Back Office to Buy-Side

IshijahDel's picture
Rank: Monkey | 42

Hey Everyone,

I am currently a 1st year analyst working within a back-office function at a larger, bulge-bracket firm and wanted to know if anyone has, from a comparable function, been able to successfully recruit, and receive an offer for, a buy-side function (PE/HF)?

For context, having quite literally read every book on the Heilbrunn Center's recommended reading list (admittedly not the coolest ice-breaker) and being able to comfortably build a three-statement LBO in under two hours - not that this is a 'qualifier' per se but moreso it speaks to my, let's call it, introductory understanding of financial accounting - I wanted to know if it is possible to be competitive without having the traditional IB/ER background?

Comments (12)

Jun 27, 2019

Hey IshijahDel, I'm the WSO Monkey Bot and I'm here since nobody responded to your topic! Bummer...could just be unlucky but one of these topics will help shed some light:

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  • Breaking into Equity Research from Back Office Role I aspire to do it on the buy-side (as I assume most people who want to work in this area do) but am ... Accounting for 1 yr+, the chances of even getting an interview at these buy-side firms diminishes greatly. ... perfectly happy to start on sell-side as well. I have a Master's degree in Economics from a non-target ...
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  • Interviewing for Middle/Back Office Advice research on the buy-side for a similar asset manager. Didn't receive an offer, and have had trouble ... a back/middle/office/operations (whatever you want to call it) role at an Asset Management firm. I spent a summer in equity ... I once shot for front office, summered in front office, failed to make it FT in front office, and so I am ...
  • MUST READ! What makes a good trader, fund manager, hedge fund manager, salestrader, and buy-side trader the trading side." However, for all quants- front and back office- the capacity to think ... and manage the resulting risk. "On the sales side it's very much about your ability to hold ... side of the business, acting as so-called execution consultants to help clients choose the right ...
  • More suggestions...

If those topics were completely useless, don't blame me, blame my programmers...

Most Helpful
Jul 1, 2019

I know someone who went back-office at a credit fund to research analyst at a top HF. Don't stop working. Do CFA, teach yourself modeling, etc.

    • 2
Jul 5, 2019

I've found that the biggest challenge, moreso than the technical skills - with repetition, anyone can learn to model' - is getting in front of the 'right people.' I am confident in my technical skills - building LBO, merger model, etc. - the challenge is recruiting.

I have also gotten feedback, both from mentors and friends in PE, that there is very little incremental value in obtaining a CFA.

Jul 4, 2019

Possible; I did it

However, you need IB. I did BO - FO - HF; 2 years BO, 2yrs FO so 2 extra years but, in the grand scheme of things, it's nothing.

Model is a fundemental factor, and you can definitely learn it independently, which was the case for me. But I made sure to put in the effort (spending weekends to consistently build out models etc). Even with that, interviews were scarce without IB experience.

Get IB under your belt. It will serve you well not just for this recruiting for but for greater things down your journey

    • 1
Jul 5, 2019

This is the route that I am currently pursuing. In addition to practicing modeling, I spent (spend) a fair amount of time reading 10Ks, Prospectus Filings, Indentures, Credit Agreements, etc. for companies that I follow. I wanted to be confident in my ability to extract information, formulate an investment thesis, and identifying where I would want to be within the capital stack.

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Jul 4, 2019

I just want to echo that you need something to back your story. Get IB exp or the CFA charter. IB exp will get you the interviews and your practices and CFA charter will exemplify your capabilities

Jul 18, 2019

What are your top investment ideas?

Jul 11, 2019

i did. cfa was helpful in my case, i'd go as far as to say critical, but i was on the macro side so it certainly helped beef up my knowledge of other asset classes. certain other topics like interest rate parity, valuing an IRS by hand, option valuation, etc. if you are doing bo for a more structured product, do more, go out of your way to understand the product type, build something for the desk they don't have, find other ways to add value. then you can use that in interviews to demonstrate your initiative. take the mentality of there's always something you can learn from any job. a great experience doesn't always fall to you so you can always make the most and learn from any experience and go above and beyond.

Jul 11, 2019

Maybe an obvious question, but considering how you've made the transition as well as my curiosity....In your opinion, is the value of a CFA heavily weighted by what you're currently doing? For example, if you were working in a front office role and wanted to go to HF would the CFA be necessary?

I'm trying to make my mind up on the CFA. My high level thoughts are that it seems to be a bit of a necessity for the buy side for a number of reasons. I think it shows interest, dedication, as well as knowledge. I also think buy side shops want their investors/potential investors to see 'CFA' next to names. A number of guys I work with have it and many took lvl 3 recently, their opinions vary greatly.

Jul 4, 2019

you should probably clarify to the posters here that having the CFA designation is not as heavily weighted as to "critical"

It is definitely a positive value-add to your resume, but having the charter, or the lack thereof, will not tip the outcome from one way to the other. I'd put it more of an "extra credit"

Jul 11, 2019