FT Career Path Advice

Hoping people can weigh in on my situation. I'm currently a junior at a target, and next summer, I'll be doing equity research for a well-regarded LO AM. I value WLB a lot, as I have physical and mental health concerns that make careers like IB untenable for me. My current path seems like it hits the sweet spot, balancing comp/progression with reasonable work hours; however, headcount is low in the industry and a return offer is by no means guaranteed. If I end up having to re-recruit for FT, I doubt that finding another public markets investment role is viable, considering how few there are out there. What sorts of careers align best with my goals? Consulting and product management come to mind. PE sounds interesting, but spots out of undergrad are scarce and I've heard it's banking 2.0, and working at a multi-manager HF sounds incredibly stressful. Because I have a quantitative background and coding skills, I've considered pivoting entirely to tech, but I'm not sure if I'm passionate enough about SWE to go through the whole personal-project-and-Leetcode grind. I might also just have unreasonably high expectations, so let me know if that's the case lol. Thanks so much!

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Comments (9)

Most Helpful
Nov 4, 2021 - 10:58am

Glad to hear you'll be experiencing LO AM! It's an awesome place to begin a career if this is something that you are interested in. 

I would suggest you look into Equity Research if you are unable to get a job in any public markets investment role, since many of these jobs do not have the same work-life balance constraints, have decent compensation, and place well into investment roles. Consulting is definitely an area many in public markets hire from if this is something you are interested in, but if you go that route, make sure you are working in a group that places well into investing, as this is not guaranteed at any consulting firm. 

And yeah, I also was not the kind of person to do the whole personal-project-and-Leetcode plus some posting on stack exchange grind to get into SWE despite coming from an engineering background. Finance just seemed so much more interesting to me than coding all day. 

Feel free to reply or PM me if you have any questions about LO AM or recruiting for FT there!

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Nov 4, 2021 - 1:53pm

Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I totally forgot about ER as an option, I'll be considering that as well.

If I decided to recruit for positions at other long-only's, what characteristics should I look for in a firm? I know that scale is important, and I suppose performance is something to look at, but it's hard to judge performance when firms have so many different funds. It doesn't help that most firms don't even hire undergraduates.

To be frank, I'm not sure if I'm passionate enough about investing to pursue it if I didn't get a FT offer. It's a business where you really have to like what you do, and although the day-to-day work is interesting, I don't think I have the same drive that others do. I feel like I should be more grateful for the opportunity to land an investing seat as an undergrad, but I have mixed feelings about it.

Nov 4, 2021 - 9:55pm

At Long Only, quality and performance is paramount. Meet the people at the company and get a sense of the culture, you should enjoy where you work and the people you work with should feel smart. They will give you a great sense of what kind of company you would be working for. 

Also very true that you really do have to like what you do. The WLB is great and so are the brilliant individuals, but you really have to enjoy it or it will pretty boring. I had mixed feelings about it too (for even how prized it is!) because it isn't what others are doing. That's ok! Feel it out this summer and make a decision. Believe me when I say, you'll know. 

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Nov 8, 2021 - 6:43pm

Thanks so much for the reply! Hoping that this summer helps make things clearer.

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Nov 4, 2021 - 1:55pm

Another question--are there any single-manager hedge funds that recruit out of undergrad, or is it primarily pod shops? 

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Nov 5, 2021 - 6:03pm

Damn sounds like you are really going through one. We had a few interns this past summer intern at my firm, about 3/7 got the return offer from what I remember in the board meeting. It seems like a crapshoot recruiting for these roles as was on phone to BlackRock PM who said they only took 2 people in Public FI FT for 2021 like wtf? If Blackrock is just two imagine other shops with much lower AUM/headcount. However there's soo much other roles in an AM that are a lot less Investy (if that's a word) and more Salesy such as Distribution or Client Relation roles where you can still comfortably make 6figs with a lot less risk on your head. I guess you can outright push for that once you start your internship. Also just general Corporate Finance roles or FLDP may also interest you from the sounds of it. Good luck though man it's why I still come on this site as you young people really are great!

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Nov 8, 2021 - 6:42pm

Thanks for replying! Yeah, LO AM is so frustratingly competitive that sometimes, I almost wish I signed an offer for a "regular" internship in something like sales or marketing. But hopefully, having investing experience and a brand name on my resume will make the FT recruiting process easier/smoother. FLDP programs are definitely an area of interest--which firms have particularly well-regarded ones? Also, would you be able to elaborate on what sorts of roles that Corporate Finance includes? I've heard of FP&A but it seems like that might be too much of a "step down," and I might be sacrificing comp.

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Nov 20, 2021 - 4:46pm

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