From the category archives:

Hedge Fund Jobs

Many of those who aspire to a career in the hedge fund industry believe in the necessity of an Ivy League degree. Others believe that an MBA or other advanced degree is a requirement.

While these educational attributes most assuredly enhance a CV, the absence of these attributes does not preclude employment with a hedge fund firm. A recent story written by the proud father of a young man with a Bachelor of Science in math, from a public school, who won a position in a small hedge fund firm, beating out 349 competitors for the position, illustrates this point. Of course, this is not a scenario that will play out for everyone, but there are significant takeaways from this story.

A Strong Desire to Learn

The young man who was the subject of the story, had a thirst for learning. Although he did not attend the best schools, he did manage to earn top marks in the schools he attended. His love for learning was in evidence early in his childhood, having learned to read before the age of 4 and mastering his multiplication tables in first grade.

Competitive

The hero of the story was competitive…not with others, but rather, with himself, always striving to improve over his prior results.

Likability

By competing with himself rather than others, he enjoyed enhanced his opportunities to make friends and form lasting relationships. In short, good social skills.

Passionate

The subject of this story had a passion in life, a passion that was relevant to the career he was pursuing. In this case, the passion was poker, which taught him to be decisive, solve problems and understand risk.

Is This a Formula for Success?

To an extent…yes. A demonstrated desire to learn, a record of continuous improvement, the ability to get along with coworkers and a passion for what one is doing are traits that any employer would find attractive. However, to suggest that this young man’s story can be replicated in the job market is naive.

The hedge fund industry is monstrously competitive. No one should forgo the opportunity to attend the most prestigious schools, attain an advanced degree and build a network in the financial sector. While all the attributes exhibited by the young man in the story are admirable and will certainly enhance his prospects, he still must compete with those who have had the benefit of the best schools, the most prestigious degrees and that remain competitive yet likable and passionate about what they do.

What about Hedge Fund Jobs?

The good news highlighted in this success story is that job seekers who lack the best of educational credentials still have employment opportunities in the hedge fund industry. Hedge fund managers are, by definition, out of the box thinkers.

The talents and positive attributes that a job seeker might possess, are more likely to be recognized and acted upon by a hedge fund than than they would be by, for example, an investment banking firm.

So…if you didn’t attend the best school or achieve the advanced degree, but have a passion for the industry, you still have the opportunity to achieve that hedge fund job.

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While there has always been keen competition for talent, the battle lines are being clearly drawn between the financial (particularly hedge funds) and the technology sectors. MBA graduates from the London School of Economics (LSE) have opted for the technology sector in large numbers since 2013, when LSE began splitting out the technology sector.

Forty-six percent of LSE graduates entered the financial sector in 2007…in 2017 that fell to 26 percent, a 43 percent decrease. Concurrently, technology’s share of graduates has increased from 6 percent to 20 percent, a greater than fourfold increase in a decade!

To counter this trend, the hedge fund industry is making dramatic changes in its campus recruiting style to secure its share of the talent pool.

In the Old Days

Time was, hedge funds did not have to go out of their way to recruit talent. For those inclined to search out a high paying career, hedge funds were the first choice. Hedge funds had the deepest pockets and when it came to bonus pay, the sky was the limit.

Well, times have changed—deep pockets are no longer the sole province of the hedge fund industry, in fact, many would argue that those pockets are shallower than ever before. North American hedge funds hold $1.66 trillion in assets under management. In contrast, the top three U.S. based technology companies, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Facebook, have a total market cap of $2.5 trillion. As a result, it has become necessary for the hedge fund industry to change course and revamp the way college recruitment is undertaken.

What Is the Industry Doing?

Hedge fund professionals have always been a breed apart, outliers in the financial sector, somewhat more dressed-down than banking professionals and content to be domiciled in Connecticut as opposed to Manhattan.

This trait has become a plus in the recruitment game…but it hasn’t been enough. Apart from phenomenal earning potential and a less stifling work environment, hedge funds are realizing that this generation of graduates desire work that has purpose beyond earning an outsized income.

Consequently, hedge funds are placing more emphasis on the fact that they are tackling challenging problems, such as big data, problems that need to be solved, rather than placing the emphasis on what they are trying to achieve. In short, the industry is trying to project an appealing image to a new generation of graduates, forcing a naturally secretive industry into the uncomfortable role of self-promotion and forging an aura of coolness.

As quantitative and quantamental hedge funds compete with technology firms for expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics, they must also match the perks offered by the technology sector, which include, among others,  high starting salaries.

What about Hedge Fund Jobs?

One’s career choice should not be based solely on potential earnings. Work/life balance, aptitude, and enjoyment also play a role. Any Wall Street recruiting veteran will tell you that success in the hedge fund industry is proportional to one’s love for investing.

Recent graduates, with a genuine interest in investing, a love for the markets, and a degree that encompasses artificial intelligence, big data analytics or machine learning…this is your time.

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You Want a Mid Level Job in the Hedge Fund Industry

August 6, 2018

This may not be the time. While it is true that hedge fund starts are outpacing closures, the fact is, new hedge fund firms are not likely to be in the market for hedge fund professionals in the middle stages of their careers. Why? Because the majority of startups are firms seeded by established funds, […]

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Will Stock Pickers Survive this Brave New World?

July 23, 2018

Several events, which occurred just this month, should have stock pickers quaking in their Salvatore Ferragamo’s. According to the July 11, 2018, edition of the Financial Times, Facebook faces its first ever fine, which is a result of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Regulators in the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) accused Zuckerberg’s company […]

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How Happy Will You Be in Your Hedge Fund Job?

January 22, 2018

One sees the adjective happy, in daily use, in many contexts. It may characterize a feeling, causing a sense of satisfaction, a willingness to perform a task, an unexpected pleasure, a greeting, and even a description of slight intoxication. The connotation most appropriate to describing one’s job in the hedge fund industry encompasses all these, […]

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How Bright Is the Future for Hedge Fund Jobs?

December 11, 2017

As 2017 marches to its close, thoughts inevitably turn to the promise and challenge of the New Year. The hedge fund industry is on track to achieve its most successful year since 2013 in terms of gains and assets under management. Year-to-date gains, by most reports are 7.5 percent and assets under management have reached […]

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Hedge Funds Are Not Immune from Fake News

November 13, 2017

The current buzzword, fake news, begs the question, how often does one encounter fake news? It must occur with some degree of frequency, because pollsters report that two-thirds of the American public believes the mass media peddles fake news. There are larger questions. Is fake news the result of carelessness or is it done intentionally? […]

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