How an Engineer Became an Equity Analyst


Student: Rajendran Valliappan, Analyst CRISIL

The Beginning

“My mother wants to talk to you about the course,” said Rajendran on the second call while enquiring about the course. It’s always very confusing to me when faced with answering family members of the students. The trouble comes with the emotional investment that the student carries.

Go ahead, I said! Not realizing that her mother was behind him and the call was supposed to happen simultaneously.

Problem to Solve

I was scared to tell you the truth because I have seen in the past how big education institutions take up such challenges and fail to deliver the promise.

 However, I can’t resist a challenge because I feel each student, irrespective of his background in education or work experience, can get a career. The only condition is, that the student needs to have the same tenacity as I have in getting him a break.

Rajendran came from civil engineering background from a reputed college and had discovered his love for numbers and investments. It’s hard not to take up such projects when the client is clear on his or her goals.

So we did!

The Journey

I wanted him to get as much exposure to interviews as possible. There was no point waiting till the end of the financial Modeling course to get him to sit for interviews.

So we did. We arranged interviews with multiple companies, using references, sometimes favours. It’s like promoting new wane to be an actor in the film industry. The directors are the HR recruiters or managers who run the show of deciding whether Rajendran gets a chance to show off his skills or not.

So multiple rounds were arranged, only to realize many such interviews ended up with the position itself scrapped.

For instance, with a lot of luck, there was a position open at BNY Mellon for a Quant analyst, only to realize that later the position was scrapped.

What Worked and How

In the end, I think Rajendran ended up inspiring me. “ Sir, I am just focussing on enjoying the course at the moment”.

That was a killer statement, and I use it today to tell students to focus on the “Now”, not on the outcome. While we were trying to find the best-suited opportunity for him, he did what he could do best at that moment. Which is to focus on being good at financial statements, being versed with various valuation techniques, and following and reading more than what is required to be done.

One fine morning Rajendran called me up and said, “He got the opportunity in CRISIL, and I am joining on Monday”. Luck does favour the brave, we had been following up the hierarchy of CRISIL to get this lad a chance, which was promised, but one day a link in CRISIL analyst happened to see the model he made and gave him a chance to explain the model.

Have you ever had that moment when you felt that what you believed should come true one day? Which, at the start, felt like a principle but not practical. That’s what we felt as a team.

One Lesson For you,

  • Focus on the “Now”! Imagine if Rajendran was just constantly paranoid about getting a job, and when that linked in analyst, finally would have given him the opportunity, only to realize that he doesn’t know financial Modeling itself.

Author: Allen Aravindan, CFA

Founder Mentor Me Careers