I grew up in Boise, Idaho. I was fortunate to grow up with loving parents and siblings, and able to have a really great high school education, where really the classes that I was most interested in were business focused, specifically economics. That sort of prompted my exploration into into business. In high school, I was also able to do a bit of travelling with a human rights organization. We visit Japan and Jordan and when I was there. Really what was fascinating to me was the passion people had for their businesses. Realizing that their creativity, their passion, their experiences are their life, every day in the small business and the business that they run. That's a very common career path for those countries, and these were new experiences for me. So it was really interesting to me to see that sort of lifestyle and it kind of got me inspired. So, I translated that to the university of Utah right. I studied finance and from there I didn't really know what type of business I wanted to get into. I'm still not sure I do, but it was really a great framework for me to kind of discover what route I wanted to take. Specifically the business scholars program kind of helped me narrow my interest and get a taste of of all different disciplines of business that the school had to offer. So finance kind of clicked, I like numbers, I like statistics and I like analysis and so command those three, four things I mentioned. I found finance to be a good fit for me and, I've been fortunate to have very few incidents or extreme challenges that I've had to overcome to get to where I am. So I'm very aware and cautious of that to be thankful for where I've gotten and really to stay humble as I move forward, understanding that I have had many privileges and haven't had to overcome some of the obstacles that I know other students and other young professionals have in their careers.
The pre-sales, so our team kind of bridges the gap between sales and product and data. So we're technical experts in the investment accounting space with both our product and industry. And so some of my day to day responsibilities are doing request for proposals. So when a a prospect is interested in purchasing our software. In our service, we have to typically fill out these questionnaires talking all about what Clearwater does so I spend quite a bit of time on that. We also run our demo environment. So i am cleaning accounts, prepping accounts for salespeople and other pre-sales members to demo to prospects and clients to make sure that we accurately reflect the capabilities of our products. So I help own that process. And then, also, we're starting more initiatives with market research and the investment accounting space, really trying to focus our target on what we want to sell too, rather than just take right broad blanket approach. We're trying to narrow that focus, and so i'm beginning to work on some of the data behind that and to start coming up with a few reports and suggestions, for each market that we work in which are insurance, corporate and investment management.
All of our software that we use are proprietary, so we have a lot of internal tools that just can't can't be learned outside of working in Clearwater. And so, some of those are what I've really tried to deep dive on because I have to be a technical expert of our products. I'm trying to become more familiar with this plethora of tools that we use internally, but external tools that we have, that i have touched on, a couple of web based applications as well as I'm trying to get better at SQL. We have an enormous database that we access, and we have many different layers to it. And so I'm trying to learn how to navigate SQL, and I haven't had any experience with that prior to beginning my work here. So it's been a bit of a challenge so far. But I think learning that framework, that base programming knowledge would be super helpful and very transferable. I do prefer external tools to internal. Our internal tools are very powerful, but they're also very complex. And for me, I like external tools in which I can say, OK, if I learned this, this is what I can do with it. So SQL is an interesting one for me. I'm hoping to dive in to R a little bit more, as I do market research. Statistical programming, I think, would be very helpful for that. So that's kind of what I have my sights and on next, as well as starting to define my skills with SQL.
I really like my team. I know that sounds kind of cliche, but honestly, I think the work and the training that I've had to go through so far has been somewhat rigorous, somewhat technical. I'm not something I thought I would be doing out of school with a finance degree, but having a great group of support and teammates around me, I think has really helped, helped me stay motivated, helped me stay hungry and kind of given me a great framework to set goals and to be far sighted with my career. So what I like about my job is that there's a lot of problem solving. Sales people come to us with questions all the time. Hey, can we do this ? Hey, can we do that ? What does this look like in this situation and often times, I don't know the answer right away. So I have to go out, use the resource within the company, do some of my own research and really solve a lot of problems to try and help them come to solutions, which is something that I've always enjoyed doing. So I really do love that aspect. My hours are pretty nice. That's a great work life balance there. Any given day I'm working, Seven Thirty, Nine AM is when I'll come in the morning any time between then till Four to Six depending on what we're working on. So it allows me to have free evenings to spend time with my family and friends and get out and do some activities in Boise. So it's been a nice balance so far, and I do like the work that I'm doing.
So some of the job titles I currently work with are Enterprise Sales Reps. But we also worked with developers in both product and then also technical analysts in data and then as well, the kind of the last main kind in Clearwater is client services, and that's a huge part of our business model. So it's actually kind of unique. You get a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different people. Some are more technical than others when it comes to programming and data science and, then others are more relationship driven. So our sales team is more like that. So combining the two can be challenging, sometimes to navigate. But I like that challenge, and I think it gives me great exposure to working with different types of people and finding common solutions and really, I think in a sales environment, it's about navigating a conversation. It's about controlling the narrative that you want to be portraying and really being focused so much on client success. So some strategies that I found effective are to listen first, talk second. Always come prepared. Don't come into meetings or phone calls or whatever it may be with no preparation, not knowing who you're speaking to, not knowing what you're going to be talking about, not having a schedule for the meeting. I think that's super important to be prepared, especially when it's people you don't know, i mean, casually. Obviously, I think it's very effective to talk face to face, talk casually, talk openly rather than, you know, jabbing them at work, sending him an e mail or something that's like a more distant. So i think face to face is really important and that just helps you build your relationships. And it helps you gain trust with other employees. In the future, I think, as I am hopefully able to move up in the company and take a more senior role, I'll be working more with investment managers, corporate cash teams, treasuries at companies and internal accounting. So people that are truly managing the books of the company and doing reporting on that. It won't always be like I mean, occasionally it will be C-Suite, occasionally it'll be front office people, but most of the time we line that act in middle office and so treasury departments and accountants are people that I will be hopefully meeting with more and more as I progress in my career.
I think the main challenge in my job is to solve problems. We don't always have the answer, we don't always have the right answer, but if we can truly show support, show value, show that we're having value for a company. And I think that's the challenge that we face every day. I do believe we we way provided a significant value for clear water, but I think some of the challenges with that are just very high up, very senior people in the company asking you hey, what do we do here? And they're not always looking for guidance, but they are looking for an objective answer and so making sure that information is correct, making sure what we're talking about, we sound like we are experts, because that's truly the value that we are providing, so that can be a challenge. On the flip side, I think the accomplishment that you feel with that, giving great answers, giving solutions and really adding value to meeting goals, any quotas and also driving our product in the right direction to where we feel like we are helping the company progressing forward and be an industry leader. Contributing in that regard is what makes me feel proud and what I see, what I hope to continue doing in the future and even have a bigger impact.
So the hiring process for my job, I had actually applied online. I had networked and met someone in Boise, and there was a friend of a friend of mine, and I knew he was working at Clearwater. So when I first moved here and that with him and I got to know a little bit about what he does, I didn't think I'd be applying, he's a fellow pre-sales analyst and I didn't think I'd be applying for Clearwater in the same role. I thought I was leaning more towards a financial analyst, and it turns out they were looking for someone with three to five plus years of experience in that role. So I didn't qualify for that one. And I said well, I want to work at this company, so what am i qualified for and where can I help out? And Pre-sales was hiring for one of analyst position, so I applied. My initial interview was a phone interview, behavioral questions and then from there, I was accepted into a second round. I went on site at Clearwater in downtown Boise, where their headquarters are. I met with the team lead for the Pre-sales and then senior engineer role on the pre-sales team as well. So I had two people I was interviewing with. And then the human resources person that I interviewed with in the first round also joined a meeting, so I had a three person interview. It lasted about an hour. It was very conversational. My strategy in interviews, is to have the person interviewing me talk as much as I do. So I prefer to make a very conversational, not feel like i'm being drilled with questions. I try and if I'm not sure about something, I really asked him about. That shows curiosity, show that you have a desire to learn. And so that's really what my focus was in that interview. They asked me about some of the challenges I've faced in the last year. Some of my experiences and how they think, or I believe that will relate to the role I'll be doing, how can I add value to Clearwater? They asked me some questions specific to Clearwater, wanted to make sure that I knew what I was applying for or where I was applying for and what they actually do. And so I think I was very well prepared for those questions. The interview went exactly how I was hoping it would. I talked for probably thirty minutes, and they spent the other thirty minutes talking. Very conversational, very fluid and I really connected with the people I was interviewing with. So I was excited to hopefully be a part of the team, and then from there they had mentioned that I would have one more interview. Typically, the interview is three stages, and they called me about three days later and said, we don't need to do another interview. We want to give you the offer, so I was thrilled about that. Interviews can be kind of scary sometimes, but I really connected with people interviewing me. And now that I'm on their team, we've really gotten along well. So it's been a great process. Um, I'm excited to stay with the pre-sales team and to really grow from there.
Like I said, we like problem solvers. We like people that can tackle challenges, do it effectively, do it efficiently. We want team members that are proactive, not reactive. So offering constant feedback and solutions for sales as well as for product, to help make decisions and to help really offer support for inner sales processing and start closing deals. It's also helpful, I think, for our team to have some industry knowledge, some definitely a very strong background in accounting. In the analyst role and accounting or finance degree is almost required. But in a senior role, you have to have a little bit more knowledge than that. Typically, the people we hire into our pre sales team are have either been at Clearwater for two to five years, really know our products very well and the industry very well with some client interaction, or they come from competing systems in which they know the investment and accounting space very well. And their challenge is to learn the product and learn Clearwater very well. So we look for people that are motivated, that are, like you said, proactive in their day to day and really can provide some sort of expertise to our team.
So I'm very interested in entrepreneurship and venture. So if I don't have my own business, I hope to be running someone else'. I know that's an uphill battle to get into. It's difficult to really crack the ice. You need a couple of years experience before you can get your foot in the door and venture at a venture capital business. So, I'm trying to gain that experience hopefully. I don't know what that looks like, I mean if I had it perfect, I would love to run my own venture group and so that's kind of what I'm striving to do someday. As far as experience goes, I am involved with the Boise Angel Alliance so I'm hoping to try and get my foot in the door and stay active in the venture community. In this case, the angel community which feeds into venture in Boise which is growing quickly. So forming relationships, that's really a skill that I'm working on. Its networking and trying to be involved while at the same time being very committed to each thing I'm doing. So I don't want to spread myself too thin, I have done that in the past. And What I'm doing now, it is trying to build relationships that will last and be committed to those relationships. Certificates and experiences I hope to acquire would be some hard skills like I mentioned SQL and R, I would love to learn how to code for application use in finance. So some of those hard skills are what i'm currently working on. I still have some room to be more of an expert in Microsoft Excel. Some experiences I would like to gain are more client facing, I mentioned relationships, but I would love to be able to go into meetings with people I haven't met yet and be very confident, and really be able to navigate a conversation very well. So I'd love to do some more client interaction, kind of face my fear of cold calling and talking to people that I haven't met before in an important situation, with some pressure on it. So I'd love to get more comfortable with that for moving forward in my career.
The fortunate things about my position is that I eventually hope to be client facing. So I'll be meeting with some C-suite in the investment management, insurance and corporate cash space. And so we're meeting with some of the largest companies in the world and you get to meet with their leaders. And so I've talked to some of our more senior members, and they said that the transition from the analyst to a senior role, and once you start meeting clients, you're going to consistently get job offers at some of the hot, most highly regarded companies in the country. And so I think that would be a transition, that's where my career may start and then pivot to I'm not sure what that looks like, what that process is, and I certainly don't want to get ahead of myself, but internally in Clearwater, I think moving up that chain to a senior role, and then they progress to team lead and similar to that level would be an Enterprise sales rep. But something nice about Clearwater is that it is a very fluid organization. If you're not happy with the current position you're in there, they're more than willing to hear you out and hopefully put you in a position that you're more comfortable with or are more excited to be a part of. As far as the salaries go on in the investment, accounting space for analysts depend on city really, and in which company. But for an analyst role you're typically looking at Forty Five to Sixty Five and in Boise that could go a long way for a young professional. So it's definitely a great place to start and I'm excited to progress.
So this is where my love for venture comes from. Banyan Ventures was a great place to work at, again phenomenal team, we got along really, really well. Some of the responsibilities I had on the day to day basis were deal flow as well as current portfolio analysis, so doing some margin analysis on the deal flow side, trying to source more deals, trying to get more meetings, taking initial meetings, asking a lot of questions, putting together some industry tear sheets and really doing a lot of diligence on prospective companies that we'd like to invest in. So I was sort of lead there, along with Nick who I was working with. We sort of led that team out, so the responsibility was great. It felt nice to really contribute. Even as an intern, i felt like my work was valued a lot, which is kudos to the team for making an intern feel that way. But I also feel like I did contribute. My working hours, I worked from May to the almost end of August, so I was there for about four months and I was working close to forty hours a week. They were pretty flexible with my schedule, but I really wanted to get more involved and get a lot of experience. So I would try and be there Nine to Five, Eight to Four somewhere in that range, thirty five to forty hour, forty five hours a week. So just depended on our deal flow and and how much I felt like I could contribute on a weekly basis.
At the venture level or me, it was mostly Excel and then internet research. I got very good at finding Utah companies that we were interested in researching. And we had a very proactive approach to investing. Rather than waiting for people to come looking for money, we would go out and find people that needed it, even if they didn't know it. So we were pretty unique in that space. So I was getting very good at using Crunchbase and a few other bit of Bloomberg, a few other private company websites so that we could do some research there.There wasn't anything too technical. I know, I did some regression analysis in Excel, and and my boss Nick he was using R, so he kind of exposed me a little bit to that, but I never worked in it personally. The internet approach was an interesting one. I was already pretty proficient growing up with the computer. Now, we had a Google things and research things, but, nothing, no new real tools introduced to me at the time.
I really enjoyed this hiring process. They came for an on site at the university of Utah as I interviewed there, first with one of their partners and my, actually excuse me, two of their partners so they were both operating partners in the firm. They interviewed me first round, basic behavioral kind of stuff. Why are you interested in this? Why do you think you'd be a good fit? How do you add value? That sort of things and then the second round was interesting. I went onsite to two Banyan Ventures and the questions again, I had two of the partners and then an associate, which turned out to be my future boss. So there were three of us in that meeting and the question that sticks out to me, there were some more behavioral. I hadn't met two of the people in the room yet, so they got to know me a little better. But the question that I remember doing was they wanted me to come with a pitch on what an attractive industry would be to get in right now and specifically name a couple of companies that they should be interested in and they were agnostic to the size and stage of the company and went up. But they really wanted to see the process I went through to come up with what companies I thought would be a good investment in right now. So I kind of had to consider where we were at financially as a country, what's our economy doing, what's Utah specifically doing and how can I apply the Banyan approach to investing to these companies? So what would be a great fit? So that was a question that I really enjoyed doing. And I got up on the on their white board and drew out some framework that I went through. So I think and I got some feedback as well, and that was sort of the reason that they really chose me as a candidate and not someone else.
for : Equity Research Analyst, University of Utah Student Investment Fund
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Nov 26 2018
At University of Utah Student Investment Fund, some of my responsibilities as well as my classmates' were to be research oriented, so we were constantly looking at companies we would maybe want to invest in, reporting on them and then presenting to the group. It was a lot of diligence. It was a lot of trying to understand business models, make sense of financials related to industry, and that was honestly one of the more challenging things that I've done from a educational standpoint. That was the most rigorous course that I completed, and while it was a class, it felt somehow like an internship or a job, I was probably putting fifteen to twenty hours a week into it, which is like a part time job basically for form a normal class and so that was a challenge, but it was really fun doing research coming to some conclusions, making actual decisions and then watching your decisions affect the fund as a whole and just having a voice as a student for an investment group was a great experience.
for : Equity Research Analyst, University of Utah Student Investment Fund
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Mon Nov 26 2018
The main tool that I was introduced to, outside of excel, which I had already been introduced to, the main two new ones for me were Bloomberg and Capital IQ, research databases, learning how to navigate those and really produce effective reports from the information on there. I don't think I got into any coding there, but a couple of databases like that were what I mostly learned that were new. I kind of took a preference to Capital IQ because of the limited access to Bloomberg, obviously. They are both very expensive, so I don't currently have access, and I probably have lost a touch with them, but I know in the investment management space, those are both very applicable tools. I don't know if I took a preference to either one significantly. But again, it was mostly critical thinking, trying to make sense of the numbers that I was looking at rather than use a tool that gave me the answer.