Post-MBA Recruiting At Top Asset Managers / LOs

I found recruiting to be a little bit of a block box, so I figured I'd share my experience on here. Please feel free to chime in since some of this will be unique to my experience:

Background: at a top MBA program. Recruited at both the big LOs (will focus on on those here) and a handful of hedge funds (tiger cubs and the like). My background is IB/PE

Process:

  • Timing: you have a month or two to settle in before the coffee chats start. Then it's a slog between networking and prepping until interviews start in January. Interview scheduling can get insane (and you may even need to make some tough decisions about which ones to not show up to since conflicts abound). Silver lining is it's fast and furious once it starts, with offers generally in by end of January
  • Networking: is important, albeit not as important as it is in consulting/banking. If you have an untraditional background or are coming from non-HSW, it becomes a lot more important. You need to find champions at the firms you want to work at and you need to practice like crazy because the competition is intense and the seats are few. Grab coffee with all the second years at your school and try and find some mentors who can guide you through the interview process and firm idiosyncrasies. The nice thing about networking is that you should leave this period with a much clearer picture of whether LO or L/S is a better fit
  • Interviews: most common cadence is one or two first round interviews followed by a super day with a bunch of back to back 30min interviews. You will also see take home case studies. Have 2 longs and one short (assuming you interview for L/S too, which I highly recommend given there are so few quality LO funds). Have a couple more stocks you can talk very high level about (for the classic what's in your PA question - don't get tripped up). 50% of your interviews will be how good are you pitches, so practice is the name of the game. Start early and get feedback from everyone who will hear you out. Don't forget to do primary/creative work. The most common pitfall is not keeping it short and focused. The other 50% is passion and fit. The best investors are absolutely obsessed with stocks. You probably won't be yet at this stage in the game, so it will come down to how badly do you want it. 

Key Firms

  • Capital Group: generally take 3 interns, usually from HBS and GSB, but certainly not impossible from elsewhere if you grind. Likewise prefer PE or public equities backgrounds but again doable if not. Networking in general is very important with Capital because it's such an independent/autonomous life as an Analyst there, so they really want to get to know you beforehand and make sure you'll be a good fit. My sense is they're comfortable giving everyone an offer if all their interns are superstars, 0 if they're not convinced. Being an Analyst at Capital is like being a quasi-PM out the gate, so the bar is high
  • Wellington: only occasionally has a structured recruiting program, so will generally need to network heavily to get a foot in the door. Was more active last year, took 3 interns (I think one offer). Generally more open to diverse backgrounds than Capital (Booth and MIT do better, non publics / PE backgrounds have a shot)  
  • Fidelity: little need to network and generally prefers the blue-chip backgrounds. Notorious for a bad conversion rate (interns/offer ratio), but trying to change that reputation. Have a 24hr take home case study called the "p-test" as part of their process
  • T Rowe: networking the most important here. Make a huge effort to get to know candidates before interviews (honestly think it's because they're trying to really gauge if you're actually willing to move to Baltimore). Has easily the most opportunities out of all the big LOs given the recent split. Very focused on diversity right now. Had 6 interns and gave out at least 5 offers. 
  • Dodge & Cox: usually takes one intern, gives out a FT offer ~half the time. Can afford to be picky
  • MFS: historically will give out 2-5 offers and conversion high. Has struggled recently to attract the top candidates- have noticed they lose a lot to T Rowe 
  • Other: don't know as much about this cohort. Franklin Templeton, Orbis, Alger, American Century, BlackRock (rarely fundamental team), NB- you generally see most on campus. Depending on your school you might see the high quality boutiques as well (e.g., PrimeCap, RCG, Baron, GAMCO, Harris, Royce) - but generally will need to network like crazy to get a foot in the door at these. Focused on equities so left out the big FI guys (PIMCO)

Comments (36)

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Apr 10, 2022 - 3:24pm

How does comp scale at these places? I assume first years are at $300-400k and PMs are at eight figures but what does profession look like over say the 5-10 year after MBA (and how much dispersion is there? Assume much lower difference between good and bad year unlike a pod)

Apr 10, 2022 - 4:10pm
Scurvecap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Devil is in the details (AUM, sector, performance, firm structure), but ballpark I've been guided to is mid six figs within a few years, can get to low seven figures in 5-10. Note this is at the top end- your average LO will be materially lower 

May 27, 2022 - 2:10pm
mbswizzle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

echoing scurvecap's comment here. would say $300-350k for first year at a top LO is the right expectation for some of the firms mentioned above (just base + guaranteed bonus, not counting signing bonus - which can be substantial - and benefits etc), so a bit lower than Assoc2's estimate. that said, lots of room to grow, especially with the private/partnership LOs above which can have significantly more upside in the long-term. context: going to one of the LOs mentioned above post H/S/W MBA and know a few people going to others mentioned above as well. 

Apr 11, 2022 - 10:15pm
Dominic Toretto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm a first year at an M7 and landed a summer offer at a large LO in fixed income so can comment on that side if anyone has questions. Process was largely the same as equities - had to have credit pitches prepared and also wound up pitching an equity as well.

I don't have an IB/PE/HF background and did no networking at all and still landed interviews at most of the funds I applied to (equities and fixed income). In my experience interviews are pretty easy to land if the funds come to campus, but the conversion rate to an offer is low. You need to focus a lot on having good stock and/or credit pitches to prove you can think like an investor. I'd say that's much more important than networking, but maybe I just got lucky.

Apr 13, 2022 - 6:50am
Scurvecap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is a total swag but if I had to guess for M7 typical year:

  • GSB/Kellogg: <3
  • Sloan: <5
  • HBS/Wharton: <10
  • Booth/CBS: <15
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2022 - 3:20am

My initial reaction is CBS/Chicago seems way too high for LO (not talking about L/S because in that case Wharton is probably the highest #) and Kellogg/GSB seems way too low (personally know 4+ going from GSB). I think overall way too high number of seats for all schools from hearing from my friends at these schools post recruiting. 
 

Overall, hilarious how few seats there are lol truly a crapshoot. I know guys with stellar MF PE backgrounds who didn't get anything in LO and going back to PE for the summer. 

Apr 13, 2022 - 8:11am
skepshill, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great info SCurve, thanks a lot for sharing. This might require a separate thread but worth asking:

1. Could you describe your investment process, the types of companies you invest in, or how its changed over time?

2. Any info on your typical day-to-day routine? Hours?

Thanks!

Apr 16, 2022 - 3:23am
Big_Muffin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My god, the number of seats available relative to the number of applicants is insane.

What do you mean network like crazy for the quality boutiques? Hitting up alums at those firms? Cold e-mails or messages on LinkedIn? What are we talking about here

Array
  • Analyst 1 in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 16, 2022 - 8:27am

Hey not sure if you're the same Scurvecap that is on Twitter… but if you are I thought you did l/s previously. Wondering if you could expound on reasons for wanting to switch to LO? If you're the same person that is

Apr 17, 2022 - 9:26am
Scurvecap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I approached more from the lens of what are my top choices across all of public equities. From the outside in, so many of these places look basically the same. But once you're in the weeds you realize there are key differences between them and you also realize just how few attractive seats there are in public equities. How many HFs have size, a strong culture, patient and long term LP base, and a clear succession / promotion path? How many LO's pay well and will be able to withstand passive headwinds? SWFs, family offices? No joke I think you can comfortably count on two hands the number of public equity seats that you can feel warm and fuzzy about

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Apr 17, 2022 - 10:23am

Out of the key firms that you listed in your original post, which do you feel "warm and fuzzy" about?

Apr 17, 2022 - 3:39pm
Scurvecap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fairly sanguine about it. If you don't think you can beat the market net of fees over a multi-year period you shouldn't be in this business. And if you can beat the market you are incredibly valuable 

Apr 19, 2022 - 7:45pm
marketMergerMaddie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I may soon take a research role at one of places you listed above and am trying to get to being a full "post-MBA" analyst. However, the role I'll may take is for people out of undergrad since I graduated a year ago. Seeing that for my case that very few realistically get promoted from pre-MBA analyst to post-MBA analyst, is it worth me taking the role instead of trying for some IB- > PE -> M7 path (or some other overly-discussed pathway on this forum) instead of getting into LO early?

For even more context, most pre-MBA analysts leave after 3-4 years for Wharton or Booth only to either change careers or go to a different LO. 

Most Helpful
Apr 20, 2022 - 9:03am
Scurvecap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am no expert on the pre-MBA path. But my gut would say if you have some conviction that you want to end up at a LO or even in public equities in general and you have the opportunity to work at one of the blue chips, take it with your eyes closed. There are 2 paths once you do that: i) you love it, you hustle, they like you, you get promoted, ii) maybe you don't love it or you realize the path isn't there and you move to a different firm in the space / a similar space in a couple of years. Either path, if you decide after a few years you want to make a bigger pivot, you'll get into a top business school which is the perfect platform to make that switch (and an amazing life experience in general). Your life is actually so much more de-risked than you think once you break into any high quality finance firm. Just do your best and you'll see everything will work out the way it's supposed to

Understand the low promotion rate is daunting, but where is it not? In my experience, ballpark ~1/5 of your typical newly minted investment banking class ends up rising up the ranks. Maybe 1/4 for private equity associates. Hedge funds materially worse. All high finance jobs are pyramids. The good news is even making it to the first rung means you're golden. Even if the path at your specific firm isn't there, some other analogous firm will come around and want someone with your experience. I'm actually a believer that a little job hopping early in your career is constructive for development and makes you more valuable in the long run

Apr 22, 2022 - 4:58pm
WSO AM Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for sharing! Do you get a sense of how many of these firms sponsor an H1-B? How about a TN? Is recruiting different from an international background?

May 28, 2022 - 2:26pm
dickthesellsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To clarify, by laser-focused, I meant you will only recruit for AM (or ER as a back up). Waste zero second on any info session for IB/MBB

100% focus on AM: 

  • Join the investment club
  • Join the student fund and become the Portfolio Manager
  • Participate in internal stock pitch competition and represent your school in one external one (UNC Alpha Challenge, Cornell, CSIMA/Columbia, UVA, UCLA, etc.)
  • Get a school year internship at a hedge fund (AM unlikely to have unstructured school year hires)
  • Network like crazy and build an online brand: Sharpen your Twitter game, do a Substack, get on VIC/SumZero as full member by submitting your stock pitch (you did them for stock competition and student fund anyways)
  • Do your best work in those courses taught by adjuncts (John Griffin used to teach at Columbia, I know people who got hired into Blue Ridge for being a top performer in his class)
  • Associate 1 in Consulting
May 29, 2022 - 3:17am

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Jun 13, 2022 - 3:20pm
riverabranson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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