How much does fit actually matter to you?

Would you take a worse fund over a better for better fit? Like how important is it to fit in well culturally at a particular PE fund, or are they all relatively the same / not that big of a factor?                                                      

 

Would also be interested in how people think through whether or not you're a good fit? Understand a lot of it is subjective but what are some good frameworks to think through?

 
Most Helpful

If your ultimate goal is to stay in PE long-term, fit should be very important to you. I don’t know many people that have a desire to stay at the same firm for 10+ years when they a) hate what they’re doing / style of investing or b) hate the people they work with. Now, this is what’s tricky.

The difficult part about this industry is that for whatever reason, a lot of well performing funds are littered with bad people or difficult hours. Whether it’s true or not, a lot of people inherently believe that 100+ page decks and 20 tab models lead to great investments. I think hard work in certain areas can lead to unmasking risk and strong returns but a lot of people just believe in a culture that grinds juniors because that’s how it’s always been done. I’m not here to debate that but thus is life. The other difficult part is, so few seats ever open up at excellent funds with relatively “friendly and more laid back” cultures (in a PE sense) because if they’re performing well, people never leave. Firms like Genstar come to mind. You rarely see voluntary turnover at these places because people seem to like the cultural fit and they continue to provide upside. No matter how great the culture, I’m not sure any sane person would willingly stay at an underperforming fund. That’s like choosing to stay on the Titanic. You’ll get paid in the interim but at some point, the road ends and you’ll be out of a job anyway trying to recruit at the mid-level while raising a family.

 

If you're doing 2 and out ASO years, or 2 then bschool then leave, fit doesn't matter, just go to the best name possible and get rocked for two years. If you're doing a potentially career track role, fit is everything.

Every product feels the same in buyouts at the end of the day. You wake up and shovel shit for 14 hours. Even if the variety of shit shoveled varies slightly, work is just shoveling shit. 

But having worked full time now at 4 different firms in my career, fit is everything. If you enjoy spending time with the people you have to spend time with every day, then shoveling shit is not nearly as bad.

And if your job is shoveling shit 14 hours a day, find the place where you can be happy doing that. I guarantee you the variety of shit you shovel is not going to be what makes you happy long term.

 

This cannot be overstated and is great advice. There is *some* variability within private markets investing, in a very broad sense - but ultimately, the job is literally just processing until you are responsible for origination AND processing, then just origination / fundraising. Whatever you process, it is all virtually the same - NBO's, IC decks, managing DD processes, financing, asset management etc. etc. Sure, some firms will be worse than others in that regard (i.e. 100 page memos etc.), but having also worked at several places now, culture and collegiality trumps all. 

Put simply, working with people you like and respect (and vice versa) has a MUCH bigger impact on your longevity in this industry I think, than whether you "enjoy" that particular type of investing (and happen to work in a toxic environment). As one senior once put it to me - don't underestimate the power of positive emotions in this job.

 

If you're doing 2 and out ASO years, or 2 then bschool then leave, fit doesn't matter, just go to the best name possible and get rocked for two years. If you're doing a potentially career track role, fit is everything.

Every product feels the same in buyouts at the end of the day. You wake up and shovel shit for 14 hours. Even if the variety of shit shoveled varies slightly, work is just shoveling shit. 

But having worked full time now at 4 different firms in my career, fit is everything. If you enjoy spending time with the people you have to spend time with every day, then shoveling shit is not nearly as bad.

And if your job is shoveling shit 14 hours a day, find the place where you can be happy doing that. I guarantee you the variety of shit you shovel is not going to be what makes you happy long term.

ahh yess the shoveling shit analogy.................+SB

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

WSO got people choosing to hate their life and job working for a firm they hate for a marginally more prestigious linkedin 

 

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