My little claim to fame as a junior analyst sprang

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My little claim to fame as a junior analyst sprang from an observation I’d made soon after arriving at the firm. Anytime a company reported earnings, everyone on the trading desk wanted to have the numbers at his fingertips—was this earnings figure a good number or a bad number? When I got to Goldman, I noticed that everybody was scrambling to find the research reports, to see what the numbers were. So I came up with the idea of writing a simple five-line e-mail before the earnings came out, and I sent it to all the sales traders and traders on the forty-ninth floor. It read something
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like “This morning, Apple is releasing its earnings. This is what we expect; this is what it did last quarter; this is how many iMacs it sold; this is how many we predict it will sell.” It was like a little cheat sheet that all the traders had in front of them ahead of time. This was the kind of thing a junior analyst could do before passing the Series 7. It may seem silly and small, but when people saw you doing it, they thought, This guy is resourceful. He’s trying to think of ways to help us. Another part of my day consisted of learning how to leave good voice mails for clients. This was my apprenticeship, the way I learned how to talk about stocks. Every day, I would practice getting the form down: the voice mail had to be no longer than ninety seconds, and it had to hit four or five key points for the day. What were the big market-moving events? What did the client need to know? What was our view? I learned by listening to a master of the art: Rudy. The reason my rabbi was called the Beast was because he could bang these calls out to more clients than anyone else, always with enthusiasm and thorough market knowledge. The Beast had a reason for delivering these mini-reports by voice mail instead of e-mail: he felt that the tone of his voice could convey exactly the right emphasis on any given point. Later on in my career, frankly, I started thinking voice mails were stupid. When a client receives a hundred of them in a morning, what are the odds he’s going to listen to yours? And in any case, once I started getting to know my clients well, my relationship with them became good enough that they would pick up my call when they saw my number on their Caller ID. The wagering action on how we first-years would do on the Series 7 definitely ratcheted down a few notches after September 11. Nobody on the trading floor was in an especially feisty mood. Nor was I. Having gotten a glimpse of how hard the test was, I buckled down even more in my studying, to the point where I was scoring 82 and 83 on the practice exams. But it was very difficult finding the motivation to study during this period. A month after the attacks, the Series 7 test takers went back to One Penn Plaza. Same elevator.
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