HF Analyst Life

So I am an An2 at a sweatshop group. I am absolutely burnt out and have been ground to the death of me. I have been looking to leave soon for immediate start roles that are much lighter work hours and better WLB (Corp Dev, Co-Invest/FoF shops, etc.). I know that the job is much less interesting and would be a "step-down" in terms of prestige and intellectual pursuit in terms of what I could pursue in a buyout shop but I realized I'd rather have an interesting life with interesting hobbies.That being said there has been a part of me that wants to regain the drive I used to have and do something that is meaningful - I just can't deal with consistent 3-4am nights, fire drills, and having no control over my life.

I was recently invited to interview with a Hedge Fund and it seems like this might be a good blend of what I am looking for. Appears to be a stressful job that demands a lot around market hours (+ a few hours before and after) but the work is genuinely interesting (no dumb process work) and everyone on WSO seems to really love it. I think it would really satisfy my intellectual pursuit. Also given the market-oriented nature it seems like even at a top shop, I would be able to have some time to myself on the evenings/weekends to go for dinner, pursue a class, do stuff outside of work. Because of this it seems like the perfect opportunity for me where I can still grind/work hard, just on something I am interested in and something that gives me control back in my life.

Am I being naive? I don't want to end up in a situation where I regret joining and feel trapped to stay. To be clear I am looking for my next role to be a long-term role, and not looking to use it as a spring board to another exit opp. Any insight would be huge.

Comments (6)

1mo 
sb0399, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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1mo 
Telemachus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

100% depends on the fund.

HF analyst jobs vary drastically with the fund, especially the single managers. The pods at the multi-managers can also be fairly different, but they are usually similar enough to know what you're getting into. 

The single manager world however is very different. Before you get excited, you need to due diligence this fund. There are amazing HF jobs out there where analysts never leave, love coming to work, the culture is super academic and everyone is respectful with a one team/one team motto....BUT there are also sweatshop HF jobs where there is zero WLB, near 100% analyst turnover, money is crap, incoming analysts are over promised / under delivered on everything and then used/abused/churned out with everything accruing to the head CIO. I've seen it all. 

You just need to figure out what type of HF you're interviewing for. I would never group all HFs together in one bucket in anyway. 

I'd use the interview process to suss out what type of firm you're interviewing with as well as ask ppl in your network. 

Best of luck! 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
1mo 

Are there any questions you always ask to figure this out? 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
1mo 

^^ - OP here thanks so much for the helpful response.

This is a very well known MM. Seems like it really depends on the pod I am in. During my first round the HR lady did say "Analysts usually love that they finally have time to get dinner" which made it sound like there is an essence of WLB. Not sure how much more insight I can get past that. Agree with the question above, what types of questions should I ask? 

I really do not want to be in a situation like you described for the terrible SMs but will I have a less likely chance of this at a large MM?

  • Research Analyst in AM - Other
1mo 

The answer is similar within MMs, it is just PM-dependent. Some PMs will pay analysts well (assuming the team makes money), respect their time/WLB, offer mentorship, etc... and others will churn and burn analysts, stiff them on pay, etc. In addition to gleaning what you can from biz dev at the MM and in convos with the PM, worth looking into how many analysts they have employed in the past (high churn is a bad sign) and whether any senior analysts on the team have been there awhile. Others with MM experience might have more to offer on specific ways to learn more about a certain PM/team but this should be a decent start.

  • Quant in PropTrad
1mo 

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