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How Do I Become an Alternative Investment Manager?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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Pursuing a career in asset management can result in one of the most luxurious lifestyles available. To become an alternative investment manager, where some of the most sophisticated securities are traded and profit expectations are the highest, there needs to be a proper foundation established in education and training. Completing a college education with some degree in finance or accounting, in addition to obtaining a postgraduate education, are the essential building blocks. From there, receiving investment certification and taking on internships or entry-level jobs at financial institutions are part of the course to becoming an investment manager for alternative assets.

Pursuing a career in asset management can require different types of financial training depending on the specific niche being followed. To become an alternative investment manager, the first decision is to know the type of assets you want to oversee. Private equity, hedge funds, and real estate are all different types of alternative management, and each requires a different skill set. Hedge funds focus on trading securities, such as stocks, bonds, and derivatives, while private equity professionals are in the business of investing in companies and running them. Real estate is the management of physical property or investment funds that invest in commercial property.

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To become an alternative investment manager, many professionals attend Ivy League colleges or at the very least produce extremely good grade point averages, particularly in math. Hiring firms take pride in the level of education achieved by employees. The focus of an undergraduate degree should be in some level of finance, which can almost seamlessly transition into a postgraduate career. Many finance professionals have earned a Masters of Business Administration degree in order to become an alternative investment manager.

Once undergraduate and postgraduate education has been completed, financial certifications and licenses must be earned to become an alternative investment manager. Alternative managers oversee complex securities, such as derivatives, and apply sophisticated trading strategies to those investments. An investment manager cannot even begin to trade those securities without the proper certifications.

Alternative investment firms tend to hire professionals with experience. In order to get that first job, it may be necessary to work in a training program or take on an unpaid internship. Being willing to be a junior person on a team will enhance a prospect's ability to become an alternative investment manager. Demonstrate financial skills as well as the ability to maintain relationships to the senior executives at a firm, and you will well be on your way to becoming an alternative investment manager.

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