The “Buy Side” is a term used to describe any firm in finance that is focused on buying rather than selling securities or assets. These include: Institutional asset managers, mutual funds, hedge funds, hedge fund-of-funds, insurance companies, proprietary trading desks, private equity firms, venture capital firms, private equity fund-of-funds, corporate and public plan sponsors, Taft Hartley (Union) pension plans, endowments, foundations and family offices.
Entry level jobs vary widely. It depends on what you ultimately want to be.
If you want to be an investor, you typically start as an analyst.
Entry level comp: $40k-60k, bonus: $10k-$40k
If you want to be a trader, you start as a trading assistant.
Entry level comp: $35-$55k, bonus: $10k-$30k
If you want to be in sales, you start as a sales assistant or analyst.
Entry level comp: $35k-55k, bonus: $10k-$20k
Your workday is long! You must be in before the markets open and leave well after they are closed. There is often frequent travel. This is not a balance of life career path but if you stick with it and are smart you can make a lot of money and work with really smart people.
An MBA from a top school or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification are strongly recommended. People typically work in an entry level role for two-three years and then go back to school.
* Bonuses depend on individual performance and firm performance and may be given in the form of options (if at a firm that has such a currency, NA for hedge funds or Private Equity/Venture firms).