Value investor Whitney Tilson, the founder of T2 Partners, gave us some great advice to share with anyone who is looking to get a job in the hedge fund industry.
First, Tilson told us that the No. 1 question he would ask an aspiring analyst during an interview is, ‘What is the largest position in your personal portfolio and why?
“I want a concise 30 seconds. Give me the 30 second elevator speech on why you own it, why you think it’s cheap. And then, I’m going to drill down and do you really know this company? Ultimately, that’s what value investing as I practice it is all about. Are you the world expert? Have you done the work to generate some proprietary insight about a company or a stock,” he told Business Insider in an interview.
Tilson also told us he gets a lot of emails from people looking for a job, but the key to getting his attention isn’t just attaching a stellar resume. That doesn’t interest him.
“In fact, I would tell anyone, when somebody emails me, I get lots of emails from people looking for a job and anyone who attaches a resume, I’m not interested because everybody’s got a resume. Send me a short write-up of your best investment idea.“
He explained that it’s really challenging to secure a job in the hedge fund industry “because it’s an apprenticeship business and industry.”
“In other words, most jobs are not through the formal recruiting process, but through word of mouth,” he explained, adding, “So it’s figuring out, if you want a job at a value shop, show up at conferences. Go here. Speakers. If somebody’s giving a talk at Columbia Business School, go there and go introduce yourself to the person afterwards. It’s much more a networking game then traditional–most college students wait for recruiters to show up on campus and that doesn’t happen in this business.”
He added that there’s also the traditional investment bank route for getting a job at a hedge fund later on.
“Another great way to get into this business is go the traditional recruiting route for investment banks, do two years as an investment banking analyst and then if they’re clever and well-connected and do well, then that sort of sets them up to get a job on the buy side.”