AMA: 2nd year BA/A/AC at MBB going to UMM/MF in 2020

Graduated from a non-target university and joined MBB at a mid-size office. Just signed a UMM/MF PE offer during 2020 on cycle.

Feel free to ask me anything related to experience at MBB, PE recruitment, etc.

Comments (57)

Dec 13, 2018

Congratulations, great to hear. And thanks for doing this. Two questions:

1) Historically, has the firm you are joining hired consultants or are you one of the very few?
2) Coming from consulting, was your interview process different? Technically-wise, did you have just a paper LBO, a one-hour computer LBO, or a full-blown 3 hour LBO? Did they ask a lot of technical questions in general?

Dec 18, 2018

To answer your questions:

1) I'd put UMM/MFs into 3 buckets of consultant friendliness (I'm in consulting, so naturally I talk in threes):
- Rarely touch consultants (BX, Carlyle, KKR)
- Good mix of bankers and consultants (H&F, Bain Cap)
- Very consultant friendly (Sycamore, Golden Gate)

Without disclosing too much, I will be joining a firm in the 2nd/3rd bucket. In my opinion, consultants are set up for failure if they join a firm in the 1st bucket since they will mostly be doing modeling and can't leverage their operational / softer skill set from consulting. As such, I focused my recruitment efforts on firms that were open to hiring consultants and networked with alumni from MBB with a fairly high hit rate.

2) Your interview process will almost always be dependent on where the firm fits in the aforementioned buckets. The banker-heavy MFs will give you a full 3 hour model, the 2nd bucket will either give a shorter modeling test (Ex: This year, Bain Cap gave a ~1 hour model test that was more operationally focused) or give paper LBOs, and the 3rd bucket will only give you paper LBOs. Outside of modeling, I was asked some technicals but they were fairly light (how do you calculate LFCF, walk me through the 3 statements if D&A goes up by 10, etc.)

In terms of initial headhunter interviews - I received no paper LBOs, but many of my friends in IB were given a paper LBO by some of the HHs like CPI.

Hope this is enough detail, happy to elaborate if needed!

Dec 13, 2018

Curious how having a consulting background actually applies on the job at more consultant friendly firms vs. those that don't usually hire consultants. What are you doing as a former consultant at the Associate level that wouldn't be outsourced to consulting firms to begin with? By no means am I implying you can't do the PE job or that consulting background isn't useful. The underlying question is really how are the responsibilities of a junior transactor any different between BX vs. Golden Gate, when all these firms have networks of operating partners, consultants, etc. that are responsible for operational initiatives. Aren't jr transactors ultimately deal guys?

Dec 18, 2018

Good question - I'd say that you start at a more level playing field if you join a firm like Golden Gate vs Apollo due to difference in the nature of the associate role. If I tried to compete with ex PJT/EVR RX guys at Apollo (no operational focus, basically banking 2.0) and worked 100 hours/week, i'd be at a huge disadvantage and much less efficient than someone who has been crushing models since they were in high school.

At a MM/MF with more of an operational focus (the ones that ultimately hire consultants) like a Sycamore or Golden Gate, the consultants would have an advantage on the portfolio company work (they have experience running meetings, making strategy documents, etc.), while the bankers have an advantage on the modeling side of things. From what I've heard, consultants still have a steeper learning curve than bankers but to a lesser extent than at an Apollo.

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Dec 14, 2018

I don't think associate roles at consulting-friendly PE shops will be any more operationally focused than those at "regular" firms.

Regardless of the type of firm you're at, PE at the junior level is always very much transaction-oriented - which means plowing through data-rooms, managing DD workstreams, modeling, conducting "proprietary" research (i.e., googling).

With portfolio company work, you may be helping with internal financial reporting, formalizing KPI metrics, evaluating add-ons, etc. - but highly doubt you are flexing true operational muscles (which you shouldn't be as a 25 year old who has comparatively little product/industry knowledge of substance)

This isn't to say the MBB skillset doesn't transfer over well. In fact, I'm sure the Bain AC in the PE DD group is better at assessing industries and evaluating companies than his/her counterpart at EVR/LAZ/GS who has largely been slaving away at making retarded "moon-shot" pitch decks or creating endless buyer profiles.

But I wouldn't say the MBB consultant -> PE associate at Golden Gate is going to be spearheading growth strategies at portfolio company XYZ.

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Dec 18, 2018

I would respectfully disagree with that. While I don't have first-hand experience, I have spoken to a few dozen PE associates at operationally focused funds that hire consultants (Charlesbank, Golden Gate, AEA) as well as associates at more financially focused funds that don't hire consultants (KKR, Carlyle, Warburg) and their roles are different.

You're right in saying the junior role will largely be transaction-oriented. However, the larger funds have portfolio/operations groups (For example, KKR has Capstone). Capstone associates are specifically hired to do portfolio company work, run various strategic initiatives, etc. A fund like Charlesbank (the opposite end of KKR on the consultant-friendliness spectrum) will have their associates spend a decent portion of their time working with the execs of their assigned portfolio companies on strategic initiatives such as product line expansion. From what i've heard, portfolio work can occupy as much as 30-40% of their time, but you would never have more than 10-20% of your time spent doing portfolio work at a shop like KKR.

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Dec 13, 2018

Thanks for doing this and congrats on your success! Two questions:

  1. How did coming from a non-target impact your process? Specifically with regards to getting contacted by HHs and getting interviews at top firms.
  2. What was your preparation process for interviews?
Most Helpful
Dec 18, 2018

1 - In my opinion, coming from a non-target university isn't too big of a factor for PE recruitment - your current employer plays a much bigger role. Of course, if you're from HYPS etc. and have a 4.0 GPA, it's going to help. But being at MBB help mitigate my non-target background. I would say that almost all of the major HHs contacted me (CPI, Amity, HSP, Ratio, etc.)

2 - This answer can be an entire post, and I will share a detailed walkthrough with WSO in the coming weeks when I have more free time. In short, my preparation was as follows:

Background/Firm search: This might be the most important part of the entire process. It seems trivial/silly, but knowing what firm you want will help you tremendously as you navigate the process. Choosing a city and type of firm is very important for your professional and personal life, so I spent ~1 month doing the following:
- Looking through WSO and company websites to narrow down a list of ~30 PE firms that I could potentially be interested in (city, size, prestige, and consultant friendliness were my biggest drivers)
- Look through LinkedIn/company websites to see the breakdown of the current class (X% consultant, how many from non ivy-league schools, B-School mandatory, etc.)
- Make tiers that will help you to prioritize your top firms --> this will allow you to make snap decisions during the process itself when organizing interviews.

Prep for HH meetings:
- There's some debate on the importance of these meetings, but I treated the HH meetings as first round interviews.
- I made sure I know my story, why PE, why UMM/MF, city, specific firms, etc. and also knew my resume cold because they asked me to walk through some cases I've been on.

Networking: It's difficult to know exactly how much networking helps for PE, but it certainly doesn't hurt. I spoke with 1-2 associates at ~10 firms, and 3 of my scheduled interviews were at these firms. Do I know whether the networking helped? No. But I think it increased my odds of landing an interview.

Interview process itself: This was by far the most time consuming part of the process. I gathered information from all of my mentors/friends who had gone through the process, and had 4 main areas to focus on:
- Behaviorals --> This is important at many PE shops, and I spent a lot of time on this. I made a word doc with ~50 potential questions they may ask, and a few bullets on what my answer would be.
- Deal/Case experience --> Also on the word doc, I wrote 3-4 pages per case/deal on porter's 5 forces, any relevant metrics, my role, etc.
- Technicals --> Used the vault guide, WSO prep pack, and materials that friends from IB sent over to me.
- Modeling --> Similar to the above, used WSO prep back and got ~12 practice model exams from my friends for prep

Note: All of the above was compiled in an excel/word document, which helped me stay organized throughout the process.

Hope this helps!

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Dec 13, 2018

Thank you. Looking forward to the detailed walkthrough. +1

Dec 19, 2018

Thanks for the super helpful AMA!

Quick follow up on technical questions: How complex did yours get?

I would expect to get the standard "walk me through an LBO"/"how does a $10 depreciation expense impact the 3 financial statements"/etc. But did you see any that were significantly more difficult (for someone with a consulting background)?

I also realize that you may have a fairly small sample size given the expediency of your offer, but thought I'd ask regardless.

Dec 18, 2018

As you mentioned, I'm not the best person to ask given my sample size of 1. However, I have a number of colleagues that also went through the process and said they weren't asked many technicals either. You are much more likely to be asked to walk through an interesting LBO candidate (I was asked this), or an industry you think is interesting to look into (also asked this) and then get a bunch of follow up questions (what's CAPEX in this industry, competitive landscape / industry dynamics, value chain, etc.). Some friends got questions on working capital (what does negative working capital imply, or how would you define working capital), and others were asked fairly straightforward questions on multiples, leverage, and profitability. Based on these, I would hypothesize that they're probably lighter on technicals in PE for consultants, but this likely depends on the firm interviewing too.

Most PE firms want to test your intelligence and see how you think critically as an investor rather than if you memorized something (although you should still know these in case)

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Dec 19, 2018

Thanks - very helpful response. As I was reading through the Vault guide technical section yesterday, I thought that like 25% of the questions I went through seemed relevant to the interview process as a consultant. Glad to hear that your experience supports my plan to nail those 25% of questions and mostly ignore the more intricate accounting/finance ones. This also assumes that I will be interviewing with "consultant-friendly" shops who seem to be more forgiving in this aspect.

Dec 13, 2018
  • What types of projects did you work on at MBB?
  • MBB lifestyle?
  • Why the switch?
Dec 18, 2018

For clarification - I'm ~1.5 years into my career at MBB, and leaving for PE in ~1.5 years.

Types of projects: I have exclusively done strategy cases since I joined. I've worked across a few different industries - have mostly done work on 5-10 year strategic plans for companies, growth strategies, etc. Day-to-day is very similar to banking (slide creation and excel work), but we do get a tad more client exposure than IB.

Lifestyle: MBB lifestyle is worse than I thought, BUT it is still a good lifestyle. I usually work ~60-65 hours per week. Compared to banking, this is substantially less. However, I believe that consultants work more intensely during the work week. My friends in IB sit at their desks for hours going on Reddit, go to the gym, and then finish at 11pm after getting some comments from their associate/VP. In consulting, you have a set of deliverable every morning that you have to complete by EOD, and you rarely have time to go to the gym mid-day. On (huge) pro is that your weekends are protected 95% of the time. Monday-Friday hours are relatively similar to banking, but the discrepancy in hours is largely due to the absence of weekend work in consulting.

Why the switch: A few reasons ultimately led me to recruit:
- I love investing/finance --> consulting is a lot of strategy work, building frameworks to help shape decision making, building roadmaps for a company-wide transformation etc. There's also some modeling involved, but it's not financial/valuation modeling. I wanted to spend more of my time looking at a company through a financial lens and consulting doesn't offer that.

  • Responsibility: In IB and consulting, you have very little responsibility until ~6-7 years into your careers when you make VP or equivalent. In PE, you're expected to meet with the CEO/CFO of portfolio companies or target companies on a fairly regular basis. You're expected to perform amazing quality work, but you're given more autonomy to map out your day and see where you can add the most value to your firm.
  • Comp --> Just like any job, compensation plays a large factor. Post B-School roles in consulting pays ~200K all-in, whereas UMM/MF pay 275-400K.
  • Personal --> I don't like the city where i'm currently living, and wanted to move to a bigger city where there's more opportunity for finance roles going forward.
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Dec 13, 2018

How did you managed recruiting as a consultant assuming that you had to travel and you weren't based in NYC?

How many cases/types of cases did you work on so far at your MBB - especially given how early the recruiting cycle was this year?

Dec 18, 2018

This year was a huge blessing for consultants since the process kicked off first thing on Sunday morning for most firms. Fortunately, I was able to catch a flight early on Sunday morning, and didn't miss any of the process. Since it was on Halloween weekend, I heard hilarious stories of people who were blacked out at parties in their costumes and were scheduling interviews with head hunters. Personally, I was very lucky to find out at ~8-9pm that recruiting was potentially kicking off and left my night plans to go pack, and eventually stay up for another 4-5 hours scheduling interviews with HHs.

Regarding your second question - I have done ~4-5 cases over my first 1.5 years in consulting. As mentioned above, I'm a 2nd year BA/A/AC, and didn't recruit in my first year.

Dec 13, 2018

When did recruiting end for you? Did you take leave on monday/tuesday etc?

Dec 18, 2018

I was fortunate enough to land an offer on Day 1 (Sunday). Business as usual on Monday...except 90% less stressed

Dec 13, 2018

Makes sense. Congrats on the offer and thank you for your answers!

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Dec 13, 2018

Assuming you interviewed at a few of those firms you mentioned can you describe what their processes are like and what type of candidate they each look for? Looks like all their junior teams are fairly small, so they must be pretty selective if they have their pick of bankers and consultants.

Also, why did you skip out on recruiting your first year? Would you have had the option to get promoted and stay in your team if buy side recruiting didn't work out?

Thanks for doing this!

Dec 18, 2018

Your first question is fairly broad - it's hard to describe how every firm runs their process, but i'll try my best to give you an overview of my process. Also, on-cycle and off-cycle are fairly different in terms of interview scheduling, so I'll restrict myself to the-cycle process.

My process went something like this (skipping right to process itself):

Phase 1: sh*t it might be starting: Your buddies start hearing chatter. You check WSO and see a mix of comments ("I'm a VP and you're an idiot if you think it'll start before December" and "hearing it'll kick off within next few days")

Phase 2: F*CK IT ACTUALLY KICKED OFF: Heard from multiple sources that some firms started interviews late on Saturday night. Dropped everything I was doing with friends and went straight home.

Phase 3: Calmed down. Spoke to head hunters: Was on the phone from ~9pm to 1am on the phone with a number of head hunters. I scheduled 4-5 interviews from Sunday-Tuesday (Advice: don't schedule more than 2 interviews per day, try staying in the same/target city - most things happen in NY even if the fund runs out of SF/BOS)

Phase 4: Pack. Sleep for 4 hours. Wake up. Go to airport: Fly to NY and start interviewing.

Phase 5: OFFER: Celebrate. I can finally breathe. Sleep for ~18 hours.

Will provide more detail when I give a walkthrough of my experience in a few weeks.

In terms of the interviews, it really depends on what firm you're interviewing with. All interviews will start and finish within a day (or potentially the following morning if you go into their offices late). The day will likely be a few rounds, where the first round is usually a modeling test, technicals, case studies, etc. Most people get cut in this round. Second round is a mix of resume questions, case/deal experience, and behaviorals. If you get told "we'll call you" or "we'll keep you posted" you're likely cut. Basically, leaving their office = cut from process.

In terms of what candidates they're looking for - once again depends on the type of firm. If you're a MF like Apollo, you're looking exclusively at top groups at PJT/EVR/GS/JP/etc. If you're at a fund like Berkshire Partners, you're looking at a mix of bankers and consultants. No matter the firm, you're looking for high achieving, well polished candidates. You're right in saying that firms can be selective on who they hire: even if you are a machine and have been crushing excel since Kindergarten, you have to be a good cultural fit for them to hire you.

Personally, I didn't feel ready to recruit in my first year. I would have to be ready ~3-6 months into my first job out of undergrad, and I barely knew what an LBO was. If you're not in a rush to leave your job (which I'm not), then having 1+ year of experience will help you a lot during recruitment.

Cheers!

Dec 13, 2018

This was pretty helpful thank you. You said above you networked with the associates at the funds you targeted, is this done the same way you do in undergrad for internships? Would be helpful to hear your approach, especially when networking with non-alum since you didn't attend a target

Dec 18, 2018

I'd say there are 3 forms of networking:

1 - Traditional way (same as undergrad): I reached out to associates via email, and my hit rate was extremely high, especially given associates' busy schedules (I'd say 70%+). Maybe I wasn't specific in my previous answer, but I reached out to alumni from my firm (MBB), not college alumni. There aren't too many consultants in PE, so they seem more willing to help you / chat.

2 - Firm events: These are done shortly before on-cycle kicks off, with many firms having to cancel their events since recruiting kicked off early this year (well it kicks of early every year...) Almost all firms have these events, and I went to 2-3 of these (was hard to attend most of them since I was not in NYC). These aren't too high value, but can still be a good opportunity to meet some folks at the various firms. Warburg does a breakfast, Bain Cap held it at a 3 Michelin star restaurant, etc. Some firms have huge events, while others are more intimate (and more valuable)

3 - Associates reaching out to you: I had ~3 of these calls prior to on-cycle kicking off. If the HHs think you're a solid candidate, they'll send your resume early to certain PE firms, and then you'll have associates reach out to you asking to chat. These calls with go very similarly to the 1st bucket, but try to impress the associates by having great knowledge of their firm. For example, knowing that a firm has evergreen capital, or if a firm allows their associates to attend all investment committees will show your interest in the firm.

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Dec 13, 2018

Thanks for doing this, and congrats on your offer!

What industries did you work on in MBB, and did the type of projects/industries you worked on play any role in your recruiting process?

Dec 18, 2018

I've had case/project experience across three sectors: consumers, financials, and healthcare. I think the projects and industries play a partial, albeit slight role. However, I don't think it'll be the reason you get a job in PE. Of course, if you interview at Sycamore which specializes in retail, you should have some retail experience in your last job.

What's more important is being able to speak intelligently about the cases/projects you've been on, your role on the team, if the company you worked on would make a good PE investment, etc.

Dec 13, 2018

Appreciate the answer! I'm currently an undergrad senior headed to MBB after graduation. Is there any specific advice you'd give to better position myself for a PE job down the line?

Dec 18, 2018

First off, huge congrats on the MBB offer!

Few things that can help:
- With on-cycle recruitment starting earlier every year, spend time during your senior year to think about what type of finance/investing job you want. Most consultants don't go to HF (skill set is less transferable because there isn't any portfolio company work), but many go do corp dev, growth equity, or VC.
- Assuming you want a traditional buyout fund, spend some time going through company websites in your target city and look at the associates + their backgrounds. You'd have a big head start if you can narrow down a list of 5-10 target firms where you'd be a good fit, and then start networking as soon as you hit the desks at MBB. Keep a tracker on excel of people you can reach out to.
- Learn - Before you start prepping, it's good to simply read about the PE industry (Bain publishes an annual PE report I believe). Read barbarians at the gate, listen to podcasts/youtube videos of Schwarzman, Rubenstein, etc. Learn how PE firms make money, what differentiates firms, etc. Being able to speak intelligently about the industry will pay dividends going forward.
- GMAT - this depends on what your GPA and school is, but getting a 750+ on your GMAT will increase your odds of getting interviews. Also, you won't have much time once you start work to study, so I would recommend starting in your senior year or summer before you start. Make sure to keep up your GPA as this surprisingly plays a semi-large role in recruitment given how early things kick off (firms have less data points on if you're doing well at your current job - you won't even have 1 review by the time on-cycle kicks off)
- Have fun - probably the most important thing on this list. Doing MBB + PE recruitment was very time consuming and fairly intense. Enjoy your last year of college and be sure to party hard.

All that being said, I would recommend against recruiting in your first year, unless you're 100% set on PE and have done a banking/PE internship. For some reason, consultants generally have a tougher time landing a PE job in their first year (HHs generally see ~3 years in consultant equal to 2 years in IB, you generally have a later start date of Aug/Sept vs June/July for your banker peers)

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Dec 14, 2018

Congrats! Thanks for your time in doing the AMA!

Dec 16, 2018

Why did you decide not to do banking out of school (considering you already had a strong interest in finance/PE)?

Dec 18, 2018

Honestly, I didn't really have a preference between banking and consulting... I recruited for both out of college. For my first job, I was optimizing for brand name to open the most doors possible (not necessarily within finance), so I recruited for some EB/BBs and also MBB.

I am fairly lucky that everything worked out, because I probably only factored in ~50% of what I would consider now. I didn't know that there are huge discrepancies between banking groups (Ex: I now know that GS FIG, PJT/EVR RX get the top PE/HF jobs on the street), or that you can't really exit to a HF from MBB.

If I were to do it all over again, I'm not sure whether I would do the banking or consulting route - they both have their pros and cons. I'd be naive if I said MBB is the only way to do it and you're stupid if you choose banking because I landed a great job. I recognize that others from MBB were not successful in getting a PE job and that the stars had to align for me to land mine. Will be sure to talk more about this in my upcoming PE walkthrough.

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Dec 17, 2018

From your experience, if optimizing purely for PE exits, would you rather go to a decent but not top group at a strong BB (think e.g. Industrials at GS) or MBB (Bain/McK to be specific)?

As context, I have experience from both IB (at a decent EB) and consulting (2 different MBBs) and found consulting work to be more interesting / fitting my "inherent skillset" better, but don't mind grinding it out in IB for few years either if it improves the exits.

Most interested top funds within the "category 2" (Bain Cap, H&F, Advent etc.) but apart from these would probably still prefer the mega funds over some of the smaller more operationally/commercially focused funds.

Also thanks for taking the time to reply, super helpful!

Dec 18, 2018

You're not going to like this answer, but it depends.

Let's first assume for the sake of this comparison that you're at MBB in NY or at a strong BB in NY, and all else is equal (tenure, performance rating, financial acumen etc.)

Category 1 (Apollo/BX/KKR): Bankers have a huge advantage here, and it's not even close. As a consultant, you might get a look from 1 of these funds (Ex: I know Warburg and TPG have hired consultants in the past), but it is very hard to get an interview at one of these firms.

Category 2 (H&F/Advent/Bain Cap): Bankers and consultants have equal odds of getting an interview / landing an offer, with a slim advantage to consultants I'd say.

Category 3 (Sycamore/Golden Gate): Consultants have an advantage here, but it's a smaller gap than category 1. If you look at the associate class for these firms, they're fairly even split between bankers and consultants, but there are definitely more bankers that apply. I think that bankers can easily get their foot in the door at places like these (compared to consultants trying to get into a category 1), but the interview process is more favored towards consultants (cases, more qualitative testing, no modeling).

It seems like you have a preference for category 1-2, so I would lean with going banking. That being said, if you are only looking for a good brand name regardless of the PE firm's mandate/style/size then I would think MBB consultants have an easier time at landing a PE job.

Most people from MBB who have good financial acumen and who invest time in interview prep (cause we get weekends off) will land a PE offer. If I were to take an educated guess, I would realistically say ~30% of MBBers successfully land PE jobs at reputable funds. Not sure what this number is at a bank, but I don't think it would be this high unless you are at a top group.

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Dec 17, 2018

Great insights!

It is very interesting to hear that you feel MBB could be a better option if optimizing for brand name exits. The impression one easily gets from reading WSO is that while consultants do have a solid shot at many of the funds, banking is still the way to go if one targets a PE exit.

I wonder if this is due to the selection bias of people (finance) on the forum, the strong focus on the category 1 funds or funds just being more embracing of consultants than in the past? Whatever the case, it is very cool to hear MBB consultants stand a solid shot at many of the funds.

Dec 18, 2018

I think you hit on most of the points. I don't actually think PE firms are becoming very open to hiring consultants (although some are starting to), but rather more operationally focused PE funds have become prominent. For example, Sycamore was founded by ex Golden Gate guys, which was founded by ex Bain Cap guys - all three funds hire many consultants.

I also believe that most people on this forum are exclusively interested in MFs, and not the MMs. You'll likely hear Apollo, KKR, Carlyle on WSO, but won't hear much about Berkshire Partners, New Mountain Capital, AEA, etc. which are all fairly prestigious MM/UMM funds.

Once again, these are my personal beliefs but it is quite hard to back it up with concrete data. Would definitely advise you to poll a bunch of people from different backgrounds before going down a certain path.

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Dec 17, 2018

For context, I work for one of the four mega funds (Carlyle, KKR, Apollo, BX) and interview candidates for associate roles. I also know many friends at the "consulting friendly" shops. The problem is that the name brand consulting friendly shops are limited to maybe half a dozen, many which have been mentioned in this thread. Frankly, to think that MBB consultants have the same or greater probability of making it to a brand name PE shop is ludicrous. If you want to do an apples to apples for MBB candidates, compare them to candidates seeking PE jobs from GS/MS/Evercore/Moelis/PJT/etc. I guarantee you on that basis it is nowhere close.

We also want candidates who have a long, demonstrated interest in finance (i.e. choosing IBD over MBB for post college opportunities).

Dec 18, 2018

I would check your facts before saying my claim is "ludicrous". If you read my comment above, I specified that you should do banking over consulting for a MF/UMM. Also, his question was comparing a second tier group at a good BB (I'm assuming something like CS TMT) to MBB. I spoke to my friends at Moelis - their class got destroyed in on-cycle this year, whereas MBB seemed to do very well. I stand by my claim that consultants have better odds if they're looking at those operationally focused PE shops.

Quick research:
- H&F: ~6/14 associates from MBB
- Berkshire Partners: ~5/14 associates from MBB
- Advent: ~8/20 associates from MBB
- Golden Gate: ~7/20 associates from MBB
- AEA: ~8/27 associates from MBB
- ...

Seems like ~25-40% of their associate classes are comprised of consultants. Meanwhile, there are probably 10X more bankers (not an exaggeration) gunning for those exact spots...

Moelis/Lazard NY likely has more people gunning for PE than MBB has combined in NY - I'd be shocked if Moelis placed more analysts at brand name shops than MBB...

    • 3
Dec 17, 2018

"It seems like you have a preference for category 1-2, so I would lean with going banking. That being said, if you are only looking for a good brand name regardless of the PE firm's mandate/style/size then I would think MBB consultants have an easier time at landing a PE job."

My whole point was that outside of the handful of the operationally focused competitive PE shops (the ones you listed - although wouldn't list AEA as competitive), bankers will have an advantage. So it would be bad advice to tell someone to select MBB only to have an advantage at a handful of competitive firms. The poster also indicated that outside of a few top firms that have an operational tilt, they would be interested in megafunds (over small operationally focused funds), where consultants have close to 0% chance of even getting an interview.

    • 2
Dec 18, 2018

I mostly agree with what you're saying, which is why i caveated my original answer with "it depends". However, outside of the four mega funds, I still think MBB has a higher chance to land a job versus a second tier group (even at non-operationally focused funds).

I know that nearly all of my colleagues from MBB landed fairly prestigious PE jobs, so it's possible I'm biased towards the likelihood of success in the H&F/Advent/Golden Gate bucket.

I truly appreciate hearing your thoughts - that's why this forum is so great!

    • 1
Dec 17, 2018

Its just that a lot of other very highly regarded UMM/MM funds like Lindsay Goldberg, CD&R, GTCR, Centerbridge (admittedly distressed focused, but applies to other strong distressed shops), MDB Partners, THL, HGGC, Thoma Bravo, Kohlberg and Co, Genstar, etc etc are pretty much dominated by bankers.

You pretty much just named the only consulting friendly shops in existence in those posts.

Dec 18, 2018

Doing some basic back of the envelope math here:

Let's assume a similar amount of consultants and bankers are hired every year. I would say that's fairly close to the truth (~1K).
- Of the consultants, I'd say 10% decide to recruit for PE (100 total MBB)
- Of the bankers, I'd say 40% decide to recruit for PE (400 total bankers)

The question is: how many more banker spots are there at a MM/UMM/MF?

My guess - odds of succeeding are fairly similar...

    • 1
Dec 18, 2018

Don't some pe funds explicitly not hire consultants?

Dec 18, 2018

We're not comparing number of bankers versus consultants that go into PE. Bankers dominate PE recruitment in terms of volume - that's not a debate.

What's up for debate is whether a consultant has a higher success rate at the ~10 operationally focused funds mentioned in this post, or if a banker has a higher success rate at the ~30 funds that consultants don't often have access to.

Dec 19, 2018

Regarding HH, did they reach out to you or did you have to reach out to them?

Dec 18, 2018

For MBB, majority of HHs will reach out to you regardless of your office. I believe I was reached out to by almost all HHs. If they didn't reach out to you, it is acceptable to be proactive and reach out to them (don't reach out before your peers have heard from them). However, HHs will only go to a handful of cities to meet with candidates. If they don't come to your city, I definitely recommend you fly to NY and meet with them, rather than speaking over the phone. It is much easier to convey your interests and personality in person!

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Dec 19, 2018

How to choose office wisely, Boston? new york? houston?

a monkey brain

Dec 18, 2018

Are you referring to choosing an MBB office or a target city for PE?

For MBB - this depends on what your personal situation is. City doesn't matter too much since you'll be travelling a lot for projects. There's a small prestige bump for being in NY/BOS/SF/CHI over smaller cities, but it isn't too big of a concern for PE recruitment.

For PE - it depends on what type of PE you want. Houston for O&G of course. Choice between Boston/New York really depends on what firm you want, and your personal situation.

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Dec 19, 2018

A bit off-topic, but how much does office location matter in general for MBB outside of PE recruitment? Esp given that you were at a mid-sized office as opposed to a NY/BOS/etc, how did this impact your experience?

Dec 18, 2018

Very valid question, this forum wasn't meant to exclusively be for PE. To answer your question: I think this largely depends on what firm you're at.

For McKinsey and BCG, you are able to travel for projects/cases more easily. So, if you're located in Chicago but love consumer retail, you will be able to get cases in NY/LA more easily. For Bain, you will mostly likely be restricted to cases in neighboring cities - it is harder to get on a case in an industry / city of interest. What that implies is that office location matters more for Bain because if your office is in in Texas you will be doing a lot of oil & gas projects/case.

In terms of office size, this doesn't really matter since you're in teams of ~5 people regardless and traveling Monday through Thursday. I actually like being in a mid-sized office because I know almost every one in my office. Compared to SF/NY, you're lucky if you know a quarter of your office.

To summarize, i'd say office location matters slightly but office size does not matter at all.

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Dec 19, 2018

thanks, embeebee. Does it mean: choosing the office in NJ or TX (or other small cities) will increase my chance to get an offer (even a fraction) from MBB?

a monkey brain

Jan 29, 2019

Can speak to this - not at all. Have seen friends/colleagues from offices in Texas, Chicago, DC, Minneapolis go to great funds. The numbers people always talk about are misleading because there's a lot of self-selection in the offices people join out of college (i.e., more finance minded people move to nyc and then all their friends are finance people so they end up recruiting for pe, or something similar to that).

At the end of the day, you'll likely be travelling in a different city when the process kicks off anyways, so won't matter what city you're based in, even logistically. There's really no hierarchy within locations in consulting, especially at the very junior levels...people all have legitimate experiences at big clients, etc. no matter where they're based that they can speak about during interviews.

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Dec 18, 2018

I believe you are referring to landing a job at MBB, not PE.

Your odds of landing an MBB jobs probably differs by office. For example, NYC/SF office offer rates are probably ~2% lower than an office in NJ. This is due to higher application standards and increased competition from undergrads at top ivy leagues.

If your sole goal is to land an MBB job irrespective of office, I would recruit for 2nd or 3rd tier cities.

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Jan 29, 2019

^ think you're right that JWG was asking about getting an offer from MBB.

Guess I answered re: whether which MBB office you're in really makes a difference in PE recruiting. tdlr: not really. Well, hopefully someone finds that helpful haha

Dec 13, 2018

Don't worry, I did haha thanks

Dec 19, 2018

Any first-hand experience is HELPFUL. Thank you :)

a monkey brain

Dec 19, 2018

a monkey brain

Dec 18, 2018
Dec 19, 2018

a monkey brain