• 01 Feb

Real research vs number crunching – the analyst’s view

As a credit analyst in India, there are a number of research firms touting themselves to you as offering global work. I chose Frontline because it offered me the chance to do real research and not just number crunching, while giving me the training I needed to do it.

In my mind, the most important aspect of a workplace’s value addition to an employee is the practical skills & expertise one picks up. This has traditionally been limited to classroom based training programs, especially in mass-market outsourcing firms (I used to work in one), where a good 30-40 people are put into a room, listen to a monotonous talk and are made to watch a PowerPoint presentation.

The retention & learning from such sessions is questionable. Let’s be frank – it’s minimal. Thankfully, training typically lasts one week in mass-market outsourcing firms, as opposed to 3 months with Frontline.

Another facet of corporate life, which I have seen across organizations and often debated among friends, is the concept of organizational hierarchies. I have gradually come to believe in the benefits of flatter hierarchy and its importance in shaping the careers of young minds.

Having easy access to senior management can play a big role in how the younger team members develop and the kind of ideals they value. Moreover, senior management at Frontline are all City analysts with great global experience, not generic or IT industry managers as at other firms. At Frontline, I have learnt some finer nuances, while having a project call with our mentors who are in London, Hong Kong and the USA, or discussing organization matters with our CEO.

“You are only as good as the company you keep.” Isn’t this true? Having a team of smart, knowledgeable and positive people can have an amazing impact on your productivity and happiness. I think this is a powerful way to infuse positive energy. I have been quite fortunate in this regard and have generally had a team which is rocking and full of energy.

At Frontline, people get recruited from the best of academic colleges and have awesome pedigrees. This reflects in the team energy and bonding, with each one egging the other to achieve more and be more skilled.

I have an infant daughter, with her own demands for my time and attention. Balancing work-life is a challenge for most single souls, let aside for a mother of an infant. Frontline has helped me immensely here, with allowing part time work as well as flexi work hours. This is something for which I cannot thank Frontline enough; probably the only place I know of to allow for such employee friendly policies. This sort of flexibility is only possible where analysts are respected for adding value, not just asked to crunch numbers.

The softer aspects of an organization set the tone for the culture and ethos of the place. But all of the good intentions/efforts can come to nought, if the work on offer is not challenging enough. I have been part of teams, where a monotonous task of data entry for weeks can leave you sapped, which no amount of pep talk can get you out of. One has to see value in the work being done: value to the client and satisfaction to one’s own intellectual/creative hunger. At Frontline, I have done much more than what I had hoped for in a very short time period.

I’ve had the opportunity to work on multiple sectors, be the expert and make a difference to clients by providing them key inputs to decision making on large credit decisions, take important decisions in the recommendations we make to our clients and so on. While all of these have made me feel happy, the hunger to do and achieve more has only increased.