What professional backgrounds are today's and tomorrow's top global macro minds coming from? And how much does the environmental backdrop help explain this? Pretty simple question, but I think it's interesting to note the following trends for context.
The first generation of global macro investors (e.g. Soros, Steinhardt, Robertson, Rogers) came from a wide array of backgrounds.
The second generation (e.g. Kovner, Tudor, Moore, Dalio) of global macro investors overwhelmingly came from commodity backgrounds. And had Ivy League educations. The fact that commodities were booming when these guys, coincidentally, started their careers in commodities helps explain how important the environmental backdrop was in shaping their respective careers.
This third generation of global macro investors overwhelmingly came from two backgrounds: 1), or; 2) PhDs with central bank/IMF experience. Prop the aughts because Glass-Steagall's repeal lowered regulations and capital requirements for the industry. IMF economists flourished during the late-90s/early-00s because the EM world was re-structuring then (i.e. defaults, Structural Adjustment Programs; e.g. Turkey, Argentina); when IMF economist demand waned and hedge funds boomed in the aughts, many of these economists transitioned to global macro. Lastly, central bank economists became increasingly desirable in the global macro world, during the 90s/00s, because central bankers increasingly drove financial prices during this time.
So today we see strong demand for prop traders and PhD economists from global macro funds. The aforementioned macro environment helps explain this. But if we rewound the clock, we'd see that different backgrounds used to be more coveted. And looking forward - prop trading is dying and, surely, the cult of central banking will wane. So there will be new and different macro factors driving shifting demands for the next generation of macro investors. What are these trends today? And what will they be in the future?
In other words, where are today and tomorrow's global macro greats going to come from?