Lately I have been assisting an analyst who covers the steel industry of Vietnam so I was able to walk through the steps of proposing an investment idea at VinaCapital. Firstly, we need to conduct macro research on the economy and the steel industry to understand whether investing in this industry is a wise decision with the current economic environment. One difficulty that many people face when doing research on topics related to Vietnam is a lack of public information. Back in the U.S., I did not have too much trouble doing research since most information and data are published online and I could always rely on the databases at Dickinson Library. In Vietnam, however, information can mostly be found through news and articles while official reports are only available through expensive subscriptions or in circulation of companies in related fields. After conducting the macro research, we can identify some key players in the field and create a pool of potential companies for further study. In this step, setting up private meetings with officials from these companies is very important in order to gain more knowledge. Last Monday, I got the chance to attend an analyst meeting that was held by the Vietnamese Steel Association and a leading company in the steel industry. The talk offered a great opportunity for analysts to ask in-depth questions and listen to insights from the industry experts. After collecting all the necessary information about the companies, we put them in financial models to determine the companies’ valuation and determine whether any fits our company fund’s portfolio. Then we summarize our findings into a presentation and present the proposal every Monday during our team’s meeting. The process sounds pretty well-structured and clear but it actually varies a lot depending on the company or the industry being covered. I know one analyst in my team who was working on an agriculture company had to make a trip to the company site in the countryside to visit its farm and observe the packaging process. The key point is that an analyst has to truly understand the company he/she is pitching, not just by the numbers, but by every aspect that involves the company. I feel very fortunate to work as a research analyst where I have the chance to gain in-depth understanding about a wide range of industries covered by my team.