Mid-Cap vs Large-Cap PE Recruiting - Which is easier?

so have recently started my search for a PE role and one question that always gets asked whenever I talk to headhunters is whether I have a preference for mid-cap or large-cap funds.

So far I have always said mid-cap - given reason being that in some large-cap funds there is a risk of being siloed into one sector/sub-sector, and think that a mid-cap fund would offer more opportunity to gain a breadth of experience and more chance for responsibility...(also, concensus is that hours in large-caps are roughly similar to IB hours - no thanks, jeff).

The thing I was wondering though is that if this is true, then that might imply interviewing for large cap funds might be slightly easier, no? Because if interviewers know you'll have less responsibility then stands to reason they won't drill you as hard, no?

Just wondering if anyone can provide any experiences to confirm or refute this belief?

Comments (13)

Jun 3, 2015 - 5:13am
Zweihander, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No one?

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.
Best Response
Jun 3, 2015 - 6:43am
evergumptious, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Large cap recruiting is significantly more competitive - expect interviews to be more technical, more qualified candidates to interview and fewer spots.

Broadly speaking, there are simply more mid-cap market private equity positions. The # of positions at large cap private equity firms is fairly limited, and increasingly so with large analyst classes being brought in at BX, KKR, Silver Lake and TPG.

Whether or not you do Large Cap or Mid Market PE should not hinge on which is easier to get, they are both incredibly competitive to get into. You should make your decision based on what your longer term goals are and the skill set you want to develop.

  • 2
Jun 3, 2015 - 7:42am
Zweihander, what's your opinion? Comment below:
evergumptious:

Large cap recruiting is significantly more competitive - expect interviews to be more technical, more qualified candidates to interview and fewer spots.

Broadly speaking, there are simply more mid-cap market private equity positions. The # of positions at large cap private equity firms is fairly limited, and increasingly so with large analyst classes being brought in at BX, KKR, Silver Lake and TPG.

Whether or not you do Large Cap or Mid Market PE should not hinge on which is easier to get, they are both incredibly competitive to get into. You should make your decision based on what your longer term goals are and the skill set you want to develop.

Thanks for the response. A few questions:

Fewer spots really? But how can that be when large-cap funds have more headcount than mid-cap?

Also, you mention I should make my choice between large & mid based on the skill set I want to develop. So how does the skillset differ between the two? Is it in the ways I described in my post?

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.
  • 2
Jun 3, 2015 - 9:42am
yig, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Zweihander:
evergumptious:
Large cap recruiting is significantly more competitive - expect interviews to be more technical, more qualified candidates to interview and fewer spots.
Broadly speaking, there are simply more mid-cap market private equity positions. The # of positions at large cap private equity firms is fairly limited, and increasingly so with large analyst classes being brought in at BX, KKR, Silver Lake and TPG.
Whether or not you do Large Cap or Mid Market PE should not hinge on which is easier to get, they are both incredibly competitive to get into. You should make your decision based on what your longer term goals are and the skill set you want to develop.

Thanks for the response. A few questions:

Fewer spots really? But how can that be when large-cap funds have more headcount than mid-cap?

Also, you mention I should make my choice between large & mid based on the skill set I want to develop. So how does the skillset differ between the two? Is it in the ways I described in my post?

While I'm a longs way away from the PE world, the way I see it is that even though the headcount is greater at the, let's say, 10 Mega caps, there are a ton more midcaps.

Array
  • 2
Jun 3, 2015 - 9:31am
Zweihander, what's your opinion? Comment below:
SnappleApple:

IF you can't figure out something as silly as this you won't make it on the buy side sorry bro.

Cool story bro. Please tell another one.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.
Jun 14, 2015 - 5:01pm
Dagoldmansachs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

what happened with DB buddy? when they handed everything on a plate to you?

Jun 3, 2015 - 5:46pm
evergumptious, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Broadly speaking, a firm's headcount expands with the number of deals you do, not the size of your fund. And thus, given the fact that there are only a handful of mega funds but a lot of middle market firms it is more competitive to get into a mega fund from a pure applicants to spots available standpoint. The competitiveness is further exacerbated by the fact that the most pedigreed candidates chase the mega caps.

Skill set and experience will differ in many ways... some of the differences include: (1) level of responsibility (2) complexity of transactions (3) resources available to you, etc.

Would encourage you to speak with professionals at different fund sizes to hear their perspectives.

Jun 4, 2015 - 5:58am
Zweihander, what's your opinion? Comment below:
evergumptious:

Skill set and experience will differ in many ways... some of the differences include: (1) level of responsibility (2) complexity of transactions (3) resources available to you, etc.

Would encourage you to speak with professionals at different fund sizes to hear their perspectives.

I understand how (2) and (3) differ between large cap & mid cap, but can you please elaborate on how (1) differs between the two?

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.
Jun 3, 2015 - 8:24pm
wso_user, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You are really drinking that MM kool aid. Megafunds in general have smarter people (though most PE folks are pretty sharp in general) and give just as much responsibility to associates, in the case of Apollo probably more. The larger headcount ones like Carlyle, TPG and Bain also have better cultures/hours because of the focus on associate development than generic MM PE firms. You'll also have a better avenue to HBS and GSB as well as top tier hedge funds down the road, not to mention the fact that you can go from megafund down to the mid market relatively easily but not the other way around.

For what it's worth I worked in mid market buyouts for two years and it was not a great experience, either culturally or hours wise. Obviously firm dependent, but my experience did not seem different from most of my peers.

Note this is related to generic MM PE vs megafunds. Top mid market firms like Berkshire, Hellman, New Mountain, etc (if you consider them mid market) are just as competitive and open just as many doors to MBA programs and opportunities afterwards.

Array
  • 2
Jun 4, 2015 - 5:52am
Zweihander, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is for London.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.
Jan 30, 2018 - 9:19am
randyrantatom, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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