Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Morningstar
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Equity Research Analyst Interview
I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Morningstar.
I applied online and was contacted by an administrative assistant to the HR recruiter the next day to schedule a phone screen. This was on a Thursday. Once we agreed upon next Thursday for the phone screen, the assistant told me that she would be sending me a website link to take a three hour written test that I should take as soon as possible and definitely few days before the call. I got the email with the link to the test website on Friday. I took the test on the following Tuesday. The written test was three hours long. It instructs you to write in proper paragraphs (no bullets or abbreviated list forms) and in nearly publishable quality. This is a quite a high bar and slows you down considerably. I was unable to complete writing the answers. The test itself was basic (see below) and I could have schooled their most senior analyst on the topics covered as I have a strong and relevant academic (advanced graduate degree, MBA and a CFA charter) and professional background spanning several years. However, between the compulsion to write a publishable quality material in limited time and my tendency to write a detailed and thoughtful answer I didn't stand a chance. I think in this case my experience and knowledge actually worked against me. Now to actual questions. Here they are (paraphrased): (1) Pick a company in an industry of your choice and discuss its competitive positioning. Illustrate how you get to its valuation and factors driving it? This is a pretty significant task. They are asking you to discuss company's product portfolio, business model to monetize it and the market structure. Then they want you to perform a valuation analysis and dissect it. Basically a written pitch of publishable quality in about an hour. Also, note that Morningstar's investment style emphasizes determining intrinsic value of the company. This would indicate you do a DCF analysis to arrive at valuation. This takes time. (2) Imagine it is 2030. Discuss major trends of the day. be bold and don't be afraid to show your creative side. This is like showing red meat to a creative person like me. I wrote an essay that weaved major trends that targeted each of the S&P's 10 sectors. Again I wrote too much - but as an analysts we are supposed to be thoughtful and I think this is a brilliant question that begs more the 15 minutes. In fact, it becomes a useless question if one is required to answer in less than 15 minutes as that would be just regurgitation of thoughtless sound bites. (3) Discuss and compare ROA, ROE and ROIC. Use numerical examples to illustrate differences and key charactersitics of each. Again a straightforward textbook question but it takes time to construct a numerical example to do the needful and hit all the salient points (there are many). By the time I finished this answering this question, I was more or less out of time. (4) What have been your major investment mistakes and what have you learned from them? This was short - and I believe a non-value add question. It is not measuring anything because you can write whatever sounds good. I produced 3-4 lines of some meaningless froth for this question. (5) I am not sure but I think there was a fifth question that I can no longer recall. In any case, I believe I did a very good job on whatever I wrote but left significant part unanswered. I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable being subjected to a three hour written test at a short notice. It made me think that Morningstar was looking for a cheap recent graduate and not an experienced professional. I think this test will create too many false negatives or even turn good candidates off. Now to the phone call. The HR recruiter called me at the scheduled time. She was very professional and nice. We had a long chat that culminated in she asking me if given an offer how soon could I join. I felt good about the interaction. I asked her how I had done on the test and she said she hadn't seen the result yet. Less than 12 hours later, I got an form-letter impersonal email saying they would not be moving ahead with my application. Perhaps it was my test or perhaps she thought I was bit too senior for the position. If former, that would be stupid. If latter, that would be true (based again on the test). In summary, if you are an experienced professional you need to think whether you want to work for a company that wants you to test writing time-bound answers. I think this is indicative of an employer beset with bureacratic rigamarole and a mentality of 1970s.
- (1) Why do you want to join Morningstar? (2) What is your current and expected pay? She mentioned equity analysts at Morningstar get paid between $100K and $120K plus bonus and total comp can be around $135K-$140K. This definitely 20% or more below the market rate especially for a high COLA city such as Chicago. (3) Plus some chit chat and friendly small talk. She didn't ask me walk her through my resume (I think my resume is very well laid out and self explanatory). Answer Question
Other Interview Reviews for Morningstar
Equity Research Analyst InterviewNo OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 3+ weeks. I interviewed at Morningstar (Chicago, IL) in June 2013.
I applied on the website and was contacted by a HR representative to setup an interview with two analysts and herself. Two weeks later, I was asked to complete a test on line including 4 questions. The test was timed and limited at 500 words per question and 2.5 hours. Head back from them three weeks later to learn that I was not going to the next and final round: I wanted to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your candidacy. We have based our decision on the particular needs of the position, as well as the substantial number of qualified candidates that Morningstar is reviewing. However, please continue to consider future opportunities with Morningstar, via our website, as they become available. The questions: 1. Choose a company in your sector of expertise. Does it have an economic moat? How did you assess the equity valuation of the company? Do you think it looks like an attractive investment today? Support your case with relevant evidence and data about the company and its competitors. 2. The year is 2030. What are some of the key themes of the day? Feel free to take a little risk, and let your answer show off your creative side. 3. Compare and contrast ROA, ROE, and ROIC. Which one is most informative and why? Use an example to illustrate your position. 4. What was your biggest investment mistake? What did you learn from it?
- 3. Compare and contrast ROA, ROE, and ROIC. Which one is most informative and why? Use an example to illustrate your position. Tricky since lots can be said on this matter. 1 Answer
Equity Research Analyst InterviewNo OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Morningstar in May 2013.
I got the phone interview after applying online on the company website for 2 weeks. I got one phone interview with HR first. It took only 15-20 minutes. Mostly, the questions are like the initial screening, qualification, and expectation. Then, I had the interview with the director, and senior colleagues (from Basic Material department). They mostly asked about my qualification based on the resume I sent. They also asked about my goal, why morning star?, why equity analyst? The interview took about 25 minutes.
- What is your investment philosophy? Do you have any question/concern regarding Morningstar Research Paper? Answer Question
Equity Research Analyst InterviewNo OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Morningstar (Chicago, IL) in February 2012.
I was called to do a phone interview from someone from HR. They actually then rescheduled the interview twice before someone called me. It started out with normal questions about how I heard about the firm and walking through my background/resume. The person then asked about previous past compensation. I answered all the questions and declined to answer questions about my previous compensation. She continued to press me and effectively became argumentative and critical. I said I was open and happy to consider different salary ranges versus my past. At one point she said that I was being inflexible, which is funny because they rescheduled the interview multiple times with me. I was highly offended by this person, and the approach they were taking towards potential candidates. I figure they really don't want to pay people that well and this is the beginning of that process. I've read by other reviewers that compensation here is not very good. Based on my experience, I would not want to work here at all. I was personally insulted by the style of this HR representative.
- Please tell me your past compensation. Answer Question
Equity Research Analyst InterviewNo OfferNegative ExperienceDifficult Interview
I applied through other source. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Morningstar (Chicago, IL) in July 2007.
The process was long. Initially I had to submit a writing sample with my resume. After the writing sample was approved to the next round, I was asked to complete an exam, which was basically an investment analysis on a company Morningstar made up. At the first interview I met with HR and 2 current equity analysts. This interview was very basic. About a month after the first interview, I was called back to for a second interview and was asked to present a stock idea. At the second interview I met with about 7 or 8 people. This process was odd, people came and left at different times during the interview which I found to be very distracting. The interview process was non-stop for a duration of a few hours as a result of people comming in and out. In other words, you never had that opportunity to catch your breath.
- It wasn't really a question, it was a case study. The case study presented a portion of a 10-K, and you were expected to analyse the company and provide a recommendation. You were given 1.5 hours to complete the assignment. Answer Question
Equity Research Analyst InterviewNo OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage Interview
I applied through college or university. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Morningstar in May 2009.
Phone interview, fairly standard, and asked for a lot of questions on personality/fit based. Came in the next day, 1 on 1 interview with manager, very laid back. HR lady came in next, asked standard HR questions extensively. Not seemed to be interested in whether I actually knew about stocks. I got an offer from somewhere else the next day, and respectfully let them know.
- Time when you led a team Answer Question
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