MM/UMM PE Analyst Exits

Hi all, I'm an incoming summer 2022 analyst at a MM/UMM PE firm that is not in NYC (think Audax/Charlesbank/GoldenGate/BDT/GTCR/etc). My goal is to join a MF PE associate program (please, no lectures/comments on why I'm prestige chasing). I'm thinking about trying to lateral FT to a top IB group (GS Classics, MS M&A/MC, EVR, PJT, CVP, etc.) and am wondering whether that is a good idea / better way of reaching my goal.

I was wondering what the difficulty of on-cycle MF PE recruiting is for someone in my situation. My questions/concerns are as follows.

1: How difficult is it internally to tell your boss you're going to do on-cycle recruiting 3-6 months into your job (given how early on-cycle is happening)? Assume I will fulfill the analyst commitment I have made to my firm.

2: Post-COVID, will location be a huge barrier while recruiting? Will PE firms be comfortable with conducting all of my interviews remotely or will I have to fly out at the last minute?

3: Are analysts in the groups that I listed above considered to be stronger/weaker candidates than the IB groups I listed above? 

There's not a lot of information out there regarding this so would appreciate a perspective from someone who is a current/former MM/UMM PE analyst. Thank you!

Comments (38)

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 8:17pm

Thanks for your answer. So you think a GTCR/Audax PE analyst is a stronger candidate than a GS TMT/FIG, MS M&A, or EB analyst for a MF PE Associate role? I think you're right as well given that 1: these firms hire exclusively from targets so education + GPA is strong, 2: you get buy-side experience which is more applicable than sell-side experience, and 3: you do much more modeling and no PowerPoint. However I still feel somewhat uncomfortable with this decision. Not sure if I've just seen a bunch of prospects/interns regurgitate stuff on this forum, but I think issue #3 (perceived intelligence/strength of candidate) is what is holding me back. Any thoughts on that?

Also, what about communicating to my boss that I'll be leaving after 2 years. Is that a big deal? It seems like at banks you recruit openly and I'm worried recruiting secretly will handicap me.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
May 10, 2022 - 2:42am

My 2c but I don't think this take is accurate for a number of reasons. 

1) all the top banking groups you mentioned above also recruit from "target schools" to the point where that isn't going to be a major differentiating factor in MF PE recruiting

2) sure, maybe at some BB groups much of the work you're doing won't be LBO-specific, but many BB/EB groups work heavily with top sponsors on both the buyside and the sell side. That diversity of experience is valuable

3) it's simply not accurate that you will be doing more modeling as a MM PE analyst than an EB analyst. At the PE firm, your associate (who likely worked in banking) will probably own the model. At the end of the day, the reason banking is valued as an experience prior to PE is because of the sheer number of reps you end up doing. I question to what degree that same experience exists as a MM PE analyst

4) there is absolutely plenty of PPT work in PE - sure maybe it's not putting together a MP or CIP, but you'll put together decks for both portcos and your firms investment committee

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 10, 2022 - 12:59pm

You seem to have a good knowledge of the PE landscape, within the names OP mentioned, would you be able to group and stratify which firms are better than others - in my mind they were in a similar tier?

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 10, 2022 - 1:10pm

From someone working at a competing UMM/MF, BDT (raising $13B flagship) and GTCR (raised $7.5B flagship + 2B growth) are a cut above the rest and are considered some of the best UMM right now. GGC had historically been very good, but I'm not sure what the experience looks like now as a lot of top performers have spun off (Lone View, Arcline, Percheron, etc.). Seems like attrition is high at the senior level which is never good but I guess it speaks to the credibility of the partners to fundraise

Audax and Charlesbank look at more MM assets. Not sure about Charlesbank, but I had a few friends work at Audax out of college who got crushed but learned a lot since their entire thesis hinges on buy and builds

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 9, 2022 - 8:28pm

Speaking generally, the goal of these analyst programs is to retain associates, so teams likely won't be supportive of recruiting (especially that soon into the program). Not having a supportive team makes recruiting way harder, and this obviously varies at banks but you're always going to a client when you leave banking for PE so they try to keep things on good terms, whereas leaving PE for PE is going to a competitor.

For your other questions, there just isn't a big enough pipeline to give answers. Looking at previous analysts from each firm can give you a sense, but data size is so small it's hard to differentiate "no GTCR analyst at kkr means KKR doesn't hire from GTCR analyst program" vs "no GTCR has tried to recruit at KKR for location/culture/interest reasons".

I personally had a MM PE and IB FT offers and chose IB. I imagine that it's possible to go from an UMM analyst program to a MF, but it's just not a well-trodden path. Every MF could fill their class with qualified IB candidates from top banks many times over, so why take a risk from what has worked historically? Also, you'll need to go through the headhunter process, so you're also taking a gamble that the headhunters will even elect to put your resume in front of a MF

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  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 9:09pm

I help with recruiting at a MF and view PE analysts extremely favorably. The reason why you see more IB candidates is because PE analyst programs just haven't been around as long and they usually only take a handful of kids, so past data points for exits are unsubstantive. There are hundreds of bankers at top groups on the street. Evercore NY alone has ~60 kids recruiting per year. Coming from a UMM fund differentiates you from the pack. Now, you may face some barriers when it comes to the HH that cover your fund, but I think that should be easy enough to get around. 

I don't know if it's because of COVID and WFH, but the first year banking candidates I've seen this past cycle were extremely weak. Although I would say that there is a big gap between Charlesbank/Audax vs. GGC/BDT/GTCR. Assuming its the latter, if you already knew how to do the job, you'd probably have gotten the offer over the bankers 10/10 times

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 9:12pm

I agree with this. I'm at a MF and think this way as well. UMM PE analysts are usually extremely qualified but not many want to give up their seats to move upstream. It simply isn't worth rebuilding goodwill for another 2 years unless you really wanted to move up market.

  • Analyst 1 in PE - Other
May 9, 2022 - 9:28pm

I'm not OP but appreciate your write up. Can you comment on how you view MF Private Credit analysts? Thank you!

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 9:38pm

OP here and I would give you 10 SBs if I could. If UMM analyst wins 10/10 vs. EB analyst, then what about Charlesbank/Audax vs. EB analyst? I know it's hard to quantify, but is that a more even split or do you still favor the PE analyst? Just trying to gauge the differential between UMM and MM. Thanks!

May 24, 2022 - 11:33am
BofaDeezSecurities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How big is the gap between Charlesbank/Audax and GGC/BDT/GTCR?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 9, 2022 - 9:59pm

Am a first year PE analyst at one of the firms you mentioned and got a MF offer during on-cycle; you'll have to be stealthy about recruiting but it is 100% doable and I had no issues during interviews

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 10:03pm

can you explain how you dealt with the location/distance issue? Were you able to recruit only because of WFH/COVID? Did you have to fly out to interview or did they do all of the interviews over Zoom? Also, did you do on-cycle or off-cycle?

  • Intern in PE - Other
May 11, 2022 - 6:48pm

bump re: location/distance issue for on-cycle recruiting

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 13, 2022 - 7:55pm

would also love to hear how you recruited for MF roles (presumably in NYC) while being in Boston/Chicago/SF

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
May 14, 2022 - 4:18am

am a first year UMM/MF associate in SF and also curious about location issues since I'd like to move back to NYC. Were firms willing to conduct 100% of the interviews over zoom or did you have to fly out? If so, how did you do that secretly?

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 10:41pm

All five firms mentioned are well regarded MM/UMM firms, so I'd first focus on landing a return offer following the internship before thinking about full time recruiting. This is a smaller industry than you think (everyone who is making hiring decisions at MF knows multiple people at each of the 5 firms you mentioned). If the firm you're interning at doesn't think extremely highly of you / don't get a return offer (even if you decide want to go to banking full time) I would probably rule out a future MF associate offer. 

In general as someone who has recruited associates out of PE analyst programs, they aren't all created equally and some firms are still trying to figure out what to do with analysts. Of the five you listed, Audax and BDT have the longest history of hiring out of undergrad with Golden Gate starting a few years back and Charlesbank/GTCR more recently I believe. Most people tend to stay following analyst programs at those firms if they're good given the goodwill built / faster career progression, but I would put the candidates who can land these roles generally ahead of someone who does a banking analyst program.  

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
May 9, 2022 - 11:02pm

I'd also add that on the 'prestige hunting' piece, I'd highly recommend that you do some self reflection after the summer regarding what you are good at / what parts of the job you like doing. Not all PE is the same and the work you might be doing at a MM/UMM is very different than that of a MF. The stage of the companies can vary where the job can be much more portfolio growth oriented than purely transactional. If you like that and are good at it, perhaps MM is a better longer term fit. If not, perhaps MF. I'd advise using the summer to figure that out and then getting advice from someone you trust / hopefully a good mentor from your internship who can give you an honest and unbiased view.

  • Incoming Analyst in PE - Other
May 13, 2022 - 3:01pm

thanks for the detailed post. How important is the "extremely" part of the "think extremely highly of you" sentence? Is being a top quartile analyst / being offered an associate promotion enough? 

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
May 14, 2022 - 11:52pm

what is there to bump? Do you have a specific question? 

May 23, 2022 - 11:38am
BofaDeezSecurities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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