Random Things I Wished I Knew About PE

Mostly meant to be a cathartic shitpost that I'm typing in lieu of going to therapy, but I hope it resonates with the minority of this forum who aren't the insufferable fuckers that are constantly posting Tier threads. Bring on the monkey shit, but the real ones will know there's some truth here.

1. A crucial skill nobody talks about is the art of killing a deal

Harder to do this in banking because you're client-facing and literally can't say no…but in PE, you actually pass on most deals. The tricky part is when a Partner has his eyes set on some fucked opportunity that doesn't fit your mandate and/or is just kind of a shitty company overall. Maybe they're enamored by the Management team, or they think the market is going up, but you know this flaming heap of garbage will NEVER get through IC, no matter how many numbers you make up.

Your dipshit, ass-licking VP or Principal probably agrees with you privately, but they'll still go ahead and create a bunch of work to "find an angle" or "get convction" in this piece of shit, and you know what that means? More work for you.

So, you just have to continuously plant the seeds of doubt in each of the team members – continue to show them certain analyses and find new logical holes in the deal (without doing too much work) until these fuckers can't defend it any longer. "Yeah, I think this opportunity is attractive because of [x & y], but I think the gating items we need comfort on are [3 things you know the Company DOESN'T have]. I think [some IC member] will really push on this, and if we can't back this up [we can't], it'll be super hard to get this through"

Now your mid-levels are getting more nervous and don't want to get burned by the IC / spend a bunch of DD money on a foregone conclusion, and you just pray they convince the Partner to stand down. Another crisis avoided and hopefully a weekend or two saved. Keep in mind, you were supportive of this deal, but wanted to proactively flag the gating items – you were truly a value-added bottom-of-the-totem pole team member
 

2. Shorter hours but more stress

This is obvious for most in the industry, but yes my hours are, on average, less than banking. On a live deal, yes everything is fucked and you're probably pushing 100+ hrs, but on average I work less. However, I didn't give a single shit about what I did in banking. Seriously, like you turn comments, and when the comments are turned, you're done. Zero fucks given. First year of PE, people ain't checking shit. They might spot check that things make sense (which you obviously should do as well), but you could have a small bust in your operating model for weeks and not realize because you have a bunch of other shit to worry about.

That kind of shit eats at you, since deal teams are leaner and you're fielding a lot of "why" questions. It's actually fucking stressful and especially when you're operating on zero sleep, are doing the Memo + model, managing 3rd party DD, and are expected to have a coherent view, it's just extremely mentally taxing even if you don't really give two shits about the job
 

3. Many times, promotion is a game of attrition

The people that get promoted to Sr. Assoc / VP, simply put, give more of a shit. It's also important to not be retarded, but typically those people have been weeded out at this point. At this stage, you just have to have a great attitude and seriously act like you give a shit and suck some dick. You know those people that circulate industry articles to the team that they found "interesting" just for the sake of sending that article around?

Yeah, those types of people. Same people that are constantly networking, talking about work when you're at Happy hour trying to get shitfaced, etc. It's not that hard to move up so long as you just do what you're "supposed" to do, give a shit, and honestly just express a desire to not leave.
 

4. Sr. People aren't as smart as they're made out to be

The sheer amount of asinine questions that Partners have asked in Management meetings that show that they actually have zero clue about what the company does, is quite frankly embarrassing. Literally sometimes basic fucking questions that are answered on p. 1 of the teaser, or p.1 of that overview deck I sent them that they didn't read (surprise surprise).

This one actually isn't a huge deal – obviously the partners have a shitload going on but it is fucking hysterical to hear the CEO of a company, whom the Partner has "known" or has "connectivity into," explain their solution offering for the 5th time like they're speaking to a 5 y.o.
 

5. Detailed modelling is overrated

The vast majority of models are just fucking wrong when you compare actual performance vs. what you modeled. Purely a tool for CYA / liability management. It's such a tragedy to build out some monster model with a bunch of made-up drivers for every line item, just for the MD to want to sensitize Rev CAGR or EBITDA CAGR. You're telling me that you don't really give a shit about the product mix shift from x to y that results in +30 bps to IRR? Great, because for some godforsaken reason the VP wanted to sensitize this shit for "back-pocket" purposes and I burned another late night. Oh, and the output page in the IC deck showing all these useless sensitivities got put in the back or killed because, guess what, nobody gives a shit.

Have seen some PE models (or GE) that were literally revenue growth + % margin assumptions, etc, and they've actually been way more accurate. Obviously depending on leverage, etc, you want to get granular with debt items, but most super-complicated operating builds are garbage-in, garbage-out, and everyone pretends they know shit they don't
 

6. Good luck getting into H/S from PE if you're overrepresented

This isn't the main point of my post or meant to be offensive in any way, but it's something that's known in the industry, and B School consultants will say the same thing. Unless you're god's gift to earth or get a good roll of the die, it is disproportionately fucking hard to get into H/S if you're a white/Asian/Indian male in finance, and that's just a reality. No matter what your stats are, there are a million overachieving, overrepresented PE Associates competing for limited spots they've allocated. Fact of the matter is, if you have equivalent stats / ECs, you're better off working in pretty much any other industry, if you strongly want to go to these schools
 

7. Getting staffed on an underperforming PortCo is literally the worst thing ever

Imagine you just start out and you're taking over PortCo coverage from a departing associate – super exciting opportunity to learn the ins and outs of a company and get close to management, right? No, because that Company is underperforming its underwritten case by 20% and every quarter is a clusterfuck of questions coming from the Partners & LPs, frantically emailing the management team to find "adjustments" to show co-investors that things aren't actually that bad, tons of ad-hoc analyses for why the Company is so shitty (or vice versa), and constant tense interactions with Management who probably will grow to hate your guts. Lead partner on the deal is stressed, mid-levels are stressed, management is stressed, and you're the one putting together all this work for this piece of shit Company you didn't even help underwrite. It's truly a nightmare and I wish this fate on nobody.

Anyway, that's all folks. If I get sufficiently pissed off again I might write a part 2 shitpost.

Comments (76)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 23, 2021 - 12:54am

As an incoming PE analyst this is extremely helpful. Regarding the last point, what would you advise someone to do if they are dealt the responsibility of overseeing a trash PortCo?

  • Works at Other
Dec 1, 2021 - 9:10am

I've seen a senior VP quit to run away from one, so...

tbf he didn't make that investment and went on the record being strongly against it, but got shafted it anyway.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 23, 2021 - 9:08am

Is PE really investing? Seems like a sales role at the end of the day. 

Most Helpful
Nov 23, 2021 - 9:59am
overandout, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A lot of truth in this, and I liked the delivery (it was amusing). That said, I do want to hit on two points that this post kind of makes light of, but that I actually think are legitimately important things for more junior people to understand (even if they move into something other than PE).

First, on point number 1, the art of killing the deal thing is true and it can be frustrating. But while "Keep in mind, you were supportive of this deal, but wanted to proactively flag the gating items – you were truly a value-added bottom-of-the-totem pole team member" was written in jest, it's actually true. Being willing to flag things that are contradictory to the thesis that someone senior to you is pushing is actually an absolutely critical skill, and doing it in a way that is elegant and doesn't piss people off is going to pay dividends in your career. So don't sleep on this one, and don't throw your hands up and say "fuck it, the partner wants to push forward so I won't voice my views." Maintaining that integrity is one of the most important muscles you can build.

Second, on point number 4, getting comfortable asking idiotic questions in serious situations is another extremely important skill. I ask, on average, about five absolutely moronic questions a day. I do it in internal meetings, I do it in management presentations, I do it on diligence calls. The reality is that no one knows everything, and often a lot of other people don't realize they don't understand things until you ask your stupid question and they say to themselves "actually I can't answer that either." Sometimes, yes, you ask something you really should have known and it's momentarily embarrassing. It is way more embarrassing not to ask the question, and then have someone else ask you two weeks later when you are deeper in a process and be incapable of responding. I also don't think this is the reason you should do it, but if you have a reputation for asking the simple questions, you are actually building a reputation of making sure you understand what's going on. So what seems reputationally damaging ends up being reputationally helpful (plus the obvious benefit of actually knowing this stuff when the questions do inevitably come up later).

Anyway, just my two-sense - not meant to interpret an obvious venting / joke-tone post as 100% serious, but it made me think of those two points that I think are useful for others to appreciate.

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Nov 23, 2021 - 10:14am
m8, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think further to your 2nd point (original point 4) - I ask questions all the time that I know the answer to, because I've read the materials beforehand. But I want to hear the answer from the source, see if there is some nuance to it, how is the delivery, etc... You can actually learn a lot from that, in my opinion.

Nov 23, 2021 - 8:59pm
overandout, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fully agree, there is a lot of potential value to be gained from doing this strategically. I will also sometimes ask the same question several times throughout a process to see if the delivery or logic changes, it can help weed out BS if you are not sure how strongly to believe a particular point or rationale.

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Dec 16, 2021 - 5:31pm
truelondoner, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I love the posts and I think they are true. My partner fell in love with a not good investment.

After several consecutive atttempts, ALL IC members killed the deal.

It could have been stopped at the initial stage....

-- Alpha Seeker --
  • 2
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:19am
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Slower day (thank fuck for those Pilgrims) so can be responsive:

Are you considering exiting? If so, to what?

Yeah I'm gone when my program is over, maybe sooner. Not good for my mental health, and it's starting to show in my non-work personality (more cynical, if you couldn't tell). Would consider Growth Equity - I like finance itself and I'm pretty good at it. The things that I really dislike about PE deals is the level of granularity you have to go during diligence - it sometimes makes me cringe when I spend disproportionate time asking Companies super detailed questions that they can barely answer, mostly because I have to ask or because I know we'll get burned if I don't, and which have no material impact in whether or not the investment is actually good. Would rather diligence the market, build a simple model, and spend more time as a partner to the mgt team.

Regarding the last point, what would you advise someone to do if they are dealt the responsibility of overseeing a trash PortCo?

What's been your experience on dealing with co-investors if a portco isn't going well? Sometimes internally the PE fund may be able to make peace with a poor decision but I imagine it's tough to say that to co-investors?!

This is purely my experience but lots of times there's gonna be some underlying animosity between the Partners/VPs and the Company management. Unfortunately, you're dealing with a lot of communications to ask for data, etc, so you're the one who's gonna have to play nice. Imagine you miss another quarter and Partner now wants to see [some made-up data/metric that doesn't exist or would take the fuckers literal days to pull together]? Yeah you're the one asking / managing that workstream, so figure out how to get to the "answer" of that ask without fucking over the Company. Like literally, sometimes I'll dial up the CFO or the finance guy and say, "look, at the end of the day, we just want some idea about x - let's brainstorm how to get there with what we have available." As an Associate you need to be good to Management or else your life will be fucking hard since you're pretty much asking them for shit all the time

Also, you just have to constantly tell yourself that this shit isn't on you. Look, I'm not getting carry allocation so I just have to mentally tell myself I do not give a fuck. Lots of people in finance end up feeling they need to take an outsized sense of ownership when they don't, and if it's something outside your control, it is what it is. I get my paycheck and do what I have to do

For co-investors...yeah it's super annoying, and my experience is that you're doing two sets of reporting. Internally you can be more realistic, but for co-investors, you wouldn't believe the amount of pro forma adjustments I'd be making to shit. Feel like a sell-side banker. At the end of the day though, they want you to spoon feed them that shit, because they can't look bad in front of their committee either. Everything is cover your ass, and that continues to hold in PE and co-investors. Also, those guys aren't nearly as familiar with a deal as the GP, and in my experience, they don't want to be. It is SO much mentally easier for them to take back whatever shit you fed them back to their committee and pin it on you, which is why we try so hard to convince them that a POS PortCo is actually doing OK. Also, for a lot of co-investors, you're doing them a massive favor. No-fee, no-carry returns with 10% of the work? Sorry bro, you're bound to get burned at some point

Is PE really investing? Seems like a sales role at the end of the day. 

C'mon bro - pretty much everything is sales at the end of the day. But yea, we sell shit to IC to get it approved, sell that idea to LPs to raise more money, etc etc. I mean my guy, by the time your shitty investment gets realized you've probably raised at least 2 funds by now and are eating mgt fees. Worse comes to worst? Flip that PortCo from Fund I to Fund III, lock in your 2.5x and your carry, and keep holding. By god it's all a Ponzi scheme if you think about it, but again, it eez what it eez

Incoming 2022 summer MF associate - this is incredibly helpful and much appreciated. Mind if I PM you?

Sure but we both Anon? I don't post nearly enough to know how to PM when you're Anon

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Nov 24, 2021 - 8:18am

can you speak to the type of add-back / normalisations you are doing? 

presumably normalising for Covid-19 down turn in revenue, additional costs related to Covid-19, one-offs....but those seem quite standard. Anything that is really "crazy" and ridiculuous? 

Many thanks

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Nov 29, 2021 - 1:25pm

I am at a PE Fund of Fund doing co-investments and I fully agree with this.

There have been times when the PE fund will bring us a shitty deal and the MD wants to co-invest bc of some non-rational factor. Really annoying! When I started I was given the responsibility of overlooking a slice of our co-invest portfolio. Almost 80% of them have been underperforming for the last 2 years and it's really annoying watching PE funds avoided through questions and giving us made-up numbers.

The only thing I cant complain about is working less than PE fund Associates.

To the OP,  in case it matters to you, we understand that it's not the Associate's fault.

On flipping the PortCo from Fund I to Fund III, I can confirm this. I recently did an internal analysis and we have seen almost 80% increase in "Fund I to Fund III" type deals at cray valuations since late 2020.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:40am

Too good buddy lol. One question though - mind listing pros and cons of staying in IB Vs PE? Been having to go through this decision and was actually told the hours aren't 'always' better in PE (sometimes worse even on average esp at bigger funds) and dependent on the fund ur technically getting paid more in IB these days until maybe carry kicks in, which is a separate convo in itself. Just curious to hear ur opinion

Nov 23, 2021 - 3:39pm
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:
curiousgeorge79

Regarding point #6, is that true for M-7 and T-15 as well?

OP here (turned off anon).

In my experience, no. H/S are just a different breed completely - not only is it so much more competitive, they tend to look for fundamentally different things than the rest of the M7. You end up seeing tons of MM PE people going to Wharton, and then a smattering of the other M7s. But a lot of times it's self-selection...many people who do HSW or bust end up going to W or not to B School at all, even if they get into another top school.

Nov 23, 2021 - 12:45pm
ib369, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sounds like you aren't happy and should really consider and exit. Hope the best for you man

Nov 23, 2021 - 3:15pm
Lima Papa, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Keep in mind, you were supportive of this deal, but wanted to proactively flag the gating items – you were truly a value-added bottom-of-the-totem pole team member

This is so true and so important. Half of getting promoted is politics and partners remember when you were the junior guy on a deal team barfing on their deal and they will absolutely hold grudges. 

Nov 23, 2021 - 3:42pm
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

100% yes. It's like pulling teeth speaking to a Principal or something where we both agree a deal is shit and then during a bigger meeting, somehow it's a "great, really interesting opportunity but we have to do a lot more work to get our heads around it." I get it, it's just how things are done, but my god is it annoying as fuck

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Nov 23, 2021 - 6:01pm

If recruiting for a finance role (fp&a/corp fin) for a portco directly sounds like several things to research are important:

1) style of PE investor. To your last point, is it likely that all of them will usually be stressed and make life a pain? Or is it fine to work for eg Apollo owned portco as long as:

2) the company is performing well, especially above the investment thesis and you know money has been taken off the table via dividend recaps / the EBITDA has grown enough that you simply know it will be a good IRR...or will they still make your life hell?

3) assuming above , are div recaps also potentially source of concern as company now saddled with more debt, PE firm might be ok to let them fail since they made their return already?

Ive always wanted to work in PE operations (performance monitoring / reporting) or directly for PortCo but your post gives cause for concern!

Thanks!

Dec 16, 2021 - 12:54am
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

2) the company is performing well, especially above the investment thesis and you know money has been taken off the table via dividend recaps / the EBITDA has grown enough that you simply know it will be a good IRR...or will they still make your life hell?

3) assuming above , are div recaps also potentially source of concern as company now saddled with more debt, PE firm might be ok to let them fail since they made their return already?

Ive always wanted to work in PE operations (performance monitoring / reporting) or directly for PortCo but your post gives cause for concern!

Thanks!

2 - Just gotta do ya fucking DD my guy. Many Ops ppl are from consulting that come into a portco to fix shit up. Do whatever you can to assess the success at a Company, and do your DD on the sponsor. A growth-thesis driven firm will try to find ways to put in systems that will help scale, and the value or cashflow-driven firms will have you find ways to keep operations tight while firing ppl.

Also, hardos will make ur life hard whether or not a PortCo is doing well. I've had a partner of a super well-performing investment come up to me and want to analyze additional PortCo opportunities because they're "interesting" (hint: they're dilutive, but might as well investigate)

3 - Divy recaps are fine - unless you bought in at a disgustingly low multiple, most PE funds must position their PortCo for a sale - that means not running it into bankruptcy. Think about the multiples these days - when you see what sponsors are buying at vs. FCF, you'll realize how reliant a fucker is to flip their company

Nov 23, 2021 - 9:15pm
Greg Marmalard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bro, this was too real. HF isn't some perfect golden land but it sure as hell beats PE. Don't have to deal with some partner asking stupid questions that turn into the principal panicking and then having me or another associate pull together some bespoke analysis that takes 8 hours that we don't have and the partner looking at the analysis and being like "I didn't ask for this, I don't understand what this is for" and then spending 10 minutes on a deal team call talking through some bullshit that no one cares about. Don't have to deal with potential LPs wanting us to re-underwrite the entire fund after an exit. Don't have to sit on a 4 hour call with the lawyers as some principal argues over unimportant legal terms. Don't have to put together some bullshit valuation for the underperforming portco that we "need to mark at 1.1x or better" when it's looking like it'll be well under a 1x without a miracle.

Nov 24, 2021 - 3:23am
Keyser Söze 123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This was seriously HILARIOUS!!! Please post #2 rant soon.

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
Nov 24, 2021 - 3:23am
Keyser Söze 123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thx.

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Nov 24, 2021 - 10:09am

Very good post. I can one up the "partner likes a shit deal" scenario though. Try a shit deal comes in that the partner, VP, etc all thinks is shit but the partner insists a "real look" is given in order to establish a relationship with the source...

Nov 24, 2021 - 3:27pm
HCDLending, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"You know those people that circulate industry articles to the team that they found "interesting" just for the sake of sending that article around?" Too real. Another post please! 

Nov 24, 2021 - 5:02pm
Teller in Branch - Personal Loans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

An an incoming billionaire I'll just hire all the incoming souls to help me figure this out.

VP
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Nov 24, 2021 - 5:36pm
SCurveCap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Many of your points resonate strongly. Pros and cons to every investing seat, just have to decide which pros mean a lot to you and which cons you can deal with the most. I did the classic IB (can't wait to get into PE fuck this) ->PE (damn turns out this sucks too) ->MBA (why tf is everyone trying to work at McK lol).

You can only kick the can down the road for so long. At some point you really need to soul search and figure out: what do I actually want to do for the next 30 years of my life?

Will say- PE is a great education. Definitely don't regret it

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Nov 25, 2021 - 12:39am

So what are you doing post MBA and why does everyone want to work for McK

Nov 25, 2021 - 7:12am
SCurveCap, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Because a) they don't know what they actually want to do and consulting probably the best way to kick the can down the road, b) it's one of the few roles actually open to career switchers, and c) they get sucked into the "prestige." Not talking about the PE crowd, btw. But McK is the single biggest employer at my school

I pivoted to investment management. Autonomy, feeling like a true investor rather than a cog in a deployment machine, and control over my schedule / WLB were the big pros over PE. Cons were gave up a little bit of comp, a little bit of name brand, and the headwinds in the active management space

Again, it's all about being honest with yourself. What actually makes you feel fulfilled?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 24, 2021 - 6:32pm

Great and hilarious post waiting for part 2

Nov 25, 2021 - 9:34am
dutchduke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Magnum Opus right here, well done. The first paragraph had me hooked bc that shit is 10000% true, especially when originators/mds run amok 

Nov 29, 2021 - 1:17am
LMM EBITDAddy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can confirm on #7. It gets even more stressful when you are dancing with a covenant violation every quarter and having to get creative with the addbacks and adjustments you show the bank.

Dec 1, 2021 - 1:49pm
alphajon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great stuff. I'll add my one item. Learn the art of saying no and telling your superiors you are stretched too thin. Unlike banking, you will not get credit for doing 5 things average. You'll be viewed as an average employee whereas the associate who can do 2 things at a high performing level will have a lot more internal credibility. 
 

In PE if you say you are going to do something people expect you to do it. It's also an industry where everyone understands you will have something to do so if you have a live deal and a active portco your bosses will be understanding if you can't take on a new deal bc they've been in that situation. But if you do take it on just understand they expect nothing to slip through the cracks and you will not get credit for working on a bunch of things at once. 
 

Imo this is very different from banking and can be a hard thing for junior investment professionals to adjust to. In banking you get credit for pushing as much work up as quickly as you can. In PE you get credit for managing work streams from start to finish really well and if stuff slips through the cracks it will reflect on you. 

Dec 2, 2021 - 10:26pm
lotsofbananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is a great write-up, and I especially found the first point helpful. I think starting with the empathy statement validates their POV so they're more receptive to any feedback you follow up with.

Controversial
Dec 3, 2021 - 2:36pm
expectedvalue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you're in the wrong job.

#1 is quite possibly the most annoying PE associate behavior in the world. Pretending you have a better bead on screening a deal than others with decades more experience is a joke. Pretending you know how the IC process will go better than the partner (who has WAY more to lose) is a bigger joke.

90% of the time (my experience) this attitude only manifests in bottom tier associates who prefer to be staffed on easier stuff, or can't hack detailed modeling/structure/DD processes. They don't tend to last very long at serious shops.

Deal teams all appreciate honest feedback on how DD is shaking out from those in the trenches. But trying to steer the process the way YOU believe it should go (especially asking for items that you know can never be produced in DD) is not only lazy but dishonest and negative value added.

Just know that senior investment professionals recognize this behavior, can see through it, and don't staff individuals who play these games.

I suspect OP is an underperforming associate who is not cut out for this role and seeking validation. Their comments are quite revealing: senior professionals are dumb, detailed models are worthless, no need to take ownership over outcomes, monitoring an underperforming portfolio co (actually a HUGELY valuable experience) is bitchwork... This attitude is a recipe for disaster for anybody who actually wants to make a career in the investment business.

PE associates: yes, bring your best critical thinking and research skills to the job, and don't be afraid to put honest opinions out there. But please, don't be the OP. You won't get very far.

Dec 3, 2021 - 5:01pm
expectedvalue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great that you're admitting this, but readers of this post should be taking your "advice" with the appropriate grain of salt in that case.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 6, 2021 - 11:22am

I've seen some astonishingly bad deals pushed down by principals/MD's with years of experience in the industry. One notable example being a company with no audited financials, no tax returns, operations in 20 countries, and an active lawsuit by one founder against the other, which the principal tried to repeatedly force on me while I was in the final weeks of a live deal, all because he was desperate to close any deal and the founder was a buddy of his. Given the nepotism within the industry I've seen this sort of thing to be far more common than it should be. 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Dec 7, 2021 - 9:48pm

this feels like a very weird attitude. one of my first deals my MD and VP were extremely caught up on making a deal work when every single sign pointed to no. i went along with it because who was i to disagree 2 months into the job, but they asked me and i gave my honest opinion and they agreed and we killed the deal the next day (every investment merit had fallen short and every consideration was worse than expected. i've seen some deals get dragged to IC and immediately get shot down because they just weren't good, so it's curious to think that a partner or VP can't be all in on a crap deal. 

maybe it's just my firm, but my teams are pretty straight up about expecting me to give my honest opinion on deals and have been since day 1. 

Dec 8, 2021 - 10:21am
expectedvalue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You did the right thing and I think that's awesome. Like I said in my post, a good PE associate WILL speak their opinion and raise all the red flags needed that are coming up in their work. On my deal teams we don't head to a single gate on the IC process unless every individual is on board. That is value added.

What is NOT value added is the OP's attitude, expressed in their original post:

- senior professionals are dumb and don't know how to navigate their own IC process

- detailed models are worthless 

- no need for associates to take ownership over outcomes

There is a big distinction between that kind of arrogance and what you described as your earnest, honest and valuable contribution to a deal.

Like I said, I am very familiar with the type of attitude expressed by the OP. It's common in associates who generally don't make it very far in PE.

It sounds like a lot of y'all are at shops where shitty deals are getting pushed through for obscure reasons. That strains credibility (senior professionals should be focused on their carry) but if it really is true, I feel sorry. That's not the MO of top tier funds and far from the industry standard.

Dec 3, 2021 - 5:27pm
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:
expectedvalue

Great that you're admitting this, but readers of this post should be taking your "advice" with the appropriate grain of salt in that case.

Guys, exhibit A of point #4: a (hopefully) senior investment professional not reading the literal first fucking sentence of the post. Hilarious but triggering.

Another thing worth mentioning that takes time for junior people to learn is how to be strategically lazy without sacrificing optics. First 6 months on the job, it helps to really hone in on what people care most about - if you're able to put forth effort to crush the high-profile stuff, it makes it infinitely easier to slack off on other stuff without it reflecting as much in your review / promotion discussion. 80/20 rule.

Dec 3, 2021 - 7:12pm
expectedvalue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your post is titled "things I wish I knew about PE" but is instead a list of characteristics of associates who can't hack it. These aren't things anybody needs to know unless they want to fail at the associate role. Had you admitted you are underperforming and leaving your shop in the first sentence, that would have been a useful disclaimer. Perhaps edit your post?

Even your glib response to me noting this reasonable point is borderline lazy and dishonest. It seems to fit with your description of how you approached your role on the deal team.

I hope you don't bring these attitude issues to your next career. Good luck.

Dec 10, 2021 - 8:36am
FinancialModelzNbottlez, what's your opinion? Comment below:

He's just venting. There is a lot of truth in what he said and you know it.

Yes, seniors are not stupid. We all can agree that these men/women have learned a lot in their tenure.

Just let the guy vent, because being on a shitty portco is not fun. This is far from a reflection of his life and opinions. Please don't take it to heart.

Dec 3, 2021 - 8:41pm
nyccre1111, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Dec 25, 2021 - 5:39pm
PFSynergies, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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