Top Hedge Fund operations vs. Bulge bracket Ibank analyst?

dcheva19's picture
Rank: Baboon | 104

I'm an undergrad choosing between an offer from a prestiguous hedge fund operations position and bulge bracket analyst role. The offer compensation is roughly the same, but what about future opportunities? I know for a bulge bracket ibank I have a clear career path leading to MBA to associate and above. But what about the hedge fund? The company is notoriously hard to get into, but how hard is it to move up from operations back office to higher positions?

Thanks a lot for your help. If you can provide more detailed answers given the company's names, send me an email at [email protected]. Thanks again for your time.

Comments (22)

Feb 20, 2007

there is no real decision here. do ibanking analyst. you dont want to have operations tinge, even at a 'top fund'.

Mar 4, 2007

Ops is bad news no matter where it is! Don't be fooled into thinking that there is an opportunity to move out of that role into a trading or research position with the fund. There is NOT.

Mar 14, 2007

What's your take on a junior trading position on a desk at a reputable fund? Upward mobility?

Also, how would one go about cleaning that "tinge" if they did happen to get suckered into a fund accounting/ operations role out of college? I know the easiest answer is to quit, but where do you go from there to eventually make it to the front office? To an IB and then back to a hedge fund? What other routes lead to a front office spot besides doing an Ibanking stint?

Mar 15, 2007

what? what are you asking?

Mar 15, 2007

what? what are you asking?

what? what don't YOU understand? do youa speaka da engalish?

I don't think working in an ops role at a hedge fund puts a tinge on a resume. I was just asking though to get a better gauge as to where others really stand in an effort to debate the issue.

I don't see it as a negative career move (directly out of college) to take an ops/Fund accounting role. At least you're in the fund and can work you way up from there if you prove yourself. Yes you can argue that this never happens, but do you really know this first hand? Probably not. I'm sure you just heard this from the next guy and haven't really formulated your own opition. If there is a will and drive to succeed then, most likely, nothing will stand in way of that person's desires.

Half the people in this forum don't work at a hedge fund. Most of them are IBankers only hoping to work in one and are slaves to titles. So there's much validity in these people's arguments. It seems that because of people's tendencies to pigeon hole people into one job description and equate that to their potential productivity, rather than looking at the persons inherent capabilities, is what ultimately causes these "tinges".

The person you suggested to take the analyst role will be looking to get into the buy side later on, so I don't see why he shouldn't just enter it now and bypass the inevitable. Because honestly, if he's not a top performer at the Bank then no hedge fund will want him. Might as well take a chance now...

Mar 16, 2007

full of hate, i love it.

why don't you ask someone in the hedge fund if anyone has ever made the move. did you make it clear that you want to eventually trade? some firms say straight up that they don't want anyone who wants to move into trading. usually they are up front.

Mar 29, 2007

I'm not sure why guys are saying "hedge fund ops out of college is bad." I interviewed at one place for an ops position and the other people in the group were 25-28yrs old out of decent schools. The funds hire MBAs to get into trader apprentice positions. There is nothing for college grads to get into except ops positions at competitive HFs straight out of school.

The next level up out of ops is P&L (middle office), and those positions generally require 2+ years of exp... However, IB analyst is IB ANALYST.. take it, you'll get much more experience rather than just sitting at a desk making sure trades went through and trying to solve the problems if they don't for 2 years!!

Mar 30, 2007

Look, I speak english. Even if i didn't, I probably could still get a job in ops.

Putting ops on your resume is the kiss of death. Have you heard of Nick leeson? Ever since then, no financial institution will risk moving a back guy up front - investment bank or not.

You could be the best ops guy, but you hurt yourself dramatically by putting that on your resume. It's just risky for an employer, regardless of how smart you claim to be.

Mar 31, 2007

Putting ops on your resume is the kiss of death. Have you heard of Nick leeson? Ever since then, no financial institution will risk moving a back guy up front - investment bank or not.

This is just not true. Where I work, I know of two ops people who have moved to trading in the last year. It's certainly hard to do, but it's doable.

Apr 2, 2007

man, it must be a growing bank, no way that happens at the Bulge or a mature firm. It's not impossible, but it's pretty close.

Sep 8, 2009

"Have you heard of Nick leeson? Ever since then, no financial institution will risk moving a back guy up front - investment bank or not."

^^Most ridiculous but hilarious statement!

Best Response
Sep 9, 2009

...ahhh the old "back office to front-office" thread rears its head again. For some reason this thread always seems to get up the ire of the bank analyst crowd...

I am going to say that if you want to work at a hedge fund for your career, then you are better off taking the ops job which is, after all, at a hedge fund. I think that it is quite absurd to turn down a job at a hedge fund to take one that has nothing to do with what you do at a hedge fund so that a few years down the road you may get to work for a hedge fund. That's downright Orwellian! However, if you are not sure you want to work at a hedge fund then take the banking job as its more of a "safe" path. Three years from now if you want to go work in coporate finance at IBM they arent going to understand anything about hedge fund trade support but they will get that you had a hard to get job at a big bank. Myself, i always wanted to run money on the buyside/trade and never had an interest in working in banking...and thank god also i didnt have the grades to get a banking job or who knows where my life would be now career-wise.

But to address a question from above:
Has anybody ever moved from "hedge fund operations" to the front-office? Yes, I myself did it so it is quite possible. It may require a switch of funds but clearly switching from an investment banking job to a hedge fund would require that also. And BTW whrn ving laterally nobody knows that your job is "ops"...its not like they stamp a big "O" on your forehead when you walk into the door. When i switched from the back-office to a desk analyst position I just left out the word ops from my title and made it sound like i was a big part of funding the firms positions and was basically a junior trader. In a very nebulous sense there was truth to it also. Now I joke about how fluffed my resume was with my boss actually. And believe me, having actually worked on the buyside and knowing what people were looking for I am quite sure that my resume stood above some banking analyst who bragged about working on deals or something. When you have your foot in the door you at least learn to speak the language and get an understanding of the business if your smart and keep your eyes open. I had the ability both on my resume and in interviews to convey that I knew exactly the job i was applying for...most guys who come from investment banking cant even do that after a year on the job. I could also "talk markets" off-the-cuff as opposed to having a couple of canned "trade ideas". As a banking analyst you just aren't going to be able to do that in a way that sounds credible. And the kicker is that if you make allies at a larger fund by being in ops you can have them help you...when i switched i sealed the deal by having a stellar recomendation from one of the most respected FI buyside traders around who was a manging partner at the fund i worked for...he said something like "great hire, if we had room to promote him we would have done it ourselves". End of story, interview process over. Something like that especially at a firm with a big name is more then anybody in the stack of analyst resumes
can produce at an interview.

In making this decision, you want to also think about your physical proximity to the front-office guys. If you are sitting in an office or a cubicle on a different floor it negates the arguments above. If you are sitting somewhere where you can watch and even hear what is going on, that is huge. Its like getting a free education in what portfolio mangers/traders sound like, look like, how they behave, what they talk about, etc. I started in an office in Stamford CT while the trading was in dosent get more back-office then that. Even then, I was able to make a good move but I didnt acquire the skills i mention above until i got to observe while sitting in the same room as the managing partners.

Lastly, keep in mind that you will have times when you regret your decision if you do it. For a few years I was scrapping while friends made more cash at more prestigous jobs. Of course also most of my family didnt even know what a hedge fund really was (and certainly had no name recognition of the place i worked)...I suspect that some thought i was involved in criminal activity! Certainly not the case if you work for goldman sachs in banking. But thats just the way it is, you have to accept that. If you are in this for titles or some kind of nebulous notion of respect, then take the banking job. I will say that within a few years it has gone quite quickly from people boring me with stories of how great and sexy their jobs were to now where they ask me if i can help them get a job. Thats what they mean by "exit ops" i guess.

And the guy who brought up Nick Leeson is talking out his arse. Nick Leeson was a futures broker in singapore who worked for like an 8th tier bank over a decade ago...i can gaurantee you that nobody is thinking about him when they look at your resume.

    • 7
Jun 27, 2017

This is tremendously helpful. Thank you sir!

    • 1
Jun 27, 2017

I think it's easy enough to answer even without the company names. Moving from ops to the front office is very, very difficult. It is a high-risk proposition to start in ops, with plans to move into the front office later.

Even if this is the best hedge fund in the world, I'll tell you to take the BB.

Jun 27, 2017

Agree with above poster, take the BB analyst position anyday.

The only thing I'd take the Hedge Fund Ops position over is a BB Ops position. Of course if you want to do 9-6 everyday and has all your weekends free, then definitely do ops.

Jun 27, 2017

If you're talking about ops at a DE Shaw style elite hedge fund, you can forget about ever being allowed to touch any front-office work and move into the front-office. They are extremely selective of who they hire for the front-office, so if you're not in consideration for a front-office position now, you won't ever be, no offence.

Jun 27, 2017

Thanks for all your comments. I forgot to mention one thing, this is for a summer position. For the hedge fund, while it is classified under finance and operations, is my role as deep set as a job offer? From what I was told (though it might be biased) is that I get to work on a variety of different things in the summer. So perhaps my role isn't as set until after summer? Also, the pay at this hedge fund operations is actually higher than the 2 bulge bracket ibank firms I got. Is this indicative of future salary, or will the difference show up when it comes to bonuses? Thanks!

Jun 27, 2017

operations people at the fund probably won't get much bonus. At the bank your bonus could more than double your take-home pay.

Jun 27, 2017

take the bb analyst job...back office to front office is tough

Jun 27, 2017
Jun 27, 2017