General Question: What is your process in evaluating taking a job?

As a banker, I made a somewhat rash decision to lateral to a “better” group. This was primarily honestly due to a “grass is always greener” mentality and outside of the better brand name was probably not the correct decision to make given my priorities. 

Now, I am sitting on an offer from a strong MM PE firm which I see as a more career opportunity vs. a temporary seat to sit in like banking. Beyond the obvious (track record, comp, etc.), I am wondering what your diligence process looks like in evaluating whether a PE opportunity you have received is “worth it”. Things like WLB / culture matter a lot to me, but it’s tough to get a read on this given the size of firm. 

Apologies for the general question - trying to make a thoughtful decision. 

Most Helpful

Few thoughts:

  • Congrats on the offer - given limited seats in the market overall, I'd be cautious to turn down a solid offer unless you have a really clear reason (fund performance, abysmal culture, etc.)
  • While this certainly feels more career track than IB, I'd still assume this is a 2-3 year home and tailor your evaluation accordingly (given current market conditions, many firms are turning back to traditional programs and encouraging MBA versus straight-through promotions given tightening of budgets and slots)
  • Therefore, I'd tailor your decision on whether you think you'll have a solid near-term (2-3 year) experience
    • Does this firm seemingly have solid training? Any formalized mentorship programs? Are deal teams staffed to encourage apprenticeship and learning from those above/around you?
    • Does the firm's reputation/standing, deal flow, and investment model suggest you'll get some solid 'at bats' at getting deals done? How many platforms has the firm done in 2021 vs. 2022 vs. 2023 (recognizing many firms will have limited 2022/2023 activity)?
    • Based on your interviews, do superiors (Senior Associates, VPs, Principals) seem like generally nice enough people whom you'd want to learn from?
    • Is the culture good enough that you'd reasonably enjoy work, albeit accepting that associate programs are a grind and hours only be partially better than banking? Does the firm have events? What levels attend them? Do people hang out outside work (not a dealbreaker but nice to see)?
  • If these are reasonably 'yes' answers, feels like you'll learn a lot, put yourself on good footing to continue at the firm or another firm, and have a reasonably good time doing it (recognizing it's still a job)
  • Perhaps you can ask for a quick call with a current associate to ask some of these questions directly as part of your decisionmaking process (very normal to request)

In addition to SaaSChimp, and the typical pay/CoL evaluation, I'd also look at how many people of the next rank/title were internally promoted from the title you are coming in at to that next title (sounds like Asso to VP for your situation). If you truly want to build a career as you mention, one way to potentially get comfortable with this being a possibility is to figure out how many have done it before you - should still assume it is a 2-3 year role for expectation level-setting.

For reference, I turned down a title bump to Asso at a firm closer to family with 40-50 hour weeks, and ~40% more pay in a higher COL state because no Asso had ever been promoted internally to VP and I would be pigeonholed into going to B School. Fund was likely struggling too.

My current firm is in a tertiary city a 3 hour flight from family and friends, with 60-70 hour work weeks. Pay is less but COL is lower than NY/CA, funds are doing well, and I'm not on the "up and out" model (supposedly). 


Does the distance from family / friends bother you though?

Do you fly home often and do you eventually plan to move back?

Facing a similar dilemma in my FT job search as an MBA student. Thinking of taking a job in a  'tertiary' city (Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville) and eventually move back home to family / friends (Tier 1 City - NYC / LA / Chicago type of city) within 2 years after graduating.


Yes it does - I fly home to see fam ~quarterly on Thursday evenings and fly back to my tertiary city Sunday evenings - I usually have it coincide with 3 day weekends too - think memorial day, etc.

I'm early/mid 20s - plan to move back by 30 - will move earlier for the right opportunity

And yes - fam is basically in a tier 1 city (1 hour South of one of the tier 1s you listed). I get home often enough, and fam comes to visit me sometimes too. Going to sound horrible but I just don't get to see my dog so I actually miss my dog a ton because I see my family more often than dog.

Other thing is that it's difficult to meet people in a tertiary city when you work 9-9 or worse. So the friends aspect is arguably worse than the fam situation. Thankfully, I've met a few people but still tough. Also rely on my fellow analysts a ton for social life, but ya I'm sure tier 1 city would be much better


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