Their best practitioners earn sums to make an investment banker drool. But they rarely post job openings. How, then, can you get a job at a hedge fund?
ClusterStock's latest slide show purports to answer that burning question. It's drawn from an informal survey of "a few young hedge funders, and one older one," by writer Courtney Comstock.
Of course, the tried-and-true suggestions are there: Network, always have an elevator pitch ready, along with a current, usable trade or investment idea you can hand over in a meeting. Also, be inquisitive and wear a suit to interviews even though no one who works there does.
There's also some new ideas: Contact "the main guy," and call repeatedly until you get through. Unlike in other job-search situations, don't fear seeming like a stalker when chasing down a hedge fund big cheese. If someone from a fund e-mails you, answer within the hour. Be extremely brief, both in conversation and in writing - limit every message to "2 lines or 30 seconds."
While in transition a few years ago, I asked a hedgie where I should go to meet his colleagues. "Hang around the yacht club in Greenwich," he said matter-of-factly. He didn't look the type who could easily blend in dockside in Greenwich. Neither his build (short and squat) nor facial features signified ruling-class origins. So I asked him if he'd found his entrée through the same tactic he'd recommended to me.
"No," he said. "I got in through my Army driver in Bosnia."
Since we were at a journalists' party, I figured he'd been a reporter. "So, you covered the war in Bosnia?" I said.
"No. I fought it."
He'd been there as a soldier. Riding a Humvee chauffered by a portfolio manager on leave, who handed him his big break soon afterward.
So there you have it. The two ways to network your way into a hedge fund: Hang out at the yacht club in Greenwich. Or go fight a war and hope your Army driver is a hedgie who'll wind up hiring you if you both make it home in one piece.