Photo: Flickr/Barack Obama
The mystique and difficulties surrounding hedge fund employment is probably at an all-time high right about now.But perhaps no story exemplified the predicament better than the tale of the anonymous Harvard graduate student who had trouble even getting an interview to intern at a hedge fund.
The student, who was enrolled in a joint MBA/JD program at Harvard and armed with an economics degree from MIT and work experience from McKinsey, told his story to Tradestreaming’s Zack Miller last year.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s actually slowly turning into the norm, said John Pierson, president and CEO of 10X Capital, a search firm specializing in hedge funds.
Business Insider spoke to Pierson for another view on hedge fund employment after listening to Tradestreaming’s interview, and combined the two sources’ tips into an 8-step guide on getting into the industry.
Hedge funds like it if you have everything: charisma, passion for investing, the grades and the Ivy League education.
But, they love athletes, according to Pierson.
So take up a sport, you never know if the experience might be good for casual chatter or make you that much more appealing.
Generalist positions are disappearing, so it's best to decide early what industry you're interested in and pursue it to specialize yourself, Pierson recommended.
For example, if you were interested in analysing the tech sector -- one of the hottest industries these days -- it would be beneficial to study engineering or obtain a science degree combined with economics at the undergraduate level. Then, working for a computer company or engineering firm before pursuing an MBA would be the ideal path for entering a hedge fund.
Most hedge funds will already have a pool of students they're interested in (those with previous hedge fund or private equity experience) when they come to recruit on campus, so you have to think outside the box. Look for firms that don't recruit on campus, research their history/background and reach out to them.
Usually there will be less competition and you get more of a chance of standing out and showing you're passionate about working for them.
Source: Tradestreaming interview
Pierson recommends making a list of every single way you can sell yourself, and to convey that to the people you may meet from hedge funds.
But, the trick is to conduct 'guerrilla marketing' in secret -- to sell yourself well but also do it discreetly. Try to talk to the hedge funder via e-mail or on the phone, or ask to have one-on-one meetings.
'Once you're in a fund, the last thing you want is for everyone in the industry to know your information,' Pierson reasoned.
Like other industries, job openings at hedge funds are sporadic. Though most students want to have an internship or job offer locked in by January, if they take a risk and wait, there will be openings, and also less competition for them.
The interviewee said he heard through the Harvard investment club about a prominent New York hedge fund hiring for an immediate start in May -- and knew of many people very wel-qualified for the job that had already taken positions in banking.
Source: Tradestreaming interview
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