25th August 2016
Written by Steve Knabl
A few times a year, I conduct a lecture on Hedge Funds and its operations in one of the universities in Singapore. At the end of my lecture, I get all sorts of great questions. But one that is always there, and that I always seem to not answer precisely is this – how do we enter the world of hedge funds?
The hedge fund industry is a relatively closed one. Only a select few succeed and manage to build a real long term career out of it. But a well-managed start may help you get in for success. Here are SIX basic pointers to put all the chances on your side.
1. Learn the jargon! Read as much as you can about how hedge funds operate and where your professional aspirations may fit in. Read the top books on the subject. Read online media reports and relevant, up to date articles. Get to know the names of the large hedge funds in your region. Learn the jargon. Basically, you should try to make this your daily interest.
2. Where do I fit in? Find an entry point for your level of knowledge, experience and aspirations. Most of all, be realistic. You will need to learn a lot on the job. Gaining employment is a competitive process in this industry. You will typically need to show commitment and loyalty to get in. Do not expect to job hop to get higher up the ranks. Job hoppers are seen as a deterrent in our industry, a dangerous breed that can potentially disclose trade secrets. We like committed, hardworking people who grow and gain experience in the same firm.
3. Make that internship count! Complete one or more internships in the industry. It does not matter where you are located in the firm, many hedge fund managers are looking for help in operations, middle office, trading, investor relations and research. Be ready to work for free though. The main point of an internship is to get in, work and learn. Make it count. Make that internship as long as you can. Six to 12 months is ideal. With some luck, you may be offered a permanent spot.
4. What is your edge? Develop a unique value proposition to potential employers. Reflect on your recent knowledge, natural abilities, past work experience, internships and education. Decide how you could effectively package them when you apply for jobs. Be relevant. Do not be generic. You need to come up with specific skills and abilities that allow you to stand out from the rest. Hedge fund managers are a smart bunch. Do not oversell yourself as they will smell you out in the first five minutes of the interview.
5. Your network is your net worth! Networking is the fine art of building alliances, connecting people and mentoring others. It needs to be part of your daily life, not just in business. Our Business Development Manager, Omar Taheri, wrote a great piece on networking. It reflects the breadth of daily encounters and how they can affect your business life: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/your-network-networth-omar-taheri?trk=mp-reader-card. To immerse yourself in the “Hedgies” world, networking is clearly the best way to meet industry professionals. Fundies by Swiss-Asia (https://www.swissasia-group.com/events/), Hedge Funds Club (http://www.hedgefundsclub.com/) and Springboard Talent Management (http://springboardtm.com.sg/) are a few good events to attend. So get out there and meet your peers. Who knows, you might even meet a mentor at one of these events.
6. Stay relevant with education. As markets evolve, you need to keep up with the changing times. Getting relevant industry knowledge through education is a great way to do so. These days, skills that stand out in the hedge fund industry include public relations, networking, data analysis, coding, risk management and of course, portfolio construction. There are a number of hedge fund programmes available in the market, but not many offer direct access to industry experts. Choose wisely and you could get your foot into the right door.
I hope these tips help advance your hedge fund career.
To do our part as a Hedge Fund incubation platform, we had the great opportunity to team up with Inflection Point Intelligence. Previously known as the Henley Business School’s Executive Hedge Fund Programme, this six-month learning journey offers a very down to earth and applicable curriculum. All tutors are renowned industry professionals and practitioners who have come together to generously share their experiences.
More about the Inflection Point Executive Hedge Fund Programme. Due to popular demand in Hong Kong, the programme debuts in Singapore this October 2016. Held over six months, it is a monthly weekend educational course for 25 participants. Delivered by over 30 leading industry professionals at the new Reuters offices every Saturday, the programme offers participants a holistic, real-practice overview of hedge funds. Evening networking events are also organized for peers and executives to forge links with participants and practitioners.
“Nowhere in Asia offers anything close to this program. Our tutors offer invaluable real-world insights, and cutting edge industry practices.
Participants will also have the added bonus of unparalleled networking opportunities with our mentors, industry partners and alumni.”
Steve Bernstein, MD at Hudson Advisors Japan.
To ensure a personalised experience and top notch education standards, admission is limited to the 25 qualified applicants per intake. Please visit the Henley website for further information and online registration: http://henley.asia/executive-education/executive-hedge-fund-program/.
Contact us now before the programme gets over-subscribed.
COO & Managing Partner
Swiss-Asia Financial Services Pte Ltd