Have You Got the “Right Stuff” for a Hedge Fund Job?

Not everyone is suited to the hedge fund industry. The intense competitiveness, high risk, and a secretive culture combine to create a work environment in which only persons with certain personality traits can survive and thrive. Generally speaking, hedge fund jobs fall into one of these three broad categories:

1) Analysts

In many respects, analysts are the beating heart of a hedge fund. They have well-developed skills in following the stock and bond markets. They must be adept in spotting the direction of the market as a whole or the trend for individual securities.

Analysts are responsible for conducting the exhaustive research and thorough investigation necessary to render an investment decision. They perform a critical supporting role to senior analysts and portfolio managers to build investments into the funds’ portfolios.

2) Portfolio Managers

The portfolio manager wears a number of hats, chief among them is shouldering the responsiblity for exceeding the clients’ expectations for return on investment.

Additionally responsibilities include but, are not limited to:

  • Implementing new financial products and strategies
  • Collaborating with analysts to ensure that trading strategies are properly executed
  • Networking with clients and potential investors to grow assets under management
  • Reviewing the fund’s performance reports
  • Keeping abreast of industry policies and regulations as set forth by the SEC

3) Administrators

Administrative roles, although vital, are “behind the scenes”. These are largely back office functions, focused on client relations, accounting, reporting and other related issues. Administrative functions are being increasingly outsourced, in part or in total, by many hedge fund firms.

Four “Must Have” Traits/Skills

A.)   Networking skills are critical to landing an interview with a hedge fund. Developing contacts with the ability to open the door a crack by identifying hiring managers is crucial. Successfully networking at your current job or internship will allow you to meet people who can further your career goals.

B.)  Problem solving skills are a high priority asset for the successful candidate. So much so, that many managers will actually give an interviewee a case study to review and resolve as part of the interview process. The interview process with a hedge fund is more extensive than one might imagine. Interviewers are looking for individuals who can spot and resolve problems.

C.)  Previous experience, especially in reviewing mountains of data and drawing accurate conclusions from it is important. In short, analytical ability and experience. This ability can be demonstrated in fields of endeavor other than hedge funds.

D.)   Initiative is a key trait coupled with a large dose of tenacity. In short, always proceed with an eye to exceeding expectations.

About Hedge Fund Jobs

Getting a foot in the door for a hedge fund job is not easy. The competition is nothing if not stiff. The prepared candidate is the successful candidate and, what has been discussed here is only a primer. Developing sound networking skills, doing focused internships and having some investment experience on your resume will provide you with the best opportunity for a positive outcome.

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