Posted elsewhere, but merits a thread of its own. Re: getting into hedge funds w/o a econ/finance background Posted by: bromion (IP Logged) [hide posts from this user] Date: July 21, 2010 11:45PM neofinance Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > also, bromion, if you’re reading i hope you can > give me some insight. you’ve got really prudent > and relevant advice as seen from your previous > posts. There basically three ways to do it: 1) Know someone. Not much to say here, it is what it is. 2) Get on the track early, go to the right high school, the right college, get the right internship, etc. This has been beaten to death, so I’m sure you know this story. 3) Everyone else. Personally, from what I have seen, this is a very small group because there aren’t that many jobs, and 1) and 2) usually soak them up pretty thoroughly. I can tell you what worked for me, but you or anyone else won’t be able to replicate it because it is so far removed from the normal track and involved so many random coincidences aligning just right that it would be impossible to intentionally take this track (not that you would want to anyway). I come from a very difficult background and had no chance to get on the silverspoon track. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say that my family was literally living out of a car at one point. So I had a bad start, but I have three qualities that helped me get into and succeed in finance: the ability to read people very well, inherent hustle (in both senses of the word), and perserverance. At any rate, I came up with some pretty creative ways to make enough money to put myself through a state school, and graduated with a B.A. in English Lit. I actually wanted to be a teacher originally, and didn’t even know what Wall Street was (I didn’t take a single finance, accounting or econ course in college – not even one). After I taught overseas for a while, one day I accidentally came across an article about hedge funds and thought it sounded really interesting, both the game and the money. So I set about trying to find any job that I thought could lead me to a hedge fund position, and happened to find a position in the research department of a brokerage firm in a small market city. I got the job because it was off hiring cycle (Feb instead of June), and they needed someone right away, and because I can write well. I knew absolutely nothing about finance, but I could write a hell of a report, and the manager of the department connected me with an analyst as a mentor to help me fill in the numbers and learn. Over the next ~2 years I passed the three CFA exams 3/3 and read about 30-40 books on finance, accounting and econ. I also realized that I have a real talent for getting managers of companies to open up over the phone (the hustle) and understand what they are actually saying as opposed to what they think they are saying (many of them lie, exaggerate and generally try to gloss over the important, difficult details – the key is to be able to effectively see through the “story” to the underlying reality). I cannot emphasize enough that someone who is merely book smart and not street smart will fail at this career. You need both to succeed, and if I had to pick one, I’d pick the latter. About this time, I realized the sell side wasn’t the real game, and applied to b-school. I got waitlisted at 3 or 4 of the top 5 schools (2008 was a bad year and I think my background was too unusual to get a serious look). So I started to look at the buy side – it seemed impossible to make the move since every post said must have gone to X school and have an MBA, etc. which I didn’t have. I got no love on the recruiting circuit, either. But I hustled hard and didn’t give up, and after over 100 job apps, ended up getting an interview at a hedge fund for a “temporary research position.” As I later learned, the temp position posting was actually a ruse to ferret out the hungriest applicants – people willing to move across the country for just a chance at an analyst role at a hedge fund. Turns out it was actually one of the best hedge funds in the country by long-term track record (it’s fairly small and super low profile), and the manager has a background somewhat similar to mine. After 8 interviews (like trying to get into the CIA!), I got the job. However, several others “got the job” as well, and it was basically a shark tank to see who wanted it the most – the other 3 got fired or quit within the first 12 months. I got moved up and run the research department after 2 years – I do all the primary research for the firm, from channel checks, to phone calls, to site visits, you name it. The only person above me is the PM. My favorite “moment” in my job is meeting a new CEO or CFO for the first time and watching their face as they realized that “I’m it” – there isn’t an older guy from the team joining us for the meeting, I am the guy – and then I proceed to kill it in the meeting. Love it. I have no Ivy League degree, no MBA, no BBA in finance – nothing. It’s all hustle and heart. As you can see, this is not really an actionable course that you could follow. I got lucky, and have the right talents, and basically just rubbed two sticks together until I got a spark. I posted this story to hopefully inspire you, and to underscore the most important piece of advice anyone could give you about getting into this field or completing any other challenging task: never, ever quit no matter what. However, I would encourage you to think about what you really want. Why do you want to get into a hedge fund? I make a lot of money, and I love what I do, but the sacrifices to get here were horrendous. I can honestly say that I’m not sure I would do it again, because there is a lot more to life than making money and staring a computer screen 12-15 hours a day 5-6 days per week. For a while, I was working 7 days a week at that pace to try to make the cut. My health really went to sh!t, and I lost some relationships that in hindsight were very important to me. So I made it, but at what cost? Would that be worth it to you? What are your real priorities? If it’s just money and prestige, I would say don’t do it. If you think you would really love the stock market game (which is why I’m sticking with this), then I would say maybe. Just remember, a key part of finance is the cost / benefit analysis. I’ve seen people personally make $50 million dollars in one week, and I’ve seen people make a fortune and retire in their early 30s. But what’s the point if you destroy your life in the process? Just saying think about it.
This is probably one of the top 5 posts i’ve read on AF, all time. Muddahudda Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- I also realized that I have a > real talent for getting managers of companies to > open up over the phone (the hustle) and understand > what they are actually saying as opposed to what > they think they are saying (many of them lie, > exaggerate and generally try to gloss over the > important, difficult details – the key is to be > able to effectively see through the “story” to the > underlying reality). A lot of my job is meeting is reps “cheerleaders” (example: Met with IR from Paulson & Co. yesterday). Could you elaborate on what tactics/methods you use to glean the important information and cut through their mountains of sh!t.
Nice post, it had the drama and the twists and turns of a great story
Felt like I was reading a story. Very well written. This shows that education can take you to one limit and then how street smart you are makes the difference.
Holy sh!t. Dang - as comedy as Bromion is I figured he was some dude fresh out of school contemplating applying to a BO gig or trying his hand at stand up. I had no idea… Incredible post - thanks Mudadadahahahadaada.
great post bromion. Your posts are great. I always get so much out of them.
This is a great post; thanks to Muddahudda for elevating it. If you focus on what you really want, life has a way of presenting the right opportunities that you will know to grab quickly before they disappear. But first think carefully about what you really want.
story was meh …just kidding awesome and inspiring …and yes top 5 GOAT AF post
Nice! Thanks for sharing.
awesome post bromion!!
ASSet_MANagement Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > A lot of my job is meeting is reps “cheerleaders” > (example: Met with IR from Paulson & Co. > yesterday). Could you elaborate on what > tactics/methods you use to glean the important > information and cut through their mountains of > sh!t. The answer to this question is so broad that it’s difficult to answer without writing a book, but I’ll try to summarize. There are two dynamics at play here: knowledge and intuition. If you have a strong knowledge skill set about what you are talking about, then it’s hard for somone to fool you. For example, if you have followed a company for a number of years, you will know when someone’s statement sounds wrong, and you’ll probably have a feel for the management team at the company. The knowledge side of BS detection is almost purely a learning exercise – you can’t rush it or fake. You either know, or you don’t. In my case, I look at a couple of dozen businesses a week on average, and have built up a skillset of understanding the core moving parts of each business archetype, usually by industry. People try to know everything about a business, but if you understand what actually matters, the rest becomes noise that you can ignore. The second part is intuition. This is much harder to learn – some people might call this people skills, but that’s too broad. It’s more like people *reading* skills. Some people say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I think a picture is worth a thousand words. In one extreme case, I was skimming through a particular company’s materials to see if it would be an interesting investment. I thought the CEO looked like a criminal based solely on his picture in the annual report, so I started to dig, and it turned out to be a fraudulent company, and the CEO has a criminal background. We shorted that company on my analysis (more than just the picture, that was only the starting place), and it went down somewhere around 50-75% before we closed it out. It’s a talent I’ve always had but have also spent time cultivating recently – I can just tell when someone is lying to me. I can see it in their eyes and around their mouth, hear it in their voice. This would be hard to teach, but if you want to learn, you should look into FACS (the facial action coding system) and check out some of the books about lying on Amazon. Blink is a good introduction but there are better books on the mechanics. Long story short, cutting through the BS is about having a strong enough knowledge base to know when something sounds off or too good to be true, and then watching and listening very closely for clues that someone might be lying. The CEO of Coca Cola or P&G probably won’t lie to you (not that you would even get a chance to talk to them – they have a team of IR taking calls), but small and micro cap CEOs lie all the time from what I have seen (not all of them obviously, but a high enough percentage that you have to be careful). In one funny example of this, I had a call with both a CEO and CFO of a company a few months ago. It was for a small company in an obscure industry that no one follows, but which I have studied thoroughly and know well. I talked to the CFO first and within ten minutes I knew that I knew more about the business than she did (hilarious). The CEO came on the line half way through the call and started lying to me (not even good at it, but that’s what you get sometimes with these small companies – 3rd rate management). I had met with the CEOs of their two majors competitors previously and had a good idea about how things actually work, so I knew he was a liar, and the harder I pressed him with my questions, the more his voice tones and awkward pauses confirmed it. What I love about Wall Street is that it’s hyper reality. It’s faster, harder hitting, and with bigger wins and losses than “normal” life. The bottom line is that, in the market, as in life, there is always a “story,” and the story is usually manufactured by someone with an agenda. Figure out what their agenda is, and you know where the weak spots are. After that, connect the dots any way you can, using all available information.
The awesomeness continues. Thanks for your posts bromion.
if Bchad and Brominion made a baby it would be Chad.
bromion Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > The answer to this question is so broad that it’s > difficult to answer without writing a book. I agree, it is a very, very broad question to which I think you provided a solid answer. On books, I learned a lot from the below free book in a prior life. It is not specific to investments, but the stakes are certainly high and the research is thoughtful and reasoned. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/PsychofIntelNew.pdf
Is it a poll that someone can setup so people can vote the thriller movie “The adventure of Bromion: Corporate Ladder in the Shark Tank” the top post of the forum? Can the moderator put the Bromion thread “sticky” ? Or, setup a new column or new sub-forum dedicated to Bromion so he can post or share more of his adventures?