“𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨 𝐈 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚 𝐏𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐨 𝐌𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐫?” 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤.
So, we thought we would offer a brief roadmap:
𝐄𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: Begin with a degree in a numerical field like Economics, Mathematics, Accounting, Engineering, etc. This foundation can make entering the buy-side or sell-side significantly more accessible, especially early in your career. Additionally, considering an MSc in a similar numerical subject (eg. quantitative finance) can be even more of a game-changer for securing competitive front-office roles.
𝐄𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐑𝐢𝐬𝐤-𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠: Get as close as possible to risk-takers and traders early in your career. Start learning about core skills like portfolio construction, risk management, and trading.
𝐅𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐢𝐬 𝐊𝐞𝐲: Develop a clear framework for generating trade ideas and sizing positions. The ability to articulate this framework clearly and with discipline is crucial, especially during interviews with PMs and CIOs.
𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐏𝐬𝐲𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲: Focus on trading psychology. A large amount of success as a Portfolio Manager is tied to your ability to stay calm, disciplined and composed, even when facing challenging market moves like the ones we have been seeing this year. Many of the top Portfolio Managers that we know at Hedge Funds even have their own personal trading psychology coach, similar to a top athlete working with a sports psychologist.
𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧 𝐀𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐭 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐫 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐲: Focus on mastering a specific asset class or discipline within markets that you enjoy and where you are dedicated to continuous learning and development. Beginning as an analyst or strategist is an ideal gateway to honing your methodology and setting you on the path to a PM role. For example, many (but not all) of the top Macro Portfolio Managers that we know started off as Strategists and many of the top Equity Portfolio Managers that we know started off as Equity Analysts.
𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐏𝐌𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬: Engage with industry recruiters to gauge the market pulse and potential openings for Assistant PM roles or any kind of role that will put you on the path to eventually running your own book. Additionally, forge relationships with seasoned PMs for guidance and insights into their career trajectory.
𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬: Pursuing certifications like the CFA can be helpful but not essential. While not usually a requirement for PM roles, having the CFA can certainly increase your chances of landing good roles earlier in your career. Other qualifications like the ACA can also be useful, especially in roles that require a lot of analysis of company balance sheets, such as Equity Research Analysts.