Recruited on-cycle in early December and signed with an upper MM buyout fund in NYC starting Summer 2019 (flagship fund size: $6-9 bn; AUM: $20-40 bn).
Lazy Friday in the office and wanted to contribute here somehow - figured one helpful angle could be an update on the relevancy and efficacy of various headhunters at the Pre-MBA Associate level. The below commentary is purely.
My ranking of headhunters, largely based on scope and quality of client base, would be roughly as follows:
1. Career Partners Inc. ():
Client list on website. Speaks for itself. Seem to place materially more Pre-MBA Associates than any other headhunter. Impersonal vibe initially, but helpful once you earn their respect. Expect a few technicals in your initial meeting. Lighter on the MFs and heavier on the Upper MMs. They were in constant contact when the process kicked off - called me several times per day with opportunities.
2. Henkel Search Partners (HSP):
Client list distributed to candidates in initial meetings. SG spin-off that has taken noticeable share over the past few years. Initial meeting took the deepest dive into my deals, with CPI probably second. MFs:; Carlyle; Warburg. Upper MMs: CD&R; BC Partners; BDT. MMs: AEA; Audax; Searchlight; etc.
Client list e-mailed to candidates after initial meetings. Another SG spin-off that has eclipsed SG. More of a boutique feel. Highly personal. MFs: Bain. Upper MMs: Centerbridge; Towerbrook. Growth: Summit. MMs: Kohlberg; HGGC; Vestar; Roark; etc. Note: Apollo appears on website but was not on widely distributed client list this year.
4. Dynamics Search Partners (DSP):
Client list not distributed to my knowledge. Arguably stronger for HFs. Uniquely strong PE presence in TX and CA. Only names I can give with certainty: Apax; LG&P; Vista;. Frequently claim to prefer having one large PE client per city to avoid conflicts of interest.
Owned the space before my time. Memorably easy initial meeting. Twelve minutes of smiling and listening. Still haveand TPG as legacy relationships. Also: Crestview; ABRY; etc. Probably missing some MM names. These were the only four they showed me.
Client list not distrbuted to my knowledge. Seem to play largely in the middle market. Good people. Highly professional reputation. Been around forever. Deserve a higher ranking on here for those not looking at MFs or Upper MM shops. A few random names I can offer: NEP;; Pritzker.
7. Ratio Advisors:
Recent Amity spin-off. Did not meet, but said to have poached Apollo, Golden Gate, and Lindsay Goldberg from Amity. Will likely continue to take some solid names in the future.
MM focused. Interesting initial meeting - more geared towards prepping me than evaluating me. Decided I was a worthwhile candidate three minutes in, then spent the rest of the time workshopping my story. Can't give specific names other than a few ~$500-750mm odds and ends.
Onex is the flagship relationship. I believe they also do. Likely a couple others. Platform takes some heat from the old guard. The concept hasn't been as disruptive as envisioned, but the reality is that the brand does have some traction.
Stronger on theside. Jim MacLeod is hysterical. Do have a few legit MM PE clients.
Legacy ranking. Seems like they used to be stronger. Never met but am aware of some MM names.