Junior at macro HF learning opportunities?

Hello Wall Street Oasis,

My career progression needs some sorting out. I welcome any comments for those experienced in the industry to guide me along.

I am a junior analyst at a macro hedge fund (800 mil AUM). Not a well known mega fund but still pretty reputable. I get along very well with my bosses. This seems to have translate to the flexibility I have in my job which in short is ... "learn as much you can from us and paper trade to see whether your ideas work". A lot of free play, maybe too much. I have no banking or trading experience prior.

My question to this forum is how beneficial is this flexible job scope and how does it compare to other funds. Specifically ...

1. Do other funds have a more structured development program for their analysts?
2. Is the HF business, specifically global macro, mostly about learning on your own and proving to management that you can trade?
3. Will you learn global macro from a post graduate program ie MBA?
4. On average, how long till a junior gets trading allocation? I'm expecting years.

Essentially, what I'm asking is that for those experienced global macro traders, is it always an independent learning process or a more structured one? If you didn't start at Bridgewater, does it mean you had to learn by yourself?

Cheers,
Nijikon

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Comments (5)

Best Response
Mar 20, 2015 - 7:43am

1. Not that I know of in the macro space.
2. Sort of. Good ideas and an increasing ability to take risk and position management into account in your trade ideas (which probably means paper trading to get a better grasp of those things) will hopefully get you a chunk of money eventually.
3. Definitely not an MBA. Considering where you're at, more schooling would not help.
4. Probably years yes.

Don't be sad you're not a Bridgewater. I'm not exactly sure what they train you to be, but it certainly isn't to become a macro trader/PM.

Mar 20, 2015 - 8:24am

Thanks GoodBread. Your answers dovetail with my expectations. Recently, I was considering the choice of seeking a more structured learning process, the MBA, versus opening up Excel files, downloading prices and data, and applying theories in "Alchemy of Finance". It seems that it'll benefit me more to do the latter, which I actually kindda prefer. Oh yeah, I'm math and comp sci major top 10 US school.

I guess it comes down to the waiting. There just isn't that satisfaction picking a direction without money on the line. But I understand as the founders are the ones who bring in the money and ultimately get to choose who trades it.

Mar 20, 2015 - 8:59am

An MBA will get you nowhere in global macro and would be a costly mistake imo. If you want to have money on the line, why not see if you can trade single-lot futures in your spare time? If your PM thinks its kosher, it could only help. Either that of try building a solid paper trading track record that also demonstrates careful risk management.

Mar 20, 2015 - 5:22pm

1. Not to my knowledge... For most funds, their version of a "structured development program" involves lifting juniors from the street. If you join as an analyst w/o any banking or trading experience, you're expected to learn on your own. I am speaking from personal experience.

2. Yes.

3. Hell, no...

4. Probably not years, in my experience. I have observed a range of 6 - 18 months myself.

Mar 20, 2015 - 7:53pm

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