London MM PE vs BB IB

I'm about to finish my undergrad from a Big 10 school in the US and have two London offers on the table - one from a top-tier IB (MS/GS/JP) and one from an MM PE in London (think Vitruvian/Rothschild/Montagu)

Ultimately goal is to go to an MF (BX/KKR/CVC/etc) or a solid HF. Learning towards the PE offer since that seems more relevant and interesting work-wise. Anyone got any insights on how my choice would impact MF recruiting? Or is either option fine as long I grind?

Comments (21)

Monkeyrella, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would very highly recommend going to the MM PE (especially if it is Montagu - amazing brand). Recruiters will call you up for MF if you join an upper-MM fund (although I don't understand why you would focus so much on exiting to a MF if you already have a good MM position, most MF struggle to deploy capital in Europe given the insane competitive pressure and some partners are not even sure they will be hitting their carry any time soon + the pyramid can be less top-heavy in some MM funds vs. getting stuck 10 years as a junior because there is just no room to grow). I would not worry about missing the IB experience - it is my opinion that the junior learning curve in PE is actually much more rigorous in PE than IB. You will be able to build a more diversified set of skills in PE than in IBOne caveat for Vitruvian which is a very growth oriented fund. It will be more difficult to convince a headhunter that your skills can be translated to large cap buyout

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LBOMaster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would actually disagree, and would advise to go IBD (for many reasons: training, recruiting, etc) It is not that easy to move laterally from a PE fund to another at that level especially as the London PE world is quite small

Note that the above is valid ONLY if your only goal is really to "go to a megafund". As long as you are in a bulge bracket (this includes the lower tier ones as well) and you have decent deal experience you should be able to participate in most if not all the MF processes. Whether you get it or not then depends more on your skills / performance during interview / language skills / fit / etc. So basically even if you go the BB route you will have a shot at megafunds

The reality - being in PE myself - is that a fund like Montagu is better in many ways than most Megafunds; you will typically be able to move up more easily, your lifestyle will be better, the teams won't be as staffed (i.e. no deal teams with 2/3 analysts), you get quicker access to carry, etc. You see a lot of guys who started in MFs trying to move to smaller places - albeit not that small given we are speaking MM

So my advice would be - ask yourself why you really want to do MF - and if the answer is not that clear then the MM PE route is probably the best one. If your answer is money ... pay across MFs really differ, some guys pay like crazy and some pay relatively "okay" ... same thing for MM PEs, really depends. If it is prestige... fair enough... but you are still an undergrad, your perspective on prestige will actually change a lot once you start working

Another point to consider is Visa / language; if you are non-European AND your only language is English, PE recruiting will be very tough in London.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

How tough will PE be if I only speak English? Can I still recruit for mega funds in Europe or should I try and move to the US and recruit from there?

Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can still recruit for Megafunds, especially those with geographic coverage (Carlyle comes into mind, but I think that CVC does too). Will be harder for funds which are running very lean and a PE team only in London (Blackstone for instance).

Going to the US may be an option but be careful because of visa restrictions it will be very hard and MFs mostly recruit on-cycle which is running 1.5years before the starting date. Thus if you move after 2 year (usually the minimum at a bank to change offices) you will be able to recruit for your 4th year... and funds target analysts not associates. So going to the US for MFs is not really an alternative. There is some really solid UK MM PE funds that you should target as they provide a very good exp and pay well (less cash but more carry).

TemperTantrum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks. I'm not worried about missing out on training at all as I'm pretty confident in my technical knowledge, concern is only about exit ops. Reason I want to go to an MF is that I ultimately wanna do a top 10 HF (think Greenlight, Baupost) and most of their guys come from MF PE so I want to keep the MF PE option open in case I cannot directly recruit from MM PE / BB IB. Not trying to stay in PE for life, so what I'm mostly concerned about it is knowing what job will open more recruiter / HF doors for me.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A

Did Montagu have a established graduare hiring programme this year or was it through headhunters?

Hellogarden, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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