Recent grad trying to gain employment at a boutique bank, how?
April 17, 2007 8:53 AM   Subscribe

How do I (a recent grad) find a job at a boutique bank/hedge fund, preferably in NYC/Manhattan? Is there a for this? Or will I find good results with large job hunting sites such as Monster? Suggestions on banks to contact or list of banks are appreciated.

I recently visited friends and contacts (exhausting my networking) in NYC and found out a few things:

- Lehman, Goldman, etc. are great places to work but unless you are an Ivy or you have great contacts impossible to get into. I know people in the aforementioned firms but they are below 25, and thus have no sway. I think I would rather be in an atmosphere of a smaller, boutique firm anyway.

- Again, I went to a college no one would have heard of. Great local reputation, and my standardized test scores are high (and graduated very high in my class, etc. basically have done everything right except start wanting to have a career in this at 17). I have exhausted networking options but unfortunately these were from friends who went to exclusive large banks from feeder schools. I arrived at wanting to do finance from philosophy of science courses, so I have a greater intellectual bent in this (I love Karl Popper, et al).

This sounds somewhat self-deprecating, but these are merely facts that friends have told me. I was hoping someone would have suggestions on banks to apply to or a more specialized version of Monster. E-Mail in the profile for those who rather not post here for whatever reason.

N.B., Something along the lines of Taleb's firm (Malcolm Gladwell) would be a dream. I care not about the long hours or doing grunt work if advancement is possible. I would gladly sacrifice pay for a bank with a good reputation.

I know markets have a vulgar reputation but I think they're wonderful examples of emergent behaviors that should be studied as empirically as possible.
posted by geoff. to Work & Money (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently in the same boat and following the same process (with the same luck). I've heard a resource to tap is going to your alumni office and finding alumni that work at said firms and approaching them for insight. I've not had much luck with this, but the approach seems logical.
posted by striker at 9:01 AM on April 17, 2007

Best answer: This industry is tough to break into from outside the standard paths. For you that would've been something like 2-3 years at an investment bank right out of college then to a hedge fund with the help of a headhunter. You don't need to go to an Ivy League school to get into an analyst program (I didn't), but you usually need to follow the standard timeline.

Since that ship has sailed, you can try to hit up the headhunters directly. These are the people that, for the most part, act as gatekeepers between hedge funds (and boutique i-banks) and junior/pre-MBA candidates. You're going to be at a huge disadvantage to candidates that have gone through a 2-year analyst i-banking program though. Here's a list of headhunters that I know do hedge fund recruiting:

Oxbridge Group
SG Partners (they don't have a website that I know of, but the phone # here is legit)
Pinnacle Group
Search One

SG Partners and Oxbridge are the most prestigious to my knowledge (which is probably a year or so out-of-date). If you can get yourself to NYC and arrange face-to-face meetings with headhunters, you'll be doing yourself a huge favor.

If this fails, I suppose the next best route is to find some alternative line of work for the next few years and then apply to a top MBA program.

Now, if you're interested in firms like Taleb's and other quant/research focused jobs, perhaps the better approach would be through graduate study in a quantitative subject. I have no advice/experience in that area.
posted by mullacc at 9:40 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're not already aware of it, check out I work with a financial services firm that uses this site for recruitment.
posted by CMichaelCook at 9:40 AM on April 17, 2007

Response by poster: FYI, by recent grad I mean I graduated this December (though I missed the big bank recruiting time lines in August). I definitely, definitely plan on getting a PHD/MBA but to get in a top program it is better to be at a good firm.

I have family in NYC and a place lined up, but living there just for job hunting is of course less expensive than flying there when needed.
posted by geoff. at 9:45 AM on April 17, 2007

Best answer: Try reading through the forums at
posted by fourstar at 9:47 AM on April 17, 2007

Oh, I've also been getting emails from these people: Job Search Digest. They do hedge funds and PE/VC. The emails have plenty of listings, but I don't know anything about them. Not sure how they got my email address, to be honest.
posted by mullacc at 10:09 AM on April 17, 2007

Talk to your school's career center.
posted by radioamy at 10:25 AM on April 17, 2007

Best answer: Geoff., I've read a few contributions of yours about money and markets here on tiny little MetaFilter, and I'm inclined to believe the only thing which is keeping you from becoming an original and potentially significant contributor to your field of choice (other than a lot of hard future work!) is that you have so far not permitted yourself to conceive of yourself in those terms.

I just heard Kevin Phillips say on the radio yesterday (KUOW) that business people in general and even the most sophisticated financial professionals on Wall Street have very little notion of how instruments such as hedge funds are going to behave in the coming turbulent times (weaker dollar, oil shocks, Far Eastern oil bourse, reserve currencies, gold, Russian energy and minerals ascendency, etc.).

I think you should go for exactly what you want.

Try to use your understanding of the fractal patterns of markets (including things like what that implies about the resilence of markets and the way they suddenly switch from one regime to another as a control parameter varies, say-- I'm working from a direct analogy with onset of turbulence in fluid flow, here) to sketch out a few scenarios for possible futures of world markets.

Then send what you have produced to Taleb directly. Do not mess around with intermediaries; they will have their own agendas. Ask Taleb to critique your work, and tell him you would like his help getting a job where you can pursue your passion to understand these things and use that understanding to productive ends.

Just from that tiny blog excerpt about Susan Sontag, I judge him to be the sort who would be delighted to meet a kindred mind, and that it is an experience he has very rarely had.
posted by jamjam at 10:40 AM on April 17, 2007

You might try poking around to see if you can find any good inside contacts to approach.
posted by COD at 1:02 PM on April 17, 2007

For the love of God, keep quiet about liking Popper.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 3:26 PM on April 17, 2007

I was in a not totally unsimilar situation to you when I got out of college. Went to a name school, but had a mediocre GPA so I knew the analyst programs were not a viable route for me to get a job in finance that was front of the house. It took me a long-time, but I eventually got exactly what I wanted. There were plenty of days where I felt like just giving it up and taking a lame dot-com job or something (it was '99) but if I had to go through that awful job search again I would in a heartbeat. I don't have any particular websites to point you towards, but if you want feel free to e-mail me and I can maybe point you in the right direction or at least give you some feedback on your pitch.
posted by JPD at 4:25 PM on April 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the kind words jamjam.

Mr. Gunn, noted -- but Otto Selz doesn't have the same cadence and rhythm to it (doesn't Karl Popper sound so much nicer?) and whenever I think of Wittgenstein I think of the mysticism at the end of his Tractus.
posted by geoff. at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2007

Best answer: I hire for a boutique securities firm. We -- and most boutiques -- don't hire on campus simply because our needs are too unpredictable.

Here are some thoughts:

(1) get your resume up on Bloomberg -- there are usually student/recent grad ways to do this. the jobs listed on Bloomberg are rarely entry-level though.

(2) Craigslist job listings, believe it or not -- a lot of smaller financial firms advertise there. It's a rich source of entry-level applicants for us, and occasionally a good source of senior-level candidates, too.

(3) We, at least, don't use Hotjobs or Monster. Grossly expensive and (in our experience) a poor source of resumes. When we have need to do premium advertising, we use

(4) Use your friends at big firms to network -- probably obvious to you -- but also use them to help you develop an A+++ resume and cover letter. I get 100+ applicants for entry-level seats; as a practical matter you won't be considered unless your first impression is superb.
posted by MattD at 5:52 PM on April 17, 2007

Best answer: There are a lot of posts over at are from self-proclaimed "boutique" banks/money management/hedge funds. Check it out if you haven't already, ping me if you want/need an invite.

I don't necessarily think it's impossible to get started with one of the big guys but with them, it is all about timing: at this point in the year, they have all already made their analyst hirings for the fall.

Also, have you considered applying for internships?
posted by moxyberry at 6:00 PM on April 17, 2007

Response by poster: FYI, only Glocap and SG Partners accept recent graduates. The rest require +1 years in the workforce at least.
posted by geoff. at 12:30 PM on May 2, 2007

No doubt the easiest way to land a boutique bank/ hedge fund job (just as in any other industry), is if you have personal contacts (your own network). However, for the rest of us... go to the niche job boards.

These boards are indicators where Hedge Fund firms have been unable to fill a position through THEIR network. There are real jobs out there for people currently outside the Hedge Fund industry - it takes some homework to find them though.

Best regards,

(full disclosure - I work for

p.s. to mullacc - Job Search Digest ONLY sends emails to people who have subscribed to the list. We never rent/buy lists and blast out emails. And, of course, you can unsubscribe by simply clicking the link at the bottom of any email we send.
posted by Hedge Fund Jobs at 4:57 PM on January 3, 2008

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