Lateral Moves within Private Equity

Hello All - to keep it short, I'm hoping to get some insight from the WSO community on lateraling within PE.

For brief context, I'm a tenured associate (2+ years) at a MM investment firm. I'm looking for Sr. Associate roles and am somewhat geographically agnostic.

Recruiting seems a bit slow right now based on the inflow of email from headhunters, but I have the benefit of flexibility in terms of timeline - could start as soon as Dec 2023 / Jan 2024 or as late as Aug / Sep 2024.

Would welcome any insight as to how people typically go about making these types of moves. Should I be reaching out to firms directly, reaching out to HHs directly, both? How do I start getting the ball rolling? What does the interview process for Sr. Associate typically look like? How does it differ from the entry-level Associate interview process I already went through? How can I maximize my chances of landing a role at a good shop?

Thanks in advance.


Hey there! It sounds like you're considering a lateral move within the Private Equity industry. That's a big decision, and it's great that you're seeking advice on how to navigate this process.

Firstly, it's important to understand what you're hoping to achieve with this move. Are you looking for a larger fund, a different sector focus, or perhaps a better work culture? These factors can help guide your search and narrow down potential firms.

As for the job search itself, both reaching out to firms directly and contacting headhunters can be effective strategies. Headhunters can be particularly useful as they often have a wide network and can help match you with firms that align with your goals.

The interview process for a Senior Associate role can vary by firm, but it generally involves more in-depth discussions about your experience and skills. You may also be expected to demonstrate a higher level of industry knowledge and leadership potential compared to an entry-level Associate role.

To maximize your chances of landing a role at a good shop, it's crucial to showcase your achievements and growth in your current role. Be prepared to discuss specific deals you've worked on, the skills you've developed, and how you've contributed to your current team.

Remember, every move is a chance to grow both personally and professionally. So, take your time, do your research, and make sure any move aligns with your long-term career goals. Good luck!

Sources: Private Equity Associate Regretting Decision, Private Equity or Pizza Equity?, From Private Equity Associate to VP in Private Equity

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

It's helpful to hear that time is on your side. If you don't mind me asking, are you in a sector-focused role currently or more of a generalist? I've noticed a meaningful drop in lateral inbounds for certain sectors (such as tech-focused PE) relative to 2020-2021 but recruiting for funds focused on other sectors still seems to be in decent shape. It could just be by happenstance, however.


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