Post-MBA AM Transition?

I currently work at a large independent RIA and am headed to one of the M7 MBA programs that places well in finance this fall. My current role is largely client service, though I do manage a ~$400m equity strategy for some of our clients (pretty plain vanilla benchmark hugging with overweight to mega cap growth, I.e. not a lot of deep analysis involved that makes me feel like I'm equipped for a buy side role).

The MBA program I'm headed to has all the big long-only shops recruiting on campus, though I understand it takes a lot of hustle to land one of those roles given shrinking businesses, low turnover, etc.

In an ideal world, I'd love to pivot into an equity analyst role at one of those shops, and am mainly wondering how feasible this would be given that I have no pre-MBA background on the buy side or in ER? I'm planning on cranking through modeling, analyzing businesses, etc. for the months before I get to school so I can show up ready to participate in pitch competitions and the like, but am just not sure if I'm wasting my time? If I put in the work, is it feasible to land a role at a LO firm despite not having a background as an analyst? Or am I at a huge disadvantage to those that have relevant backgrounds already given how few spots are available?

FWIW I plan on trying to do some in-semester internships with smaller buy side firms to get experience, but that might not happen before recruiting rolls around.

If this is a completely unrealistic goal I guess I'd probably just recruit for IB since I'm confident I'd land at a good firm. Just know I can't really recruit for both and would rather spend my energy working towards LO AM if it's possible.

Comments (5)

Feb 9, 2021 - 7:26pm

It is quite difficult but more than feasible (not sure how COVID has changed hiring practices at LO AM shops). The interviews are more or less a split between behavioral questions and then your stock pitch. While the quality of your pitch matters a lot, your story and motivation behind wanting asset management as a career is also very important. It also helps if you have alumni at the firm you're recruiting at to help put in a good word. Networking is key.

If you're behind on the learning curve it would be very useful to spend time prior to the MBA to get up to speed. I would recommend reading through investment pitches on websites like sumzero or valueinvestorsclub to get an idea of the work/knowledge required. Also, go to YouTube and look up "2019 Pershing Square Challenge" - the pitches have an activist slant because Ackman puts on the event but these are good work examples. All of that should help you gauge where you are on the learning curve. There are also some good discussions on WSO about breaking into the buy side, I'd suggest reading through the forum more deeply.

Lastly, AM and IB recruiting sort of overlap. Investment pitch competitions (most of them) are held during the month your classmates are doing coffee chats for IB. They usually give you a week to prepare your pitches for the competition. Some of the prep work required for AM and IB is similar. Personally, I would sign up to do at least one stock pitch competition to test the waters and see how you stack up. If you do recruit IB, the trade off is that you wasted a week of valuable time you could have been doing coffee chats.


Feb 12, 2021 - 9:50am

Yes, you are at a disadvantage. No, you are not wasting your time. No, there is no guarantee that you can land a role at a LO, as you said how competitive it is. You are basically aiming for the highest tier of exits from top b-school (along with PE/VC if you don't go the entrepreneur route). Just out hustle and outwork - no secret. 

The good thing is you sound laser focused, which is the only way to do this path. You definitely should immerse in everything buy-side related on campus - pitch comp, student fund, investment fund, other school's investment conference (hopefully in-person post COVID), in-semester internships etc. 

I discourage you from pursuing IB if your goal is AM (I have seen my MBA classmates with AM talent end up in IB and then escape to buy-side anyways after a year or two in IB, so wtf was the point of schmoozing for a job you didn't want?). Worst case, "settle" (well not really) for a hedge fund (that's hopefully not multi-manager). With your pedigree, I can assure you at the very least you will end up at a hedge fund if you put in the work. You are absolutely right on getting a head-start on building the technical skills. 

PM me if you want a reading list. Congrats and I wish you success. 

Attaching my article on buy-side search:…

Follow me on Instagram: @dickthesellsider

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