A Credit Research Analyst is a professional who does the job of evaluating a lender’s credit value. In simpler terms, he/she determines if the borrower, whether an individual or company, can repay the financial commitments by analysing their credit records, recent trends, and economic conditions.
Typically hired by banking firms, credit rating agencies, investors, and credit card issuing authorities, it is a job that comes with its fair shares of perks and offers an immense exposure to various industries, making it a hot choice among STEM and finance majors.
In the following read, we have laid out the points which will help you carve a path for that Credit Research Analyst position.
Seeking the right undergraduate major
Credit Analyst positions are often regarded as the gateway into the finance industry; hence, needless to say, a three/four-year bachelor’s degree in finance, actuarial sciences, accounting, business management etc. would be favorable for this position. That being said, many firms may also hire engineering, economics, statistics, or even mathematics majors given they have taken relevant courses during their undergrad. Relevant courses often include – Basic accounting, derivatives, ratio analysis, managerial economics, industry assessment, financial statement analysis, and finance quantitative analysis.
Experience is the key
No degree can surpass the value of hands-on experience, especially in the case of finance related jobs. Credit Research Analyst is a profession where your success is highly correlated with your experience. Thus, gaining a prior experience in the form of an internship or industry training becomes imperative for bagging that first interview. If your school provides with such an opportunity, good. Else, try applying on your own or rather, try getting a referral for an internship.
Seek positions in accounting and credit departments. This will undoubtedly add value to your resume.
Not necessarily a requirement for finance majors, however, can be favourable for non-finance majors in the early stages of their careers. There are plenty of online courses which can be completed while working fulltime and add value to your resume or at least give some points to speak about in the interview.
Speaking of certifications, Charted Finance Analyst (CFA) certification provided by the CFA Institute, USA is one of the most sought-after certifications and substantiates your profile immensely. CFA designation requires passing a three-tiered examination that covers accounting, ethics, economics, money management, derivatives among other subjects. A bachelor’s degree is the basic eligibility to apply for CFA and requires quite a preparation for passing the exams.
Create a resume that emphasises relevant experiences such as certifications and finance-related internships and describes them well in your cover letter. Also, an excellent academic record is highly appreciated in this industry. Be sure to highlight that if you have one.
On the job
Getting your first job as Credit Research Analyst should give you no research to slack towards your career advancement. In this immensely competitive field, one has to make the right steps to build upon your profile. Apart from being diligent, keep yourself updated with the financial aspects of the industries apart from yours so that you have a bright idea when you’re applying for jobs next time. A right finance professional is also expected to have the right quantitative, analysis, and data visualisation skills, along with an expertise in financial software like Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and other related tools.
In any case, do not narrow yourself to a particular task. Be prepared to multitask whenever the situation demands you to.
The Bottom Line
The current hype about the insanely stressful working conditions in the finance sector is not a hoax. While a career as a Credit Research Analyst might sound rewarding as it exposes you to many industries and paves your path towards more prominent roles such as IB or Portfolio manager, it has many hind-sights which make not precisely the thing you wished to do. These professionals shoulder a huge responsibility, and their actions can have a vast on the firm's financial health. Hence, an extensive homework is a must before entering into this field regarding one’s aptitude of crunching numbers, career ambitions, and most importantly, stress handling capability.
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