On-cycle PE recruiting is a nightmare. Your sense of self-worth becomes tied to a result that is ultimately out of your hands. Rejection is inevitable and crushing. Remember this is a small step in your career and working in private equity is not actually that sick. From my understanding, it's a lot like banking with mildly better hours and comp.
(My CV: HYPSW, EVR/LAZ/MOELIS, accepted offer with 30bn+ PE fund)
August - September: Asked second years for HH's contacts and emailed them. This was basically a waste of time.
October: The headhunters email you...
- Only HH that had me do a paper LBO
- Blew me off until they had opportunities for me (can't really blame them for this, but it hurt at the time)
- Have massive client list (not distributed) / arguable the best
- Set up a number of cocktail events and interviews with funds that were great fits despite not being very communicative with me directly
- Really professional and play a critical role in on-cycle process
- Called me 2am on Saturday night before process kicked off just to check in and let me know I didn't have any interviews the following day
- Eventually got me my offer
- Pretty much blew me off, but have awesome client list including Centerbridge, Bain
- Sent me a lot of opportunities early on that never turned into interviews
- work with a few solid clients, Harvest, Veritas
- Didn't hand out client list / mostly off-cycle
- Really nice, but not very helpful with on-cycle for me
- Really nice and communicative throughout process
- Apollo / distributed client list in full
- Surprisingly helpful, spoke on the phone with a few HHs
- Set up interview for me with a $20bn fund on afternoon's notice
Tier Three / Off-cycle:
Exchanged Emails with: GloCap, Oxbridge, Search One, Odyssey, Opus
- Basically played no role in on-cycle process, but I've heard Oxbridge was helpful for others
The model component of interviews is easy. I showed up to a model test that was canceled because "there wasn't time." Most models are income statements and returns -- no balance sheet projections and interviewers don't have time to look at your work. Make sure you can do a paper LBO though and speak about the drivers of a model, but don't obsess over this aspect of the process. When you are given a model test, make sure you READ the prompt and think about the big picture. I know it sounds cliche, but it's how I screwed up.
Know your deal experience cold and don't bullsh*t. This was the main component of my interviews and where I screwed up the most. Realistically, when you interview you will be the second analyst on your deals and will not have done much. Actually spend time with the company model and make sure you understand the rationale for the transaction even if you've been on the deal for two weeks. Be able to answer any questions about the business. Read the company's 10-k. Ask your Mom/ Dad / GF / BF to quiz you. Don't put anything on your resume you don't feel comfortable taking about.
Don't take anything personally. If you don't get an invite to interview with a firm, it doesn't necessarily mean anything. Communicate with HHs and try to create the opportunities you want. When they aren't responsive, don't worry about it, just follow up and be patient when needed.
Networking may actually matter a little in this process. Don't take it for granted you will get interviews. Figure out which HH covers each firm you are interested in and express a specific interest in these funds. Generally, narrow your focus as much as possible.
A lot of firms aren't filling their entire classes on-cycle. Apollo said they are interviewing for certain groups ad-hoc by the end of the year, but are done for now.
You have a huge advantage if you wait to recruit in your second year. This may mean you will have to do three years or banking, but seriously, you get better looks / interviews.
When it comes to doing your job, you have to accept you are going to let others down and screw up. Just do you best and overcommunicate throughout.
Everything works out.