How to stick out and not in a sore thumb kinda way?
April 29, 2009 8:29 AM   Subscribe

There is going to be an event at our school tonight which is going to bring MD level people from hedge funds and private equities. Presumably, there are going to be people fawning all over them throughout the event as well as afterward. Does the hive have any suggestions that would help me stick out--in a good way?
posted by Lucubrator to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think we need to know your motives for and definition of 'sticking out'. Do you mean, garner attention from them in a different and unique way than your colleagues? Or do you mean send a message that you think these people are villains? Or something else entirely? Also, why do you think these people will even care if you stick out or not? Perhaps the best course of action is to simply be yourself and do whatever you actually feel like doing. It sounds like you don't want to bend the knee to the robber barons. So don't. Hang with your friends and enjoy yourself. If, on the other hand, you mean that you want to send some kind of message, I'd suggest that this is entirely the wrong forum to do it. Not sure. Like I said, I think you need to provide more detail.
posted by spicynuts at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2009

From your question, it is unclear in what capacity you would be attending this event or what you hope to gain. But in general, firm handshake, sobriety, and some not-terribly-controversial solid opinions and questions with which to keep conversation moving.
posted by desuetude at 8:40 AM on April 29, 2009

Do a ton of research: know what's going on in the industry, the AUM/returns of the relevant funds, who the principals are, etc. Ask thoughtful questions which can't be found in factsheets, but have been labeled as critical or noteworthy by journalists.

You might also want to read recent interviews by industry luminaries or papers by academics in the area, and ask people you meet of their opinions of such while presenting yours.

A good starting point would be Andrew Lo's work. If you're interested in quantitative finance, also peruse the boards at and Reading will also clue you in to some industry gossip, and I've found the business section of the NYTimes to be helpful as well (there are actually separate hedge fund and private equity sections too).
posted by gushn at 8:42 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ah, I hadn't even thought of the job angle. Are you angling for a job? That's an entirely different question and you should make that clear. Otherwise answers here are gonna be all over the map.
posted by spicynuts at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers and sorry for not being more specific.
I'm currently a student. The folks that are coming are all alumni of our school. I'm not looking for a job per se. It would be impossible to get into either PE or hedge funds right now.
I just want them to remember my name so that when I email them tomorrow, they would remember. Also, in the long-run, I want to be able to ask for informational interviews of some sort. I've already found a ton of questions in that regard.
I have been actively following the news within the industry and therefore will be able to keep a conversation going, however, there will be several people there and I fear that I will be easily forgotten.
posted by Lucubrator at 9:02 AM on April 29, 2009

Maybe you're overthinking this. I think if you go in with a positive mindset - and project that outwards - then people will naturally remember you. And use all the little "tricks" in the book: firm handshake, confident eye contact, confident voice, confident posture, confidence.
posted by jhighmore at 9:06 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Be a nice guy. Thank them for coming, and say that, as a student, you really appreciate their time. Ask for permission to email them. This is not sucking up; this is good manners. They'll remember you in a good way.
posted by theora55 at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2009

Best answer: Don't ask for permission to email them. If its a recruiting event or something of that ilk their immediate response will be to request you email the recruiting people. Getting a card from them is a good enough excuse to email them directly. Of the same ilk - if you can convince them to do an informational interview w/you (which should be your goal) try to get it done in person not over the phone. Manners are paramount - but don't let the pursuit of good manners get in the way of being appropriately aggressive.

You don't want to get shunted to a recruiter under any circumstance. They are just gatherers and sorters of resumes. If your numbers don't measure up you'll get discarded, but if the MD gives them your resume the odds of getting an interview increase dramatically.
posted by JPD at 9:35 AM on April 29, 2009

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