How can a CS grad get a buy-side gig?

Hey all,

I am a fresh graduate with a degree in computer science, but with only some academic research and non-finance data science experiences on my resume. Since investing is what I want to do long-term, and I think that getting a job where the bulk of the time spent doing that job would let me build up knowledge for that long-term goal is what makes the most sense, I naturally came to the conclusion that working on an investment role in a hedge fund would be a good place for me to shoot for. A second choice for me may be a quant role in either sell-side or buy-side where I could apply my CS skills.

However, in the last year in my job search I have come across significant hurdle, which I think very little is related to Covid. I have only got invitation to answer math questions on the web for some quant roles at market-maker type of firm, but never got to the next round. For more investing-related analyst role, I just got told that my experience and background are just not what they are looking for, if they bothered to give me a response at all (some very nice and honest HR did). 

Personally, I think that the biggest hurdles, and some related questions are:

1) I am an international on F-1 OPT, which means I have to answer "Yes" on that "Will you now or in the future require sponsorship?" question, even though I don't need the company to apply H-B for me, as I can rely on OPT for the next 2-3 years. But what kind of hedge fund shops (a lot of them I found consist of only 20-30 people) would realistically consider people with such profiles?

2) No relevant internship experience to back it up. I have only one or two lines on my resume  in the "Skills" or "Courses" section that mention financial accounting, corporate finance, DCF etc, plus some credentials from Coursera. Even though I spend lot of time educating myself by reading finance-related stuff like 10K, Journal and FT, I don't know how to showcase what I have learned. How can I turn this disadvantage around, other than putting on some more credentials like CFA? 

3) Too little network. To be fair, I didn't apply myself enough on this, and so far I have only contacted people through LinkedIn, which I learned recently that it is not so ideal. It's actually better to find people on LinkedIn, but contact them through emails instead. I am also not so good at this game. For example, I recently found some data analyst role at some hedge fund that I think might fit my background, but I don't really know who to contact and how. (There are only MDs, IR people, and analysts shown on their LinkedIn.) I also feel that it's good practice to build a network before you need it, not when the job is open. I admit that I am totally clueless on this, what should I do next so that I won't continue to spin on my wheels?

For the moment, I am on a remote data science role that is pretty secure, but not so interesting. Any help or advice is appreciated!

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.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring hedge fund professionals just like you.

Comments (4)

May 29, 2021 - 6:45am

First off, it is extremely rare for HFs to hire straight out of uni - they hire more straight out of Sell-Side such as IB. Second of all, CS is really a non-factor unless it is quant. Third of all, School/GPA/Networking/Experience is what matters (in pretty much this order). 4th: why do you wanna break into a buy-side role? There are several finance jobs and they are all competitive, but especially HF and PE jobs. You gotta ask if yourself why you wanna work 12h (14-15h during earnings season) in a high stress/pressure job where you will be constantly living the markets (research, podcasts, news, everything). You will have nightmares and cold sweats about your P&L. If you genuinely don't love analytics and research in capital markets I'd say probably don't bother

May 29, 2021 - 10:13am

Hey pal,

Thanks a lot for the reply. I highly appreciate it.

The reason I want to do it is because my goal is to manage money long-term, and I want to have a day job where the bulk of the activities let me build up the relevant skills and experience and thus serve up to that long-term purpose. Of course, that would be ideal but life is not always ideal.

Yeah I agree with you that quarterly P&L makes things stressful. It forces you to depress horizon to focus on relatively short-term price behavior rather than just valuing businesses, and is probably not the best way to measure performance, but that is the reality of institutional money management.

I am aware of where I come up short at, and right now I am not even dead set to a risk-taking HF analyst role. Even a data analyst type of support/reporting role that lets me hang around the people with knowledge would suffice.

I looked at your other thread and it looks like you got hired straight out of undergrad to be a HF analyst. How did you do it?

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

June 2021 Hedge Fund

  • Vice President (18) $520
  • Director/MD (10) $359
  • NA (4) $325
  • Portfolio Manager (7) $297
  • Manager (4) $282
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (18) $269
  • 2nd Year Associate (26) $251
  • Engineer/Quant (51) $237
  • 1st Year Associate (63) $188
  • Analysts (183) $168
  • Intern/Summer Associate (15) $125
  • Junior Trader (5) $102
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (205) $82