Starting career at boutique asset manager
Hi all, I am a college student who is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to start full time at a boutique long only equity investor after I graduate. The firm's AUM is in the $2-$8bn range with 5-10 investment professionals and a similar number of support staff (trying to keep things vague for anonymity purposes). They run a single fund with a specific factor orientation (although they are somewhat flexible) with a long track record and decent returns.
The people are great -- extremely kind and willing to spend a lot of time mentoring me. Having worked with them before, I know they will give me an incredible amount of responsibility and autonomy right out the gate. WLB at the firm is very good, I find the work they do incredibly interesting, and pay will likely be decent (although we have not discussed this yet).
With that being said, I am also wary of starting my career at a small firm with no name recognition, at a time when there are sustained asset flows out of active equities. I'm worried that if AUM stagnates or declines, in the next few years I may find myself without a job or stuck in a job with below-market comp that is hard to exit from given the limited name recognition. I think there also is a minor disconnect between the firm's investment philosophy and mine (in terms of time horizon, how theoretical vs. practical their approach to investing is, and the kinds of companies / situations they like to look at), but I don't view this as a huge concern.
With that in mind, does anyone have thoughts on the pros and cons of starting a career at a boutique asset manager? What questions would you ask of the firm to go about evaluating the attractiveness of the opportunity? My other option is to start full time in IB, which I am not eager to do primarily due to the lack of WLB and relatively uninteresting / frustrating nature of the work.