Morningstar equity analyst Erin Lash ’01 shares expert advice

June 16, 2011

Erin Lash ’01 has worked for Morningstar as an equity analyst since 2006, but her affinity for finance goes way back.

“I actually invested in my first stock, Blockbuster, when I was ten years old. And my interest in investing only grew through high school and college,” Lash said.

Before Lash joined Morningstar she was an equity analyst for State Farm Insurance Company for four years. She earned a B.S. in finance from Bradley and later received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

If there is one thing missing from Lash’s job, it’s a regular routine. And that’s just the way she likes it.

“From my perspective, one of the best things about my job is the fact that I’m never doing the same thing day after day, and even if I plan on doing one thing when I get into the office, my day could get flipped on a dime depending on the news flow,” Lash said.

She also appreciates the fact that she continues to learn and grow everyday.

“I love that in this job I will never be done learning. There is always more that I can dig into about a company or about investing. I believe that is one of the things that will ensure that I never get bored in this field,” Lash said.

As an equity analyst, Lash covers 25 manufacturers of consumer products.

“I create long-term discounted cash flow valuation models for each of the firms I cover. I also write my overall thesis or opinion on each company, as well as publish general industry updates and pieces on our website. I talk to reporters and clients and visit with the management of the companies I cover,” Lash said.

Recently, she was interviewed by “The Wall Street Transcript” as an expert in her field.

“Honestly, I never imagined that talking to the press would be part of my job, but it is definitely something that I have grown to really like and enjoy,” Lash said.

Like many current and former students, Lash found that faculty at Bradley aren’t just instructors, they’re mentors.

“The professors at Bradley challenged me to truly test myself. When I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of a particular subject area, they were willing to mentor me so that I was as best prepared as possible when I left academia and entered the working world,” Lash said.

She said opportunities for finance students are limitless.

“There are so many avenues to explore within the finance field that even if investing is not your cup of tea, there are opportunities in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and banking among others,” Lash said.

Lash warns that first jobs probably won’t be dream jobs, but believes there’s something to gain from every career experience.

“Don’t feel trapped if you aren’t a fan of the first job you take. Just learn from each job and each experience you have and build off of that going forward,” she said.