Choosing Investment or Finance as a Career
Choosing Investment or Finance as a Career
By: Louie Nguyen, CFA
Students are often told to find what they love and pursue it.
Did you have a passion for investment as a student?
In 8th grade I participated in a stock picking contest. I won purely by luck but it inspired me. I was very moved by the idea of using money to be a part of someone else’s success. With all due respect to sales, where once it’s done and you move on, investment is interesting in that it requires you to make a decision, watch it, and follow it. You live with that decision and grow with your investment. It allows you to find a company or an idea that can benefit from additional capital and play a part in the growth of that company, which I find intellectually gratifying. In many ways a large part of being an investor is being an entrepreneur. We truly believe that when we purchase a stock we are a part owner of a firm, and our success is tied to them. Specifically my career in investment has focused on global dividend companies. As a global citizen, I believe economic growth is without borders and we can be a part of the growth and development of many countries and communities across the globe.
Why do you believe it is important to have a global perspective?
There are many opportunities for investment outside of the U.S. By focusing on global companies, global dividend companies in particular, you are able to create a diverse portfolio that expands across many geographic regions. It is generally accepted that future growth will be outside of the U.S. According to Forbes, 5 out of 10 of the world’s top public companies are non- U.S. companies. Many favorite brands in the U.S. are owned by foreign corporations. For example, Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, and Lipton, are each owned by overseas companies. By incorporating a global approach there is a much larger universe of opportunities.
How well does an undergraduate degree prepare students for this industry?
Regardless of degree, the investment industry requires intellectual curiosity, global perspective, and attention to detail. Whether biochemistry or engineering, all fields of study teach rigorous thinking and problem solving. In all parts of investment there is always an enormous amount of work to self-educate oneself about an industry or company. These are skills that can be learned from any academic field. It is important to build these skills through your academic career and be able to apply them in dynamic settings. It also requires an open mind and ability to welcome change in order to pivot, based on new opportunities that may arise. There is a need to be quick of mind and feet to take advantage of these opportunities. These skills will pay dividend, global dividend if you have an adventurous streak.
What’s the biggest stumbling block you see with young job-seekers? Do you have any advice for young job-seekers?
Many young job-seekers struggle with being impatient. Success won’t come easily and career development and career success are not guaranteed. The investment world has become more and more competitive, and is populated with really smart people. Being successful in this world requires willingness to work harder and longer than expected. The more a person puts themselves out there working hard, the more opportunities that will come. I have two pieces of advice to pass on to young job-seekers. The first is to under promise and over deliver. Allow room for mistakes and roadblocks, but consistently challenge yourself to improve. Secondly, an important aspect of the professional environment is the ability to handle criticism. A young job-seeker needs to learn to grow from criticism and not take it as a personal attack.
What would you do if you were in your 20’s?
When I was in my 20’s I went to Japan, now I would go to China. I would be inquisitive and have a global mindset and go abroad to a big metropolitan city and learn a foreign language. During my 20’s I had the time, energy, ambition, and passion to relentlessly pursue new opportunities. I was able to throw 20 hours a day pursuing a project that was fun and exciting. Academically, I would stay in better contact with my colleagues and professors. I would have a specific timeline to grad school because there is no reason not to obtain a master’s degree or PhD. Overall your 20’s are a fantastic time of work, learning, and fun.
The volatility of today’s market is enough to dissuade even the savviest investors. Dividend is the key to weathering the storm, but global dividend provides the full benefits of income to the sustainable spending approach. Global dividend paying stocks are an essential equity investment for anyone looking to utilize a sustainable spending strategy. Global dividend stocks are a prudent place to start to find compelling investments. Global dividend companies provide greater diversification which can result in lower volatility as some areas of the world zig while others zag. It is important to maintain this global mindset because it increases not only investment opportunities, but opportunities in many facets of life.
Louie Nguyen CFA is president and chief investment officer of San Diego-based Soledad Investment Management, a sub-advisor of the Christopher Weil & Co. Global Dividend Mutual Fund (CWGDX). In addition to managing CWGDX, Soledad also advises U.S. and European clients on investment opportunities in Vietnam and publishes a newsletter called Global Dividend Insights.