From Quora, the OP asked the following question:
What are associate (pre-MBA) interviews like?
Andrew L. Chen provided the following top answer:
The pre-MBA PE recruiting process typically unfolds over a full year. In the spring and early summer, more than one full year before actual PE start dates, various firms and headhunters will host info sessions about the PE profession and their specific firms in your city.
In New York City, for instance, these info sessions are quite common, and notice of them is distributed to all first-year analysts at prestigious and consulting firms. They will typically host these events at a hotel or their offices with catered food and drinks while they walk through an overview of their firms, specific deals they have done, and guidance on how to engage headhunters to apply and "be presented" for interviews. They will also take questions from the audience about any of these topics.
When the recruiting season actually begins a couple months later, analysts and other candidates will begin dropping resumes to headhunters and setting up preliminary screening interviews with them so they can determine the best fit for which candidates to put in front of which firms.
Private equity interviews themselves are generally structured over multiple rounds--sometimes 3, 4, or even more rounds--and the type of people you meet at each step of the way and the kinds of questions you are asked will vary between rounds (and firms).
They generally consist of a heavy combination of, technical finance questions, modeling tests, and personal fit interviews to test 6 things:
1. Financial modeling
2. Operational modeling
3. Macro / market due diligence
4. Strategic analysis (as tested through )
5. Creating slide presentations
6. Personality fit
Some firms also evaluate your potential to source new deals if they require associates to contribute to deal origination, although forfirms this tends to be less common.