Investment banking vs sales and trading

I wish to ultimately work at a hedge fund. I'm aware that in order to get there i must work in ibanking, however the job of a trader excites me way more than that of an investment banker and the better work-life balance is obviously a major advantage as well. I was wondering if going to sales and trading significantly lowers my chances of getting into hedge funds as compared to investment banking. What are some of the s&t exit opps like?

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Comments (3)

Jun 5, 2021 - 4:44pm

Depends on the type of hedge fund. Traders go into risk taking positions at hedge funds all the time, but not necessarily the same types of funds. If you want to go into a deep value fund or most equity long/short style funds, investment banking is better, but for macro funds, relative value funds, vol arb, and funds where you have relevant product experience which run strategies that are closer to trading to long term investing, you have much better odds than investment banking. Tons of traders go to places like citadel, bluecrest, millennium, capula, etc. (look on linkedin) but what they are doing is very different than what people do in equity long/short. Additionally, you are more of a specialist in trading, so your product matters a lot. The typical path to hedge funds that I have seen is basically to get hired by the hedge funds you trade with (trade rates at bank to trade rates at hedge fund, etc.). I would avoid s&t if you are narrowly focused on either long term investing or equity stuff that does not heavily involve options/derivs, because investment banking or equity research provides a better background for those types of funds, but hedge funds are much broader than that and similarly I would avoid investment banking if you wanted to go into macro, vol arb, or fixed income relative value funds where you want trading experience in the product over valuing companies.

TLDR: if you want to be a value investor do investment banking, if you want to do something like macro, relative value/arb, etc, do trading. If you really like trading, you probably are a better fit for the more trading focused hedge fund styles anyway. M&I wrote a good article recently on hedge fund strategies and who they look for: WSO seems to have a huge bias for equity and event driven stuff, and fantasize about tiger cubs, but there's tons of other strategies out there (and MM pods are IMO a business model with far better future prospects than single manager value).

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