Stay at Large Bank or go to (smaller) Hedge Fund/Private Equity Firm?

Hi all,

I have a question that I haven't been able to really find any answers to online. If you think you've seen a thread before that addresses the question I have, please feel free to post it. I'm largely looking for people's opinions/advice.

I currently have a position at Goldman Sachs (Compliance. Yes, I know. But, I graduated in the middle of a pandemic. Life happens.) and will qualify for internal mobility next October. I have a master's in statistics (thesis relating to financial mathematics) and have passed the first CFA exam. So, I feel confident I should be able to get into a revenue generating division next year-ish.

I threw my resume out into the wind and got some interviews for a variety of private equity firms/hedge funds. They are not top ten firms, but some of them have reasonable AUM (~50 billion). One I'm particularly interested in concerns being an analyst on a distressed debt team. Yes, I'd get a significant pay raise right now (+~40%), but I'm more concerned about the long game.

So, my question is should I stay at GS for a while longer (~2+ years) or should I jump ship to a hedge fund/pe firm? I've posted some goals/concerns below.

  • Ultimate life goal: make a lot of money, duh. (I'm absolutely fine working insane hours, etc.)
  • I haven't worked at GS for very long, leaving now would definitely be a blemish on my resume.
  • GS doesn't pay as well as it once did. As evidence, there's currently a mass exodus of partners at the firm. Bonuses were horrible this year for almost everyone at the firm.
  • I want to get an MBA from a top school (so I can later start my own fund), but I'm afraid that leaving GS for a smaller firm will look bad.
  • I'm not exactly sure what my career options would look like after the hedge fund analyst position. (Let's pretend the firm doesn't collapse in the next two years, and that I don't get fired.)

So, with all that in mind, what do you think?

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (6)

Apr 29, 2021 - 8:57pm

Am I missing something here? You work in compliance at GS and you're unsure if you should make the leap to a UMM PE firm or hedge fund? People will literally murder for those roles. Assuming you can land an offer at one of these shops with ~50B AUM, I think this is an absolute no brainer. However, if you do land an offer, I'd make sure they have a clear path to associate (after that, it'll probably be to MBA school). Also, it really depends on what front office role you think you could reasonably land at GS. Regardless, if you get an offer at a UMM buyside gig, you're better off accepting it versus turning it down for the slight chance you land a front office role at GS.

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Apr 30, 2021 - 6:05am

$50bn AUM is not small for the buyside. That's huge. Everyone will have heard of this place. Distressed debt investing? Yeah go do that. Absolutely do not wait on your odds of making the transition from back to front office. Compliance has no transferable skills and you'll be competing against the guys in CRMA and Finance division for front office seats so it's not like you're going to end up at GS TMT or SSG. Having spent the majority of my career at Goldman, I can confidently say leave for a buyside seat and don't worry about leaving the "brand". Mobility is harder than you think. And not many revenue side seats position you well for the buyside either. You wanna be stuck doing IG Credit Sales?

May 3, 2021 - 12:37pm

Hi all,

I wanted to follow up on this and say thank you for all of the comments. I didn't know who to ask, since I don't know anyone in front office positions. I thought I would update everyone on the process.

I have my third and fourth interviews today and a final one tomorrow. They had asked for a writing sample over the weekend, and seemed to like it. I have decided that if I am offered the position, I will take it.

Thank you so much for all of your advice and for providing insight I didn't have at the time.

May 4, 2021 - 1:49pm

Good luck!

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

July 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (36) $363
  • Associates (209) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (119) $152
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $146
  • Intern/Summer Associate (100) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (439) $132
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (354) $82