Seeking advice in switching careers

I have two questions, and I am hoping someone more knowledgeable than I on this forum can help. How can I best get a start in the investment management industry, specifically with the goal of working in the hedge fund or mutual fund industry? And how many years of personal portfolio performance should I have before I can start using that as a selling point for myself.

My expectation is to start at the bottom with an internship or a back-office position automating a firms strategy, but I want to be working towards equity analysis (ideally for a value fund) and then long-term towards portfolio management.

My Background:

My degree is in Econ w/ a minor in physics from a mid-ranked school (U.S.News ranked in the 70s) with a poor GPA (3.0), and all top 1% test scores including near perfect SAT and LSAT scores. I tried to break into the industry after college with an internship, but was unable to (poor GPA and 2009), and took work elsewhere to build my resume for another go.

My work experience has included a brief bit in real estate lending (with a tiny firm that did not do so well), but for the most part I have worked doing consumer modeling / analysis, forecasting, and retail sales analysis (determining effectiveness of price-changes, marketing campaigns, diversifying product lines, etc..). I have worked hard to build a strong track-record for myself, having led multi-million dollar improvements for organizations I have worked for, dramatically improved demand forecasts, leading a fantastic team, working 80 hour+ workweeks (and in one job consistent 100+ hours), and working efficiently through smart automation (I know excel better than my own house, and between VBA, web-automation tools, Java, SQL, and R, I can automate almost anything).

Although I've been successful, I have not been passionate about my work, and I want to switch careers to one where I'd want to work when I'm on vacation. Long-term equity investing has been my primary interest/hobby for the last several years (sorry but I am personally not much of a fan of technical analysis or attempts to capture short-term movements), but I don't have even an internship under my belt in the investment management industry. Additionally, I don't have any personal network in the industry, my own personal network mostly covering politics, tech, and retail. I think that now is the best time for me to take another shot.

Personal Portfolio:

Since June 2011, I have been managing a portfolio (under my name) for myself and family members which has seen over a 39% return from then until now (beta ~0.95, annualized alpha >20%, bi-weekly std dev. of .033 vs .030 for S&P calculated as of a month ago - last time analyzed the portfolio as a whole. All based on bi-weekly returns, and with a positive ex-post alpha every quarter.).

I have been casually advised by one person I met to not use personal portfolio performance as a selling point without a long track-record. Based on three years prior practice to the above of maintaining and analyzing a paper portfolio with strong performance as well(obviously only of relevance to myself), I am personally confident I can continue to outperform and build up several more years of a strong track-record (although unlikely I can maintain as strong of performance as I have currently). I want to know how long of a performance track-record I should plan to need before I can start using that track-record as a personal selling point.


So that is where I am at right now. To reiterate, my two questions are:

1) Based on my situation and goals, what is the best path for me to get a foot in the door.
2) How many years of a track-record do I need before I can start using that as a personal selling point.

I'm hoping with a little bit of strong advice, I can best focus my efforts for another attempt at breaking into the industry. I am posting here because those on this board tend to give tough but good advice.

Thank you for your time, and in advance for any advice you can give.

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