Routes into PE.


As the title of the thread states I am wondering of possible routes into private equity. I would classify myself as a non-ideal candidate; I have a BioMed BSc and a Dental degree; no IB experience and any industry knowledge I have is self taught. The only relevant "formal" work experience I have had is in practice acquisition with one of my previous seniors (which is what initially sparked my interest) but I would say it was very much a "garage band" set-up.  I was involved in the whole acquisition process but I did not have a formal title. So I am aware that a large amount of work on my part will be required and my chances are still slim. I know that the vast majority of people on here that have similar backgrounds to myself are told to work in the industry via the route as an operating partner, I feel that my choice is either choose this route (I would honestly prefer to have a role involved in the minutiae of the deal) or alternatively, the nuclear option of MBA > IB > PE ( I am aware that is the same as "Rock climbing > Climb a few hills > Scale Everest") . I am 27; so I can either stay in my current industry and then in my 40-50s take a punt on smaller PE firms as an "Industry Expert" or go down the more well trodden path, but starting a little late. 

I am aware that I could go into private practice and earn six-figures for less hours; this isn't my motivation.



Comments (27)

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Jun 25, 2022 - 9:25am

Are you a practicing dentist or do you help manage a dental practice? Just trying to get a better understanding of your background. But, just to be completely honest with you, I'm not sure there are many legitimate firms out there that would take someone your age with zero investing experience or even business background. You call the MBA > IB > PE option "nuclear", but that appears to be the only reasonable route if you'd like to be on the investing side of things.

Jun 25, 2022 - 12:13pm
McAlpine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a practicing dentist now, currently working in a hospital oral surgery unit. I appreciate your honesty, yeah this was my thought. I was just wondering on the feasibility of entering into the investing side vs. entering in as a consultant in a specific industry. As I think I struggle to visualise an actual viable way for me to move into PE, and obviously I want to be as realistic as possible, if all doors are closed I would rather know that as early on as possible. No, no I completely understand, I just used the term nuclear as obviously it is an extremely sizeable amount of time and money, but I am willing to commit that. I appreciate your candidness. 

Jun 25, 2022 - 12:25pm
McAlpine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a dentist currently, I work within a hospital oral surgery unit as a staff grade. I would be willing to do an MBA, absolutely. I think it would be economically viable but not for another 2 years or so, so not sure how competitive I will be in IB recruitment at 30/31? 

"You can also try to network your way into LMM IB/PE and move up from there" Is this a common means of entering? I have heard of this before but wondered if I more formal step by step process would place me in better stead? 

Thank you for your reply.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jun 25, 2022 - 12:32pm

Yeah 30/31 is totally fine. I would start working on GMAT/apps now, that take a long time. Maybe try to do LMM in the meantime and drop the MBA process if you land something.

Yes entering at the "bottom" of IB/PE is decently common, more people choose MBA because it's a direct route to BB/EB, but it does take a very large amount of time and money. You have to network like hell with tiny banks/funds, ideally in the health space. Maybe you find a former doctor/dentist at one and your knowledge is an asset to them. 

MBA is a more common route but it takes so long to get in that you might as well network for 6-8 months and see if anyone is interested while you're working on GMAT

Jun 25, 2022 - 9:43pm
deals1228, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You mentioned working on an acquisition. You could look into M&A for healthcare roll-up strategies (in rather a Corp dev role at the strategic or working for a fund). Your experience could be more relevant there, but you definitely have an atypical background.

  • Business School in CorpStrat
Jun 25, 2022 - 9:50pm

+1 to this. I know an EM doc who I don't think has seen a patient in years (~7 yrs in an acquisitive role) and is essentially a growth/acquisition specialist and has been in C-suite (CEO now at his current company) at PE/VC backed HC companies. He didn't have an MBA, just found the right opportunity at the right time with a company that was acquisitive and he personally knew the CEO for years.

Jun 26, 2022 - 10:03am
McAlpine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very interesting, I feel one benefit of being in Medicine is networking is relatively easy. You do tend to meet a lot of people in other industries both in a professional setting and personally. Cool that he managed to land such a fortuitous position this way.  

Jun 26, 2022 - 9:59am
McAlpine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is an extremely appealing idea, I think this is a very promising are in the UK where corporately owned practices are a relatively new industry. Thank you for your reply.

Most Helpful
  • VP in PE - Other
Jun 25, 2022 - 10:46pm

Love the idea above. People do these roll-ups and hire docs. I'm not in HC but I think can happen with physicians, dental practices etc. You can easily make it to HC IB from MBA. PE post-MBA is hard at conventional shops - it's stupid but whatever that's how it works. But there are so many investing roles that you can do after HC IB - say healthcare credit is big, there are funds like Orbimed as an example that so specialty stuff. You can also got Asset Management. If you can swing it, may also be able to go to lesser known PE firms. And if you want to do your own thing, any of the above will give you good skills. Can also do in-house M&A or corp dev. As finance guys we are just posers for what the most part, if you know an industry, you can pick up the finance and deal skills.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jun 26, 2022 - 12:46am

Really interesting point, especially the part about being able to pick up the finance skills if you have industry knowledge. Not to hijack the thread but wondering if you can provide insight here - as an aspiring MD (doctor) who wants to work in Healthcare VC/PE long term, would you say it's worth it to do a 2 year stint at a EB HC group (will be an SA and am deciding for full time) before going to MD/MBA and then back to PE/VC, or just ditch the 2 year IB and go straight through MD/MBA from college before doing HC VC/PE after (I know the arguments against doing an MD period lol, but let's just say I do for this example). Do you think the usually difficult entry into traditional PE post MBA without prior PE experience doesn't necessarily apply to atypical candidates like this would be (especially if I have deep understanding of HC)?

  • VP in PE - Other
Jun 26, 2022 - 1:15am

What do you want to do - this whole system of recruit in your sophomore year or whatever happens these days is retarded. Your body is not old enough for alcohol but they make you get in the game for recruiting this early. Don't take my advise as I know jack shit about medicine - but from what I know med school + residency etc is many years of studying before you earn. Your outlook on life will change as you get older. Similarly, even if you do 2 years of banking - you may think you want to do medicine now, but once you make good money, you may not want to stop earning and go to school. If I had to say anything, it would be to figure out what you like. You shouldn't go to med school to be a better HC investor, banker etc. But if you're 28 and in a medical field, you can switch over with B-school. Someone your age should figure out what they like more and pick that path. My $0.02

  • Business School in CorpStrat
Jun 26, 2022 - 11:10am

I've seen many Harvard/Stanford MD/MBAs not even practice or do residency and go straight into Life Science VC. Or IB (have seen a few go after their Associate stint to UMM/MF growth funds that have growing HC practices). Rarely PE.

If you can get into a top notch school with a M7 MBA program, I would bypass the 2 years of IB.

Jun 26, 2022 - 10:26am
McAlpine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is extremely useful and thank you for shedding a light on these pathways. From working in healthcare, I would say that going through university and postgraduate training provides you with a good clinical foundation and the ability to be a clinician but I would say that the majority of the skill I have learned has been "on the job". The actual business practicalities of running a practice or marketing yourself to patients is not discussed. One of my lecturers said during my first term " you are being taught to do one job" so I left with very little knowledge of anything other than clinical knowledge and surgical skills. It is good to know that acquisition of financial skills can be done as a relatively straight-forward adage to what I already know. Thank you!

  • Business School in CorpStrat
Jun 26, 2022 - 11:12am

P3 Applied Sports Science CEO - Dr. Marcus Elliot had a very interesting podcast I watched recently that explained how he created his own path instead of pursuing medicine further as a resident/attending. Doctors in medical school aren't taught business practicalities which is a shame, this should be taught in 4th year after people match. I think it would promote entrepreneurship ventures (even if side gigs) and that will help create better healthcare ecosystems in the long run if students are taught these type of skillsets before graduating. 

Jun 26, 2022 - 1:09pm
leverage1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would start a search fund or operate as an independent sponsor and go out and acquire/roll up small dental practices. You have 1) experience doing this so should find investors who will back you (can always go SBA loan) and you have a dental background which should appeal to potential aging practice owners who may be looking to sell. Make a few add-ons, and then sell to a PE firm. Can stay on ad a manager or flip that experience into a more traditional investing role. That's what I'd do at least

Jun 27, 2022 - 8:13am
McAlpine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you! This is something I have slowly but surely tried to set in motion with two colleagues (one other dentist and one guy who works in corporate restructuring). Glad to see that I am taking the right provisional steps. Hopefully, this will be successful and beneficial.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 26, 2022 - 8:24pm

Surprised that management consulting hasn't been mentioned yet -- all of MBB + all the T2s hire people with graduate degrees (MBAs, MDs, PhDs, JDs, etc.) into the consultant level (equivalent of associate in banking). Management consultancies care way way less about having the 'right' looking resume or work experience compared to Invesment Banks or Investment funds or other pure finance roles. If you network you should definitely be able to get interviews -- from there, you can rotate through the firm's PE diligence group (all the big consulting firms have one) and position yourself well to leave to a MM PE fund if you want. No need to go back and get an MBA to do this. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 10:54am

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 10:54am

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