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I'm currently working at a middle market PE firm (ex IBD) and will be applying to the typical top 10 MBA programs probably next year (HSW blah blah). Been trying to find a thread here that talks about PE recruiting DURING b-school i.e. how does it actually go down?

Do firms approach you via headhunters or it is job postings on the school's career websites? I've heard that since PE funds typically recruit post-MBA associates on an as-needed basis, their recruiting cycle doesn't begin until much later than the i-banks and you thus run the risk of not pocketing anything if you haven't sucked up to the i-banks. .

As a former analyst - I'd rather hang myself / choke on a bottle of hot sauce / [insert preferred death method here], than ever go back into banking. Learned a lot while it lasted but no thank you, never again.

For whoever's done it/seen other people do it, I'd appreciate some insight - Compbanker, HerSerendipity, marcus etc.


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Comments (7)

  • Banker88's picture

    Is your MM firm pushing you out to go to B-School after your 2nd/3rd year? Really wonder why banking --> PE is the coveted path if you basically get kicked out, have to go to B-School, and have to recruit again...

  • johndoe89's picture

    I guess - they 'recommend' it (read:require) it. Obviously they don't have as many spots to promote to a partner-track level (made it clear to me when I came in as a pre-MBA recruit). That said, its a solid shop and the people I work with are great. I just want to see what's out there in terms of recruiting at these 'top' b-schools, especially given the current climate. I've heard from people doing MBAs that funds come to recruit on campus much much later than the i-banks and there's no real way to hedge your bets because as WallStreetOasis said in some post "everybody and their mom" is applying to PE positions and even as someone with prior PE experience, you're up against a lot of strong candidates.

  • acronymous's picture

    Also interested in this. If anyone has any Chicago-specific experience (ie, recruiting for Chi shops not necessarily Booth, Kellogg), would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot

  • CompBanker's picture

    I'll take a stab at responding, although I don't have first hand experience with MBA recruiting as I pseudo skipped it.

    There are a number of methods that MBA students employ to land a post-MBA PE job. The trick is that hiring needs ebb and flow and are more difficult to predict than the investment banking cycle. Hiring truly is on an "as-needed" basis. If a shop is raising a new fund, they may wait until they have enough capital raised to make those extra 1-2 hires. As a result, timing may not always be optimal.

    1) On-campus recruiting definitely exists. My last PE shop used to go to seek out candidates from H/W. I'm not exactly sure how the process goes down or what the general timing is.
    2) A LOT of MBA students reach out to alumni in PE looking for jobs. They know how the game works -- they look for information interviews, offer to work on a one-off project during the school year, anything they can to preempt the process of secure an "in."
    3) Internships exist in PE and can often lead to a full time offers, though the process isn't as straightforward as banking. I've seen PE shops take on interns only to no longer have a need for a FT person (thus no FT offer extended) or, in some cases, the PE shop isn't ready to commit to hiring someone 10 months in advance.


  • HerSerendipity's picture

    Agree with CB, per usu. My firm had a few summer interns in the past, none of whom received return offers. It's just not as structured and alot of times, it's a timing thing.

    I'd also say that most schools have a Private Equity club. If you join the club, you get to put your resume in their shiny resume book, which tends to go out to any PE shop that requests them. Often, PE shops will pick out candidates whom they would like to speak to and may reach out directly for internships/FT/a chat/etc.

    I'd also say that it would be helpful to keep in contact with any headhunters who you may have used in the past. You're in a good position because you have PE experience and most firms nowadays are really looking for someone who knows how the process works and has a principal investing mindset.

    It is uber competitive for sure. I know more than a handful of people at both H and W who have decent PE experience and are having trouble finding a position of 'equal' caliber, post-MBA. I've known a few guys who have settled for smaller firms, etc. post b-school.

  • johndoe89's picture

    thanks guys, appreciate the advice. this is really helpful.

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