PE Analysts... What do you do?

With the prevalance of PE Analyst programs on the rise, wondering exactly how the role may differ from a classic Associate position. What does a day-to-day look like? For those in unstructured programs, do you find it challenging to be in an analyst position?

Comments (15)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen

in your experience, are responsibilities clearly bifurcated between analysts and associates? (assuming analysts are always double-staffed w/ an associate)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

Commenting to follow! In a position to potentially be the first analyst hired at a LMM shop, so it would be cool to get some insight on how structured and unstructured programs are conducted. 

  • Analyst 2 in PE - LBOs

First off, confirming the above comments. The role starts off as almost an internship in expectations and then escalates pretty quickly to be an associate role with slightly lower expectations and significantly lower pay. In my experience, PE analysts out of college tend to be quite hungry (and need to be in order to ramp up).

Having recently graduated my LMM/MM program, I would say the following:

  1. Do not expect LMM/MM funds to train you well. They don't really have an incentive to train you as they can just hire a turn-key associate from banking. All of my training was self-initiated and you have to demonstrate that you can be passed the ball before the real engaging work ever gets to you.
  1. Expect the program to be quite lonely. Associates will view you as "too green" to socialize with and "too inexperienced" to do the job well. As a result, you're likely to be ostracized and perhaps hazed - at least for the first six months until you have enough reps to "get it".
  1. Beyond not having infrastructure to absorb you, you will likely be "1/1 analysts". This means you will be the only person benchmarked leading to ever changing demands/expectations and no folks to share camaraderie with. As everyone "outranks you", do not be surprised if you get staffed across multiple teams and were passed on work far outside of your immediate team (without training/guidance) with a "figure it out" attitude.
  1. Optionality after this program is a lot slimmer than banking. Do not expect to be able to move upmarket to an UMM/MF shop. This is the exception, not the rule. And, if that's your ultimate goal, know that jumping to the buyside without going through banking will disadvantage you - especially for Oncycle processes. In the offcycle, you may shine but you will have to convince HH to give you looks.

In summary, this role isn't as comparable to IB as you may think. You will get a decent number of reps (but not as many as in banking). You'll have much better WLB (but absorb inefficient admin work across teams). More importantly, you're network will likely be very small and training will be subpar. While I was able to learn a lot (developing a strong investor mindset) and received a great upmarket exit, I would not generally recommend this path unless one has a compelling reason to do this AND can utilize the greater downtime to train/take advantage of the better WLB in one's personal life.

Again this is only my experience and may be different across geographies and strategies, but hopefully this was helpful.

Best of luck!

UsernameUsername96, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Any idea on what turnover looks like for analysts who start in PE as well as if there is ever a similar type of 2 year protection program in place i.e. IB?

It sounds like if there is inefficient training and the expectation to perform the same job as an associate, there's a lot of sink or swim there with the risk that you could just be replaced with someone who has experience in banking. Combined with lower pay, loneliness, etc., doesn't seem like you are being set up for success or a good time.

  • 1
quantmonkey13, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Depends on the size of your firm. Everyone's experience is different too. For me, I do the things that the associate doesn't want to do, or he will have me do the work first and then just edit my work to send it up. I work at a LMM firm.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs

Do you find yourself doing all of the work or is there a somewhat of an equitable split (with the understanding that the associate has a bit less to take the time to check through your work)? I have heard of shops where the associate just outsources everything to the analyst creating an inefficient layer.

Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have worked at multiple portcos and interacted with several analysts / associates. The first comment is accurate in my experience - the analysts did basically the same stuff associates did, and if the associate needed help (not enough bandwidth or possibly just didn't want to do something), the analyst would step in.

My personal experience has been associates are much more polished and just "better" at the job. Makes sense as the associates I've worked with primarily came from investment banking backgrounds, but there was one analyst I worked closely with who began his career at the PE firm as an analyst and was promoted to associate during my time working with him.

Milosh Sander, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First of all, it should be noted that the role of a PE (Private Equity) assistant and analyst are different positions with their own requirements and responsibilities. A PE analyst is usually responsible for analyzing companies that may be potential investment targets, as well as studying market trends and opportunities for making a successful investment. In turn, an assistant usually provides support to various departments, including finance, accounting, marketing, and others. Day in and day out, a PE analyst's work may include collecting and analyzing data on companies, conducting detailed research on their financial performance, negotiating and providing support in various projects. 
Unstructured programs are difficult to work in, as they may require more self-discipline and organization from the analyst. Nevertheless, the increasing number of PE Analyst programs indicates a growing need for such specialists, so work in this area can be quite promising and profitable for those with the appropriate knowledge and skills.

  • Intern in IB - Cov

Terrible Chat GPT answer.

  • 6
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs

As someone who started in a PE analyst program and left for another PE firm in oncycle I can assure you if you are a good analyst it is the exact same job for less money. If you are not a good analyst you will be doing terrible admin work and not get the live deal looks. Regarding recruiting, you have to gain trust with the headhunters by performing well in their processes and if you have the reps you should show well and firms will start to see you much more as a plug and play associate versus a banking analyst. Wasn't an issue getting interviews once I started showing well to both HH's and their clients.

Elfarmasista, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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