I've been reading this forum for a few days off and on while at work and think it's a tremendous wealth of knowledge. It's great to see that people actually working in the industry go on here and offer up their real world experience.
I am absolutely dead set on working at a hedge fund within the next 3 to 4 years.. and I know the best way to achieve something is to a) create a plan, b) write the plan down and be mindful of it every day, and c) diligently stick to the plan without exception
I am here to get help in developing my plan... but first you must know my background, which is honestly very very bad. Since I have absolutely zero pedigree on paper,I have a huge uphill battle and I need quality advice on how to reach my goal as efficiently as possible. I truly feel as if I have no time to waste.
So here's my background (sorry for it being long):
I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Los Angeles and basically none of my friends/family graduated from college much less had professional jobs. I went to a shitty state university where I started off majoring in accounting. I was also in a band early through college which was going mildly well. We had an opportunity to record an album with a high profile producer, at which point I was already doing poorly in school and figured this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so I just dropped school halfway through that term and moved into the dude's studio/4 story mansion.. I got straight Fs that semester. The album became something we never wanted it to be, and after lots of arguing, the band imploded and we all went our separate ways.
My separate way was to realize I was sitting on a 2.6 GPA and was probably going to end up as poor as my friends/family if I didn't get my shit together quick.
In my last two years I have managed the following:
1 - 3.7GPA in last 1.5 yrs, resulting in a 3.1 overall GPA and a 3.2 in accounting
2 - added finance as a major, 3.7GPA in that...
3 - got a corporate finance year-round internship at a F100 telecom firm (think TWC or DTV) where i work almost exclusively with the retirement plans' investments.. but kind of it's basic work (helping/liasing with PMs to put together LDI strategies, create presentations, analyze yield curves for liability purposes, put together SEC filings, prepared some reports for the CFO)
4 - landed a full-time offer in the financial services audit group at a mid-tier accounting/advisory firm; i will almost exlcusively be auditing hedge funds, FoFs, PEs and other alt asset classes, doing some GIPS compliance here and there too..
5 - graduated and passed all 4 parts of the CPA exam in 1 month and sat for CFA level 1 last week.. hopefully passed that too
6 - been volunteering at 2 organizations helping educate and mentor inner-city children for 2 reasons, a) I don't want them to go through what i did early on, and b) it'll probably help if I decide to apply to b-school
So here I stand... 7 months out of college and still working at the F100 telco firm (position got extended) while I wait for this audit job to start.
I am THINKING I should do this... but I honestly don't know if it is the most efficient route...
1 - once at the mid-tier CPA firm, get into their transaction advisory dept. if that doesn't pan out, network and transfer to a big4 firm (i have a shit ton of friends in big4)
2 - once at the big4 firm, network and transfer to their transaction advisory dept
3 - once at big4 transactions, network like a motherfucker and get into a MM investment bank
4 - once at a MM investment bank and once I completed the CFA program, start networking and recruiting like a little bitch to land that dream job at a HF
1 -i feel like i should just cut to the fucking chase and not 'round-about' my way into the typical path of getting into a HF (IBD -> HF) but i feel that trying to get in through the typical path will yield a higher quality and quantity of opportunities.
2 - i'm already in my mid 20s.. will I be at a disadvantage when recruiting for a HF when im 29/30?
3 - at what point will my GPA no longer be scrutinized as it has been thus far? i thought about studying towards a 700+ GMAT score and going to a top 15 school and using that to make up for the shit GPA but.. i feel like so many bschools inflate your GPA.. i can totally see a recruiter telling me "oh you have a 4.0 at Columbia.. that's great but we all know these schools inflate GPA.. so tell me what your UG GPA is" or some shit. then i'll be back at square one, but with $150K of debt. besides, without prior IBD/AM experience, will an MBA even position me for a fair shot at getting into a HF? I think not...
4 - while I'm waiting for this auditing gig to start, should I try to get a quick informal internship at a HF or boutique IBD?
Please WSO, help me sort this shit out and get on the straightest, shortest path towards a HF job. I would deeply and sincerely appreciate it.