Felix wrote:ER is a field that interests me however one that I am not entirely sure and thus, something I am not entirely sure I want. Regardless, I am a BS level associate and thus feel I am under qualified in competing with those that have experience in the field or those that don't but have Phds. Even if I were to go to a similar route as you to get first level of CFA, wouldn't a firm choose a PhD vs a BS given the choice?
I will just state some facts and observations, and it's up to you to decide if ER is an area you want to pursue.
Biotech ER is the easiest field for a PhD or MD to get into because it is very technical and requires a lot of deep literature research and analysis. Banks feel that PhDs have demonstrated they can do this. Banks like MDs because they understand the clinical side of drug development (which makes it very easy for him/her to understand how severe a drugs adverse events actually are).
BS level may find it easier to go into Specialty Pharma, Medical devices, or medical services equity research positions because they're less "technical" in nature - HOWEVER - these positions typically require better financial analysis knowledge since these companies are typically "cash flow positive" and have more complicated financial statements due to being more mature, developed companies (compared to biotech).
I think most biotech equity research associates have a PhD or MD. But NOT ALL DO. But they may compensate for this with stronger financial backgrounds (financial B.S. background, CFA, or MBA -- or other job on "the street" before becoming an associate).
Do I know any Science B.S. level associates in health care equity research who entered "the street" straight from undergrad? No. But I have only been on the street for 3 months - I obviously don't know everyone.
Some of the PhDs and MDs I have encountered on the street had passed all three CFA exams before they applied for jobs (you cannot officially apply for the CFA title until all three exams are done AND you have four years of work experience - so these people only could claim the CFA exams were passsed)!!! CRAZINESS! I passed CFA level one, and feel it was critical for me to get job interviews. I guess what I'm saying is I think CFA level I was necessary for me to get interviews, but there were people competing with me for jobs that had an advanced degree AND more CFA levels completed - in these cases the interview is critical.
This is a VERY competitive job field. And it is very hit-or-miss on the number of job postings at any given time. Some that are open are not even posted and that's where networking is important.
Banks sometimes hire recruiters to scout for people, so make sure that your Linkedin profile is carefully crafted and clear about your intentions. However, you also need to get connected to people in that realm for them to find you.