The typical hedge fund career path begins 1 – 2 years post-college. Unlike large banks or asset management firms with comprehensive training programs, hedge funds are small, nimble operations with few resources to teach someone analytical finance from the ground up. Getting into a hedge fund straight out of college is difficult.
The traditional post-college career path to a hedge fund are investment banking and sell-side research. Both are great at giving you a solid foundation in company research and financial valuation, which involves analyzing company and industry trends, modeling and forecasting, valuation, and presenting your ideas in a clear, succinct way.
Besides investment banking and sell-side research, the next most common career path to hedge funds is management consulting. Consultants would get the same fundamental skillset for hedge funds, but with more emphasis on company and industry analysis over financial valuation.