Financial Advisor Interview

The informational interview is an important aspect to learning about various career paths and networking.  When sitting down with a professional from a particular career field and having the ability to lead the conversation with thought provoking questions, it’s one of the best ways to gain knowledge related to a career.  The informational interview can be a crucial key when it comes time to applying for positions and the interview process itself.  It can also be a reality check for yourself, you may come to the conclusion that the career isn’t the best choice to pursue.  Informational interviews give you access to the hidden job market due to the fact that many jobs are filled as a result of networking with an individual.  There is no better way to learn about a career than sitting down with a professional in a particular field and having the chance to hear what their thoughts are on their career.


The Contact

  • Carl Lymangood
  • Financial Advisor
  • Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Wealth Management

Questions about the contact:

Mr. Lymangood is approaching his one-year anniversary as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors.  I had the opportunity to meet with Carl in his office in Minnetonaka, MN on  March, 21st.  It was an excellent experience to meet with him in the office because it gave a good view of what his working environment is.  I asked Carl about what his typical day was as a financial advisor for WF and he spoke about how the day varies depending on whether or not he’s meeting with clients on that particular day.  There are days when he will meet with his current clients, or new clients who are interested in his services.  Other days are focused on managing the portfolio or taking part in the research/analyzing of investments.  The particular office that he works in allows the advisors to play a larger role of analyzing and researching investment opportunities for his clients, unlike many other financial advisor positions where they will primarily try to gain a client base and have another individual play a more crucial role in the analyzing and research of investments.  His primary areas of focus at this stage are IRA’s and IRA rollovers, along with Retirement planning.

One aspect of being a financial advisor is certainly gaining a client base, and that involves a large aspect of taking the position of being involved in sales and promoting the services you provide.  Carl liked the fact that his position isn’t 100% sales, as he enjoys having the ability to still be highly involved with the investment research process.  The long-term career goal of Carl is to eventually obtain the position where he manages a team of advisors that each focuses on a primary area of wealth management.  Obtaining an MBA is not a requirement of the position, and many senior advisors don’t hold that degree.  One of the best certifications to have would be a the CFA, which stands for Chartered Financial Analyst.  This is also not a requirement of the position, but is very useful in the financial services industry and shows that you have credibility.

Questions regarding communication practices:

Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about each?

Most of the writing involves emails and giving updates regarding the current status of the portfolio for the clients.  The report follows a format that was pre-determined, but requires professional written communication practices.

What do you find most challenging about your day to day writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from academic writing to workplace writing?

The day to day writing primarily consists writing emails to clients and others within the industry.  One of the most challenging aspects is ensuring that you’re communicating effectively to your audience, whether it’s a client of mine, or a coworker.  It’s important that the message is written in a professional manor, and effectively communicates the message.

How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in the workplace?

The large majority of communication depends on the day.  When there are clients that I’m meeting with, the oral communication is obviously the primary form of communication.  When I’m not meeting with clients the day primarily consists of 80% of written communication and 20% of oral communication when speaking on the phone with clients or coworkers.

Questions seeking advice for you:

One of the first questions I asked Carl was what courses really prepared him for his position as a financial advisor, and he spoke about some of those underlying courses that form a foundation for a career in finance.  It’s important to have those core finance courses, but a lot of the career preparation comes from speaking with professionals in the field and asking specific questions.  He spoke a lot about where I’m currently at with school, and how GPA is important, but there needs to be a balance during my senior year between school and networking with individuals.  He suggested that I try and meet with as many people as I can during my senior year, especially during the fall because I can eventually communicate with those networking contacts later during the year when I’m seeking a job.  Having the skill to speak with a diverse group of individuals is an excellent skill to have for almost any industry; it shows that you’re professional and will have minimal issues when it comes to communicating with coworkers and clients.  One of the very beneficial aspects of this interview was being put in-contact with two other contacts in different areas of investments, and that was a very beneficial experience for me because I was able to have two other phone interviews with professionals and gain two more contacts in different positions.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts:

This informational meeting was very beneficial for me and I enjoyed my time speaking with Mr. Lymangood.  Financial advising might not be the best career path for me to pursue, but it was an excellent opportunity to gain more knowledge and also gain two new networking contacts.  I’m more comfortable conducting informational meetings and it certainly has helped me to gain maturity and conduct myself in a more professional manor.  It was nice to speak with Carl because he was in my shoes a few years ago and he was able to understand my point of view and offer the best advice he could for an undergraduate like myself.  It was an overall very rewarding experience and I continue to stay in-touch with Carl.