6 Steps to your first hedge fund job
Breaking into the hedge fund industry used to be hard….It’s now much harder. If you are fresh out of school or haven’t worked in the industry before, it’s going to take these six steps to get you there.
Get up to speed on the norms of the hedge fund industry.
– Read a couple of these books
– Subscribe to FINalternatives, Hedge Fund Intelligence, Albourne Village.
PICK YOUR ROLE
There are three common routes to getting your first job in the hedge fund industry: trader, analyst or sales professional. An analyst is the most common starting point, but everything is based on your background, skill set and passions.
Network and interview with a good idea of what you want to do.
If you have done your homework on the hedge fund industry and have defined where you might fit in, many people will meet with you or at least exchange emails providing advice on the next steps you could take to get your first hedge fund job.
If you need help with networking, read this.
If you get an internship opportunity, always over-deliver on the tasks that are assigned to you without taking up much of the hedge fund manager’s time. You never want to bring a problem to your boss that you don’t already have a couple of potential solutions for. While you want to make a great impression on those around you, on some level, what you do at the internship is not as important as who you are working with or just getting exposure to how he/she operates and what responsibilities you are expected to carry out.
The criteria I have most often heard from hedge fund managers is: hungry, humble and smart. Factors that hedge funds look at include:
- Equity analyst, trading or sales experience
- Loyalty, passion, humility and hunger
- Quantitative and/or modeling experience
- Something extra: Investor Relations experience, PR experience, asset gathering abilities, information advantages
- High-quality name experience
- The stomach and desire for a high commission/bonus structure payout system
After you have completed between one and three internships and have two solid references from hedge fund managers, you can start trying to interview directly. In my experience, you cannot work with recruiters this early on in your career, and most university career centers aren’t worth working with if you want to get into the hedge fund industry.
You need to connect with leaders in the industry, and they might give you an e-mail address or phone number of someone to meet with. Take every meeting you can get, even if it is not the type of hedge fund you would like to work for. Much of this game is networking and learning how to effectively interview for a competitive position. Hedge funds hire for brains, experience, commitment, passion and character.