Kore Spotlight Series: Financial Analyst

October 14, 2019

Kore Spotlight Series: Financial Analyst

Introducing Kore Spotlight Series

Name: Brandon
City: San Francisco
Profession: Financial Analyst

Rapid Fire Questions

Drink of choice? Whiskey on the rocks
Guilty pleasure? Vanilla cupcake from SusieCakes
Something to splurge on? Exercise (my gym membership)
Something to save on? Going out to eat
Biggest no no in the office? Going to work sick... nobody wants to be sneezed on.

Walk us through your career.

At my school in Boston, we had a program where you work full-time for six months and then go to class for six months as an undergrad student. This provided a great opportunity to “job hop” to get a taste for different careers across different industries. We had to be selected from an applicant pool and go through a full interview process, but it was understood that we would only be there for half of the year to gain experience. 

My first position was at a pretty well known insurance company called Liberty Mutual. After working at Liberty Mutual, I went on to explore finance in other industries by working for State Street Bank (Global Investment Management) and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts also known as KKR (Private Equity). 

Once I graduated from Northeastern University with my Bachelors and had this experience at three different companies, I decided to move to California to be in San Francisco. It's here where I combined all of the experience from my previous roles to land my current job at BlackRock (Global Investment Management). 

What got you into finance?

Having two parents work for various large banks, consulting and accounting firms made it hard to not look towards finance. It was already a part of my life and made sense to pursue something I was already familiar with. It also helped that I excelled at modeling (and I don't mean in the looks department, a model is a spreadsheet that makes quantitative estimates based on a set of underlying assumptions) and mathematics, which are two fundamental skills for the field.

What would you say to someone starting their first day at work?

You can (and should) start learning this stuff on your own whenever you want. In your free time, it helps to start reading articles about personal finance or topics relevant to your industry in the Wall Street Journal, Investopedia, Bloomberg, etc. I say personal finance specifically because that information can directly benefit you in any job you have, as well as your personal life.

Describe a day in the life.

I generally wake up around 7:30 AM and am in the office by 9 AM. Once in the office, I am generally pretty productive doing work and making phone calls until lunchtime. From there, it's all downhill. After lunch on the rooftop patio (a luxury that I take full advantage of) the afternoon is a blur of espresso and spreadsheets. I aim to wrap up around 7 PM and head over to the gym. I get back to my apartment around 9 PM, then make dinner and veg out.

What are your thought on "dress for success"?

Let me counter that with another popular phrase, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." I take pride in my polished button-downs and full-grain leather belts, however people in SF are pretty laidback so dressing for the job I want is not as stuffy as wearing a suit jacket in the middle of summer. Often times you'll go into a meeting and the most important person in the room is dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. Let's just say we all look forward to casual Fridays.

How does your outfit affect your performance?

Look good, feel good. A lot of people hear finance and immediately think "big guy in a suit and tie." This is not the case, at least for me. I prefer to dress down when I can which helps me focus more without worrying about constantly tucking in my shirt or if I'm wearing the right shoes. It's a balance somewhere between a full suit and jeans though I always strive to give off the impression that I am professional.

Best financial advice you've received?

"The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago, and the second best time is today." In this case, planting the tree is starting to save money and the tree growing represents your savings increasing over time. It's never too late to start, but the sooner, the better. Compound interest is very real. If you need some convincing, I highly suggest using a retirement calculator to see how starting to save today will pay off later.  

What's the biggest misconception about your industry?

That we're rolling in money. Sadly, not everyone in this industry is rich... yet! But there's a lot of potential if you work smart and if the market is successful. Also, we do spend a lot of time in the office, but it is mostly spent working as opposed to the crazy parties you've seen on Wolf of Wall Street.

Why should someone invest?

You make your money work for you! Don't let it collect dust in a savings account or under your mattress when it could be growing and generating income. 

What are your thoughts on "quality over quantity"?

Agree almost universally. In a lot of cases, paying more for a quality item will actually benefit you in the long term, as it will outlast cheaper usually inferior purchases. For example, I "splurged" on $100 OluKai flip flops and guess who's still wearing them two years later?

How should someone approach the stock market?

Don't try to be a day trader. The market will go up and down often, so don’t get scared, rather plan to hold for the long term. You’ll also want to diversify your portfolio, meaning don't put all your money in one place.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Dropping everything and moving to California from my life on the East Coast. I was able to put all reservations aside and get on a plane in Newark with a one-way ticket. I’m still here with a job and apartment, so I would say it’s going well. However, I have my sister and brother-in-law to thank for housing me in the initial stages and teaching me the art of pour-over coffee.

What rules do you follow in life and at work?

You get out according to what you put in.

What tools do you use to optimize your performance?

Coffee. Computers. Comfortability. Did I say coffee? Definitely coffee.

Who do you look up to?

My dad and my boss. They are the smartest, most ambitious people I know. Intellectual curiosity doesn't even fully cover their drive to understand things and make the most of the resources available to them. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from their successful habits is how to be independent. Teach yourself how to do things rather than relying on others. Self sufficiency. 

Advice for the everyday man on saving?

Bring lunch.

Pick one emoji to describe yourself.

The smirking one... 😏

Why do you choose Kore?

It’s pretty simple actually, Kore makes great stuff. The trackline in the belt is a game-changer for making small adjustments throughout the day. Also, the pull-tab on the wallet makes accessing my credit card super convenient! When I'm on-the-go I don't need to think twice about where my Kore sunglasses are because they're magnetically clipped to my shirt. Overall, Kore does it better ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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