Advice Please! Growth Equity Interview Questions?

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So I just got notified that I've been invited to interview at a top tier growth equity firm, and the opportunity just sounds absolutely amazing so I'm desperate to land the position.

If someone currently at a growth equity fund wouldn't mind elaborating on the interview process, I'd be forever grateful. An overview of the typical growth equity interview process, some fit / industry (HCIT and B2B SaaS) questions they'll probably ask, general finance questions more relevant in GE, etc. would be great.

I've only found generic overviews with search, and I also have additional questions. I will banana away really good advice/insights until I run dry. Thanks WSO!

Sincerely,
BankingWaffle

Comments (112)

 
Sep 29, 2016 - 7:23pm

Growth Equity Brush Up / Interview Prep (Originally Posted: 12/03/2015)

Hi all,

I've spent the past year and a half in a portfolio company of a megafund working largely on turnaround projects, supply chain, corporate finance and supporting the requests from the sponsor. Prior to that I spent two years in a top group at GS/MS/JPM and am now beginning to look for growth equity roles. Given I didn't look at the buyside at all while I was in banking, I never went through interview prep and have gotten rusty on some of the typical modeling/case study type prep. I have two questions:

  1. Though I know growth equity shops can have vastly different interview processes, what are some of the most common types of interviews and if modeling is involved, could share specific examples of what is typically provided to the interviewee, what is expected to be built out during the interview and what is the end result our output expected.

  2. Does anyone know any good prep sites or online courses (for free or for purchase) that would be more closely geared towards growth equity type interviews (on the modeling side in particular). I know there are plenty of LBO practice models, but my understanding is that for mid to early-stage growth interviews, the model would not be a typical LBO template model.

Thanks for any thoughts or advice on how to prep for these interviews as I ramp up my outreach to firms.

 
May 20, 2013 - 3:06pm

If anyone has anything to add to OP's initial questions besides asking for PM's I would also appreciate answers.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
Best Response
Jun 19, 2013 - 9:44am

Although I am not currently at a growth equity fund I just went through the interview process with multiple well known tech growth equity firms.

In my experience, the interviews were not particularly technical, although one super day covered certain technical topics that should be relatively straightforward for someone in TMT banking (three accounting statements, deferred revenue and its importance to software companies, four types of valuation, valuing on revenue multiple vs. EBITDA multiple, license/maintenance vs. SaaS). In general, the questions I got can be broken down into a couple of categories:

1) Walk through resume / my background / my story
2) Why growth equity / why tech investing / why [ ] firm
3) What motivates me / why would I be a good fit for a position that involves sourcing / am I really interested in technology and do I keep up with it on my own / is there a specific area of tech that I'm interested in that differentiates me from the pack
4) My deals
5) Case studies
6) Stupid behavioral questions (tell me about a time that you disagreed with a superior at work, etc.)

I would stress that #s 1 - 5 are all extremely important and you need to be ready to nail every one of them (or close to it) to get an offer. Passion is extremely important for growth positions, especially those involving sourcing responsibilities. You need to be able to articulate exactly why you want to work in a growth equity vs. buyout shop and prove to them you have the skill set and the experiences that would enable you to excel in a position that is very different from most banking analyst positions.

A big piece of it is proving genuine interest in technology and VC / growth equity. I would suggest get a handle on the firm's portfolio, including knowing a few of their investments (ideally in areas of interest / in which you have some level of proficiency) down cold. Know exactly what a couple of their portfolio companies do, their funding history, their investment highlights (try and look at this through the lens of the fund's investment criteria), their risks, and the competitive landscape. Additionally, I think it's imperative to have a specific area within tech that you can speak to in detail, as well as cool companies within that space that you follow. A good breakdown of an industry would involve definition, competitive landscape (how is it now, how was it x years ago, how do you think it might change in the future?), market size and historical and projected growth, historical and current trends, drivers, and customer buying criteria. On top of that, pick a few cool companies that you truly understand and be able to place them within that competitive landscape, and speak to their position within the broader themes of that industry.

 
Jun 19, 2013 - 10:58pm

Will have to SB you on recharge because this post was spot on - wish I saw it before my superday.

Will add to this thread with my experience when I have time.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
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