No Deal Experience as Second Year

Hi everyone,

I know deal experience for PE recruitment isn't necessarily a deal breaker since most will be in the same boat but I know this typically the case as a first year. I spent a year in a BB group with no deal flow and just lateraled to a top group at a top BB (lateral move was set pretty far in advance but didn't start till recently and was told there won't be a lot in the pipeline for awhile). If I still have no deal experience, is this a deal breaker as a second year recruiting on-cycle? I know that as a second year they expect you to be more polished and be able to speak about your experiences better.

My group historically has top PE placement (almost everyone goes to MFs) but group has been hit especially hard with the recent market. Are PE firms willing to take a chance on a second year with no deal experience since they know the group will eventually have a ton of deal flow once things pick up? Am interested in UMM/MF PE firms if it makes a difference. I have the grades, SAT, target school qualifications as well.

Comments (7)

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Aug 5, 2022 - 1:56pm

Announcing/closing a deal isn't important (luck of the draw) but having 'deal experience' that you can speak intelligently to is very important.

Think of it from an employer standpoint, if an analyst has no deal experience what merit do would they bring in as an associate? And if you don't have ANY deal experience what would you talk about in the interview? Moving logos?

With that being said, in all reality many people don't have meaningful deal experience (esp 1st years or lateral hires such as yourself) you just need to spin and BS it and craft a story down 

Most Helpful
Aug 5, 2022 - 5:40pm
Alt+A+W+T, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good thread, I'll bite. This is a concern by many analysts, along with myself in the past, that I would like to dispel.Was in a similar situation (2 yrs nothing closed). You'd be shocked at how quickly things can change & bang - you have 2-3 deals closed in the span of 6-12 months. It could happen in a multitude of ways. Sr analyst leaves for PE, you take over his deal that is in diligence & likely to close. Other deal in tight diligence, about to close, is crushing the current team & you get pulled in for additional support. 1-2 sudden staffings w/ quick timelines or inbound buyer interest in hand.You just have to keep raising your hand for deals, be intelligently aware of potential good ones, and cleverly convey your interest to your staffer to put you on them.Majority is luck, but as others have mentioned, it is more important that you learn enough from the deals you are part of (eventual close or not) to convey them in an interview setting.My take, is as long as you reach the dataroom opening / analysis / model creation stage, that's good enough for a resume bullet.For interviews, are you able to speak well about the business, the technical analyses that were done (frankly whether you did them or not) & diligenced heavily by buyers (AND why), and can you put the pieces together to convey YOUR unique opinion to whether it was a good investment opportunity? Those are the 3 things imo that you should stay lazer focused on getting down for interviews - as opposed to where you stack up to your peers on numbers (deals closed) that arn't 100% in your control. I've known plenty of "great" analysts that sat on marquee deals in my group that could not fundamentally explain what each business did or if they thought it was a good deal. From a buyside interview perspective, investment acumen / interest / curiosity is much more interesting in a candidate whereas # of deals mentioned as closed is more of a "ok, good for you".I saw it then & moreso now after making the jump to the BS. Investors care way more about your unique critical thinking ability on investment opportunity and, if anything, are turned off if you can't fundamentally understand the business; especially if it was a badass closed deal that everyone has heard of. It's part of their day to day job & how they're measured - can you succinctly distill a business / opp to understand & convey if it's worth investing in.It's the harder skill / accomplishment to obtain & takes a longer time & more diligent effort to develop. I've seen a number of instances where Analyst #1 sits on tons of revered deals that close, didn't care about the business / craft of investing, and fizzled out after years due to lack of true passion vs. Analyst #2 that got on some, struggled early, but was genuinely curious about business, markets, investing - that took what deals he/she got, understood each deeply, and used that knowledge to convince great funds to hire them. Be the later.

Don't break yourself on the way to making yourself
  • 5
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 5, 2022 - 9:46pm

How far in advance did you set the lateral, and what was. That like?

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Aug 6, 2022 - 2:30pm

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