Mugged too often - Need advice on exit opportunities


I understand that this may sound stupid to a lot of you, but life is a continuous evaluation of priorities and I have decided that there's only so much I'm willing to give up for my career.

I'm currently a second year analyst at a PE shop in an Emerging Market ... It's the best job I've ever had and I really enjoy it. I'm also living a very comfortable life financially and have great long term incentives.

The issue is that whilst work is great, life isn't. It's difficult to explain how draining it is to not be able to walk the streets out of fear of being stabbed (have already been mugged a few times) and to be constantly surrounded by extreme poverty and misery. I, and others like me, live a life that is always within the perimeters of four walls or car doors. It gets very, very lonely and the people I occasionally do hang out with are so different from the people I'm used to. Not bad different, but we just don't click. I'm currently about 13 hours away from home (Europe) by airplane.

My firm (small shop) thinks I'm here for the long term which was initially my plan also. I am, however, in a position where I have decided that I need to start thinking about a way to move back to Europe without moving back in the ranks or having to move to BO (nothing wrong with BO, just not for me).

My two options are top MBA or lateral to a European PE firm, maybe with a focus on my emerging market. If I go the MBA route, it will have to be in another year or maybe even two before I matriculate. If I go the lateral route, I'm worried that I'll look like a 'hopper', and additionally that the smaller deal size in my current market and the fact that it's not in Europe might not be valuable over there. On the up side, at my current firm I'm given a lot of responsibility. I'm not sure how it works for analysts in other shops but here I am the only person below the partners and part of the investment team of 3 .. me and the partners. Currently I'm working on 5 live deals, and am the lead on most of them. In addition, we do some consulting work on which I actually conduct the meetings and the projects by myself. I have some media coverage because the partners want to make me well known in the industry so I've become the media go-to guy. (got interviewed about crowd funding the other day, had 5 minutes to learn about crowd funding before the interview, talked a lot of shit but the editor made me sound like an expert, hehe).

My role in the investment process:

1. Network and source deals, screen incoming deals and/or get deals from partners (most frequent).
2. Meet with company to prepare business case presentation, set up the presentation to investment team.
3. Investment team gives go ahead, I give a preliminary DD checklist to the co, and I create the operating model together with the CEO/CFO of the target.
4. I draft a 30 page preliminary DD report, incl. proposed structure, milestones, potential returns etc and create an accompanying pitch deck which I and one partners present and "defend" to the investment committee.
5. Investment committee gives go ahead, partner and I draft term sheet and get it signed, or the partner negotiates and then it's signed.
6. We go ahead with full DD, I manage the entire process and negotiate rates etc with externals (legal, HR, technical). I write concluding DD report and partner and I present findings to investment comm. In the entire DD, I do about 80% of the work, and the partners do 20% which is only whenever I need them to help me.

Like I said, I have no real idea what analysts at other shops do, and my guess is that what I learn here can be transferred to Europe ... but MBA would probably give me a better exit?

Also, will it work against me that I'm an analyst by title without BB IBD experience yet I've got quite a lot of responsibility? I think that in the next year here I will have led and closed around 5-10 deals, plus a lot of consulting/advisory work. Will it work against me that this deal experience is for significant minority investments (%) but for small dollar amounts, and in an emerging market where labour laws and IP laws are very different to European ones?

It's unlikely any of you understand my petty first world problem and you probably think I'm trolling, but it is true that we live once, and we only get one shot at this. I would rather be happy and surrounded by loved ones than wealthy and lonely, and I would rather be close to my family before they die. You have no idea how much I miss public transport :)

Comments (29)

May 27, 2014 - 6:32am
DickFuld, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you should just start interviewing and see what happens and use graduate school as a fallback. Personally, if someone told me they were mugged multiple times, I would understand why they want to move. It might not hold you back as much as you think, but the only way to find out for sure is to get out there and see.

Suggestion: Change the title of this post. The title makes you think you're living in New York and you're homesick for Nebraska or similar and you won't get as many responses.

May 27, 2014 - 7:06am
Orkid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hehe, changed !

Don't waste your life only thinking about money and prestige
May 27, 2014 - 9:32am
Khayembii, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd listen to @"DickFuld". Business school takes a year from application to matriculation, and you probably won't start applying this fall anyways. Why not start networking/interviewing now? If nothing bites, then you've got b-school as a fall back.

You've already been in PE so it shouldn't be particularly difficult to lateral. People in Europe will understand why you left if you tell them the truth; that's a completely reasonable thing. Also, does "job hopping" even exist in finance? I was under the impression that everyone job hops until you get to the VP/Principal/Partner level anyways and you're an analyst ffs.

Your experience in emerging markets will be unique. If you want out of emerging markets be careful about applying to EM firms because yeah, you might live in Europe, but they might have you travel back out a lot which it sounds like you don't want to do. Play up the uniqueness of what you've been doing. Deal size shouldn't be a huge issue.

May 27, 2014 - 12:31pm
GMG, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What emerging market are you working from? I lived in one and the perception of danger was much higher than reality.

I found it was just learning about where not to be alone/late at night etc and be as street smart as you can (I used to take my watch off walking home etc). Is it really that bad a place?

  • 1
May 27, 2014 - 1:49pm
reLA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What emerging market are you working from? I lived in one and the perception of danger was much higher than reality.

I found it was just learning about where not to be alone/late at night etc and be as street smart as you can (I used to take my watch off walking home etc). Is it really that bad a place?

He said he already got mugged a few times...pretty real.

May 28, 2014 - 5:45am
GMG, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can get mugged anywhere in the world in almost any part of town if you're there at the wrong time. OP could move to somewhere that wasn't an emerging market and get mugged within a week. A lot of worse things happen in emerging markets than muggings..

I have a decent sized group of South African friends who will admit the place is dangerous but as long as you take the right precautions to shield you from that danger then you'll be just fine.

Additionally, the company should have an interest in the safety of its employees. A girl who I worked with was mugged twice as she walked to/from work and as a result they got her a driver to pick up and drop off each evening (they would have given her a car but I don't think she could drive).

  • 2
Best Response
May 28, 2014 - 6:29am
Orkid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is my issue though. I'm not that fussed about the actual mugging ... it's more a case of: I live on the 18th floor of an apartment block. I wake up in the morning, take the elevator down to my underground parking, drive to work into the underground parking, work, drive home to the underground parking. It's already dark. I'm hungry, I want to go out to grab a bite to eat. There's a nice place 200 metres from where I live. I have to take the car, and i KNOW that I will get harassed by beggars and drug addicts at every red light I cross because of the detour I have to take due to not being able to walk 200 metres. Imagine living in the roughest part of the US, and that's the CBD/FiDi here.

Every house looks like a prison, you hear about at least one murder per day, people rob and mug but feel the need to also stab you or shoot you in the head after they've hijacked your car at a red light. 95% of people here live in extreme poverty and the entire government is incredibly corrupt. The stuff they get away with here, I honestly thought this must be a joke, surely a country cannot be this retarded and keep voting for the same idiots who keep them poor.

It's exhausting. Btw, one of the times I got mugged was actually pretty scary. Was walking (when I was still new to the place) in the street. It was saturday around sunset and plenty of people around. A scarred, rough looking guy was harassing a couple, so I changed sidewalks to avoid him. Mistake, his 5 equally rough looking, scars on their faces and clearly high on homemade meth, were walking on that side. They cut me off, told me to give them money, I panicked and gave one cigarette, they surrounded me, took my cigarettes and started digging in all my pockets. I kept looking at their hands to see if they would try to stab me and tried to hold my shorts up as their digging in my pockets were making them fall off. My stuff fell out of my pockets from their hands, and they started fighting like hyenas over my stuff on the ground, and for a second forgot about me. Truly animal like behaviour. I started walking away and they noticed me so I ran into a food court. I told a couple of lads there, and they said "Yeh, sorry that happened man. I had a friend who was stabbed and killed yesterday. Sucks" ...

I don't want to live between four walls anymore. It's so f*cking lonely and claustrophobic. I miss the subway and evening walks (never even liked these things), and being able to walk somewhere without looking over your shoulder. Honestly, you can walk in the nicest of areas here and you will definitely still have beggars who spit on you because you don't give them money and chances are you will still get mugged.

For anyone that's ever been here/ lived here, you'll easily figure out where I'm based.

Sorry for venting. But I also see the lesson I've learnt. Material-wise, I have it great here. From the outside looking in, I'd seem like a "baller", but it's actually pretty miserable and I miss my tiny student room and walking everywhere. Money is good only if all the other boxes are ticked. Money isn't a substitute for happiness.

Don't waste your life only thinking about money and prestige
  • 4
May 28, 2014 - 11:32am
Improving, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can get mugged anywhere in the world in almost any part of town if you're there at the wrong time. OP could move to somewhere that wasn't an emerging market and get mugged within a week.

That's a very different situation. You could theoretically get shot in Norway, but the probabilities of dying an horrible violent death in DRC, Somalia or even Brazil and Mexico are obviously much, much larger. There are a lot of big emerging market cities where there are no safe times or places to be, as far as getting robbed is concerned. In Sao Paulo, for instance, the richest the neighborhood, the higher the number of armed robberies. Almost every wealthy guy I knew there had an armored car, and yet that doesn't work so well, since some criminals have stronger guns than those armored cars can take (in Rio they use hand grenades). You'll most likely not get killed in most of those countries as long as you 1) don't enter a gang neighborhood, or else they may shoot you dead instantly, which happens from time to time in Rio and 2) when mugged just give what they want quickly and without trouble. Still, it is a very different world for an european, and it is definitely not at all like "anywhere in the world" Even though I think Orkid overfears the stabbing a little bit, I get where he's coming from and I have no doubt that a poor New Yorker or Londoner has a lot more "benefits" than a richer guy in some emerging/frontier markets, especially if this guy is a foreigner, aka easy target.
May 27, 2014 - 2:10pm
Orkid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks ! Another possibility ... The partners are quite well connected in Europe as well and they do all like me. Possibly I could tell them that this country is not for me, and ask if they could possibly help connect me to people?

I need to be careful though ... I don't want to piss anyone off, nor do I want to leave them high and dry IF I get an offer in Europe.

I'll keep bschool as a back up and work on acing the GMAT in September or December (no test centres here so will have to wait until I visit my family), though I do plan on doing an MBA in the near future.

Given my role in the firm, is that transferable to other shops? Or do analysts at other places do more, and get more responsibility?

Don't waste your life only thinking about money and prestige
  • 2
May 27, 2014 - 2:13pm
RepThyBananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Firm should provide security for its employees if you are considering leaving the firm (legit) due to security concerns. At least car service.

Rarely will any of my posts have enough forethought/structure to be taken seriously.
May 27, 2014 - 3:08pm
Orkid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Don't waste your life only thinking about money and prestige
May 27, 2014 - 5:18pm
sportist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

enjoyed reading your post and am actually in a similar position like you (not that i got mugged or anything though)...i am starting in ibd in the us but want to go to a pe shop in europe after...obviously, i know that there won't be any headhunter from back home here so what i do is just go up to some shops while i'm home and try to get my foot in the door that way...similarly for you i'd recommend trying to personally introduce yourself to some shops and tell them about your situation ..

May 28, 2014 - 2:16am
richardclarrk1985, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Street smartness is what you gain after you have experienced such things it does not necessarily have to be you. I t can be someone else as long as it happens in front of us. We can keep that in mind not to take the route we took that day and little by little the process works.

May 28, 2014 - 10:20am
Dingdong08, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You honestly described most of sub-Saharan Africa that I've been to: Lagos, Accra and even down to South Africa. Just leave. No one will hold it against you. It's not like you're unhappy with JP Morgan in London and want to go to GS in London because you don't get along with your colleagues or bosses.

May 28, 2014 - 12:17pm
FormerHornetDriver, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Take note, all readers....

The world is a very dangerous place. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in the U.S. / Western Europe / Parts of Asia should think about how lucky we are to live there and how safe it is, especially by comparison. Of all the time I lived in NYC, I never once feared walking around Manhattan at night, even in the early-morning hours. Of course, that was in the post-Giuliani NYC. Things were a bit different in the 70s and 80s...

May 28, 2014 - 10:09pm
abacab, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't think you live in the same country I lived in for 5-6 months, but sounds like you live and work in the city center area? I'd suggest you move to "expat area" where all the embassies are and most foreigners live. It's safer, easier to walk around, and lot of people around your age to hang out with (embassy people, consultants, other private sectors guys, non profit people, etc.). Commute to work might suck in the morning, but it'll be worth it.

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May 29, 2014 - 1:48am
RunningInTheClouds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've never worked in a third world in any kind of environment where I feared for my safety, but I do know of two analysts that worked together for a commodity trading firm based out of Burma. They were both paid very well but this was in the 90s to early 00 so the area was politically very hostile (some could say it still is) to westerners.

Long story short, one of the analyst ended up coming back to the NY office and the other guy stuck it out in Burma. The guy who stayed in Burma was a pretty cut-throat, no nonsense kind of guy. He bought a gun over there and carried in 24/7, he even told me he shot at some people. I don't know how much of it is true since the other guy had left by then. But they are both doing very well. The guy who stayed in Burma stayed with the same company and is a partner now and the other guy ended up changing firms a couple times but he also doing very well for himself at a HF (not entirely sure how he got to the HF from the commodity track though)

In conclusion, if you have to deal with fear and harassment all the time. I think it really depends on what you want to do. The job market isn't impossible now and it seems to me (in the small sample I've seen relevant to your case) that either way you could potentially be well off.

May 29, 2014 - 3:11am
ricky212, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter—interesting is what matters.
May 29, 2014 - 6:23am
Dark Baron, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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