Last week OneWire published their first interview with Philippe Laffont, Founder and CEO of Coatue Management. In Part II of the interview, Laffont explains his investment philosophy, how he figures out great long and short positions, and how to get hired at a top hedge fund.
“For us, the key to investing is thinking…how can a company perform three to five years out?…Not focus so much from the short term, try to see the forest from the trees…Few people in the market think about the long term, and that’s our edge.”
But of course, he says, no one is right all the time. Laffont says he often finds it easier to prove something is wrong (finding short positions) than it is to find great companies for long investments.
When asked what his firm looks for when hiring, Laffont emphasises the importance of a strong education and solid on-the-job training. He argues that once you’ve gained both these experiences, you will be prepared for all kinds of career paths.
“On Wall Street, there’s sort of a true and proven way to succeed when you’re young,” Laffont insists. “Go spend the first two to three years at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey…an investment bank…Wall Street is a very competitive environment full of smart people, and if you can start your career [there], you’re going to learn a lot. And you can choose to carry those skills, whether you want to work at a large corporation, whether you want to create your own small business, whether you want to go to Silicon Valley and create a tech company—it doesn’t matter. But what a great training ground.”
So when can you break into a hedge fund? Make sure you’ve got the basics down and you are ready to add value the minute you walk in the door.
“People don’t expect you to be prepared at JP Morgan on day one. But when you come to a small company, you have to be up and running because we don’t have as much time to train people; we expect them to already be productive.”
Watch Part II of Laffont’s interview below! Or watch Part I here.
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