Exit opps: I've crunched the previous work experience of 390 PE Associates..

I've seen a lot of fairly qualitative/unsubstantiated comments on WSO about exit opportunities or about which PE funds hire from where... and instead decided to take matters into my own hands and crunch some data! So I analyzed the work experience of 390 Private Equity Associates across TPG, Advent, CVC, Warburg, H&F and EQT. Below is a snazzy chart of where they came from. Let's just say, GS doesn't need to give their analysts any Peloton bikes... they are already giving them the best exit opps in the industry.
pe associatesTo replicate the results or to explore the data in more detail, click each of the individual companies below and go to "Frequency" tab:

Notes on the analysis:

  • N = 390
  • Global geographies (all offices)
  • Titles = "associates"

Understood, no surprise that GS, MS, and JPM dominate. For anyone interested Bain and McKinsey are also pretty major pipelines (unsurprisingly). Expect that if the scope were US-only we'd the see the relative prevalence of these firms increase with the opposite being true if scope were limited to Europe only.

Thanks again.


I think it is important to note that the BBs have huge classes compared to some EB groups that are considered top for exit opps. Take PJT RSSG, they have 10 analysts per year, of course, based on this statistic they won't appear, but they all place extremely well. 

Nonetheless, very interesting, thanks for sharing!


I think the average analyst going to an EB is way more committed to being on the PE / HF path vs. the average analyst going to JPM / MS / GS. While that doesn't even out the data completely, it's a factor to consider. During my time at a BB, only 50% of the group was interested in large-cap PE while the other 50% wanted to go into HFs directly or pursue a CorpDev job.


LinkedIn lets you see more people that are closer in your network. Additionally, OP probably included data from past classes i.e. people that may have been associates at TPG at one point. I guess if you wanted a cleaner dataset, you would have to factor in class year / time series which would also shed light on whether boutiques are gaining exit market share over GS / MS / JPM over time.

Most Helpful

As an aside to readers and specifically interns or prospects—I’d argue a huge part of this is selection bias and size of analyst class, not necessarily blatant recruiting preferences. This data is pretty misleading because there are a ton of underlying factors not being controlled for that explain the data. PE shops aren’t rejecting an analyst because they list Evercore, CVP, or Qatalyst, instead of GS or MS on their resume, fullstop. Also, arguing that these are the most prized exit ops is questionable from what I have seen in practice after leaving banking. 

Put another way, if you went through banking recruitment and got a GS offer and CVP and chose GS, you likely are gung ho on the status train and will gun for one of the shops listed. Also, those that really buy into the brand name and don’t leave the industry are going to continue to value brand name above all else. The EB analyst might be more likely to stay in banking or to choose an alternate exit such as going to a hedge fund, a growth shop, VC, etc. just based on personality and values.

Point is, this data is amusing, but doesn’t control for size of analyst class and how analysts recruited. More interesting, but ultimately pretty impossible to find unless you have an insider is:

  • % split of exit industry (HF, megafund PE, VC, Corp Dev, MBA, stayed in banking)
  • Success Rate, both getting in the door places and landing at shops
  • General sentiment on how analysts feel they got perceived in Buyside recruiting
  • Actual exits and responsibilities—are you really going to say an analyst that jumped to Sixth Street when it spun off had a worse exit than going to TPG?

Not to trash this too much, but I think a good analogy would be this would be like if you looked at colleges and said the best colleges are ones that send the most analysts to GS, MS, or JPM.

When in practice, a school like Wharton that is a smaller school and has many individuals go to EBs, or direct to the buyside, might not be the top represented school among those 3 institutions, despite likely having the best outcomes in practice.


I think pretty much everyone is aware of the limitations of those data cuts but you are welcome to do all the analytical work you have outlined (hint: you won't, and if you did you would not share it easily as this is painstaking work). This is a good surface level analysis that provides directional insight into PE recruiting, not need to get all defensive about it.


This is a good surface level analysis that provides directional insight into PE recruiting...

This isn't true --that's my point. I'm not defensive, I am strongly opposed to the genuinely poor advice/ groupthink this website often provides. This is a great example of someone who is unaware of how the process works, providing advice that could seriously mislead undergrads and prospective finance professionals. You are right, I don't need to do that analysis because I already did it when I recruited by calling real people so there is accountability and legitimately verified advice. Call someone who worked at one of these places and ask them if they would do it again or pursue an alternate exit. 


The analysis OP provided is supposed to be directional. No one is misleading anyone by using publicly available information to present an analysis that could be helpful for prospective candidates. At the end of the day, if you have a choice to go to GS / MS / JPM or EB, you probably are a good candidate and can land interviews at these jobs. As people have mentioned, once you get in the door, it’s about how you perform and not which bank you are from. The answer itself becomes self selecting when the best candidates are at the best banks.

Based on my experience in banking, the top exit opps are MF PE and top HFs. Miles vary significantly for Corp Dev, tech and start up exits. Not all of them are equal. There might be a rockstar analyst that just wanted to go the operational route while another analyst that struck out in typical on-cycle recruiting might just end up having to go to an exit opp not in PE / HF. The point is that you never know, but I can bet that 50%+ of each analyst class at a BB want to shoot for the MF PE or HF exits.


Reread my comments—I don’t know who this is supposed to be arguing against. My point above is just providing some needed disclaimers that recruiting is larger than 6 firms, so it’s not really capturing a great view of recruiting. Also, class sizes are very different. Instead, individuals should call real people who have exited these firms for a better perspective. Only reason I bring it up is because you know some citi/ baml summer analyst is out there thinking their life is over based on this analysis or that some kid should renege evercore for GS. Also, blowhards like you have an inability to understand nuance unless it is presented on a platter. 


Of course it does matter, at least to people who want to make money.

Why do we look at school name/brand and gpas and frats and country clubs/social or dining clubs etc (esp single black ball ones)?

There is a certain amount of information and review done to get into each...and to stay into each.  College degress do not matter, who needs 4 yrs?  2 years is sjw crap.  We can ask for people to complete a few certificates and have a case study on ppt and excel and award winners jobs.  But we don't we have target and semi target schools (and have students pay an extra $100K) so it is easier for us to narrow down the applicant group.

The hardest things to measure - desire, steadfastness, loyalty, dedication are distilled out of social institution interactions and their gatekeeping.  We would ignore important information if we did not consider the sifting work performed by others before us (college and earlier employer group)

Anyone doing this for a living will take the easy layups and hire those first - then go assess large swaths of people looking for any stars.


Not surprising… if you’re in IBD at GS / have strong recs or a good performance review, you’re pretty much a lock for a top fund. 


Awesome post - as other have mentioned, inclusion of Citi/Barc/EBs and a focus on US associates would probably be more helpful but nonetheless awesome.

In many ways, I feel like this just confirms what everyone already knows: once you get to BB/EB, there are plenty of amazing opportunities available to you.

A bit shocked by how much of a league of its own GS is (I probably shouldn’t be) as well as how well Bofa/CS compete with JPM/MS at some of these funds (given how much “top BB” is thrown around here).


From my experience what it boils down to is a pipeline effect. Because PE recruiting starts before anyone can make realistic assessments of who’s a good candidate, they go back to places where they’ve found successful associates in the past.

As such, there will be certain groups that send people to certain funds (e.g. GS FIG is always going to send a couple to Apollo, who will also always take from PJT, MS M&A is going to send a couple to KKR, who also always take from EVR etc). 

So the unfortunate advice is when you’re recruiting for banking you want to have some sense not only of the exit opp you want broadly (MF PE), but a sense of what groups will best position you for certain firms within that band. Because as much as this board tends to immediately shut down discussion of which MF is “best”, the truth is they are different. Your experience as an investor will be shaped very differently at a place like Apollo (deep value) vs Carlyle or Warburg (smaller deals, more willing to pay for growth)

So from a practical perspective, I think the thing to do while networking is find a way to connect with a second year analyst you know is leaving and get the specific details on where people in his or her group have gone in the past. That will allow you to make a much more informed decision than being the autist who scrapes the most LinkedIn data (hint: picking up the phone and getting information you’re looking for out of people in a friendly way becomes a pretty core aspect of these jobs as you move up)


Ex perferendis voluptatem et consequatur. Illum ea vel nam sed. Recusandae et accusantium dignissimos sed cum. Voluptatem veritatis dicta exercitationem quia.

Doloribus in totam tenetur omnis fuga et vitae et. Blanditiis quia alias perferendis. Rem aliquid eligendi asperiores recusandae beatae.

Rerum ipsa aut nesciunt repudiandae dicta adipisci. Dolores dolor soluta laboriosam molestias sequi exercitationem ut quasi. Numquam ex voluptates dolorem rerum et hic accusantium pariatur. Quaerat qui nobis quod sit ad consequatur totam. Dolores et voluptate fugit quis voluptate aut. Quis voluptatibus dignissimos impedit suscipit dolores quis.

Career Advancement Opportunities

March 2024 Private Equity

  • The Riverside Company 99.5%
  • Warburg Pincus 99.0%
  • Blackstone Group 98.4%
  • KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) 97.9%
  • Bain Capital 97.4%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

March 2024 Private Equity

  • The Riverside Company 99.5%
  • Blackstone Group 98.9%
  • KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) 98.4%
  • Ardian 97.9%
  • Bain Capital 97.4%

Professional Growth Opportunities

March 2024 Private Equity

  • The Riverside Company 99.5%
  • Bain Capital 99.0%
  • Blackstone Group 98.4%
  • Warburg Pincus 97.9%
  • Starwood Capital Group 97.4%

Total Avg Compensation

March 2024 Private Equity

  • Principal (9) $653
  • Director/MD (21) $586
  • Vice President (90) $363
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (88) $280
  • 2nd Year Associate (204) $268
  • 1st Year Associate (384) $228
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $157
  • 2nd Year Analyst (83) $134
  • 1st Year Analyst (244) $122
  • Intern/Summer Associate (32) $82
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (312) $59
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
BankonBanking's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
Secyh62's picture
GameTheory's picture
kanon's picture
CompBanker's picture
dosk17's picture
Jamoldo's picture
Linda Abraham's picture
Linda Abraham
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”