Can't choose between two offers: top hedge fund vs. airline strategy/ops

top_lurk's picture
Rank: Monkey | 41

I have been working in economic consulting since I graduated college a little over a year and a half ago with a background in statistics and economics. I decided I was ready for a career change and received two offers: one in a middle office type role in a top hedge fund with strong name recognition, and one in strategy/operations for a major airline's flight network.

I declined the hedge fund position and accepted the airline offer. However, the hedge fund reached out to me again, wants me to renege on my acceptance, and upped my compensation to $125k + 25k bonus (vs 75k base at the airline plus standby travel benefits).

The position at the hedge fund is part of their team which uses third party data sources to forecast earnings and other metrics before they're released. I would be responsible for implementing/creating data QA/QC processes and would gain skills in Python and SQL. I would learn a lot about how to use/handle large datasets and create forecasts for trading purposes.

In the airline role, however, I would be able to rotate in their Network Planning division, beginning with their Forecasting and Strategy team. I can see myself moving on to an MBA a few years after this, then possibly trying to break into strategy/management consulting. For the hedge fund position, while I would gain very marketable skills, I'm not entirely sure how it would fit into my long term career plans. However, it is a very unique opportunity in that only a handful of teams are using similar datasets for similar purposes.

Is it worth burning a bridge at the airline by reneging on their offer for the extra money? I was previously able to turn the hedge fund down, but they've increased their offer significantly. If money was not a factor at all, I would choose the airline over the hedge fund. Normally I'm not interested in very "corporate" positions, preferring finance/consulting, but the airline industry is one huge exception.

Any advice would be appreciated. I essentially only have the weekend to come to a final decision.

Comments (4)

Best Response
Feb 24, 2018

If money was not a factor at all, I would choose the airline over the hedge fund. If money and flight benefits weren't a factor, I can't be too certain which I would choose

Airline gig seems way doper, in my humble opinion. I worked MO at a quant-trading firm as a SA, and it sucked limitless balls. You're super removed from the revenue and traders that actually use your work to make money, and I found the hedge fund/quant trader types to be absolutely insufferable. They're more arrogant than Real Estate guys but more socially incompetent than IT cucks.

Sounds like at the Airline gig you'll really be able to have an impact on your own company's bottom line and drive results for your own company, which is cool as shit.

Only thing is we have no idea why you got tired of Econ Consulting. I wouldn't jump back into either job if it's basically the same as the job you just got sick of and left.

    • 2
Feb 24, 2018

I enjoy economic consulting (especially the ability to marry my technical skills with finance/econ acumen), but I'm tired of reading equity analyst reports about people actually affecting their company's bottom line while I sit around and do research for clients (I'm in a front office role so I am bringing in revenue, but it doesn't feel like it, if that makes sense. I'm not involved in the operational efficiency of my firm in any way).

Your comment was very helpful in putting my decision into perspective - the airline is exactly the type of high impact job I've been looking for; I became kind of blindsided by the second offer from the hedge fund.

    • 2
Feb 25, 2018

And exactly how is the airline gig "high impact"? Are you going to be flying the planes or something? :-)

Airlines are notoriously slow to move and are mostly handcuffed by the pilots union. So, yes they might listen to your ideas, but implementation is a whole other ballgame in that industry. So I think that you should clarify on exactly how much impact you're going to have.

If the hedge fund is going to teach you python & SQL, those are incredibly useful skills for any number of positions in the future. I would personally be intrigued by that.

BTW, you may be right on this already. But its Sunday afternoon and I'm burning some time on WSO - I just wanted to play the other side :-)

Feb 24, 2018
    • 2