The short answer is that it would be difficult to move from fund of funds to hedge fund.
Fund-of-hedge-funds are intermediaries that help investors pick out the good hedge fund performers from the bad. Relationship-building is the key to success at the senior level, and fund analytics at the junior level.
The skills needed at a hedge fund are fundamental research and modeling. Unfortunately, fund-of-funds don’t provide the opportunity to practice these skills.
There are two caveats to the “no” answer. If you come from a solid banking or consulting background and already have research and modeling experience, a fund-of-funds would offer great opportunities to build relationships with hedge funds. Also, if you find a fund-of-funds that also do direct investments to complement their hedge fund investments, that would provide you the research and modeling skills as well.