Sophomore Summer Options - Sophmore/Rising junior with a low GPA at a semi-target

SAM_D_WELPS's picture
Rank: Monkey | 42

Hey guys,

I would like some advice. I'm a sophomore/rising junior with a low 3 GPA at a semi-target. I've done internships in Smith Barney WM and small PE so far. This upcoming summer was really difficult out there, as I'm sure you all know, so I have the following options:

1) capital markets internship at well-known insurance company (seems like work is more sophisticated, likely financial modeling)
2) hedge FoF internship at repspected shop(doing research on hedge funds, hf managers - don't know much else yet)

I would like to eventually get into investment banking or PE/HF if an opportunity arises.

Thanks

Comments (15)

May 4, 2009

Definitely the second. Don't sell insurance. Don't do drugs.

    • 1
May 4, 2009

I'm not a seasoned veteran in the world of finance but I also did an internship at an insurance company doing a lot of modeling work. The work quickly became rather tedious and mundane. My skills were much better than all the other interns (many of whome had just finished sophomore year)due to my work on a student-run mutual fund at school. This meant that I finished my work early but had to help my fellow interns with simple things like sorting data or be bored while my multiple bosses drummed up more work for me to do.

It seems like HF work is more respected by SOME circles and you say you're interested in HF already. The contacts you make there will be more valuable than the day-to-day work experience. I think you'll find that people in either company want to help you succeed but the HF guys probably have better connections (For other HF guys) than the capital market guys.

But hey, I don't want to belittle the cap market guys. This is only going off the personal experience from one internship. The best advice I could give is make sure your work is FLAWLESS. Go above and beyond bcause if you don't, someone else will and make you look worse by comparison. But you probably already know that.

May 4, 2009

I would say do the opportunity that looks like it would be more fun for you. To me that'd be number 1.

May 5, 2009

Thanks for the info! It's actually a hedge fund of funds. Has anyone done internships at either of these? I think the heavy excel work (both, but probably more in cap markets/reinsurance internship) would be viewed favorably for IB.

Both places seem like interesting work. The FoF is much less formal (great atmosphere) than the cap markets/reinsurance one as it is a large, global company.

May 5, 2009

probably more interesting too. u'll be an excel wizard after the internship, if u rn't already.

also congrats on getting multiple offers. i'm also a sophomore at a target with decent gpa (3.7), and still looking for something for the summer. do you mind sharing how you got these offers? (ocr or just networking like crazy) i guess the prior pe experience helped. it's the first offer that's damn hard. argh.

May 5, 2009

I've visited a large insurance company's trading floor and spoken with everyone from the CIO to Research Analysts. They are very legit and they most likely manage more money than the FOF. 10 billion looks better than 500 million on a resume. Sure they're restricted on what they can invest in, but they still do the job and have the sell side contacts (that maybe you can use). You may get the opportunity to do some research, interface with the street, and see portfolio managers make real time investment decisions. FOF probably very little of that. Plus you got the name recognition of the insurance comp. over a FOF (there is a lot of them) that some may not of heard of.

May 5, 2009

There are two things to think about:

1) Which has the bigger name/ is more likely to stand out on a resume to get me an interview?

2) Which one will offer the better experience and leave me with more to talk about during an interview?

From your post, it sounds like the hedge fund of funds will probably be the bigger name/ more impressive item on a resume, while the insurance company might actually teach you more relevant skills. Therefore, my answer would be it depends on whether you think that your resume is already sufficiently impressive that you will land the interviews or if you have connections that can get you interviews. Given that you have a low 3 GPA at a semi-target, I'd say you need a great resume and I'd go with the hedge fund of funds.

www.gottamentor.com

May 5, 2009

Just my 2 cents (in addition to my post above), but the contacts you make at FOF will prob be minimal. I interned at a large hedge fund (not FOF) and despite the fact they were getting money from a lot of FOFs, they pretty much despised them and had it figured that they knew jack. If the situation is the same as that across the fund world (which I would believe is more likely than not), you might not get as much out of it. If you want to get into a HF, intern at a HF, not FOF.

I'll reiterate again that I think insurance companies investment/capital markets areas should not be underestimated. They control a lot of capital, have full fledged research teams (quants and fundamental analysts), may be more open to giving you a FT offer, and have better sell-side contacts. Plus, I mean if it's Allstate, who hasn't heard of them?

May 5, 2009

Tradersedge gives some great advice. Being at a huge insurance company, you are one of the biggest clients that the sell side (especially FI) has. The direct investment experience you will get is much more applicable to IB and during junior year interviews it will be much more interesting than a FoF experience. Plus, If anyone here has read FIASCO you know that despite insurance companies' regulations on investments, they get into some pretty structured/exotic deals.

May 6, 2009
CatsLHP:

Plus, If anyone here has read FIASCO you know that despite insurance companies' regulations on investments, they get into some pretty structured/exotic deals.

They certainly weren't the only ones. To be fair though, FIASCO was about how insurance companies were being taken for a ride by the big bad boys at Morgan.

May 6, 2009

I appreciate all of the input.

This insurance company has about $10B in assets if that matters. I have to find out more specifically what they will have me doing so I can make my decision.

May 6, 2009
SAM_D_WELPS:

I appreciate all of the input.

This insurance company has about $10B in assets if that matters. I have to find out more specifically what they will have me doing so I can make my decision.

That's tiny - I have a hard time seeing how they could be that well known with that little in aum. It changes the question a bit, imho

May 6, 2009

for reference - the hedge FoF has ~1B under management and I think they also run a hedge fund. I don't know if I would have exposure to that as an intern, but like I said, I have to figure out the roles more clearly.

May 6, 2009

Personally, I think FoF's are absolutely ridiculous and will all but disappear within the next 5 years. As has been mentioned, you will almost surely have no networking opps with your portfolio HFs, and any contact you have is unlikely to be fruitful. HFs, especially big ones, hate FoF clients (relative to pension/endowment types), as their money is the least sticky.

With all that being said, I have a friend who works at a similar sized FoF in their quant group (target analysis). She makes good money while working 55-65 hours a week, and has turned down sell-side quant roles to stay. This kind of work would probably be more applicable to IB/S+T than anything at an insurance co. However, she also told me that her shop has interns who spend all their time running background checks on HF managers. This would be an utter waste of a summer.

How does this affect your decision of where to intern? I have no clue. I'd suggest finding out as much info on what kind of work you'd be doing at each place, and that should make the choice much easier.

May 6, 2009
Comment