On Tuesday, April 16th, MBS parent David Strauss visited campus to speak with members of the BFI (Business, Finance, and Investment) Club about his career in equity research focusing on the aerospace and defense sector.
For nearly 20 years, Mr. Strauss served as Managing Director of Equity Research – Aerospace & Defense at UBS before joining Barclays as a Managing Director in 2017. In his presentation, he discussed his career path and the unique aspects of his job, as well as current news and trends in his industry.
Mr. Strauss, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Georgetown University as well as an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, said that he originally wanted to become an investment banker. “I’ve always had an interest in the markets, but I never really understood what made stocks go up or down,” said Mr. Strauss, who said that he “quickly figured out that’s what I wanted to do” when he was introduced to equity research. He began as a specialist in the manufacturing and construction sector where he covered stocks like Caterpillar before he moved to the aerospace and defense industry.
“There’s not one clear path into equity research or Wall Street,” Mr. Strauss told the students. “You can come from industry; you can come straight from an undergraduate education or a graduate degree. If you’re a hard worker and you have an interest in following stocks or a particular sector, this could be a good career for you.”
He said there are many aspects of his career that make his work rewarding. “The unique thing about equity research is that it’s fairly entrepreneurial while working within a large organization. I get to make my own schedule, and you’re able to work with some very talented people in small teams and become an industry expert,” he said.
On the flip side, Mr. Strauss said that the work can also be very demanding. “You find that there’s never much time to rest,” he said. “Every day when there’s trading, I need to be on call. It’s also very difficult to pick stocks consistently.”
Mr. Strauss concluded his presentation by fielding questions and discussing the latest news in the aerospace and defense sector. He talked about the two recent crashes of Boeing 737 Max jets, the company’s response, and their options moving forward. “I had my team look at all of the scenarios surrounding the 737 and what each scenario would mean for the stock,” said Mr. Strauss, who noted that he kept his rating the same for the company but lowered the price target for the stock. “Our clients want thoughtful information and the more information we can provide, the better.”
He also discussed the future of aerospace and defense, touching on state-of-the-art hypersonic weapons and plans for a Space Force to undertake missions and operations in the rapidly evolving space domain.