Hedge Fund Interview Course

  • 814 questions across 165 hedge funds. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • 11 Detailed Sample Pitches and 10+ hours of video.
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Comments (12)

Jun 9, 2021 - 3:18pm

Hey man, I get what you're saying…but linkedin is an incomplete database and one data point to reference.

This is arguably the only major forum out there dedicated to careers in finance. Why is it wrong for me to get the perspectives of people on a certain field in finance? In the time you spent typing that response, you could have offered helpful advice to me and every future person on WSO interested in activist investing.

I already searched on WSO and found little on this except "XYZ fund in XXX year" type posts. I thought we could all benefit from this discussion.

My bad I guess? lol.

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Jun 9, 2021 - 4:07pm

Elliott and Third Point each have 100+ employees on Linkedin, my comment may have come off as crass but you can truly get specific examples of exactly the path taken by 10+ front office analysts by doing this. You can either post on WSO and hope someone gives you an anecdote that you can't verify, or you can go on Linkedin and get objective information immediately. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 9, 2021 - 10:29pm

The Elliott guys have "NY Based Hedge Fund" or some version of that on their LinkedIns. You also wouldn't be able to tell who is in activist and who is in distressed other than from guessing based on their previous stops. 

Most Helpful
Jun 9, 2021 - 9:05pm

This is anecdata (basically all MD level now):

  • I know two guys at Starboard
    • elite boutique banking, Starboard and has just promoted in place
    • the other did banking, then a small-ish opportunistic private fund, then a smaller event-driven fund, then Starboard, then promotion
  • Elliott I know four people at:
    • bulge bracket banking, upper middle market private equity, Elliott ever since (no MBA)
    • bulge bracket banking, middle market private equity, Elliott ever since (no MBA)
    • bulge bracket banking (elite group), megafund private equity, Elliott ever since (no MBA)
    • MBB, middle market private equity, MBA, Elliott ever since
  • Third Point I know two at
    • elite boutique banking, $10b+ special sits multi-asset fund, long/short fund, Third Point
    • MBB, brand-name growth equity, long/short fund, Third Point
  • JANA
    • elite boutique banking, middle market private equity, multi-manager fund, JANA

I could go on with the other similar funds but you get the picture. It's also all available on LinkedIn as the other guy said. 

The thing I try to help people at the beginning of their career understand is that there's no set path. Following certain steps (like obsessing over relative strength of banking analyst options, then which specific private equity job next) is simply optimizing for getting the interview. The real thing is to develop your investing acumen, broaden your perspective, and hone your thinking. 

If you do that, you will stand out in any interview process you get in. And getting in is way easier than you think, because you just need to find someone who is solid enough in their belief in you to make an intro and say 'you should meet this person' to someone they know at the place you find interesting.

Every good (big) fund, public or private, is absolutely willing to add a qualified person at any time of year. There are so few qualified people and it's so easy to know it when you see it. These positions aren't posted because they don't need to be because it's a naturally occurring phenomenon: the person who is prepared enough to perform in an interview and resourceful enough to engineer one out of thin air just does exactly that.

The formal intake programs (associate classes, headhunter mandates, whatever) are simply a funnel mechanism. It's a firm agreeing to pay a fairly minimum viable wage to get a small crowd of qualified-on-paper people in the door to see who self-selects out within a year or two or is weeded out for an easily identifiable reason (crap thinking, poor political skill, and so on).

Think about what you see in this private equity forum over and over. "Is private equity for me", "Is it easier to move to industry as a senior associate or VP", "Is it always this bad", etc. People prove to themselves (and to their employer) whether or not they're cut out for the work. 

What I'm trying to say is that if you're really interested in a specific flavor of investing, go get really smart on that. Absorb every written interview with the managers you respect, watch all their talks or panel appearances on Youtube, listen to every podcast or media interview they've done, read books by people analyzing their work. Dig into their public trades and try to recreate for yourself the information available to them when they put them on, then critique the rationale. Make yourself a walking anthology of knowledge such that given any chance, tidbits of information naturally pour out of you in a coherent stream. 

That makes you really identifiable as 'talented', and the people doing the type of work you're fascinated by will very openly invite you to join them.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

  • 13
Jun 10, 2021 - 1:21am

So true and glad you mentioned that half the people don't have MBAs as that has never really been a prereq for these types of funds.

It's definitely typically IB>largecap PE>the hf one's at. 

Be warned though that these funds such as Elliot and Starboard have EXTREMELY rigorous recruiting processes which test the limits of even the most talented PE associates as they demand absolute command of understanding, synthesizing, and forming an opinion on companies which are thrown at you last minute. You are best served studying over a couple to few years how these places view companies and how they voice their opinions on them to get aligned. You must have conviction and confidence and the ability to find and provide solutions to potential problems you see in orgs which are presented to you with minimal diligence.

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