To say that Amit Pardasani, 31, was precocious would be an understatement. Having grown up in Queens, New York, he left home at age 15 for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. By then he was already keen on the stock market. At Wharton, Pardasani became interested in high-yield bonds, the market founded by fellow school alumnus Michael Milken. Friends say that what struck Pardasani most about Milken’s ideas was that when analyzing bonds, the payment comes whether you’re right or wrong, as opposed to in the stock market, where success depends on buyers being willing to pay more than you did for your holdings. This fascination with bonds led Pardasani to the world of distressed debt and a seat on the UBS debt trading desk in New York. In 2006 he became the first nonpartner employee at New York–based Latigo Partners, an event-driven hedge fund firm founded by David Ford, formerly of Satellite Asset Management and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, and David Sabath, who previously worked in proprietary credit at JPMorgan Chase & Co. In 2009, with the distressed credit cycle under way, Pardasani joined Owl Creek Asset Management, the $4 billion, New York–based event-driven and long-short equity and debt firm founded by Jeffrey Altman, as a partner.