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Job in alternative investments

#1 Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 11:29


Dear All,

anybody with an experience/knowledge of the alternative investments field in this forum? Working in VC/alternative investments would be my dream job. I habe a PhD in science, have been working in industry (development and operations) for 4 years and currently doing a MBA with focus on finance to try to come closer to the goal. I will be attending cleantech/VC conferences next year to approach people in the field. However, I am thinking how I will be perceived: with my background are my goals unrealsitic? I am thinking of a possible application letter: with no experience in finance, is a degree and a specialized profile enough at least to be considered for a role or should I forget my dream? Thanks for helpful and honest answers-

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#2 RE: Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 12:12

Mars A Day to Cleantech (#1)


Alt investors will look to hire those with directly applicable experience: BB IB (not generally Cap Markets but pure IB), and MBB, potentially Big 4 for the DD work. Historically they have had their pick of the brightest and most capable from these fields. Of course the al investor market has been in turmoil recently - as has been mentioned on here before the lack of liquidity has left the market stifled, and expect this to get worse under Basel 3, so fund with liquidity are taking time on where to invest. Hence less opportunities for new hires as there are far less moves within the pyramid at higher levels.

But I question your actual level of interest: if you cannot invest in yourself to get some relevant qualifications or experience why should they invest in you? The fact that you are asking wether a degree and irrelevant experience can be applicable suggests that you dont even understand what the role is, you are attracted by the 'glamour'.

And on that glamour bear in mind that for every superstar in a hedge fund there are hundred seeing their health, relationships and whatever else driven into the ground chasing the carried carry rainbow...

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#3 RE: Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 13:14

Cleantech to Mars A Day (#2)

Hi Mars,

thanks for the reply (sharp and straightforward, as usual). Actually, I did not wat to sound naive. My horizons have opened (a bit more) only after taking the first post PhD job. I admit I had no idea before. Now I just wanted to get an opinion from experienced guys from this forum: apparently the journey is at the end bofore starting. Some people with science beackground end up in the alt investment field, though. Don't you see even a chance for a DD role in my case? What would you suggest, then?

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#4 RE: Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 13:30

N to Cleantech (#3)

You're asking in the wrong place.

Why would a bunch of consultants (with a heavy bias towards big four major projects rather than strategy consulting) know the answer?

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#5 RE: Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 14:23

Mars A Day to Cleantech (#3)

You CAN make the jump... but you'll need to bridge the gap with at least some qualification to show at least the motivation and interest. Assuming you aspire to be doing DD work of course.. Either spend the cash to get onto a finance orientated masters for one year (good networking opps too..) or take the CFA Level 1. The CFA 1 wont guarantee you a job of course, but it will at least show prospective employers you are serious, and are set on acquiring some technical knowledge of the industry and how finance works. The pass rate for CFA isnt too bad (compared to the horrendous fail rates at CFA 3 at least). Its not cheap though. It is the most recognised qual in finance bar none. Probably more useful than an MBA if you dont mind being funnelled into banking.

What kind of work do you want to do in alt inv, if I may ask?

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#6 RE: Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 15:28

Cleantech to Mars A Day (#5)

With my my current view of the sector I am thinking of new technology evaluation (e.g., start-ups) and investment diligence. I thought of CFA before starting the MBA, but apparently one has to work already as an analyst to be accepted. This is why I chose a MBA with focus on finance.

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#7 RE: Job in alternative investments
15/09/2010 16:06

Mars A Day to Cleantech (#6)

Sounds more mezzanine. You could look into incubator type outfits - often run by universities and occasionally by some of the big industry players (Unilever have one, as does Shell I believe for a start). Might be more interesting/accessible as you dont come across as someone interested in the actual CF element?

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#8 RE: Job in alternative investments
16/09/2010 08:23

G Man to Mars A Day (#7)

You can do a CFA while you're doing the MBA no? I've jsut finished year 1 and a few of my classmates took the CFA during the year. I think you can take CFA 1 every 6 months, which could compress your timescales.

I'm also not convinced about the importance of teh CFA - and of course happy to stand corrected - but from the VCs I've met the technical background seemed more important. As you have that, you'll need to start networking a LOT. Fortunately you're on an MBA so it shouldn't be too hard. You might need to do a few unpaid projects etc., or competitions (e.g. VCIC if your school runs it) to get some stuff on your CV. No doubt your school will give you the same advice, but talk to classmates who've been in VC, maybe alumni, pretty much anyone you can get your hands on - these guys will also be good at suggesting how to make your CV a lot stronger in terms of bringing out the things VCs are looking for.

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