Viking vs Elliott
In a lucky position to get to pick from a MBA summer internship with Viking (publics team) and Elliott, both in NYC (currently at HBS, previously MF PE). I am leaning towards Elliott based (i) the people have been incredible nice throughout the process, (ii) I like the diversity of their investments / the team I would be on (activism, credit, privates) vs solely focusing on stock picking at Viking which I am not sure I am particularly good at, (iii) they work on some very cool and high profile campaigns, (iv) intern conversion to FT has been much higher at Elliott
Main concerns: are career earnings more limited? What about your ability to start your own fund? Will senior management ever give up responsibility/large economics?
Other comments/thoughts for me to keep in mind?
Zeroth world problem over there
First of all, massive congrats. I went to Harvard, and you really knocked it out of the park--those are a couple of the hardest seats to get, especially Elliott. From what I know (not at either fund, but have friends), here would be my take. Above all else, go with your gut on what you want to do. If you want to do credit and activism, then listen to yourself and take the seat that allows you to do that. At your stage in your career, the switching costs of changing asset classes, strategies, etc start to become non trivial. Elliott is obviously an incredibly smart and tough shop, and a great platform to learn. It remains perhaps my dream fund (I love activism as well, although I don't do it now and may never get to). It is, however, a sweatshop. So be prepared for a lot of hours, and a pretty hard driving culture. I've been a counterparty to Elliott, and they absolutely grind on everything. Viking is another fantastic fund, obviously. I think the L/S equities strategy, as you recognize, is more limited and niche. The SM L/S model has obviously been under a lot of pressure lately as well. That being said, Viking is a very smart and disciplined shop and my friend generally likes their culture which is softer and more fun than Elliott. I wouldn't worry about career earnings and economics or exits right now, beyond trying to find the seat where you will do best and be most engaged.
+1 never thought i'd hear viking being described as softer and fun
Got any quick tips to pull this off?
This is the sexiest humble brag post I've seen in awhile.
This threads going to just get hijacked with people asking you for advice
Might be contrarian based on responses so far but Viking, despite lower conversion rate.
afaik Elliott returns have not been outstanding?Can't really speak to their process since it must vary by asset class. But Viking - those guys seem to have process and strong returns as a consequence.
I think Viking may mold you into a stronger investor and that will pay dividends long-term
Bruh Elliott was up this. Viking did ok against tiger cubs but not against the rest of the hedge fund industryb
I don't know many Elliott spin outs but the list from Viking is substantial… at least a handful in the last few years:
D1: Dan Sundheim
Voyager: Grant Wonders
Alua: Tom Purcell
Junto (more dates spinout)
Avala: divya netimi
Naive question here, but numerous spin outs is considered a negative correct?
Or are you suggesting that analysts / PMs there were so successful they went and started their own book
OP is referencing it as a positive - if you go viking and crush it, you have an above avg chance (although still difficult) of gaining enough skills to launch your own fund someday
Doesn't Elliott verticalize their investment teams (like activism is walled off from distressed)? Or is that at a more senior level?
I thought this was the case. Which is why I feel Elliott is not the place to be unless you really jive with your particular strategy / role?
I came reading this
Elliott is closer to pe than hf. Investment committee, very few actual risk takers there. "PM" does not mean risk taker there, more like PE partner who leads deal and advocates at committee. Probably best path for stability next 5-10 years.
Viking is a l/s equity multi-manager with concentrated approach and no factor limits (both of which are good and bad). You have a bad nine months and you may hit end of your rope. But if it goes well, you will learn to take risk and have a portable franchise investing in your sector in largecap liquid stocks which you can do anywhere.
really depends what you're into. To be clear, not suggesting either 'better' just completely different. At the same multiple, i'd rather own equity in elliott's gp than viking's probably. I'd prefer to work at viking but that's because what they do is more like what i enjoy doing. Different strokes.
people seem to have very strong opinions. Whatever.
Aren't there very few actual risk takers at viking too? I've heard a lot of the investment professionals they call pms are actually senior analysts who manage money in a sub sector under a real sector pm
Yes but also very few total investors so it's a meaningful proportion and they all supposedly can be made PM if put up enough analyst PNL.
Elliott tons of employees and like 4 guys who can start to deploy real risk so tiny proportion of team. Unclear if anyone else has opportunity to graduate to that level, given it is all people who've been there forever.
again, PE partner at a good fund probably a better risk adjusted income than PM at viking, so not a bad thing. Unless you want to manage a book in which case it just isn't that, whereas viking can be. Idk what makes you tick.
"Upside case" comp probably similar at both but you can likely get there faster at Viking and likely get more optionality on starting your own thing one day. On other hand, more stability at Elliott and "base case" tenure probably much longer as Viking can be brutal with cuts. Viking's kind of a hybrid of a pod model and the more traditional Tiger cub type long biased structure most people think of.
Very different mandates and so I would think hard about what you want to do and largely use that as deciding factor in decision. Viking is more traditional large cap public equity long/short, while Elliott pretty generalist and project / process based.
Returns are comparable at both so don't base decision on that.
A lot of wrong info here imo. You should check with formers.
There are several Elliott spins. Perhaps not as high profile as the Tiger ones but I'd attribute that to bull market things. Elliott is just a different, uncorrelated product. Singer's a cynic, they hedge tightly, they don't lose money and through manual efforts they drive their own outcomes. I'd argue their process is more valuable to LPs than Viking's and down the road it's unlikely an either or. Check their recent fundraising, think I also saw Viking opening. That should tell you something.
Jesse Cohn absolutely could raise his own fund but he's still at Elliott, why, that's probably a better question.
I do agree Elliott is probably more PE-like, less risk takers / just being a really senior analyst etc. than a more multi-manager structure at Viking where you might get to eat more of what you kill earlier. As long as you don't wait too long, you can transition from Elliott to anywhere.
whatever, yes jesse could obviously raise a fund, yes if you go to any firm of any type and it grows massively over next two decades and you create and run multiple new strategies that become core to the fund that is phenomenally lucrative. Rest is stupid to debate
What are you talking about dude, look at the number of Elliott spins esp in recent years out of London. Of course you can take it with you and recreate it. The edgy stuff you're describing is marginal, just like with any other strategy. It's about understanding the activist process and marketing your exp doing it at Elliott, like any other strategy or launch. "Creating" a process? This is stock picking not rocket science, come on man.
My point on Jesse is that they offer economics that are good enough for him to stick around. I don't understand your point otherwise.
lol Jesse is obviously an exception that Elliott knows so they obviously give him the economics to keep him. not for everyone else probably
you're missing the point. it's elliott. if you're good they'll pay you. that's not the question.
That's not true. There's a lot of politics and it's hard at Elliott because you're massive single concentrated positions (you could argue is more idiosyncratic because activism or whatever) versus Viking where you have more reps. Also Elliott is known to have not great comp.
no insights, but generally from what i've seen, most of the super high paying shops have a bunch of ex-BX/Apollo/H&F/etc guys - see the large cubs, pershing, etc. from browsing linkedin, elliott has very few of those - a lot of ex-MM PE guys at elliott, which to your point does suggest they don't pay top of the market (at least at the junior level until you provide you can make money a la jesse)
I'm not sure that's as much of a reflection of bad comp as it is of horrible lifestyle / culture
I think its just a relative comparison. Both are going to pay well but scaled Equity HFs are just set up much better to be comped better.
Elliott pays well, especially relative to other credit oriented funds, just in constrained to the level that a small, lean single manager like Soroban, Pershing, or the like can comp. Elliott had 55bn in AuM / 201 investment professionals while Viking had 38bn in AuM / 57 investment professionals, per their respective websites and form ADVs.
I believe both of 5y net returns are in the HSD range (Elliott - 8.56 5 year prior to this year, Viking - 11.18 5 year prior to this year) per the 5 year returns pdf from cliffwater.
Running their AuMs / returns at 8% return / 20% carry / 1.5% management fee, Viking makes more fees per investment professional off of just management fees alone. Dropping Vikings fee rates to 1.3% since they probably have some long only money, they still generate fees per investment professional off of just management fees.
At 1.5% / 20% / 8% return, Elliott makes 8.5m / investment professional while Viking makes 22.8m / investment professional.
And now if you look at a firm like Pershing Square or Soroban who run / ran ~$10bn+ on 10-15 investment pessionals, you see where economics just make it easier to pay everyone more.
And on the more depressing side in credit, a firm like Davidson Kempner which runs 38bn with 142 investment professionals but with 5% 5 year returns / more credit oriented (lower) fee models.
Summary is: Big lean SM equity hedge funds are lean and s**** cash so probably can provide better paydays to the average employee.
love the username
Couple things: Elliott comp similar to MF PE (meaning you don't get Viking-esque upside early on and will be making $500k-$1.5m for the first 7-10 years. I think you can do a lot better at Viking (assuming you're able to stay there, which implies you don't lose $).
I almost think the upside ranks here are 1. Viking 2. PE 3. Elliott. One thing I'll note is Viking definitely has the highest ceiling, with a similar floor to Elliott. Risk adjusted I would say PE > Elliott. Why? You're not getting paid $10m+ consistently at Elliott unless you're one of the 7 equity partners (please don't make intern decision with the expectation of making partner at Elliott). Consider the economics - fund has shitty returns and you're not a real partner clipping mgmt fees like pollock / Cohn. So you have a little carry in activist ideas that generate a few bps of alpha. Not fun. Its also a very political place so be aware…
In MF PE, I think $10m+ by the time you're a mid level partner is not an "out of this world" path given you're already a VP (again, making the assumption that you're a good VP bc you have great HF offers). At Viking, I think $10m+ as a senior analyst (not just PM) is doable. Think about the economics here - great performance + lean team (let's not forget Elliott has a million IPs all fighting against you for PM and eventually partner). And not just that - as an analyst you manage a book and you're paid based on personal performance and fund performance. So if you run $500-2bn as a sr analyst and have a solid year, I don't think $5-15m is out of the question. And young. Then even more upside as you become PM (which they have shown: good analysts have a clear path to PM). Then you launch your own shop. And TVM! Get paid a lot earlier > potentially a little more in PE a lot later.
I'm pretty confident that Elliott analysts do not work across strats (ie activist guy isn't also looking at distressed stuff). Given PE background maybe you'll work on a few take privates but it's not like you'll be "running those" - they have an entire team dedicated to that in CA, so your job will be activism.
What exactly is the difference between sr analyst and pm at viking if both manage money?
Sorry - maybe better way to put it is you have full ownership over your ideas and youre paid based on how they do. PM still has to give green light for all those ideas. Think of it as sr analyst / analyst main job = idea generation. So maybe sr analyst responsible for "$500m - 2bn of ideas". Then PM has to figure out how to fit all of those ideas (l and s) into the book, and then actively work the book around those ideas, macro, factor exposure etc.
Sr analyst has more discretion over sourcing / idea gen and is then paid based on how those ideas do (then PM and halvorsen get the rest, which is majority).
Let's say the pieces of 100 puzzle sets are dropped into a bag (if each puzzle has 100 pieces, there's 10,000 pieces in there). Goal is to do a puzzle. Analyst job is to find the pieces for said puzzle, PM job is to do said puzzle. Similar idea to baseball scout / GM sourcing players, then coach has to work them into the lineup
Is that true for Elliott comp for 10 years? Seems marginally better than IBD comp for how difficult of a job to get, so I am a bit skeptical?
For sure for first 5 years. I have limited contacts there. But after that it's a bit of an "idk".
Just think about the economics. 7 years in you'll be an APM making at most $2-3m. It's not like their campaigns are lights out successful and they have a hundred mouths to feed.
You'll probably be better off comp wise at XYZ MF (caveat by saying majority carry vs all cash at Elliott, but ones carry pays out, yeah a lot higher)
This part is objectively incorrect. I can't speak to the comp points being made but keep this in mind when assessing credibility of information from anonymous internet sources.
How are analysts siloed then?
what's the range that a senior PM but not equity partner (steinberg, pike, etc) makes in a base case year, if you were to guess?
Can't comment on comp but two points.
Pike is an equity partner if you look at the Suncor letter.
Also the comment further up on 7 years you can only be an APM isn't the most accurate since Steinberg joined Elliott in 2015 from banking and has been an SPM since at least 2021 per the twitter letters. He is obviously an anomaly but promotions are clearly not as set in stone as MF PE steps.
I know these funds well. This thread is full of inaccurate information, especially with regards to compensation. Speak with formers from both before making a decision.
This is the only advice in this thread you should listen to.
Enlighten me because I also know them well.
No, you don't.
I highly doubt someone able to get both of those offers would be asking WSO's opinion on which to take lmao
Yeah, OP should ask the 'Incoming Summer Analyst' on LinkedIn at a semi-target who runs an internship prep service and is a mentor at his finance club
Would be great if you could share your story. Why HF from PE?
Elliot is a good firm and I respect anyone who's come from there - but they are sort of known to have made a few morally questionable investments in the past.
I might get a couple downvotes for this…
Their wunderlich test probably sorts out softies who care about morals/ESG so doubt this candidate cares.
Hah, under appreciated comment.
Do you want to bet on being right or make noise and make yourself right?
100% Elliott on all of the important criteria you listed. On the concerns, no difference between the two (and perhaps lean Elliott as well).
go with whichever pays most
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