Is Apollo that bad?

Serious question, how rough is life at Apollo? Long hours obviously to be expected at any MF, but would love any first or recent second hand input. Everyone seems to chuckle and describe it as a horror show but how awful is it really?

Mod Note: see a related post on Apollo: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/from-a-lev…

 

Yeah its pretty fucking bad lol. Know a guy who developed stomach ulcers from the stress of working there.

Not to be a dick, but if you're actually a principal in PE shouldn't you already know the answer? Odds you are you would know someone or know someone who knows someone who's worked there, or maybe come across them on a deal when you were in banking, etc...

 

Is the PE community really that small that virtually everyone who works in PE would know someone who knows someone who works at Apollo, or has dealt with them?

 

A few people from my bank are going to Apollo. When I was gearing up for PE recruiting and asked them about the no b-school required and ability to just stay this is what one said:

“if you can make it through your 4 years as an associate at Apollo, who cares. Most people don’t finish their first 2-3 years because of how bad it gets. I don’t know if I’ll even make it to the finish line. For them, if you can get through that hell you are absolutely welcome to stay”

Long story short: yes it’s fucking that bad

“If you ain’t first, you’re last!” - GOAT
 

Have heard that it doesn't get much better at the principal level either. Hours are still insane plus it's just an incredibly intense culture.

 

There's frankly not a justification for going to Apollo over other MF/UMMs unless you immediately need an extra 30-60K post-tax, plan on focusing purely on your career to the detriment of your life for 6-8 years to make an attempt to climb up, or have no other options. Apollo-style investing and experience can be done at other, high performing large funds with a better associate experience. As a place to work, there are few to no redeeming features.

Frame Apollo as a place that has to pay more to sucker in the best analysts that could and should go elsewhere rather than a place that chooses to pay the most. And given the relatively little support in finding exits after 2 years, you are relying on the Apollo brand and experience to help you find something else once you burn out. It's the kind of place that unfortunately breaks some of the weaker associates causing longer term psychological and career damage. And if you are doing your DD after receiving an offer, I implore you to reach out to former associates that had good exits coming out of their associate years.

 

Centerbridge is probably the closest to Apollo. From a MF perspective, Apollo's pretty unique - you have to give them that. From an LP marketing perspective, Apollo is the "contrarian" PE part of a portfolio.

Still, if you'd like to do distressed, there's tons of great shops out there. Distressed MF PE is pretty niche though.

 

there’s something to be said about the above market pay but the lifestyle has such a terrible reputation. my bank group sends 2 kids to Apollo annually and it’s been hit or miss on the experience. one so far has stayed until principal but most leave after 1-2 years to go to Tiger Cubs

What is it that you’d say about the above mkt pay? Everyone who’s worked there already has cast the verdict, it’s not worth it by a mile. They don’t pay Associates 30% over street because they’re generous. They do it because without it, no one would ever go work there. It’s now well known that even those that do take the money to go work there, figure out pretty quickly that it’s still not worth it.

 

Bump. Gonna be a first year next year and will recruit for PE. Did you ever find out what the deal is w shabbat at Apollo/Other MF's? Obv they cant force u to work on shabbat, but how is it received?

 

have a close friend who worked for one of their US performing credit teams. His lifestyle seemed okay (probably worked 60-70 hours a week).

"My name's Ralph Cox, and I'm from where ever's not gonna get me hit"
 

You should read about the legal war that was carried out between one of their now-ex-employees and the company. It was over their portfolio entity, Athene.

 
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During my time in IB, I've worked on 3 deals with Apollo, two being pretty large take privates. On 2 of the deals, we did some M&A advisory, and lead left financing on all 3. Their deal teams are slim (2-3 people from PE, 1-2 from cap markets negotiating terms with banks) and the associates were always plugged in until around 3-4am, including weekends.

A lot of people have been asking about what hairy actually means in Apollo context. It is often taking a very contrarian view of a situation and peeling back numerous layers of crap to find a gem within a business. For example, if a business is meaningfully declining in overall revenue, but there are 2-3 core segments that are growing, Apollo will figure out a way to divest the underperfoming assets and focus on the core business. Additionally, they often will do simultaneous LBOs and merge 2 competitors together, in their eyes yielding a ton of run-rate cost savings (not always achieved, but great for getting a ton of financing and putting up lower equity in a transaction). Most of their purchases are sub 9x EBITDA, often purchased through broken sales processes or take privates where the equity markets see little to no hope for a business.

Might get a lot of MS for the candid picture painted above, but the strategy clearly works. Apollo has been extremely successful; there are a lot of ways to make a return.

 

Very helpful description of Apollo's business model, which has its roots in Milken, who was the ultimate contrarian during his days and made a lot of money by buying, issuing and placing bonds of hundreds of Shitcos in his day. Leon Black was one of the most fervent Milken disciples and in a way, Apollo is a continuation/evolution of Milken's Drexel.

 

Can anyone comment on the extent to which the prevailing sentiment rings true in LA? Also, if anyone can comment on what industry verticals/roles are staffed from that office, it would be greatly appreciated!

 

LA is the worst office of Apollo. Huge turnover for good reason. Associates have just a miserable experience there, made worse by the fact that recruiting away is almost impossible. Basically a nightmare for most associates.

 

I generally agree with this based on having two acquaintances that went through Apollo LA.

The churn is real and it's easily verifiable. LA is one of those megafund offices where every year there is at least one recruiter search that happens for a lateral associate position. Like clockwork, the posting comes up every single year.

Others have already thoroughly covered the lifestyle points. One thing I will add though based on keeping in touch with these guys--which I found a little surprising--are the other stressors present as an associate. Basically these guys were constantly worried their heads were on the chopping block and they could lose their job there any day. Both are hard-working, intelligent people that earned their spots there, so it was surprising to hear this. Neither of them lasted more than 2-3 years.

I think a work environment like that would be extremely demoralizing coupled with the extreme hours and commitment to your job. You'd think if you're working that hard and doing a good job, you'd at least feel somewhat valued and could even see a bright future for yourself there. Pulling those kind of hours and constantly worrying about the prospect of getting canned has to be psychologically tolling to say the least.