Comments (48)

  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 5, 2021 - 3:20pm

Yep - Focus is pan-European, and industry is Healthcare. The team is a vertical in the fund which has industry and generalist teams. 


Recruiting was tough, threshold was significantly above from what is expected in consulting (and I assume banking). Had 10+ rounds, mostly fit at the beginning, meeting every MD and their lieutenants and then towards the end I had the modelling exercise which was 3h, in person, LBO, presentation and being grilled by the team. Fit was super important here so the modelling only came later which is different to most other MFs I think. A large degree of self-learning is expected and necessary to be able to make it. 

Jan 8, 2021 - 7:48pm

Out of curiosity was the modeling test actually in person or over zoom? Love that they valued fit over the modeling in terms of timing - saves a lot of time for the associates who end up evaluating the models etc prior to allowing candidates to present.

Jan 5, 2021 - 3:27pm

Thanks for doing this Q&A!

1- What kind of projects did you do in your MBB? Small biotech? Large Pharma? PE DD? Corporate finance? Is one project type more useful to make the jump to PE?

2- At the post MD/PhD level, how long do you recommend staying in MBB before trying to transition to investing, whether hedge fund or VC/PE?


  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 5, 2021 - 8:07pm

I did everything from strategy, transformation, op models, PE DDs, M&A strategies, Market Access, Pricing, Product Launch, Corporate Finance, fluffy HR stuff etc. Mainly did large Pharma and Medtech, with some Health Services (minimal). 

PE DDs, M&A and Corp Finance useful for the types of muscles needed to think like PE investor, but my competitive advantage against the other 4-5 bankers in the process (as stated by MD) was that on top of being competent enough (probably just passable) to do the excel stuff and savvy enough with numbers, I raised my eyebrows at the things that didn't smell right from a business perspective and had alternative suggestions/strategic views as to what I would do with the business if I owned it and how to mitigate risk for an investment. The latter skill I picked up solely through strategy and transformation projects and by specialising in Healthcare v. early on. There is a premium on compounding industry knowledge and building a sense of intuition for a field that few people seem to appreciate because they are trying to shave off 6 months here and there in their career. PEs seemed idiosyncratic in their hiring processes to me - from speaking to people and interviewing with a few the Bain Caps/KKRs/BXs of this world look for excel chops and will teach you the industry if you stay, the Advents/CVCs/Cinvens/Apax types seemed to look for a bit more of a balance. My experience only, could be biased. 


I would say stay at least 3 years if you are lucky to just do HC and get staffed on the right cases that build your skills in what you want to do. More likely try to stay 4 (at most perhaps even 5 years) if you are looking to build enough industry knowledge and mitigate for time lost on tactical/erratic staffing that was not helpful towards an exit into investing. 



  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 5, 2021 - 8:10pm

Just focusing on LBOs with the odd growth and minority investment here or there. From speaking with recruiters and people in PE, seems like some MFs are moving to bring in people with industry knowledge/backgrounds, especially in HC and deep-tech, as the financial engineering isn't cutting it these days, especially with multiples going up like crazy. 

Jan 5, 2021 - 8:53pm

Thanks for the response. This is pretty interesting to me as most MD/PhD's I know at MF aren't doing LBO's.  They're usually in the VC/GE arms like Bain Capital Life Sciences, Blackstone Life Sciences or TPG Biotech.  LBO's in HC aren't generally done on companies with a lot of clinical risk (what MD/PhD's are qualified to assess).  Just curious as to why you chose to go the LBO route?

Jan 5, 2021 - 5:25pm

Thanks for doing this, it's super helpful! I'm a physician transitioning to MBB and possibly considering PE/VC for the future. I had a few questions:

  1. Where is the location of this fund? Is it London based?

  2. How important,if at all, was knowing any European languages for recruiting?

  3. Were there particular headhunters that you worked with and would recommend?

  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 5, 2021 - 8:20pm

1. Yes

2. A lot of funds specifically recruit talent with language skills - mainly French, Germany, Italian and Spanish (usually have quotas). Still doable with just English, competing for a smaller number of English only spots of course

3. The usual bunch - KEA/Nordbridge/Walker Hamill/Dartmouth Partners/Pinpoint partners/Altus Partners/PER etc. - first four are very structured, professional/standoffish at times (not Dartmouth) and essentially your first interview round (in case you didn't realise it), latter bunch are more relationship driven, chat about what you want. Former more for MFs/MMs, latter for MMs/LMMs/VC

  • Associate 2 in RE - Comm
Jan 5, 2021 - 5:53pm

Do you ever grapple with feelings of selfishness or immorality? 

A medical doctor helps society directly and a PhD could directly help society by teaching or by researching new treatments, but consulting and PE executives do not have such a direct link to global well-being.  Outside of this site, consultants and PE executives are hated and (sometimes rightfully) blamed for ruining companies and eliminating jobs...

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jan 5, 2021 - 7:35pm

Ah yeah because real estate guys are surely so universally loved? Totally see where you're coming from Gandhi

  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 9, 2021 - 9:27pm


that is an interesting question - I've thought about it quite a lot. I actually wanted to become a university professor for most of my twenties, but what I realised was that it was not really what I wanted. It was what was expected of me and what academic institutions I worked in held up as the holy grail (as does every institution with its top brass). I was actually quite successful - I published well, made two discoveries that I am really proud of and thus contributed to our understanding of biomedical science, but I just wasn't happy. When I finally admitted to myself that my interests are broader than just science/medicine and actually extend to the business world I realised that I was more motivated, happier and successful as I began combining the two. I never looked back. I stopped trying to mould myself into something I wasn't and looked for a job/mould out there that was either already the shape I was or was of a shape that I would gladly become because I could full most of my interests by doing it. 

  • Principal in HF - Event
Jan 10, 2021 - 6:38pm


Do you ever grapple with feelings of selfishness or immorality? 

A medical doctor helps society directly and a PhD could directly help society by teaching or by researching new treatments, but consulting and PE executives do not have such a direct link to global well-being.  Outside of this site, consultants and PE executives are hated and (sometimes rightfully) blamed for ruining companies and eliminating jobs...

please ban this guy.

  • VP in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2021 - 12:42am

How has your total compensation changed going from MBB to PE? Do you get carry in your fund? What is / was your title in your MBB and in PE given you have a MD / PhD? 

  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 7, 2021 - 5:47am

Comp has gone up by circa. 40-50% (I've effectively skipped ahead 1-2 years vs. my MBB peers in comp). Yes, I get carry from day one, so that will widen the difference further in a few years. 

MBB let me come in one level above starting position. PE put me at the bottom with regards to title, but at the top of that title with regards to salary band and gave me carry. Crazy that bottom of PE is instantly 40-50% higher than EM/PL/CTL level at MBB...

Jan 6, 2021 - 12:48pm

If you don't mind sharing, where did you get your degree? My impression is that even breaking into MBB from an MD is a restricted pipeline available to only the top 10-15 medical schools (at least in the US). 

Most Helpful
  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 7, 2021 - 6:40am

BIWS - basically did the PE course like it was a uni course, notebook and all, writing down as he narrated, highlighting stuff in my notebook with highlighters, proper nerd-level learning. I'm quite academic so I like to learn something in a structured way rather than through doing/figuring stuff out ad hoc. When the MF knocked on my door, I just created an excel spread sheet, all the LBO and modelling exercises I had access to in rows, the dates until D-day as columns, put crosses across the intersections to make sure I was doing at least one timed LBO a day and working through it, no excuses. My partner basically lost me to 2h timed LBOs every evening for about 3 weeks straight. 


In person, Lenovo laptop (important - ppl don't understand how much having an unknown laptop/shortcuts kills productivity), blank excel, blank word doc, hardcopy CIM - 1h30min (ish). Go. Had to do IS, short CFS, no BS, full debt schedule, shareholder loan, toggle in ant out different debt types, and the IS was painful, so many different revenue streams, increases in EBITDA over time, decreases in revenue. Basically spent most of the time on IS and then did the rest in 20 min. Had to also write a one page word doc - overview of business, key attractions, key considerations, what would you diligence further etc. etc. 


This needs to be prepared for as if you are prepping a Uni exam - everything has to be second nature so that the only things that are new to you at that moment is the CIM and the modelling instructions. Otherwise you just don't have time. Don't underestimate that. 


  • Senior Consultant in Consulting
Jan 11, 2021 - 9:45am

Am in healthcare consulting myself at a non-MBB consultancy. Was aiming to land in healthcare PE/VC in Europe at some point as well. Main questions are:

  • Considering most of my healthcare work is pharma/biotech, would VC give me better chances than PE? I see very few PEs that work in clinical or speciality pharma.
  • How important is the modelling aspect? Being in pure consulting I've never done an LBO but am familiar with NPV and DCF valuation. Is advanced excel knowledge mandatory at all firms or can you get away with being more "strategy savvy" at MM PEs or VCs?
  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 18, 2021 - 1:53pm

Hi there, 

Would say the VC to PE split is not so much on industry and more on approach i.e. even if you are focussed on pharma/biotech you can work in both, it's just that you will focus on early stage companies with VC and (very) late stage/established companies in PE. That said, you will struggle to find PEs that look at clinical biotechs as the binary nature of their success just does not work with the PE model for returns. 


If you want to go to MF and MM PE, modelling is absolutely essential and I mean like proper exam-like preparation and timing yourself to smash out models within 1.5-2h is absolutely required. This is by no means considered 'advanced' knowledge in PE - this is table stakes. I would recommend buying BIWS and that covers most of what you need. 

For VC, I don't think excel is so important, but I can't tell you what to prepare for because I honestly had really varied experiences while interviewing with VC firms (everything from a professional and highly structured interview, being taken to a posh member's club for breakfast to meeting up with the MD in a WeWork office at a train station for a coffee chat).

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:09pm

Thanks for doing this. I'm currently a dentist in the US contemplating a career switch to MC for similar reasons you have mentioned. I'd appreciate your insight and perspective on your career switch. I am not familiar with how working as a physician-scientist in Europe is, so some of these questions may not be as applicable. Appreciate your time and willingness to do this.

- Was there a "moment" you knew you had to pivot out of medicine? What prompted you to definitively make the transition?
- How was your work-life balance and compensation been through MBB compared to what it could have been in medicine? How is your WLB now in your fund?
- Any second thoughts on departing from the rather secure/stable life of medicine/clinical care?
- Any insights or tips for someone contemplating the transition?

  • Engagement Mngr in Consulting
Jan 25, 2021 - 6:12pm

- I wanted to earn more, have more of a larger scale impact and realised I was just wired to be in business vs. science (i.e. I can reach mount Everest in business, I could only reach Kilimanjaroo in science - and I would sweat bullets for the latter vs. having a relatively easier ride for the former)

- WLB at MBB was up and down - anywhere from 55h on an OK week (it was never better than that) to 75h on a bad week (I'm talking about a 5 day work week for the bankers out there whose frame of reference extends to the weekend). The brunt of the hours fell on Mon-Thu so pretty horrendous when you also take into account the intensity of work in consulting - i.e. no down time waiting for MD comments, but just literally bulldozing through work for 15-16h straight, eating at your desk, only getting up to wee because you cannot hold it any more or getting the 6th coffee that day to keep you going. Compensation was great during OK weeks, OK during average weeks, absolutely not worth it during the horrible weeks. I would say my year could be broken up into 5 horrendous months, 4 average and 3 OK months. The learning was amazing at every step of the way and is probably why I would choose consulting again over banking if I had to start again. 

- Never looked back

- Know why you want to make the transition and by this I mean also know if you are made for the work you are transitioning into. I sat in my room for hours on end thinking through what I was good at, what I wsa motivated by, what I was NOT motivated by, what angered me, what depressed me, what made me happy...

Jan 25, 2021 - 6:53pm

Thank you for the response. I hope you know that sharing your experiences really helps those in healthcare contemplating the similar decisions. More questions on your personal / internal journey if you get the chance:

- How did you "experiment" with consulting such that you knew MBB / MC broadly was the best move for you? Or did you know inherently that you wanted to work in MBB as a pivot point from the start?

- On that note, any thoughts on pivoting through an MBA instead of MBB / MC?

- Did you have an end-goal in mind at the start? Or did you inherently know you had to exit medicine for personal happiness?

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