Morgan Stanley Excellence Program?

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smitha2885's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-30

I'm a new member here and have been reading a lot of the forums and wanted to post a question of my own.
My background is this, I am a recent college graduate in Ohio who has always wanted to work in investments and the financial world. I have had my own stock and mutual fund portfolio since I was a freshman in high school and also run several of my relatives portfolios. Portfolio management experience is not a problem of mine, however I wonder if selling myself to clients would be. I have an interview with Morgan Stanley Monday for the MS Reach for Excellence Training Program. Those of you in the industry, is this a good training program to learn the world of a FA from or not? Also, were there some of you who had questions about the initial prospecting for clients before you started or is this just a sign I'm not meant for the industry? I know I could manage the relationship well once I brought in clients, its the bringing in clients that might be harder for me. Anyone with thoughts on the Morgan Stanley program or thoughts for my situation, any thoughtful feedback is welcome. Thanks!

The Judge's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Be aware that running an investment portfolio has very little to do with being a financial advisor, and almost zero with trying to survive the first couple of years.  That's not to say it's of no benefit- it will help you in discussing investments with prospective clients.  A firm like MS (and almost all of the others') will want you to be constantly gathering new assets and farming the "management" to outside providers (mf's, sma's etc).
I would tell almost any person looking to get started in the business the following question: You are in day 1 of production and here is your desk/phone.  How do you intend to gather the necessary assets to survive and eventually prosper?  What methods will you utilize, how will you structure your typical day? Do you realize this is a sales job?  I've seen far too many trainees get caught up in following the market, trying to put together "perfect" portfolios, attempt to be a hero by timing the market, etc.  Almost all are out of the business, and the few that remain are just getting by in terms of production.
I applaud your candor.  If you don't think you can constantly open accounts and gather the necessary assets, consider a position in the field that doesn't require it. 

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

If you are interested in a career in sales, and enjoy investing, this could be for you. But not yet. Right out of college, I would highly recommend against it. Go out and get a sales job in another field. One where you need to network, and build contacts, but one that will pay you wihile you are doing it. Then in 5 years, when you have developed sales skills and a rolodex of good contacts, come into the businesess with MS, SB, OR any other large firm with a good training program.  In the meantime, make a lot of friends, and have fun managing your own portfolio only.

ManagedMoney's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-25

pratoman wrote:If you are interested in a career in sales, and enjoy investing, this could be for you. But not yet. Right out of college, I would highly recommend against it. Go out and get a sales job in another field. One where you need to network, and build contacts, but one that will pay you wihile you are doing it. Then in 5 years, when you have developed sales skills and a rolodex of good contacts, come into the businesess with MS, SB, OR any other large firm with a good training program.  In the meantime, make a lot of friends, and have fun managing your own portfolio only.Excellent advice.

Vin Diesel's picture
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Joined: 2007-04-18

do an internship for a senior broker. ask the manager who he would recommend. this will give you good insight.
the other posts were correct, this is a Sales Job. too many people get drawn to this with many misconceptions. firms don't hire you to be a portfolio manager, they hire you to sign clients.
 

ManagedMoney's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-25

Vin Diesel wrote:do an internship for a senior broker. ask the manager who he would recommend. this will give you good insight.
the other posts were correct, this is a Sales Job. too many people get drawn to this with many misconceptions. firms don't hire you to be a portfolio manager, they hire you to sign clients.
 I think it's much more than a sales job.  It's a relationship building, managing, and maintaining job. (unless, of course, you simply want to be a product shark)

Oldproducer's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-14

So, how did the interview go?

smitha2885's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-30

Thank you for all the input, it is much appreciated. I had my interview yesterday at Morgan Stanley. The only part of the interview that surprised me was that he told me that in the first interview he wouldn't answer any questions or tell me about the training program at all. He made it a point to tell me in this particular program the success rate is very low, with only 20% of trainees lasting through the beginning of their third year. I asked why this was in his opinion and he said he didn't want to answer that question. I believe after the input from here and my research that this is not the right entry level job for myself. I am more of a stock picker and portfolio manager than anything else, and I am afraid I would fall victim to the trying to spend too much time timing the market or finding great stocks or funds for the client rather than looking for new clients. I have another interview coming up with another large Wall Street bank for an institutional investment analyst position, I believe that is more along the lines of what I should try for. Thanks for the help everyone!

bXpress's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-09

Smart move.  As a former MS guy (and I enjoyed my time at MS), you would have been walking into a world in which you must gather new assets and outsource the management of money.  You would need at least 5 to 10 new face to face appointments per week to make it on your own.
The reason for only 20% success?  The other 80% do not work hard enough at the right activities.

tuwu's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-03

Wow, I'm glad I found this forum googling around for MS's Reach for Excellence Training Program. I have an interview with a MS Private Wealth Management branch here in California on Thursday. After reading some of the replies in here sounds like its pretty tough to succeed with the program. Can anyone compare MS's training program level of difficulty to the level of difficulty being a successful realtor or residential mortgage loan officer.I'm curious bXpress, which activities should be focused on more when first starting out as a trainee for MS to have better chances of being successful.

ManagedMoney's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-25

tuwu wrote:Wow, I'm glad I found this forum googling around for MS's Reach for Excellence Training Program. I have an interview with a MS Private Wealth Management branch here in California on Thursday. After reading some of the replies in here sounds like its pretty tough to succeed with the program. Can anyone compare MS's training program level of difficulty to the level of difficulty being a successful realtor or residential mortgage loan officer.I'm curious bXpress, which activities should be focused on more when first starting out as a trainee for MS to have better chances of being successful.
First of all, PWM is a different ballgame than the RFE training program.  The RFE training program is for people in the Global Wealth Management Group.  The most obvious difference between the two organizations is that a client has to have a minimum of $10MM to be a PWM client.The failure rate is so high in the RFE program (and all the other programs that preceded it,) because most trainees don't have a built in network of people who are willing to turn over millions of dollars to them, and they are left to do the same thing everyone else does (i.e. cold calling and seminars, etc.)  They bust their ass all day long, only to bring in nickels and dimes....which ultimately means failure.So, you have to ask yourself the question: "Do I have an existing network that can realistically provide me with $15-20MM in assets in 24 months?"  If the answer is "no," then don't enter the business until the answer becomes "yes."

bXpress's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-09

Managed Money is right about PWN.  Very different world. 

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