Work Life Balance in European PE

Hi,

I am a BB analyst in London and I want to start a career in PE. I am curious what the working hours are in European UMM/MF PE (CVC, EQT, Cinven, Advent, Waterland) in both UK and EU.

Thanks in advance

 

WLB is better than banking but it is still a though job. I would caution against thinking that European firms work less than the big American PE firms. On average that may be true, but there are some groups that are complete sweatshops at the firms you mention and you will work similar hours or worse. And you can't really influence group placement.

 

Thanks, could you please provide an approximate average number of hours per week? Is it more like 60 or 100 hours? Are hours much better as a VP/Principal compared to an Associate?

 

~60 hours week when not on a live deal, when on a live deal (or your PortCo is blowing up or what have you) you have no life (so idk 100 or whatever number you want to put). It is hard to come up with an average, this is a project based job so you are always on call but difference versus banking is that you are not at the beck and call of a client so you can plan your life a bit more, you have more visibility over projects and deadlines. You also have more agency over how you spend your time.

 

Lastly (sorry didn't reply to the last bit) VP/Principal have a chiller life for sure when not on deals but honestly marginally so. When a deal is firing on all cylinders, it is all hands on deck from Associate to Partner

 

Bump - would be great to hear more anecdotes from those in PE in London / EU

 
Most Helpful

As said earlier, Advent (which is American), Cinven, CVC and EQT (and Apax for what is worth) are as tough as other places and it is extremely team specific - i.e. there are teams at American funds which are more relaxed than other teams at European funds and vice-versa but you will always work between 60 and 100 hours based on deal flow and portco activity.

Other than some notoriously tough places like H&F and Warburg Pincus, where you are probably always 80-120 hours, others tend to be between the range provided above, with certain teams being tougher / more busy than others. 

As mentioned above, PE is better than banking in terms of predictability and visibility (i.e. if you are on a Round 2 you know you will be busy will the binding bid), but it is not a life-style job by any means. If you are after better work-life balance, large cap PE is just not the right place.  

I'm grateful that I have two middle fingers, I only wish I had more.
 

Thanks for the valuable information! Do you know any UMM/MF shops that have better hours compared to the rest?

 

My brother in Christ can you not read the above? American slightly worse than European on average but with so much variance between teams that it is meaningless. Also American economics typically much better so not worth taking a discount by going to a Euro fund for better WLB. Some exceptions as noted are H&F, Apollo, WP which are horrendous although H&F hasn’t deployed in nearly 3 years in Europe so how busy can they be.

 

As I said, it is extremely team specific and it changes through time. For instance, recently I have been picking up that KKR and Blackstone currently have better hours that what they used to have (in Europe). I have no idea if this is true, but I certainly didn't expect that. This doesn't mean they are relaxed places, just that they are significantly better than H&F, Warburg or Apollo

If I was exclusively solving for hours, I would think through EQT, Advent, maybe Bain Capital, just as a function of having larger teams and a vast population of former consultants. 

But again, you should not look at mega fund if your main concern is work-life balance. It is a tough and demanding job and you will be progressively competed out, everywhere, by people that are more willing to put the hours. 

UMM doesn't really exist in Europe. Even Blackstone and KKR look at stuff with 200-300m of equity ticket so you either do large cap or you do mid-cap or small cap, but there isn't a distinction like UMM or MF really. 

I'm grateful that I have two middle fingers, I only wish I had more.
 
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You are going to get cooked but aso1 is 300k all in. 4 years program and low promote through to partner track.

 

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