I'm a research associate at a major mutual fund, Ask Me Anything

Hey guys, I got a lot out of these forums when I was an undergrad and I've decided its time to give back.

I went to a top target as an undergrad and have been working on the equity side at a mutual fund on the east coast with 100B+ AUM for about a year now.

I'd be happy to answer any questions or clear up any misconceptions you guys have. I just ask that you please don't try to figure out where I work. Thanks and ask away.

Comments (96)

Aug 2, 2013

As someone coming from a non target, whats the best thing I can do to differentiate myself for recruiting?

Aug 2, 2013

could you talk about the hiring process at the junior levels, what sort of applicants are looked favorably upon, and any advice on lateraling from a hedge fund to a long only?

Aug 2, 2013
AMLady:

As someone coming from a non target, whats the best thing I can do to differentiate myself for recruiting?

Easily the best thing to do, as cliche as it may be is to network. I'd say 90% of the individuals at the junior level are from targets, but the people who aren't all networked. If you network enough you can definitely get an interview. Once you're at the interview stage you're given 95% of the respect of someone from a target. There still may be people who look down on your school, but if you nail the interviews you'll get an offer.

In terms of resume building, mutual funds like to see other buy side names on your resume. One guy I know who went to a non-target interned at a small mutual fund during college, having that made him stand out.

greenapple:

could you talk about the hiring process at the junior levels, what sort of applicants are looked favorably upon, and any advice on lateraling from a hedge fund to a long only?

I'll expand on this later because this is a long topic in of itself. But as for the second part of your question, hedge fund people are looked on, at least at my shop with some suspicion, particularly if you've moved around a bunch of places. Staying at one place for a while is something they look for. With that said, there are many laterals are people from hedge funds looking for a different lifestyle, since an analyst at a mutual fund is likely only moving if he or she was fired.

In terms of advice, my firm does use head hunters to fill positions, but as always, the best way by far is still networking. The DOR and head of equities often will call their counterparts at top shops to fill a position. I don't know how senior you are, but having a good story as to why you want to move to a mutual fund (and likely make less money, or at least have less upside) seems important. Without more specifics I'm not sure what else I can add on that front.

    • 2
Aug 2, 2013

How many hours do you work?

Aug 2, 2013

Any advice for someone trying to move from sell-side research to buy-side research? I just started as an oil & gas ER associate at a mm bank with a pretty good research dept. I would like to move to the buyside after 2-3 years on the sell-side. Would a top mba be necessary for getting a decent buyside gig?

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Aug 2, 2013

What is the interview strucuture like? Ie. how many interviews and what do they ask?

Aug 3, 2013
Take_It_To_The_Bank:

How many hours do you work?

My hours are really good, and is one of the big reasons there are a lot of people with kids that moved from hedge funds to here. I generally get in around 7:00 and leave around 6:30, pms will generally get in around 7:30 and leave around 5:30. On Friday's by 5 there are no senior people left in the office. And junior people take off not too long after. I work later during earnings season but not ridiculously so, maybe an hour or two extra a day. Working on weekends is pretty much unheard of. If I need to take vacation or a day off with short notice it's not a problem as long as its not in the middle of earnings season.

    • 2
Aug 3, 2013
BicepBrah:

Any advice for someone trying to move from sell-side research to buy-side research? I just started as an oil & gas ER associate at a mm bank with a pretty good research dept. I would like to move to the buyside after 2-3 years on the sell-side. Would a top mba be necessary for getting a decent buyside gig?

It depends on the shop, but at my place junior people transitioning from the sell side to the buy side is pretty rare. They like to recruit either straight out of school, or relatively senior analysts who have been working for bit. The youngest guy that I know of had been working as a sell side analyst for 3 years before they recruited him. I don't think a top mba would be necessary if you have your cfa. If you don't, then it likely would be, plus additional experience leading coverage.

Again, your mileage will certainly vary, but my shop's perspective is sort of binary, you are either senior enough to lead coverage or you're a junior. So I doubt they would want to hire an associate from the sell-side when they can get an associate straight out of school, pay them less and not have to remove bad habits.

    • 1
Aug 3, 2013
UnclePanda:

What is the interview strucuture like? Ie. how many interviews and what do they ask?

They recruited at on-campus recruiting at my school. They had a standard first round interview that was not particularly different than any other buy-side interview, it was simply walk me through your resume, why do you want to be an investor pitch me a stock etc.

The stock pitch was probably the most important part of the first round interview, and I can't stress enough how important it is to have one stock down cold and have another down as well as you can handle. I was being interviewed by a pm who knew the company well, and he started grilling me on the latest goings on, what management's strategy was etc.

As a bit of a caveat, my interview was with an equity pm, but I found out later they had a fixed income pm, who was much more focused on macroeconomic questions and brain teasers. I don't know how well I would have done in that situation haha.

Second round interview was at the firm, and was interviewed with probably 5 or 6 portfolio managers, ranging from currency, to fixed income, deep value, to small cap growth. There wasn't a formal structure and they didn't do any formal case studies. All were interested in the cultural fit and wanted to see if I was really committed to working at a mutual fund since I had worked at a hedge fund the prior summer. None of the questions stood out as particularly ridiculous, since I had worked at equities before they tested finance and accounting knowledge but there was one kid who studied history and said he wasn't asked any technicals. Had one interview where I was grilled hard on brain teasers, thought I bombed it for sure, but I got the call that I had the offer two weeks later.

    • 2
Aug 3, 2013

What is the average salary and bonus for someone hired in at the research analyst level?

For someone 5 yrs out of undergrad who is trying to break into AM at the analyst level, does passing the CFA hold more precedence than having a target school on your resume? In other words, does progress towards the CFA help to compensate for going to a non target undergrad school?

Aug 3, 2013

Can you walk us through your typical day? Also, what sort of SA experience looks best for someone interviewing at a major fund straight out of undergrad?

Aug 3, 2013
Industry84:

What is the average salary and bonus for someone hired in at the research analyst level?

For someone 5 yrs out of undergrad who is trying to break into AM at the analyst level, does passing the CFA hold more precedence than having a target school on your resume? In other words, does progress towards the CFA help to compensate for going to a non target undergrad school?

I don't know exactly what analyst's salary is since i'm just an associate, (a reminder for anyone else reading, in asset management, associate is below analyst). My understanding though is depending on how senior you are, how long you've been at the firm, and how well your picks did, all in can range anywhere from 200 to 600k with the average on the lower end.

Progress on the CFA absolutely helps to compensate for going to a non target undergrad. Everyone I've met values to some extent having the CFA. In terms of having more precedence than a target, I think it really depends on the individual. Some PMs don't care at all about your undergrad and some won't want to look at anyone that didn't go to Wharton or Harvard.

Aug 5, 2013

"I don't know exactly what analyst's salary is since i'm just an associate, (a reminder for anyone else reading, in asset management, associate is below analyst)."

Not to hijack, but just as an FYI I'm not sure that this is generally the case. Certainly in my experience - across a few asset management firms - I've never heard of Associate coming before Analyst. Admittedly my current firm does use 'Analyst' as a specific experienced job role, but 'Associate' wouldnt be entry level. Just to add a caveat so people don't just search for associate level jobs.'

Best Response
Aug 3, 2013
StryfeDSP:

Can you walk us through your typical day? Also, what sort of SA experience looks best for someone interviewing at a major fund straight out of undergrad?

Typical day non earnings season:

5:45: Wake up, walk the dog, if it's raining, regret getting the dog. Shower, coffee breakfast
7:00: Get to office, fire up NYT, WSJ and FT, read headlines and catch up on news fire up factset and see if any of my companies are trading down or up on any news
7:30: Analyst comes in, update him on anything critical, see if he has any fire drills regarding a pm presentation or a company he's worried about.
8:00: Assuming nothing mission critical, continue projects from prior day, could be working on a model, conducting preliminary due diligence on new coverage, reading some research etc.
11:30 Grab lunch, eat at desk
12:00 Check in with analyst, often at this point he'll have something that he wants done, whether it's a rehash of a company's last 10 earnings calls, management comp analysis, reviewing assumptions in a model. Of late, he's been looking for me to add more of my opinion on some companies he should be looking for in his industry to upgrade or downgrade. Analysts carry a lot of sway, so if he upgrades or downgrades a name, it will be entering or leaving portfolios in size shortly after.
4:00: After market close is less urgency, some very senior people will leave soon after, I'll start focusing on some independent projects, a few smaller cap companies that I think are interesting. Looking at a company, the minimum requirement is reading the last 10 Qs and the last 3 Ks, so a lot of time is spent reading.
6:00: Clear my desk, finish up any last thoughts, mark what I did today, write down anything crucial that needs to be done for tomorrow.
6:30 Leave, I rarely bring work home unless it's earnings season or there's a pm going insane over a company.
7:00: Gym
8:15 Get home, shower, cook dinner, clean, read the economist, or maybe espn if I have some time
9:30 Sleep.

Best SA experience is probably another mutual fund or deep value hedge fund. Next best is any buy side experience, after that is academic/economic, i.e the Fed. Sell side research is probably tied with that. Worst is banking, my shop doesn't respect bankers at all.

    • 8
Jan 26, 2015
mfassociate2:
StryfeDSP:

Can you walk us through your typical day? Also, what sort of SA experience looks best for someone interviewing at a major fund straight out of undergrad?

Typical day non earnings season:

5:45: Wake up, walk the dog, if it's raining, regret getting the dog. Shower, coffee breakfast

7:00: Get to office, fire up NYT, WSJ and FT, read headlines and catch up on news fire up factset and see if any of my companies are trading down or up on any news

7:30: Analyst comes in, update him on anything critical, see if he has any fire drills regarding a pm presentation or a company he's worried about.

8:00: Assuming nothing mission critical, continue projects from prior day, could be working on a model, conducting preliminary due diligence on new coverage, reading some research etc.

11:30 Grab lunch, eat at desk

12:00 Check in with analyst, often at this point he'll have something that he wants done, whether it's a rehash of a company's last 10 earnings calls, management comp analysis, reviewing assumptions in a model. Of late, he's been looking for me to add more of my opinion on some companies he should be looking for in his industry to upgrade or downgrade. Analysts carry a lot of sway, so if he upgrades or downgrades a name, it will be entering or leaving portfolios in size shortly after.

4:00: After market close is less urgency, some very senior people will leave soon after, I'll start focusing on some independent projects, a few smaller cap companies that I think are interesting. Looking at a company, the minimum requirement is reading the last 10 Qs and the last 3 Ks, so a lot of time is spent reading.

6:00: Clear my desk, finish up any last thoughts, mark what I did today, write down anything crucial that needs to be done for tomorrow.

6:30 Leave, I rarely bring work home unless it's earnings season or there's a pm going insane over a company.

7:00: Gym

8:15 Get home, shower, cook dinner, clean, read the economist, or maybe espn if I have some time

9:30 Sleep.

Best SA experience is probably another mutual fund or deep value hedge fund. Next best is any buy side experience, after that is academic/economic, i.e the Fed. Sell side research is probably tied with that. Worst is banking, my shop doesn't respect bankers at all.

So the experience is quite universal then. It's a lot like this also in Jakarta. SB-ed.

Aug 3, 2013

Really awesome answer dude, thanks.

Could you go into your thought process on researching a new company? You mentioned the minimum amount of Qs and Ks you look at.

Aug 3, 2013
StryfeDSP:

Really awesome answer dude, thanks.

Could you go into your thought process on researching a new company? You mentioned the minimum amount of Qs and Ks you look at.

Blackhat posted a thread I think called edge that was pretty good.

In terms of thought process on researching a company, you want as complete an understanding of the company as possible. You should know what management has promised over the past three years and whether they've delivered. You want to understand what their competitors are doing and what would need to happen for the company to not be successful. You want to understand how the market is thinking about the company, why are they discounting future earnings too much, (that's where the sell side can be helpful).

There's a ton to go over, but suffice it to say there's no one size fits all approach that works. Growth investing is very different than value investing but some growth managers have put up very impressive results.

    • 1
Aug 3, 2013

Thanks for the advice.

I'm currently interning at GS/MS/JPM in equity research, rising senior at a non-target. The work is interesting, but I want to go directly to the buy-side. Any recommendations? Assuming the worst (I don't get an offer) how do I leverage that experience to get a mutual fund interview?

Aug 4, 2013
Durden:

Thanks for the advice.

I'm currently interning at GS/MS/JPM in equity research, rising senior at a non-target. The work is interesting, but I want to go directly to the buy-side. Any recommendations? Assuming the worst (I don't get an offer) how do I leverage that experience to get a mutual fund interview?

If you got an internship with a top sell side shop from a non target than you probably know the drill. Having that on your resume is a definite plus, so the standard advice of network network network definitely applies. If you're not picky about what city you're in you can definitely find some lesser appreciated mutual funds that are still great places to work. Barron's and or Lipper does a mutual fund performance article that you can search for that will give you a good list of targets.

Once you get the interview having your story down is key. If you didn't get the offer I would definitely emphasize a cultural difference. Buy-side places are big on culture. A question you might be asked is, "If you wanted to go to the buyside, why didn't you intern at a buyside shop". I don't know your background but if it's not finance related it's easy enough to say you wanted some general experience and/or you didn't fully appreciate the differences between them.

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Aug 4, 2013

This is awesome.

Aug 4, 2013

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I'm currently a Private Banking Analyst at a BB with the end goal of making it into AM. I know it's probably not so common to see PB Analysts end up an AM, but I do plan on taking the CFA, as well as going back to b-school (hopefully a target). Would you have any other advice in regards to making this transition? Is the MBA really unnecessary with a CFA?

Aug 4, 2013

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

Aug 4, 2013
showtime321:

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I'm currently a Private Banking Analyst at a BB with the end goal of making it into AM. I know it's probably not so common to see PB Analysts end up an AM, but I do plan on taking the CFA, as well as going back to b-school (hopefully a target). Would you have any other advice in regards to making this transition? Is the MBA really unnecessary with a CFA?

I don't know private banking particularly well, but from what I understand I would think an MBA would be helpful in addition to a CFA if your goal was to work in Asset Management in an equity analyst role. If you didn't get an mba your resume would more likely put you in consideration for the client facing side.

As an aside, this is not a bad area to be in at all. The top marketing people will get paid nearly as much as a pm at my shop. People like to put down marketing, but in the mutual fund industry it's extremely important, and many of the marketing people at my shop went to top schools and have the CFA. I'd be happy to answer any questions associated with this, because I actually think it's an underappreciated aspect of the asset management industry.

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Aug 4, 2013

If I get a masters in finance do I still need to get a full lvl 3 CFA cert?

Aug 4, 2013
showtime321:

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I'm currently a Private Banking Analyst at a BB with the end goal of making it into AM. I know it's probably not so common to see PB Analysts end up an AM, but I do plan on taking the CFA, as well as going back to b-school (hopefully a target). Would you have any other advice in regards to making this transition? Is the MBA really unnecessary with a CFA?

Sorry to hijack your question, but what exactly is Private Banking? Is it the same as PWM or AM? Can you please explain?

Aug 4, 2013

Sure, Private Banking is essentially PWM. My role as an Analyst is to execute trades for clients, prepare any marketing presentations such as pitchbooks, conduct research on the general market and individual stocks, and handle any operational tasks for clients. I'm not an Advisor, nor am I training to be one, so I don't do any cold-calling or look for prospective clients.

It's different than AM. AM firms create portfolios, while PWM groups choose to invest in these portfolios for their clients. So at the end of the day there is a lot of "selling" going on between AM firms and PWM groups. Marketing members of AM teams are always in our offices trying to pitch their services and portfolios.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2013
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2013
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2013
LongandShortofit:

If I get a masters in finance do I still need to get a full lvl 3 CFA cert?

Not sure what you mean by full lvl 3 CFA, the way my firm looks at it and the way I believe many others do is that it's all or nothing. So a graduate degree is generally fine if you're looking to start as an associate, but if you've done levels 1 or 2 they don't count for much except maybe to indicate interest.

Aug 4, 2013
mfassociate2:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2013

Where do you come out on top MBA versus CFA for someone who attended a non-target undergrad but is already on the buy-side (mutual fund) and may want to lateral (or go to a hedge fund) in the future?

My preference is to spend my free time investing in my PA and better understanding the industries/companies I cover at work than on studying for the CFA. Would this be a poor decision?

Aug 4, 2013

Have you ever heard of instances where mutual funds hire people who work in the industries they analyze? Say you have a guy who has a bachelors degree in finance, passed CFA level I, has non target MBA, and has 5 yrs experence at a couple F500 industrial companies. Would that be attractive at all to a fund looking for an industrial sector research analyst?

Aug 4, 2013
BeastMode:
mfassociate2:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

By your accounts the AM business sounds much more "built from the ground up" with the majority of new hires coming from undergrad or from other AM shops. Disregarding my ER inquiry, would you say its easier for an IB analyst to break in after two years--or do the same types of barriers to entry exist?

Aug 4, 2013

What'd you do right after you got out of college and how'd you end up here?

Aug 5, 2013

What is the thread count on your bed sheets?

Aug 5, 2013
city breeze:

"I don't know exactly what analyst's salary is since i'm just an associate, (a reminder for anyone else reading, in asset management, associate is below analyst)."

Not to hijack, but just as an FYI I'm not sure that this is generally the case. Certainly in my experience - across a few asset management firms - I've never heard of Associate coming before Analyst. Admittedly my current firm does use 'Analyst' as a specific experienced job role, but 'Associate' wouldnt be entry level. Just to add a caveat so people don't just search for associate level jobs.'

Fair enough, I shouldn't have generalized across all, but I have seen that at quite a few places, including my own. Another common term beneath analyst is "associate analyst"

Aug 5, 2013
Going Concern:

What is the thread count on your bed sheets?

300.

Aug 5, 2013

Is there much emphasis placed on sell side research in the investment process, or do you pretty much rely on research in-house?

Aug 5, 2013

If you have a really rough week (during earnings season), how many hours do you work maximum?

Aug 5, 2013

How often do you travel to see companies or go to trade shows? How often do the senior people do this?

Aug 5, 2013

I am currently interning at a fund of hedge funds where I have done research and helped developed tradable indexes of thematic factors. I've also got a chance to speak to many hedge fund IR and PM's in meetings. However my interest lies in directly investing in the market. You said that being buy side counts - does this count? Is it possible to get into a major mutual fund as a research associate from this type of position? (Keep in mind I would be applying out straight out of college)

Aug 5, 2013

How much are associates out of undergrad generally paid?

Jan 21, 2014

I am looking for this info too.... Any concrete numbers would be helpful

Aug 5, 2013
Industry84:

Have you ever heard of instances where mutual funds hire people who work in the industries they analyze? Say you have a guy who has a bachelors degree in finance, passed CFA level I, has non target MBA, and has 5 yrs experence at a couple F500 industrial companies. Would that be attractive at all to a fund looking for an industrial sector research analyst?

Just a hypothetical? It's not unheard of, many people worked in industry before becoming an analyst. The key though would be making that first jump to a firm, I think some pms would be skeptical that you would have the know how to run a coverage. I believe you would have a decent shot though.

Aug 5, 2013
mfassociate2:
Industry84:

Have you ever heard of instances where mutual funds hire people who work in the industries they analyze? Say you have a guy who has a bachelors degree in finance, passed CFA level I, has non target MBA, and has 5 yrs experence at a couple F500 industrial companies. Would that be attractive at all to a fund looking for an industrial sector research analyst?

Just a hypothetical? It's not unheard of, many people worked in industry before becoming an analyst. The key though would be making that first jump to a firm, I think some pms would be skeptical that you would have the know how to run a coverage. I believe you would have a decent shot though.

Thanks. That's my background, so not a hypothetical. It seems that making that first jump to a firm is a challenge since I've applied to a couple roles online and heard nothing back, but it's refreshing to hear that I should have a decent shot. I was an analyst for the student managed fund at my school in my last year of undergrad and have been managing a personal portfolio the last couple years, but not sure if a pm would consider that relevant experience.

Aug 5, 2013
Red Barchetta:

Is there much emphasis placed on sell side research in the investment process, or do you pretty much rely on research in-house?

Sell side is definitely used, but first priority is for factual information. A buy side analyst's coverage is generally much wider than a sell side analyst so talking to a sell sider can be a good way to get up to speed on the facts. We'll also use sell siders for idea generation, if everyone loves or hates a name, that can be a good way to find overdone sentiment.

However, the vast majority of research is done internally. The main reason people like to cozy up with sell siders is their access to management.

Aug 6, 2013

Thanks. I think getting a consensus on a particular name from the sell side is a good way to gauge whether that stock might be overbot or oversold.

One more question: apart from your research contribution to the fund's investment process, any other important facets in which your PM is grading you on?
Thanks

Aug 5, 2013
Yakehito:
BeastMode:
mfassociate2:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

By your accounts the AM business sounds much more "built from the ground up" with the majority of new hires coming from undergrad or from other AM shops. Disregarding my ER inquiry, would you say its easier for an IB analyst to break in after two years--or do the same types of barriers to entry exist?

No. Only way you can really break in from IB/PE/other fields is through an MBA first. Coming from other buy side shops is the best way to lateral along with the very occasional sell side guy. It's not solely about perceived pedigree for being able to lateral. A very smart kid who did IBD for two years wouldn't be able to hack it immediately in investing by him/herself without the company investing a lot of training in them. For whatever reason, my firm prefers to have this kind of training program by recruiting people out of school.

Just as a side note, everyone in this business will be biased and tend to want to hire those who come from a similar path as them. This goes for the former bankers on the buy side, former ER guys, people who have an MBA, people who have a CFA, etc. Cultures at firms are developed by the people who run them, and those people will generally hire those people who have those same backgrounds.

Aug 5, 2013
inv123:

Where do you come out on top MBA versus CFA for someone who attended a non-target undergrad but is already on the buy-side (mutual fund) and may want to lateral (or go to a hedge fund) in the future?

My preference is to spend my free time investing in my PA and better understanding the industries/companies I cover at work than on studying for the CFA. Would this be a poor decision?

I come out in the MBA corner b/c you'll get access to OCR with all the best firms through that, whereas the background of non-target undergrad, CFA, mutual fund experience may not necessarily get you in front of as many people. Think of an MBA as a great way to be introduced to companies you want to talk to, while a CFA is just another plus once you're already talking to them but won't be the reason they go after you per se.

Aug 5, 2013

I'm also a second year research associate and have been wondering how the role differs at other shops. Do you do any independent research without direction from a senior analyst? If so, how many of your ideas have made it into the portfolio so far?

Aug 9, 2013
Yakehito:
BeastMode:
mfassociate2:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

By your accounts the AM business sounds much more "built from the ground up" with the majority of new hires coming from undergrad or from other AM shops. Disregarding my ER inquiry, would you say its easier for an IB analyst to break in after two years--or do the same types of barriers to entry exist?

No, sorry IB would have a very difficult time breaking in at my shop. Most AM people in my place don't like/respect bankers, and wouldn't value that background much.

Aug 9, 2013
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:
BeastMode:
mfassociate2:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:

So your firm typically hires its assoc straight from undergrad, but in general what would you say are the common backgrounds of ppl who transition into AM. I'm assuming a few years at a top BB in ER and a CFA would set you up nicely for the transition?

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

By your accounts the AM business sounds much more "built from the ground up" with the majority of new hires coming from undergrad or from other AM shops. Disregarding my ER inquiry, would you say its easier for an IB analyst to break in after two years--or do the same types of barriers to entry exist?

No, sorry IB would have a very difficult time breaking in at my shop. Most AM people in my place don't like/respect bankers, and wouldn't value that background much.

Whys that?

Aug 9, 2013
Industry84:
mfassociate2:
Industry84:

Have you ever heard of instances where mutual funds hire people who work in the industries they analyze? Say you have a guy who has a bachelors degree in finance, passed CFA level I, has non target MBA, and has 5 yrs experence at a couple F500 industrial companies. Would that be attractive at all to a fund looking for an industrial sector research analyst?

Just a hypothetical? It's not unheard of, many people worked in industry before becoming an analyst. The key though would be making that first jump to a firm, I think some pms would be skeptical that you would have the know how to run a coverage. I believe you would have a decent shot though.

Thanks. That's my background, so not a hypothetical. It seems that making that first jump to a firm is a challenge since I've applied to a couple roles online and heard nothing back, but it's refreshing to hear that I should have a decent shot. I was an analyst for the student managed fund at my school in my last year of undergrad and have been managing a personal portfolio the last couple years, but not sure if a pm would consider that relevant experience.

Just as a reminder you should know that applying purely online will almost never lead to success without some contacts at the firm.

Analyst at a student managed fund is not particularly valued, managing your pa is not particularly valued unless you can come up with some stock pitches from it

    • 1
Aug 9, 2013
fiji water:

I'm also a second year research associate and have been wondering how the role differs at other shops. Do you do any independent research without direction from a senior analyst? If so, how many of your ideas have made it into the portfolio so far?

I'm slowly being trusted with independent research. My analyst's coverage universe is immense, so he's been giving me the opportunity to ramp on a few industries. So far three of my ideas have made it into portfolios. There's a guy a few years senior to me and he's essentially trusted as a full analyst, most of ideas get put into a portfolio.

Aug 9, 2013
Red Barchetta:

Thanks. I think getting a consensus on a particular name from the sell side is a good way to gauge whether that stock might be overbot or oversold.

One more question: apart from your research contribution to the fund's investment process, any other important facets in which your PM is grading you on?

Thanks

Haha this is an important point. PMs can be and often are incredibly arbitrary. If they like you for whatever reason, you have a huge edge. My analyst will spend a decent amount of his time socializing with PMs at lunch or before work. This pays off in getting his ideas in a portfolio and quite frankly in comp. If you're a super dry analyst who only talks to the pms when you have a pitch, you're going to have a tough time unless you are amazing.

Aug 10, 2013
StryfeDSP:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:
BeastMode:
mfassociate2:
mfassociate2:

That's definitely a solid background as a general principle, I'm sure that you'll have chances. But I will say in my shop again you would somewhat of a tough time getting in. Again, unless you can prove you're senior enough to run your own coverage, you're an associate. and a associate with a few years of sell side experience plus a cfa is likely too expensive. My understanding is plenty of hedge funds would be more interested, and if you can demonstrate you can run your own coverage, I believe mutual funds would potentially give you a shot, but I think it would be a tougher slog.

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

By your accounts the AM business sounds much more "built from the ground up" with the majority of new hires coming from undergrad or from other AM shops. Disregarding my ER inquiry, would you say its easier for an IB analyst to break in after two years--or do the same types of barriers to entry exist?

No, sorry IB would have a very difficult time breaking in at my shop. Most AM people in my place don't like/respect bankers, and wouldn't value that background much.

Whys that?

Part of it is cultural. My shop sort of prides itself on a certain temperment that they don't think bankers would fit into. Also the idea is if you really liked stocks you would have done equity research. Finally, bankers get paid a lot, and at my shop frankly they wouldn't pay someone coming out of analyst program what he was getting paid in his second year, so it's a combination of these factors

Aug 10, 2013

If I missed anyone's question please let me know

Aug 10, 2013
mfassociate2:
StryfeDSP:
mfassociate2:
Yakehito:
BeastMode:
mfassociate2:

I realized I didn't answer the first part of your question, a common background for relatively senior people we've hired is at least 10 years of experience in the industry, around 3/4 were buy side analysts in other shops, the other 1/4 were strong sell side people that weren't II (too expensive).

This leads me to another point. Since mutual funds get paid on aum (at least directly), your pay has less variance. So the bad years are less bad (I've been told we were actually flat during 2008) but up years you certainly aren't getting paid for your performance. There's an analyst in the firm that's been spot on this year, through the different funds cumulatively her recommendations have probably resulted in a hundred million dollars of outperformance. But her bonus will likely only have an additional 10 or 20% added.

Would chime in that at my firm (also very large AUM) we have hardly any experienced hires coming from sell side. We have one guy who came from the sell side after about 10 years, but I would say the majority came from top MBA with some coming from other buyside shops. We also hire direct from undergrad. Having said that, a lot of people have done the sell side, gone for a top MBA, then gotten hired through OCR. Not a bad option.

By your accounts the AM business sounds much more "built from the ground up" with the majority of new hires coming from undergrad or from other AM shops. Disregarding my ER inquiry, would you say its easier for an IB analyst to break in after two years--or do the same types of barriers to entry exist?

No, sorry IB would have a very difficult time breaking in at my shop. Most AM people in my place don't like/respect bankers, and wouldn't value that background much.

Whys that?

Part of it is cultural. My shop sort of prides itself on a certain temperment that they don't think bankers would fit into. Also the idea is if you really liked stocks you would have done equity research. Finally, bankers get paid a lot, and at my shop frankly they wouldn't pay someone coming out of analyst program what he was getting paid in his second year, so it's a combination of these factors

Just as an example of how things differ across firms---no one I work with has anything against bankers. I would say the majority of people who were hired out of B school did banking when they first got out of college. Like I said before though, usually the background for someone getting hired out of MBA is 2 yrs banking, 2 yrs PE/HF, top MBA, and hired.

Aug 11, 2013

Thank you for taking everyone's questions.

When you were being interviewed/hired/on-boarded was there any element of selection on your part? When you say 'major mutual fund' I am assuming you mean the Vanguards, BLKs and TROWs of the world. Did you get to pick or note a preference as far as the kind of strategy you would work for?

Is there any interaction at any level between your fund and other funds under your firm's umbrella? Or maybe even funds at other shops?

How does your firm decide whether to shutter an old fund/strategy or open a new one?

What is one of the more surprising things you learned on the job? Or one of your more surprising responsibilities as an associate?

Thanks again for taking these questions. Please feel free to answer mine selectively; I know it's a lot.

Aug 11, 2013

No. Only way you can really break in from IB/PE/other fields is through an MBA first. Coming from other buy side shops is the best way to lateral along with the very occasional sell side guy. It's not solely about perceived pedigree for being able to lateral. A very smart kid who did IBD for two years wouldn't be able to hack it immediately in investing by him/herself without the company investing a lot of training in them. For whatever reason, my firm prefers to have this kind of training program by recruiting people out of school.

To add to this: while I don't know too much about mutual funds and anybody reading this should definitely defer to @mfassociate2, I'd like to add I know a few people that are pretty high up (PM's etc) at a relatively prominent mutual fund, and one of the PM's there- who usually says he doesn't like to hire bankers- hired a banker who'd spent 2 years as an analyst at a great boutique IB firm. Moral of the story: as mfassociate2 says, it seems pretty dam unlikely, but for whatever my opinion/observations are worth, I don't think it's impossible to be hired by a mutual fund (depending on the fund, of course) if you have a banking background.

Aug 11, 2013
tangent style:

Thank you for taking everyone's questions.

When you were being interviewed/hired/on-boarded was there any element of selection on your part? When you say 'major mutual fund' I am assuming you mean the Vanguards, BLKs and TROWs of the world. Did you get to pick or note a preference as far as the kind of strategy you would work for?

Is there any interaction at any level between your fund and other funds under your firm's umbrella? Or maybe even funds at other shops?

How does your firm decide whether to shutter an old fund/strategy or open a new one?

What is one of the more surprising things you learned on the job? Or one of your more surprising responsibilities as an associate?

Thanks again for taking these questions. Please feel free to answer mine selectively; I know it's a lot.

Yeah when I say major mutual fund it's a mutual fund family. The way it worked was we had training, and during training we interviewed with all the teams that were interested in a new associate. The interviews weren't really technical and were more about expectations and background. We then did a matching process where we ranked our preference, they ranked theirs and then the head of the program matched us.

In terms of interaction there is significant communication between all the funds. Fixed income and equity, different strategies all talk on a semi regular basis. When management comes in if multiple people are interested we ask questions together and prep together. I think it's a nice thing to be part of a big fund family where you can learn from lots of different people.

In terms of shuttering a strategy, if performance is bad over a 5 year time horizon, and/or outflows are significant the fund will shut down. If the performance is really bad sometimes it's only 3 years. PMs like to say you're only 3 years away from being fired. If a strategy is particularly out of favor the fund can be shut down even if performance is very good. This has happened a few times, although if the pm has done well they'll often get another shot.

As I've mentioned one of the surprising things I've learned in terms of comp is how political it is. I would've thought it was more meritocratic. I also was surprised at how much the marketing people get paid. In terms of responsibilities, I was a little surprised at how little my analyst cares about the valuation portion of the modelling. He cared about having a clean relatively detailed model but in terms of a dcf he doesn't particularly care. He thinks whether a stock works is the difference in market expectations versus what the company does, not to a large extent valuation.

Aug 11, 2013

mfaassociate2- Thanks for your time and insight!

Aug 11, 2013

Also a second year associate at a mutual fund. This is a great thread btw. Was also thinking of doing something similar in terms of giving back to WSO. I can start chiming in as well, if the OP permits.

Aug 14, 2013
Bot Some Calls:

Also a second year associate at a mutual fund. This is a great thread btw. Was also thinking of doing something similar in terms of giving back to WSO. I can start chiming in as well, if the OP permits.

You're more than welcome, as a few other posters have shown, mutual funds can differ dramatically so it's always good to hear another perspective. If you see any questions where you disagree with me definitely add your answer.

Aug 14, 2013
mfassociate2:

The top marketing people will get paid nearly as much as a pm at my shop. People like to put down marketing, but in the mutual fund industry it's extremely important, and many of the marketing people at my shop went to top schools and have the CFA.

great thread. I just wanted to call out this point that was buried in the thread. I think this is absolutely true. People on WSO are generally inexperienced and idealistic, so sales is often looked down upon. But, if you have the right personality, it's a great career. But, prepared to get fat from all the steak dinners you take clients/prospects to.

Aug 15, 2013

Well I'll bump this one time and see if anyone has any other questions.

If not, I'll finish with an insight that should help budding equity analysts. When you're pitching a stock KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. This is one thing that my analyst has emphasized, as some people like stocks that go up (growth/momentum) others like stocks that go down (deep value). You need to first pitch a stock that has a chance of being picked, and secondly emphasize the key components that your listener cares about. My analyst cares about surprises and a strong management team, some pms only care about the multiple that the stock is trading at, some only care whether it's broken the 90 or 180 day moving average.

My analyst has said a big mistake people make in the buyside is pitching stocks as if they are the one investing whereas you need to remember that you work for the PM and most will have their preferences.

    • 2
Aug 16, 2013

Mfassociate2, would you say that the best place to work - both in terms of fit and in terms of personal growth as an investor - is one where your PM and you have a similar perspective on investing or one where you have disparate views?

Aug 16, 2013

If I'm correct it sounds like you are starting to manage your own coverage unverse? If so, do you have any advice for those starting out in managing a coverage on a daily basis and dealing with the large amount of information that needs to be digested?

Aug 16, 2013

Nice thread - do you deal with analysts at smaller (middle market) funds? Is there a big difference in responsibilities and access to management compared to a larger fund like yours? My experience has been that smaller funds will often allow analysts to go straight to the PMs and do not filter through senior analysts as much, but would like to confirm. Cheers

Aug 16, 2013

Can you talk a little about stress level on the job? Given how competitive the industry is, and need for strong relative returns, how stressed out are the analysts you work with on a day-to-day basis?

Aug 16, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
mfassociate2:

The top marketing people will get paid nearly as much as a pm at my shop. People like to put down marketing, but in the mutual fund industry it's extremely important, and many of the marketing people at my shop went to top schools and have the CFA.

great thread. I just wanted to call out this point that was buried in the thread. I think this is absolutely true. People on WSO are generally inexperienced and idealistic, so sales is often looked down upon. But, if you have the right personality, it's a great career. But, prepared to get fat from all the steak dinners you take clients/prospects to.

"Marketing folks"/fund wholesalers can make really decent money for what they do. I'm at a $500B+ fund family and our top wholesalers probably clear close to a million a year. Pretty good money for simply selling some investment products. The downside to this career path is the travel as most wholesalers travel all of the time. Depending on the size of their territory, they could be in a plane 100+ days a year. The best wholesalers aren't the schmoozy salesmen's saleman, but the smart guys that once upon a time wanted to be in research who really know their shit.

Aug 16, 2013
Simple As...:

If I'm correct it sounds like you are starting to manage your own coverage unverse? If so, do you have any advice for those starting out in managing a coverage on a daily basis and dealing with the large amount of information that needs to be digested?

It's all about scaling up slowly. My analyst has been having me start out with a subindustry of similar companies. Therefore the news flow is pretty similar for all of them. As you know the companies well you can begin to branch out. It also depends on how detailed models your shop is looking for. Once you get the key drivers down, things can be a lot easier if you only have to update the models once a quarter. Once you begin to know management and other analysts things become easier. Watching my analyst at a conference is hilarious. He will network with a bunch of other buy siders he knows, knows all the management teams on a first name basis, will barely prep for any of the meetings and learns more than the guys who spend a week prepping for two meetings. Of course this is after 20+ years of experience covering the same sector. He said that it was all about slow and steady scaling, set a pace of companies you want to ramp on, and keep it up while maintaining your others.

Aug 16, 2013

Just as a point of reference, when you say that your analyst's coverage universe is expansive what ~# do you actually mean?

Aug 20, 2013
Simple As...:

Just as a point of reference, when you say that your analyst's coverage universe is expansive what ~# do you actually mean?

I'd say he has theoretical responsibility for around 75 names.

Aug 16, 2013
Wangta:

Can you talk a little about stress level on the job? Given how competitive the industry is, and need for strong relative returns, how stressed out are the analysts you work with on a day-to-day basis?

It's personality dependent. Some guys treat every day like their last, but my culture is a bit laid back and it attracts people who think that way. The PMs are far more stressed out than the analysts at my shop. The analysts are all experienced enough to know they will likely find another spot if it doesn't work out, but for a pm, if you have a bad track record, it's really tough to get back in.

Aug 16, 2013
thepie:

Mfassociate2, would you say that the best place to work - both in terms of fit and in terms of personal growth as an investor - is one where your PM and you have a similar perspective on investing or one where you have disparate views?

fit is definitely the former. If you come from a graham deep value perspective, you're going to find it tough to deal with a PM who says "I don't care about valuation" (seriously heard a pm say that to an analyst). In terms of personal growth though, it can be illuminating to learn a different method that works, i.e make sure where you work has a good track record, otherwise you're wasting your time. Plenty of shops have mediocre investment teams and great salespeople.

Aug 19, 2013

As a finance grad in decent university,i want to break into buy-side.I have outstanding gpa,no work experience in industry,so i decided to learn financial modeling,be able to read 10k-10s,improving my excel skills and invest a real money.Do you think whether they will work until campus-recruiting?What are your recommendations?Thank you for this great post.

Aug 20, 2013
Ulusoy:

As a finance grad in decent university,i want to break into buy-side.I have outstanding gpa,no work experience in industry,so i decided to learn financial modeling,be able to read 10k-10s,improving my excel skills and invest a real money.Do you think whether they will work until campus-recruiting?What are your recommendations?Thank you for this great post.

Those are all helpful things, if you're still in university, getting an internship at a buy-side place is easier than finding a full time offer. If you're already getting ready for full time recruiting, I would get your stock pitch down cold, if you're confident enough in your modelling you could potentially bring along a model to your interview, but only if you feel really good about it.

It's tough to break in from undergrad, particularly if you're at a non-target. Good luck.

Aug 20, 2013
mfassociate2:
Ulusoy:

As a finance grad in decent university,i want to break into buy-side.I have outstanding gpa,no work experience in industry,so i decided to learn financial modeling,be able to read 10k-10s,improving my excel skills and invest a real money.Do you think whether they will work until campus-recruiting?What are your recommendations?Thank you for this great post.

Those are all helpful things, if you're still in university, getting an internship at a buy-side place is easier than finding a full time offer. If you're already getting ready for full time recruiting, I would get your stock pitch down cold, if you're confident enough in your modelling you could potentially bring along a model to your interview, but only if you feel really good about it.

It's tough to break in from undergrad, particularly if you're at a non-target. Good luck.

Thank you for the response. Btw, I am graduate student and our finance program has the second reputation in my state however,it is not in the ivy league.I will focus on getting an intern offer i know that most of firms select their employees from their summer interns.Anyway,you mentioned that stock track record and modelling would be enough to be offered as an intern right?

Aug 19, 2013

Great thread, thanks for your feedback. My question: in the mutual fund space, is there a bias to either bulge bracket or middle market? I've been questioning the bulge bracket path as of late--teams are usually twice as big, and therefore, the associate has less responsibility compared to their middle market equivalent. Thanks

Aug 19, 2013

In voting for sell siders who add value to your franchise, how would you break down your vote (by percentage)?

Aug 20, 2013

Hedge funds seem to care much less about an MBA and care more about pedigree (i.e. top school -> banking -> buyside exp). Are mutual funds / top asset managers any different? You mentioned they like equity research more, but how do they feel about MBAs applying for jobs? Do they require previous buyside experience?

Also, do you have any insight into recruiting out of MBA programs?

Aug 21, 2013
bmcrhino:

Hedge funds seem to care much less about an MBA and care more about pedigree (i.e. top school -> banking -> buyside exp). Are mutual funds / top asset managers any different? You mentioned they like equity research more, but how do they feel about MBAs applying for jobs? Do they require previous buyside experience?

Also, do you have any insight into recruiting out of MBA programs?

I don't have a ton of insight on recruiting out of mba programs, but my understanding is they don't require prior buyside experience for internships. Pedigree is definitely important, my fund only recruits at targets, and picks almost all from top targets. With that said there are exceptions, someone in my class is from a definite non-target and he networked his way to an interview where he showcased his knowledge. He had also interned at a small buyside shop before.

Aug 21, 2013

Is an MBA generally needed to move up in this business? Just wondering why more people don't get hired out of 2+2 (IB + PE/HF) programs and need to get an MBA first.

Great thread so far mf!

Nov 30, 2013

I am going to start my MBA from a b-school in Toronto in fall 2014. I am currently into an investment management firm (not in North America) as a Trader/Technical Analyst. I have passed my CFA L1 and will probably pass my L2 next year.
I wish to get into the buy side as an Analyst in MF/HF. I have almost 7 months before my MBA starts. What do you think I should concentrate on for the next 2.5 years till I land up on my first post MBA job on the buy side? Should I make sure that I am proficient in analyzing one particular sector or should I start analyzing any random company? I am very confused. Please help!

Jan 21, 2014

How much do first year associates out of undergrad make at your $100b + firm? What are the typical salary ranges and bonus amounts for the first few years. Any concrete numbers would help

Aug 18, 2014

This is a great thread but I see that even the last conversation is quite old. It would be nice to see how OP has progressed through his career. Do you mind sharing mfassociate2?

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Oct 15, 2014
PARKER153:

This is a great thread but I see that even the last conversation is quite old. It would be nice to see how OP has progressed through his career. Do you mind sharing mfassociate2?

Aug 21, 2014

Edit............

Aug 19, 2014

What do people at a passively managed fund do exactly? It seems like mirroring a fund to track the S&P 500 would be not that complicated. Also, do guys that work at passively managed funds ever get a chance to move around to actively managed funds, or is that like breaking into IB from the back office?

Edit: I need to start reading dates.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Aug 20, 2014

Hey man - thanks for doing this. three questions: 1) I work in sell-side equity research and I was curious what type of "bad habits" does one pick up on the sell-side? And 2) my end-goal has been to get to the buy-side, I initially thought that was always done from transitioning from the sell-side, what is you recommendation for me if I've put in one year on the SS? 3) I really would like to transfer for better hours. I find sell side too much of a waste of time on weekly pieces that aren't very much value-add and other notes. What would you suggest are the average hours for associates/analysts? Thanks man

Oct 8, 2014
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