Analyst is one of the beginning positions in the world of the aggressive investment funds known as hedge funds. A hedge fund manages investments for large investors, collecting management fees in return for healthy returns on stocks, bonds and other securities. With salaries and bonuses for junior analysts averaging more than $200,000 per year, according to the Careers-In-Finance website, it is not surprising hedge funds are one of the most attractive career paths in finance. Aspiring hedge fund analysts should expect intense competition for financial analysis jobs. Landing that first analyst job requires extensive preparation, including an advanced degree and deep investment knowledge.
Complete an undergraduate degree. Many hedge fund analysts hold master's degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration, so a bachelor's degree is a necessary first step toward a career in finance. Major fields of study for financial analysts include business, finance, accounting and economics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Begin graduate studies in business administration at a respected business school to earn your MBA. Top business schools such as Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago reported that hedge funds employed some of their MBA graduates, according to Careers-in-Finance. Specialize in economics, finance or a related field while working toward your MBA. Completing an MBA requires about two years beyond the bachelor's degree.
Apply for an entry-level position, such as an analyst, with an investment bank or firm. This will give you practical experience to prepare for a later position in hedge funds. Careers-in-Finance reported that hedge funds usually do not have a training program; consequently, they prefer to hire people who have already learned the basics of investments.
Obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst certification, considered a mark of excellence in the finance industry. The CFA Institute issues the charter, which requires successful completion of a series of exams after extensive self-study on a range of economic, financial and investment topics. The New York Sun reported in 2006 that a CFA has increasingly become necessary for landing coveted Wall Street jobs. However, earning the CFA is not easy. The Sun reported a passing rate on the exams of only 52 percent. Although earning a CFA requires months of study and hard work, the charter may help an aspiring hedge fund analyst's resume stand out from the pack.
Stay abreast of developments in the hedge fund industry by reading financial and investment news in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and on websites such as HedgeWeek. A deep understanding of world financial events will aid your career as a hedge fund analyst.
Apply for your first hedge fund analyst job. Your resume must highlight your investment industry experience, including how much money you brought into the firm or firms for which you worked, and your education and certifications, such as CFA.
2016 Salary Information for Financial Analysts
Financial analysts earned a median annual salary of $81,760 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, financial analysts earned a 25th percentile salary of $62,630, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $111,760, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 296,100 people were employed in the U.S. as financial analysts.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Financial Analysts
- Careers-in-Finance: Careers in Hedge Funds
- The New York Sun; “While Ivy League MBAs Impress, Hottest Three Letters are CFA”; Phil Wahba; October 2006
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Analysts
- Career Trend: Financial Analysts
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images