I was fortunate to become the first intern on Velox’s Women in Investment scheme. The Hedge fund industry is highly competitive and the way to enter it can seem obscure for young people. I hope sharing my experience can help students find out more about how I got here and what it is like to work at a hedge fund.
I originally come from China and studied Maths at Warwick University in 2017-2021. My passion for investing was sparked by an Equity Research internship I took in 2020. It was fascinating to find out about such a career that allows me to fulfil my curiosity and make an impact through influencing investment decisions. Determined to pursue a career in investing, I completed CFA Level I, wrote investment ideas and traded a personal account in my final year of university. After graduating from university, I applied through GAIN (Girls Are Investors) and gained two internships, the second at Velox. GAIN is an incredibly helpful platform for getting hiring information and insights into the industry. Opportunities for students are quite rare in the investment industry because most hedge funds or long-only funds only make experienced hires. Companies that do hire students do not publish their information on career websites like LinkedIn because they do not have the resources like large investment banks to screen applications themselves. I also have limited knowledge about the industry and job market in the UK with my parents both living in China. Despite having a genuine interest, it was still very difficult for me to find out where the opportunities are without an established industry network in London. Initially, I was only aware of the largest asset managers. GAIN’s job opportunities page, regular webinars and the list of partner companies on the website provided me with a great starting point to get to know the investors in London.
Velox has been my first experience at a hedge fund. Before the internship, I had three interviews with Jeremy, Elina and Dimitri, talking about my background and the markets. They answered my questions in detail about how they measure catalysts and utilise ESG information, and did not assume or require me to have knowledge in catalyst-driven investing. The interviews gave me the impression that the team is open-minded, friendly and supportive, which is also the culture I experienced during my internship. The structure at Velox is completely flat as everyone in the team including portfolio managers are treated exactly the same. The Velox team has an office within the space of Marble Bar Asset Management, which means I also had the opportunities to speak to other investment professionals working at the firm.
During the internship, I was mainly helping Elina with researching companies. Velox are generalists covering all sectors in Europe, therefore, I was able to learn something new every day from semiconductors, renewable energies or even salmon farming. I did research on the technologies of semiconductor-related companies, and provided my view on the future outlook of the companies. I did an analysis on the valuation of a newly listed oil company to determine the potential upside as the oil price has been volatile in early 2022. I have also written short briefings about the business models and recent development of several companies to prepare for the upcoming corporate meetings. I had regular catch-up with Elina to get feedback on my work. The team liked to ask about my view on the companies I have researched, which gave me reassurance that I have added value to the team.
The most interesting part of the internship was meeting with company management. Velox has great access to companies through the sell-side. I had the freedom to listen to many meetings I was interested in and even ask questions myself. These meetings have been great learning opportunities for me, because I can listen to questions from other analysts and compare how companies respond to them. I have gradually started to get a sense of the differences in sentiment when management teams respond to questions.
One of the highlights of this internship was a one-to-one management meeting I attended myself with the CEO, CFO and CTO of an equipment supplier in the semiconductor industry. It was the first time that I attended a management meeting without the company of a senior analyst. I was nervous for a whole day before the meeting. The next day, I arrived more than 20 minutes early before the meeting and anxiously went through my notes and questions several times while waiting for the management team. However, as I asked one question after another and listened to their responses, the intimidating feeling gradually disappeared. I found that I was able to understand everything they say and make follow-up comments by associating the information I heard with my industry knowledge. The one-hour meeting went much faster than I thought it would. In the end, the CEO thanked my interest and said that he found my questions very interesting, which was a huge encouragement to me.
This internship experience has definitely reassured me that investment is a career I would like to pursue, because of the wide access to information and intelligent individuals with a similar passion. I have never considered a career at a hedge fund as an option before, because I used to think that they only hire experienced investment bankers. However, both PMs at Velox come from non-investment banking backgrounds. I now start to see this as a potential career path I could take. With the experience and knowledge I have gained at Velox, I also have a clearer idea about how to develop my skills to achieve my career objectives in the future.
Finally, I would like to encourage every student with a similar passion to be open-minded and take the opportunities to learn as much as possible about the market and investing. Despite being a minority in a male-dominated industry, I never felt that I was treated differently by either colleagues or people with very senior positions. With supportive female professionals and powerful platforms like GAIN, the industry is becoming more open and inclusive to women, minorities and young professionals.