MF PE is Paradise...LOL
The biggest myth and most naive take on this site is the conventional take that MF PE is a desirable job/exit, beside the fact, more senior folks have been shedding light on how it's really not that great since the beginning of times. I am just going to blabber, because I have so many takes on why this is wrong that I don't even care about writing coherently anymore. I also don't care if you want to MS me, so please throw your virtual "discredits" at me you narrow-minded 20-24 year old college junior/IB analyst 1. I'm just going to pick a context (say programmers) and use it as an analogy. Let the ranting begin:
1. Working at a MF PE out of IB is like a somewhat talented developer/engineer going to work at Google.
You work at a big name, and every service provider you deal with strokes your ego, and now you think you are hot shit. You get comped 15-20% above market, and you get to brag anonymously on WSO. You think you have made it because you made it to the big leagues. No, you are just a freaking clog in a massive machine. You have an abysmal chance of making partner, and you are just an execution monkey. You are a white-collar slave, where they throw marginally extra money at you, and in return, you sell your soul and your life. But unlike the dev who goes work at Goog and only works 40 hour weeks, you are still cranking 90-100 hours/week like you did at a busy group. You actually burn out, and lose motivation in a couple years time. The tortoise and the hare.
2. You don't really get mentored or taught anything because you are there just to complete tasks.
It's a cutthroat culture at most (not all) MF PEs. (Again everything I say is going to be a generalization and not absolute, but) you think you are going to learn dealmaking and taught the secret sauce of PE, but you are just there to complete tasks. You are absolutely replaceable (please MS me if you genuinely think that a MF PE will fail to deploy or generate returns because an associate like you/future-you leaves). I guarantee you the guys at smaller shops learn more than you when it comes to sourcing and dealmaking, holistically speaking. You are actually further away from dealmaking than the MM guys are.
3. Your happiness and well-being will suffer.
You are going to argue, "well, wasn't that the case in IB?" IB is like pledging to get into a frat. But, once you pay your dues, you actually get to enjoy the benefits of joining one. IB for most people is a rite of passage that gets you to better places. In the MF PE asso case though, you are valued as much as you were as an analyst in IB. You are absolutely dispensable. You wear your MF PE title like a badge of honor, but your friends/peers actually pity you. The ones who went elsewhere (emerging managers, MM PE,, growth equity, VC, Corp Dev, Start-up) think you are an idiot who keeps drinking his/her own koolaid. They feel bad for you.
You have no time to spend with your gf/bf or wife/husband, despite telling them that things will be better after 2-3 years of IB analyst. Maybe, you are single and ready to mingle, but you are actually just single and lonely. You think you add a lot of value because you built the model, managed the 3rd party diligence process and drafted the memo, but you also deep down know that those things are commoditized, there are hundreds of monkeys skilled enough to do that, and the deal didn't get approved or done because of your multi-scenario. I hate to be such a downer, I call it being realistic, but you will never build another , .
4. The skills you learn and deals you do in MF PE are not transferable to your personal investing and wealth management.
Despite deal value and capital raised in MF PE dwarfing the industry in value (whether M&A, fundraising, exits, etc.), it's actually a really f-ing niche space. There are only so many participants at that level globally. The way the underwriting works and how value is created don't bear much relevance to how you can personally build your wealth and grow your own(when your net worth is anywhere between $500k - 5m). It doesn't make you a better investor. In the context of private markets, I'd argue that VC and growth investing teach you more and is more relevant to personal investing than large-cap buyouts.
I only ever read about MF PE asso/VPs burning out and quiting. I have never heard of, met or read here of anyone actually quitting MM PE/growth/VC because it's soul crushing, and physically debilitating. Yeah the MM PE guys and other finance people may complain, but it's not to the degree of absurdity of MF PE. Do you really just think that everyone who quits MF PE is soft, or have you considered that maybe it's really that bad because even the toughest bunch of young and motivated finance people don't last?
6. Never making it to the top
Do you realize that there are thousands of people between you and the executive management teams at the top? You realize making CxO at a Fortune 500 company is much harder than making one at a startup or growth company right? The systems and processes in place are why they are sustaining asset managers. Your value-add is beyond negligible. Using the programmer analogy, you will never be CTO of Apple. Literally, never. Again, I hope one of you prove me wrong in 30 years time. You have a better chance and growth trajectory at a smaller shop with the right strategy and fund performance, where you actually have room to step up and perform. Your MD/Principals will actually value you more, and if you are lucky, they invest in your career development and mentor you like a protege.
7. False sense of success
You think that you have achieved something by going to these places, but no one cares. It's not something to be proud of. No one in the business/social world cares that you work at Apollo. The only people that care are bankers and lawyers that work with Apollo. It's nothing to brag about, and you have not yet achieved anything. It's like being on the practice squad of a Varsity team.
8. Are you a killer?
Guys who last to principal, and eventually make it to MD/Partner dedicate their lives to this and the sole purpose of their existence is to make partner. They will sacrifice anything (including their family time) to ensure things work out. They take the phrase "goal-oriented" to the extreme. Yes, so they will chew out lev fin MDs atand make them cry. They will drown lawyers and consultants with the cocktail of work and unrealistic deadlines. And, yes, they could care less about their associates that will only last 2-4 years, because new fresh ones will come in with a naive hopes anyway.
Prove me wrong when your net worth hits $50m from happily working in MF PE.
When one of you monkeys do a multi-billion dollar buyout as partner of a MF PE and pocket $20-30m in carry a year, and is genuinely happy in 15 years time, please remember to DM me. You can also MS me then. I will treat you to a dinner at Per Se.