutions, fund managers, portfolio managers, institutional investors like Fidelity. I think the other side of the table, called the "buy" side as you can guess, is also very interesting and something that a lot of people don't look into when they're an undergrad, but it's something that I feel in the world of finance and I'm certainly interested in staying in finance. I think it's exciting, I think it's fast moving, I think there?s potential to do both make a lot of money and do interesting work, which is important to be able to wake up and want to go and do your job. I think there are a lot of other fields, like asset management and portfolio management, which are just as interesting without the crazy lifestyle. So there are other areas I'm looking into as a long-term career.

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