Philippe Laffont is a Tiger Cub, a wildly successful tech hedge fund manager, and an MIT grad. In another awesome interview with OneWire for their Open Door video series, he explains the path he took to get there.
In a few words — It wasn’t typical.
After graduating from MIT, he began his career in management consulting at McKinsey & Co. Three years later, he met his wife-to-be and moved to Spain to work for her family. It was the boom days of the 90s and during this period, Laffont and his brother began buying technology stocks in their spare time.
“Our stocks were going up—we confused luck with skill,” Laffont recounts, “But nevertheless, it gave us the passion.” As a result, one year later he moved to New York to pursue a career in tech investing.
With no network in New York City, Laffont found it challenging to get hired, eventually taking a job working for free at a small mutual fund. By pure luck, Laffont wound up meeting with Julian Robertson very briefly through a friend of a friend.
“I went straight to the point…I said I want to work for you, I know about technology, and I want to pick tech names.” Robertson sent him on to interview, and he was hired by Tiger Management shortly thereafter. Eventually he started Coatue Management and the rest is history.
“The career advice I would have,” Laffont says, “is you need to do two things when you graduate. You need to do them both passionately. You need to do one thing passionately that is the obvious thing that you are supposed to do after you graduate…At the same time…you need to do one thing completely off the beaten path, but also passionately.”
Watch Part I of Laffont’s interview below and check back tomorrow for Part II of the interview, in which Laffont discusses his investment philosophy and how to get hired at a hedge fund today.
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