Q&A: Non-target working full time at $4B+ HF during college

Current enrolled in an extremely non-target school (no alumni in HF/IB) and working for a $4B+ HF clearing $100K as an undergrad. Thought I would throw this up as I have had an interesting path to where I am now and believe that I could offer some insight to other undergrads and particularly non-target students. To clarify, I have zero family connections in finance and I do not claim to be a genius or a market whiz. I believe I have had early success due to some combination of luck and hard work. Feel free to ask me anything. 

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Comments (36)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 26, 2021 - 11:49am

Well jeepers buddy tell us how the heck you got into that thing as a college student? What year are you a what year did you start? How are you really able to add value work 100k/year without experience? What do you do there? Are they in need of interns...;) 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 1:50pm

I will try to answer your question piece by piece. So to start I just finished my Junior year and started as intern following my Sophomore year. Previously I had the opportunity to work at a different fund that is highly specialized in one specific sector. I believe this played a large role in my advancement as it can be a difficult sector to understand (I am by no means an expert) but I was trained by one of the best. For me to get in the door my Freshman year at this initial shop I essentially was just working my network as hard as I could. For me it always felt like I should network with the mindset of quality of over quantity. While I certainly reached out to a large amount of people it is nothing compared to what I hear on this website. I tried to focus on making quality connections as the rainmakers in finance get hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails a day. I eventually landed a connection with someone through sports who has now become my mentor. I have found this person to be more important to me than any  target school prestige or family connection that may get someone in the door. If you were to ask me how I got here today it would not be possible without this person. Bottom line: it is all about networking but going for quality connections, if you are able to land a mentor that has some pull this is massive. 

In terms of adding value and earning my pay that is an interesting question. This role did not fall in my lap, I did not even think I was going to work at this shop once my summer analyst role was finished. However, I got into the fund at a good time and was able to show my worth to the point where when it came time for me to go back to school it would have been a blow to the team for me to leave. I do not mean this from a PnL perspective but more so from the fact that I clear a lot of the grunt work, initial due diligence, analysis out of the way so that the senior employees can do what they do best. This allowed me an entrance to the door post my summer work. From there on just gaining knowledge and respect I was given more and more responsibility to the point where if I wanted to invest in something, we would do it. For example, I was given the ability to invest $15M into a well oversubscribed private financing for a business this year which has led to several other investments just like it in the space. 

Lastly, what I do for the most part is meet with companies, do the analysis and valuation, and give my input to the team. There are small administrative tasks that I like to get done so others don't but that is basically it. Unfortunately, we do not have any open intern spots as they all were filled. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 26, 2021 - 6:41pm

Thanks for the response and insights. If this is true all I can say is I can't even imagine how fulfilled you must feel working full time during the school year for a HF, I feel like that would be so rewarding especially knowing where you are relative to your peers. 

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  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 1:36pm

I appreciate the question and somewhat understand the skepticism. However, I am not sure why I would post this if it was bullshit. As you said this is an anonymous forum so I am not sure what I would gain from something like posting a BS AMA. I would love to hear where exactly your skepticism lies and maybe I can help you understand why this is not a bullshit post. You may not be from a non-target but I felt that I could be very helpful to those who are and that is why I created this post. 

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Jul 13, 2021 - 3:53pm

As someone who did a boutique IB analyst role full-time in college, I'm glad to see there's more of us. Would love to see the shift to remote work brought about by COVID allow arrangements like ours to become the norm

May 26, 2021 - 12:31pm

wow ! congrats on achieving something that is no easy feat. my question for you would be how you sold yourself to the company/showed them your values even though you are a non target student with no connections to the industry ? also how did you stand out from the rest of your candidates who are usually H/Y/P students or people who have a track record on the sell side who are looking to lateral ?

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 1:56pm

I think that selling yourself has nothing to do with the school that you come from. I am a Div 1 athlete which helps outline my pursuit of success and ability to work hard as well. Investing and making money has nothing to do with what school you went to. Just because you attended Harvard does not mean your fund will magically be up 10% at the start of the year. Where the school name does come in handy is the network and the opportunities you get but it does not say much about your character or ability other than the fact that you most likely are a smart person and can excel in the classroom. 

My ability to standout has a lot to do with the sector I am in. It is highly technical and not everyone is knowledgeable in the space. Having been taught by my mentor who is an outstanding investor I was able to gain knowledge and insight that other candidates just did not have. I was able to leverage the same knowledge to receive SA offers from banks but for obvious reasons I kindly did not sign. 

Jul 13, 2021 - 3:50pm

I was a full-time IB analyst as a college student, so likely not fake, more plausible than you think. Although OP is the first person I've seen on this forum other than myself that has done something similar and spoke on it. There are more of us with this arrangement than you think, although never at any of the big name-brand shops. Typically it's smaller firms where the leadership is more flexible. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
May 26, 2021 - 3:00pm

Thx OP

What are your three current best ideas? 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 3:30pm

As I said above this is not a fake post. I have no idea what I would gain from posting something like this if it was fake. I don't have a lot to gain from posting this in the first place but I felt that I could help other non-target students out there trying to break through. 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 9:41pm

Roughly 45-50 hours. Sometimes less, sometimes more. 

  • PM in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 9:53pm

I will bite since I have see people like this...multiple internships at same fund over time in college, joined fund outta school. Though possibly lower AUM than you stated. Anyways...

You are so far ahead of everyone...but what is your plan next step. Are you going to leverage this to get into a top MM or one of the SF names people mention on here. Or do you see growth right away in your fund? Reality is 1 year out of school if this is real you going to learn you  are/were underpaid sadly this is not making a facebook in college...so whats the plan.

Just saying...HF folks aint dumb they do not give 100k to some kid for fun...they prolly get 100x the value if this is real.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
May 26, 2021 - 10:16pm

I appreciate the comment and have given this type of question some thought before. As you can imagine I was asked to sign an offer letter for when I graduate so in terms of leveraging this out of school that is not the plan. I do see a future at my fund and believe there is a lot of room to grow for us as a whole but also myself personally. The platform allows me to privately and publicly in a fairly flexible manner. When I want to pursue something I am give the proper resources and approval to do so. I feel that if I was to move to another fund right out of school I would not be awarded the same responsibilities and it would feel like a step back. We also have access to more capital than we need which I believe also creates potential to run my own book earlier at my current fund than I would at other funds.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Particularly staying vs leveraging?

  • PM in HF - Other
May 27, 2021 - 10:39pm

First off, not in the equities space. That said I think you are in a good spot to stick with the fund for the first 2 years out of school and see how an actual bonus cycle looks and how you are treated. Also do not think that 2 year stint would put you behind the ball to lateral. Either way seems you are stuck somewhat but a good stuck. Even the most high school obsessed finance guy I knew it took him 5-7 years out of school to move towards Jr PM role and he did multiple internships sometimes you just have to eat more crap earlier in your career to know when you get your shot you will really perform. So really depends on who is the mentor and fund structure.

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Jul 16, 2021 - 11:19pm

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Aug 19, 2021 - 8:12pm

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