Breaking into AM / HF

A little bit about me: non-target BA in economics, 5+ years of experience (1 year in investor relations, 3 years in FP&A/corporate finance, and now 1 year in strategy consulting), passed both CFA level 1 and CFA level 2 exams, and plan on taking level 3 in 2022.

My goal has always been to do something market facing, preferably on the buy side. Not yet sure whether I'd rather be in fixed income or equities, but I'm leaning towards equities. I think it would be fascinating to analyze and learn about new companies every day for a living. Dream job would be investing in emerging markets.

Anyway, given my experience, and assuming I become a CFA charter holder sometime in the next year, do you think I might be able to find my way over to the buy side at either a large asset manager or any size hedge fund?

Am I pigeon holing myself by staying within consulting for much longer? If I can't get a job on the buy side with my current experience, what type of role should I be looking for as a stepping stone?

Do I need to go back and get my MBA after I get my CFA in order to pivot to the buy-side?

Any advice you'd give me in achieving this, any cautions/encouragements on the direction I'm trying to go?


Comments (10)

Jan 5, 2022 - 3:26am

Learn from other AM/HF to see how they do fundamental research and draft some stock pitch reports and models yourself. Also, building your portfolio focusing on the emerging market and constructing your own investment thesis might prove your motivation and help you with your interviews once you are shortlisted. But maybe an MBA degree is much more useful in terms of career switching (some big AMs only offer MBA summer internships). 

Best of luck.

Most Helpful
Jan 6, 2022 - 10:33am

So I had a similar career path as you before eventually breaking into the buyside. From my experience at least being at a very large AM the CFA is definitely valued. I think having 2 down signals you are both serious and competent. Definitely continue down that path.

I would not go back for an MBA unless you need to. I thought about this same path but was told by numerous people grad school recruiting for buyside roles is very challenging too as there are usually people with pre-existing buyside experience vying for these roles. My biggest advice to you would be to network as much as you can. Look at school alumni on LinkedIn who are currently in seats that you may covet and ask them about their career path. I also wouldn't be opposed to entry level analyst type positions. It may be demoralizing at first if your on the older side and working with people right out of college, but hopefully you can separate yourself from them quickly and then in 5-10 years it shouldn't matter if you got a late start.

Jan 6, 2022 - 11:09am

I broke into the credit side. I'm not sure which side would be easier as I only looked at the credit side of things. This was driven by a few strong connections I made who all happened to be on this side. Regardless, I think if your passionate about the markets and it really is something of intellectual interest to you than you would enjoy either side.

Jan 7, 2022 - 10:16am

Just one way of many to do it but I was in similar boat and networked while in the consulting role. Found a firm that ACTUALLY supports move to front office and took a middle office role there. I had built a good rapport by asking good questions, showing interest and generally liked the people I faced off with on DD calls. Two years of doing whatever they asked me to, I passed CFA and a junior PM role opened up. It's not a guaranteed path by any means. Your biggest risk of the opportunity doesn't open up before you've been in the seat too long and your comp outgrows the lateral opportunity.

Jan 25, 2022 - 9:41am

I've gone from a non target to a small hedge fund, to a BB, and now will be starting at  top 10 HF, you can PM me if you'd like  happy to help

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Jan 25, 2022 - 12:38pm

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