Help choosing PE Summer Associate offer

Hi everyone,

this forum has been a tremendous help over time and I have yet another question to help me rationalize.

I am in the lucky position to choose between two private equity offers for a summer associate role, but that was a long journey. I am currently an international student at an M7 MBA program with pre-MBA experience in finance (but not banking) and originally decided to go through banking recruiting. Bet all my chips on tech banking in SF, aced my technicals and made it to final rounds at all the top groups. Long story short, I still ended up with zero offers.

So I decided to give PE a shot for the summer and am in the fortunate position to choose between two summer associate offers. I am trying to decide which one makes more sense to position myself for full-time recruiting. My plan is to give banking another shot (shot in the dark/lower chance) and alternatively consulting (higher chance).

Fund 1 focuses on tech firms in my pre-MBA industry (think autotech, healthtech). The beauty of this is that this is exactly in line with my industry focus and I can spin it both towards tech and towards my pre-MBA industry focus (which are the two industries I can imagine myself working in). This is the investment arm of a family foundation. The family behind it is well-known for their philanthropy, but their investment arm is small (3 or 4 people) and "secretive" (not really as they even have a website but there is no real information on it). The downside is (a) there is no public information about closed deals and I am somewhat worried about deal flow over the summer; (b) they are not actively planning to hire for full-time but may be open; (c) they are in a lower tier city (think Dallas/Atlanta/Detroit) that I have no real desire to move to.

Fund 2 is an established LMM fund in my target city with several deals in the pipeline. I am much more confident about getting super interesting work and given that they're a classic fund, they are better known and embedded in the local private equity scene. Their team is more established (~10 investment professionals) and they have a clear intention of giving out full-time offers. The downside is that they focus on verticals that don't fit into my story and I have less passion for. While I'd be more than happy to dive into it over the summer, I am worried that the industry focus may raise eyebrows and hurt my full-time recruiting more than support it.

The compensation is higher at the LMM fund and they have some nice perks, but over the summer that doesn't matter. I like the people at both funds and see myself getting along in the work environment.

Long story short, I am a little torn. I feel like the LMM fund is the better platform, but the family office's industry focus is just so much aligned with what I want to do that I feel like it's the better choice for my long-term goals. I'd value this forum's input on some of my thoughts:

  • Am I overestimating the importance of deal flow over the summer for FT banking/consulting recruiting?
  • Is there a significant difference in prestige or perception for FT banking/consulting recruiting?
  • Will it raise eyebrows if I worked in a city that I have no connection to?
  • Am I stupid for being picky on industry when I could just suck it up and potentially land a cushy FT offer from the LMM fund?
  • Is the LMM focus going to be a problem for banking?
  • Am I missing something in my decision-making process?

Thank you!

PS: I'm posting this in the IB forum since my question is geared towards implications for IB recruiting, but feel free to move it.

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