Planning Ahead for a Career in Investor Relations
By Regan Talley
On Thursday, March 28, 2019, a panel discussion was held in Newhouse to discuss the plethora of careers in Financial and Investor Communications. This discussion was vastly different than the Newhouse speakers I typically go. Rather than give an overview of a social issue plaguing our society today, it touched on the increasing need for public relations practitioners to have financial and communications skills. This hot job market paved the way for the creation of programs like Newhouse’s Financial and Investor Communications Emphasis (FICE). The panel consisted of current senior, Ashley Roth, and former students, Nick Jannuzzi, Kala Krishnan, Dan Moore and Yala Chen. While not all of the students had been a part of the FICE program, they all had vast experience and interest in the financial sector of communications. The panel was overseen by professor of practice, Tony D’Angelo, and adjunct faculty member, Donna Stein.
Before going into the daily activities of the panel, Stein touched on her experience with the field and why she believes having a background in not only communications, but also business is so important to future employers, regardless of the industry. When Stein first began her career, she got into it totally by accident. Working with a company on the New York Stock Exchange, her clients needed someone to take on the crucial role of financial communicator, so her PR degree morphed into more financial demands. She had to be able to tell a story behind the numbers and effectively communicate complex financial information. Throughout her impressive 40-year career, she mentioned that she had never experienced gender bias. That was so appealing to me because of my mother. My mother also works as a PR practitioner and inspired me to get into the field originally. While her career has been filled with impressive certifications and prestigious recognition, it wasn’t without some uphill battles in the fight against gender discrimination in the workforce.
Much like what I have studied in my previous PR classes, someone who wants to work in investor relations must be eager, have a positive attitude and be willing to learn. Writing is also such a crucial skill. For a practitioner to be successful in this field, we must be able to distill incredibly complex information onto one page or several bullets so it can be distributed to thousands of employees. In Moore’s case, he works in an agency that services over 500 clients across a multitude of industries. This allows him to interact with different people in unique situations. This helped him discover his interest in the oil and gas sector. For Chen, she believes motivation is the key to success stating, “no one will help you get involved, that is your responsibility.” No one can force you to be interested in your work however, motivation to learn about the various sectors of business and actually have an interest in analyzing the numbers of an organization are essential to any future financial communicator like myself.
What stuck out to me upon hearing the entire panel, was how passionate everyone was about their job. While the work didn’t seem easy by any means, everyone on the panel continually mentioned how rewarding and interesting the work was. Krishnan mentioned that although the PR field is constantly changing, the work keeps her on her toes because she is constantly researching and learning about her clients that span the business sector and come from every industry imaginable. While I can’t predict the future, I am hopeful that my degree in Newhouse and my minor in finance will allow me to attain my emphasis as a financial communicator and communicate effectively with companies and their shareholders from a monetary perspective.