The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » An Internship at a Hedge Fund

An Internship at a Hedge Fund

Here’s a letter from a reader:

Hi David,

Hope all is well.

I will be starting an internship with a hedge fund soon and want to contribute;. Any advice?. Are there any skills that I should learn/ brush up on so I  can be productive. 

Thanks a lot.

In one sense, an internship at a hedge fund is like an internship at any job.  Here’s the easy stuff:

  • Be on time.
  • Dress like those you work with, or just a little better.
  • Listen carefully, and keep a notebook, so that you can remember things, or write down questions to ask later.
  • You are new to the social hierarchy, and sorry, you are at the bottom of it.  You may get garbage jobs that the junior analysts don’t want to do.  Do those garbage jobs with as much flair as you can.
  • Don’t waste time.
  • Do ask questions, particularly intelligent ones.  If you are not sure, ask.  If it is still not clear, ask.
  • Spend extra time if you need to research something for the business outside of business hours.
  • If you can program, and there are projects that could benefit from programming, offer to write some code now to aid processes after you are gone.
  • Don’t look down on anyone.
  • Be willing to speak up in meetings, but only when you have something of high quality to say.  If they ask you your opinion, and you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
  • Try to find some friendly mid-level person who can give you advice.

Now for things that are hedge-fund specific:

  • Make an effort to understand how the hedge fund intends to make money.  Once you know that, try to read up on their particular strategy.  Ask those with experience where you can learn more.
  • Realize that they are doing you a favor, and not vice-versa.  At the hedge fund I once worked at, we always paid interns, but only one intern out of many was ever worth the cost of paying and training.  So be grateful, and do what they ask, so long as it is not illegal or unethical.
  • Show interest in what others do, and learn from them.  People like to talk about their work, so when you have the opportunity, ask good questions.
  • It’s possible that they may play some practical jokes on you; bear with that in a graceful way.
  • Hedge funds are entrepreneurial, so if you do well, they will throw harder tasks at you.  Don’t be shy; do your best.

So what is the payoff for your hard efforts?

  • References for a real job, so impress those that you intern for.
  • Advisers on how to find a job if you did a good job for them, but there are no openings.
  • Also, they might rather hire privately, rather than expose the firm to risks from advertising a job publicly.  As such, if you showed that you could do great work for them, they very well might hire you.  Stay in touch with them.

That’s what I think you should do.  The comments section is open for more advice to the young man.

Bonds, Portfolio Management, Stocks | RSS 2.0 |

3 Responses to An Internship at a Hedge Fund

  1. Crocodile Chuck says:

    - Treat everyone you work with with respect (not just the principals)
    - Be curious, read as much as you can, ask more questions; lather, rinse, repeat
    - Challenge your reasoning and logic continually; critical thinking can’t be taught, only painfully developed
    - Focus on your presentation; speaking clearly, making eye contact with everyone; assess your writing critically, edit yourself.
    Good luck!

  2. […] How to get the most out of hedge fund internship.  (Aleph Blog) […]


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

Also, though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it. When David, or a client of David's has an interest in a security mentioned, full disclosure will be given, as has been past practice for all that David does on the web. Disclosure is the breakfast of champions.

Additionally, David may occasionally write about accounting, actuarial, insurance, and tax topics, but nothing written here, at RealMoney, or anywhere else is meant to be formal "advice" in those areas. Consult a reputable professional in those areas to get personal, tailored advice that meets the specialized needs that David can have no knowledge of.

 Subscribe in a reader

 Subscribe in a reader (comments)

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Seeking Alpha Certified

Top markets blogs award

The Aleph Blog

Top markets blogs Bull, Boards & Blogs

Blog Directory - Blogged

IStockAnalyst supporter

All Economists Contributor

Business Finance Blogs
OnToplist is optimized by SEO
Add blog to our blog directory.

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin