PE WLB Expectations

Hey all, I'm an AN1 at a BB. Trying to map out plans down the line and thinking about recruiting for PE.


If I recruit for PE (at a fund that is not MF nor UMM) and avoid funds with reputationally bad WLB...


  • Will I be able to expect no holiday work, minimal weekend work, and a predictable sleep schedule?

Willing to take a pay cut for PE (and go to a smaller fund), but I want to make sure these expectations are attainable at some places. Understand MF / UMM is IB 2.0 but I'm hoping there are smaller funds that are very different from IB


 

How is a BB analyst asking something this blatantly incompetent? You can read literally hundreds of threads on this site on this topic...

  • Will I be able to expect no holiday work, minimal weekend work, and a predictable sleep schedule?

This sounds like you have seriously done ZERO research into PE. I realize this is probably a bit on edge but honestly given your job it is just ungodly dumb and lazy on your part to even ask this question.

Here's 850+ results for WLB on the PE forum. Start reading.

 

How is a BB analyst asking something this blatantly incompetent? You can read literally hundreds of threads on this site on this topic...

  • Will I be able to expect no holiday work, minimal weekend work, and a predictable sleep schedule?

This sounds like you have seriously done ZERO research into PE. I realize this is probably a bit on edge but honestly given your job it is just ungodly dumb and lazy on your part to even ask this question.

Here's 850+ results for WLB on the PE forum. Start reading.

SETTLE DOWN

 

Short answer to all of your questions is no. Transaction oriented work does not have a pause button.

 

It will be the same as banking - but with a lot less down time and a lot more stress due to more responsibility / real world impact of mistakes. Maybe fewer fire drills but the volume of work that requires you to be fully paying attention is significant and you spend all day on calls so it’s hard to actually start working on your deliverables until 6/7 PM most days. You do learn a lot more in PE than in IB though. 

 

First year and really getting overwhelmed by the workload. Hardest part has been the back to back meetings from 9 to 5/6 everyday where we are expected to have cameras on and must attend even if not talking. This has been a drastic shift from banking where only needed to join calls where you would need to engage. Any advice on juggling the sheer number of workstreams while being on calls? Have been going to bed at 1/2 am every single day. Hours wise has been actually worse than banking but also a lot more mentally draining

 

First year and really getting overwhelmed by the workload. Hardest part has been the back to back meetings from 9 to 5/6 everyday where we are expected to have cameras on and must attend even if not talking. This has been a drastic shift from banking where only needed to join calls where you would need to engage. Any advice on juggling the sheer number of workstreams while being on calls? Have been going to bed at 1/2 am every single day. Hours wise has been actually worse than banking but also a lot more mentally draining

I've noticed that many people who make it to Associate/Management are spending about the same number of hours across all industries (doesn't matter if you're Accounting, Finance, Medicine, Law).  The leadership teams had meetings 8-5 M-F and spent evenings and weekends catching up on 'work'.  When I asked the VP why work so many hours, he said, "We're paid for our availability and to execute - there is no free lunch."  

There are previous threads on WSO within the PE area that demonstrates that the hours do get 'worse', but I feel this is team dependent too.  Are you able to talk to a mentor regarding workload or how to optimize certain tasks/agendas? 

 
Most Helpful

It is extremely hard and I am personally awful at multitasking, especially when I am accountable for the information on the call.

I think one of the most important thing you can start to do is learning how to prioritize and organize yourself (“getting things done” by David Allen has some good tips on this particularly around inbox organization). I personally organized my inbox based on the stage a deal was in (NDA, IOI, LOI, Purchase Agreement, Dead) and created a sub folder for each specific deal (eg: project onyx) that I moved through each of those categories to keep track of what was on my plate. i created lots of reminders on my calendar for when IOI deadlines were so I knew when to follow up with my team if I hadn’t heard any feedback. 

I also tried to push as much work as possible to my Saturday / Sunday and basically just accepted that I would work the entire day every Sunday and at least the morning on Saturday on deliverables or tasks that need uninterrupted time - things like modeling or reviewing CIMs / NDAs (which honestly get easier and faster with time once you realize what your firm actually gives a shit about) or Portco “science projects” that partners love to ask you to do.

Jira, the project management tool, is also pretty helpful I’ve found in getting organized with what I need to do - it’s basically a to do list on steroids. The more ahead you can get on certain things, the less likely you are to end up in a jam that results in an all nighter, and ultimately survival and longevity in any finance job is about minimizing your sleep deprivation so you have the energy to keep trudging ahead - better to go home every night at 11 consistently than to go home at 4 or 5 AM one night every week. 
 

Ultimately though there is no way to avoid the fact that you will not actually start doing your actual job until 5-6 PM at the earliest and you probably won’t leave until much later. Given that, sometimes it’s better to just focus on paying attention to the call (so you actually learn / know what is going on) and accepting that you will have to work really late every day. The faster you get up to speed on your firm’s investment philosophy and the steps in the deal process, the quicker you will be able to figure out what is actually urgent and what can be put off to the weekend. One of my friends made it to partner at a very solid firm at 32 and he attributes it entirely to firmly committing to working a full day (9 AM - 10/11 PM) every single day of the week (including weekends) and avoiding all nighters / super late nights that crush your health and energy levels as much as possible - whether this is necessary or appealing or worth the sacrifice is your choice, I’m just sharing the paradigm in which he lived his life. 
 

Despite my title, I got out of PE after 2 years and went to corporate. There was a similar dynamic where you’re on calls all day long (and often you actually have to contribute to all of them) but it is FAR more acceptable to cancel or skip calls if you have an urgent deliverable and it’s also acceptable to say you haven’t gotten to something because you were tied up on calls all day. This is true even for senior people who work a bit more in the evenings but that is mostly just responding to emails vs working on deliverables. I personally am much happier now that I can reliably enforce boundaries, which is something you will never be able to do at any level in PE. But that’s just me and what you decide to do after PE is your choice. 

 

As many others have pointed out, what you described is not realistic in PE no matter the size of firm. I would try looking at long-only equity firms as they have comparable “business analysis” workflows as PE with a more predictable work schedule. The flip side is that it’s a much more research oriented job vs. PE which is more oriented around meetings (w/ management teams, 3rd party vendors, bankers, IC, portcos, etc.) and some data analysis / modeling.

 

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