The EM Questionnaire: Jared Nielsen

Jared Nielsen

Brigham Young University
BS Finance

During a college internship, I sat down with my boss to discuss career options. I told my boss I wanted to work more with numbers while also working with a variety of cases and clients. He suggested transaction services, which started my search into financial consulting.

Later I found Equity Methods on the school job finder—although it was consulting, there seemed to be lots of opportunities to do coding and other kinds of projects. It sounded a lot better than working on PowerPoints all day long.

What I like about Equity Methods is the chance to build new solutions. I help the code development teams make improvements or create something new. The firm encourages us to expand our horizons. For instance, they support efforts to undergo further SAS training and take the level I CFA exam. I also get to participate in client calls, travel to see clients, and serve as one face of a project.

I have a pretty good team. We play video games and pool on our breaks. We also grab lunch together, and dinner when we’re working late. People are smart and opinionated in a good way. There’s always an interesting take on current events or something else to inform my thinking.

Equity Methods did a good job setting us up to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in the office, though, dress is casual and we’re able to be ourselves. That helps us focus on doing the most effective work we can.

On most days, you’ll find me doing one of two things. I’m either using a computer model to track an equity award and simulate what could happen to the value of the award, or I’m on the back end tweaking and improving a model for future use.

To do well here, you need to be really curious and internally driven. It helps to have a very logical, step-by-step approach to tackling challenges. An ability to understand the nuances of accounting and coding is key as well, because as a consultant you have to explain them to the client in order for them to be successful. Also, there’s attention to detail: Small things matter in this kind of work.

My general career advice is to be really honest with yourself about what your strengths are and what you’d enjoy doing all day. Too many limit themselves to the job they think they should have and try to force themselves to like it. The truth is, there are lots of jobs out there that you’d like and be good at. Aim for one of those.

What was the most surprising thing about working at Equity Methods?

How smart and capable everyone is. I got here only to find I was no longer the top of the class. I had a lot to learn. That said, another surprise was how respected the opinions of even the new folks are. Often they get to offer their insights first, and the ideas are always given consideration. I was also taken aback at how much work gets done despite the casual environment.

What’s the most interesting client project you’ve had so far?

I had a client—a new company spun out of another company—who needed to set up their long-term incentive award. We worked closely with management and the board’s consultant at every step, socializing ideas and obtaining feedback.

I helped with everything, from award design and valuation to determining the size of the award and developing communications and materials for the board of directors. It was the whole process, and the lessons learned from that perspective have helped me with so many other projects.

If you had a special guest, what meal would you prepare for them?

Probably breakfast for dinner because it’s safe. It’s also simple, but you can make it seem fancy without having to be all that good at making food. Plus, breakfast food is delicious—and I know I’d enjoy eating it, at least.

What was the last movie you saw?

I just recently went back through the Harry Potter series. I end up watching the same things fairly often, as it just is a nice relaxing time to enjoy something you already know is good.

What did you do during your last vacation?

I went to Bermuda with the family. We went snorkeling, took a boat around the island, and visited the beaches. We also took in the historic sites. It was really a nice time to truly kick back and relax, while also exploring a brand new place for me.

What do you like to do when away from work?

If it’s nice, I like to be outside—in the hammock or going for a hike. I also try to do yoga and other things to relax after work.

Which historical figure do you wish you could have met?

The Wright brothers. I’m a big fan and I’ve read a couple of biographies about them. They did something really impressive, yet stayed true to themselves. I’ve always admired their integrity, which they maintained even after they became famous.

Which talent would you like most to have?

The ability to dance. It would be cool to be a good dancer.