I have been reading this board for a while now, particularly the "break into HF from XYZ" threads. I thought I would share my own story, although I am still working towards my goal. I currently work in accounting advisory/consulting, mainly helping companies with financial restatements and accounting investigations. I have been there 5.5 years and promoted twice, now a Managing Consultant. Fairly early on I decided to pursue a career in investment management, although I had only a basic understanding of what that meant at the time.

Hoping to learn more about investing while developing my skillset, I began studying for the CFA exams. I also read the Intelligent Investor which piqued my interest in Value Investing. I went on to read the recommended books by Greenwald, Klarman, and Greenblatt, which solidified my belief in this approach. I have applied these principles to my own investments, both in equity and real estate, and have greatly enjoyed the experience. In speaking with connections I made in the industry, I was given consistent advice: if you want to break in, go to a top business school.

Coming from a non-target with a 3.3 GPA, I knew it would be tough to get in to any of the top 10 business schools. Based on my desire to become a value investor, I was especially interested in Columbia and their Value Investing program. I was fortunate to score 760 on the GMAT, as well as pass the Level III CFA exam this year. I believe these two factors, along with clearly articulated career goals, allowed me to overcome my early academic mediocrity and secure a place in Columbia's MBA class of 2017.

I am extremely excited for this opportunity, but realize that landing a job with a value fund will still be a challenge. Now that the CFA exams and MBA application are behind me, I am focused on positioning myself for buy-side internship opportunities. I hope to intern during the school year as well as summer break, but understand how competitive these opportunities are.
My immediate goal is to secure a pre-MBA internship in order to gain experience and make connections in the industry. I don't know how realistic this goal is (even if unpaid), but I am determined and have a decent network. I would greatly appreciate any advice on this front. Should I be targeting boutique hedge funds? Mutual funds? What options are realistic and will best position me for an eventual investment analyst position with a value fund? I am located in San Francisco and will be targeting firms in the Bay Area and NYC. Thanks!

Comments (3)


Congrats on getting in! What else do you think helped you stand out from the crowd? L3 candidate considering taking the GMAT and only 1.5 years of exp, so not on the same level as you, but still mulling the idea of b-school over down the road. Also went to a non-target for engineering (known for its eng. programs) w/ a low GPA (3.1).

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I think articulating why I chose Columbia and how I have been working towards my career goals was important to them. Honestly the GMAT was probably the biggest single factor in my application. Having good work experience and strong recommendations also helped I'm sure. Good luck with your decision and let me know if you have other questions.


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