Is an Ivy League Degree a Must for a Hedge Fund Job?

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.


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


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


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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