Top Bachelor's Degree for a Hedge Fund Career (2024)

Hedge funds are investment vehicles that use alternative investment strategies to make money for their clients, usually very wealthy individuals and institutions. Hedge funds are much less regulated than otherinvestment vehicles, like mutual funds; in fact, their style and inner workings tend to be a bit opaque.

Hedge funds typically use exotic trading strategiesto maximize their investment returns. That level of mystery makes working at a hedge fund a seemingly more appealing pick over other more mundane finance jobs. The fact that hedge funds grab headlines and pay very well doesn't hurt, either.

Not surprisingly, competition for jobs at hedge funds is fierce, and choosing the right bachelor’s degree can be a key first step to landing a choice position. Here are the best bachelor's degrees for positioning yourself for a hedge fund career.

Key Takeaways

  • A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in finance is ideal for a variety of hedge fund jobs, but your major will matter.
  • Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics, accounting, physics, computer science, and even engineering are also useful, given the recent rise in algorithmictrading.
  • A graduate degree such as an MBA or MF can also help in landing a hedge fund job.

Business-Related Majors

Many entry-level openings at asset management firms require degrees in the treeof business majors: finance, economics, or accounting. While a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is a great well-rounded degree, choosing a school that offers a degree or focus area in finance is preferable. A B.S. in finance can prepare you for a range of hedge fund positions: asset manager, portfolio or equity analyst,and equity trader.

A finance-oriented bachelor's degree can also be a great primer for a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

A Bachelor of Science in Accounting program typically includes a similar core of general business classes, but it has a heavier focus on accounting and tax principles. Students typically take additional courses in accounting basics and corporate accounting principles, as well as economics. Theoretically, this degree plan can also be a good option for fund accountantpositions.

Finally, degrees in economics or statistics can be a wonderful fit for certain roles at hedge funds, including macro analysts and risk analysts. These positions involve analyzing risks of all types—economic, portfolio, or even political—and adjusting trading strategies accordingly.

Other Quant Degrees

The roles of algorithmic traders and quantitative analysts have become increasingly popular in recent years. These positions, which require advanced mastery of mathematics and statistical analysis, are also a fit for other quant majors. This includes Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics, physics, computer science, and even engineering.

While completing one of these programs might be a less conventional route to a hedge fund job, there is something to be said for the rigor and degree of difficulty in completing a mathematics degree at a top university.

Some schools have even developed majors, such as financial engineering majors, specifically for this type of quantitative analysis. At the end of the day, the decision to go with a traditional business or economics degree versus another quant program will depend largely on what type of role you hope to land.

What Exactly Does a Hedge Fund Do?

In the simplest sense, a hedge fund is an investment fund. It receives money from investors and invests that money in various financial assets in order to make a return on the money for its clients. Hedge funds charge a fee for doing so. Hedge funds, however, implement complicated investment strategies that seek to beat market returns. They do this by not only using unique investment strategies but also by investing in a variety of asset classes; usually risky ones. Additionally, hedge funds aren't as regulated as other investment vehicles, allowing them to trade in this manner. Because they are less regulated, however, not all people can invest in hedge funds. Typically, only accredited investors are legally allowed to invest.

How Rich Do You Have to Be to Invest in a Hedge Fund?

Only accredited investors are allowed to invest in hedge funds. The SEC defines an accredited investor as an individual with a net worth of $1 million or more, not including the value of their primary residence. In addition to the net worth requirement, an individual must also have earned over $200,000 in each of the prior two years.

Do Hedge Funds Pay Well?

Yes, hedge funds pay well. As of 2023, junior analyst makes approximately $100,000 annually. An analyst makes approximately $500,000 with their bonus. Senior analysts make about $1 million while risk managers make $500,000. Partners usually make hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

The Bottom Line

Business-related majors make sense for working in finance but they aren't the only majors that hedge funds look for. Engineering, math, and statistics are also valuable majors in the world of hedge funds.

Remember that hedge funds cater to high-net-worth, accredited investors. If you make enough connections with investors that trust your analysis,starting your own hedge fund may even be an option one day. Until then, getting into a top tier school and majoring in a finance or quant degree is your best starting point.

Top Bachelor's Degree for a Hedge Fund Career (2024)


Top Bachelor's Degree for a Hedge Fund Career? ›

Business-Related Majors

What is the best degree for a hedge fund? ›

Hedge fund managers often have a master's degree or even a Ph. D. in finance, mathematics, economics, financial engineering, quantitative finance, programming, marketing, or business administration. Others have advanced degrees in a specialty such as engineering or accounting.

What education do you need to work at a hedge fund? ›

Career Information at a Glance
Education RequiredBachelor's degree; master's often preferred
Education Field of StudyFinance, accounting, economics, or business administration
Optional CertificationChartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification
Skills RequiredAnalytical, communication, detail oriented
2 more rows

What colleges are best for hedge funds? ›

Top Schools for Hedge Funds
School% of alums<br> across all funds% of alums at<br> top hedge funds
University of Pennsylvania8.12%0.99%
Harvard University4.29%0.44%
Stanford University2.66%0.22%
Cornell University2.56%0.18%
31 more rows
Dec 9, 2014

What is the highest paying job in a hedge fund? ›

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Hedge Fund Jobs in the U.S.
Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly Pay
Hedge Fund Attorney$175,207$14,600
Cfo Hedge Fund$157,532$13,127
Private Equity Fund Controller$154,999$12,916
Hedge Fund General Counsel$151,643$12,636
1 more row

What do most hedge fund managers major in? ›

What education is required to become a hedge fund manager? Many hedge fund employers require employees to receive a bachelor's degree in finance or a related specialty like accounting or economics. Some hiring managers may require a master's in business administration as well.

Is it hard to get hired by a hedge fund? ›

Hedge funds employ some of the best-paid business professionals anywhere, but landing your first job in the industry is no cakewalk. Building a hedge fund career takes determination, networking stamina, and a fierce competitive streak. Here are some steps to help get you to that interview and then land that job.

Do hedge funds hire out of college? ›

After earning your degree, completing an internship, finding a mentor, expanding your network and creating a resume, you can apply for a position working for a hedge fund. Research companies that best fit your goals and expectations and look for open entry-level positions.

Is hedge fund as a career worth it? ›

Working at a hedge fund can be extremely lucrative and there are a ton of qualities of this industry that some people would really like. Here are some of the key advantages: Compensation: You can no doubt make a lot of money at hedge funds, especially if you join a team that has a good long term track record.

Who is the richest hedge fund manager? ›

Who Is the Richest Hedge Fund Manager? Ken Griffin of Citadel is both the richest hedge fund manager and the highest paid. In 2022, he earned $41. billion, and by the beginning of 2023 his net worth was estimated at $35 billion.

What is the best state to start a hedge fund in? ›

U.S. hedge funds are established primarily in Delaware because Delaware offers the most advanced business friendly law in the United States. In fact, Delaware's business friendly environment is attractive to companies across the globe, not just hedge funds. Governing law matters.

What is the best course for hedge fund manager? ›

In summary, here are 10 of our most popular hedge fund courses
  • Financial Markets: Yale University.
  • Machine Learning for Trading: New York Institute of Finance.
  • Practical Guide to Trading: Interactive Brokers.
  • Private Equity and Venture Capital: Università Bocconi.
  • Creating a Portfolio: Indian School of Business.

Is it hard to get an internship at a hedge fund? ›

Internships and fellowships

Internships have also become huge talent pipelines for some of the biggest multi-strategy hedge funds in the industry, which employ armies of traders and engineers. Programs are uber-competitive and harder to get into than many top Ivy League schools.

How much do quants at hedge funds make? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $259,500 and as low as $98,000, the majority of salaries within the Hedge Fund Quant jobs category currently range between $134,500 (25th percentile) to $199,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $232,000 annually across the United States ...

Do hedge funds pay more than banks? ›

The top individual Portfolio Managers can earn hundreds of millions or billions each year. Hedge funds offer a much higher pay ceiling than investment banking, (sometimes) better hours and work/life balance, and the chance to do more interesting work.

What is the salary of a VP in a hedge fund? ›

As of Apr 20, 2024, the average annual pay for a Vice President Of Hedge Funds in the United States is $157,532 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $75.74 an hour. This is the equivalent of $3,029/week or $13,127/month.

Do hedge fund jobs pay well? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $242,849 and as low as $32,804, the majority of salaries within the Hedge Fund jobs category currently range between $66,587 (25th percentile) to $117,017 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $165,000 annually in California.

Do you need an MBA to work at a hedge fund? ›

First off, an MBA is not particularly useful. The numbers don't lie: look at any employment survey of the top 10-15 business schools, and you'll see that a low percentage of students (often 5-10% or less) accept hedge fund offers.

What degree is best for investment banking? ›

For those seeking a career in investment banking, a bachelor's degree in finance is a prerequisite. Other potential acceptable majors include bachelors in economics or bachelors in business supplemented with a minor in finance.


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