AMA: Non Targ -> BB Coverage Group -> Incoming MM PE

FeedMeDealFlow's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,017

Hey y'all, i haven't been nearly as active on this website in the past few years, but this place was instrumental in my development as a prospective student, intern and also as a relatively avid reader during my time in IB, so i figured i would try and give back via an AMA.

Quick background: went to a non-target state school in the midwest, 3.4 GPA, nothing sexy, but managed to get an internship at BB in NYC, doing IBD for my SA. Interned in the same coverage group i've been full time in for 2 years, and will be leaving here in 3 weeks to go do PE in the industry i've been covering, but moving back to the midwest.

Happy to answer any questions or be of help in anyway that you guys think may be helpful. A lot of individuals helped me throughout my networking process so want to give back in any way possible.

Comments (39)

Jun 12, 2018

Why did you decide to go back to the Midwest?

How did you choose your fund? What was the recruiting process like?

What can you expect in terms of comp at a MM in the Midwest?

Does your PE shop have a track record of internally promoting associates or sending kids off to Business school?

Jun 12, 2018

Originally from the midwest, so going back there just made the most sense. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed NYC and having to go out of my comfort zone to get to know new people and groups of friends, but as you get older you begin to value your personal time more and more, and i figured i would enjoy it more around family and friends.

Chose my fund based on industry focus and culture. The culture in my group has eroded over the past 2 years and i realized how important it is to work around people you like, so that was a focus for my recruiting. The people at my new fund are just all around great individuals, and the funds focus is on a vertical of my industry that i'm very interested in and could see myself staying in for a long time. So stars kind of aligned there.

In terms of comp, it's less than comparable MMs here in NYC, but not by a ton. a first year asso at a MM PE shop should expect around ~$200 all in for their first year. For reference, latest fund size at my firm was in the 500-800 range, with a total AUM of ~1.5-2.0bn. obviously at upper MM firms in the midwest, these comp numbers will be higher (think MDP, GTCR).

interview process was standard for PE - phone screen followed by a super day (7-8 interviews, and a case study which consisted of building a full 3 statement model from scratch including LBO, and also an investment pitch). This is indicative of every firm i interviewed with (which was a lot). I have a ton of experience interviewing for PE (talked to like 20 different firms over the course of my 1st / 2nd year), so i'm happy to elaborate more here if need be.

Does have a bschool track record, a few of the partners have relationships with a few top programs (sit on the board of admissions, etc.). Recent associates have placed at Wharton and Booth, with the latter being more common. As far as internal promotions, they don't have a history of promoting, but they are open to the idea if there is a good fit and a need for a new VP.

Hopefully this was helpful in answering your questions. also, like the username.

    • 3
Jun 12, 2018

Thanks a lot for the comprehensive reply. As someone that's recruiting for a private equity position in the Midwest, this is extremely helpful.

How did you get comfortable with the private equity position that you recruited for? At the end of the day, there is not a lot of information on the different PE firms from an associates' experience perspective and you definitely get a pretty biased answer when you are interviewing with the firm.

Also, how did you differentiate between the PE firms that you interviewed at? How did you ultimately make your decision in the firm that you are going to?

Lastly, given that you are leaving pretty soon, how did you handle letting your team / staffer know that you will not be staying on for the 3rd year ( did that affect your first years bonus?)

Jun 12, 2018

Thanks a lot for the comprehensive reply. As someone that's recruiting for a private equity position in the Midwest, this is extremely helpful.

How did you get comfortable with the private equity position that you recruited for? At the end of the day, there is not a lot of information on the different PE firms from an associates' experience perspective and you definitely get a pretty biased answer when you are interviewing with the firm.

Also, how did you differentiate between the PE firms that you interviewed at? How did you ultimately make your decision in the firm that you are going to?

Lastly, given that you are leaving pretty soon, how did you handle letting your team / staffer know that you will not be staying on for the 3rd year ( did that affect your first years bonus?)

Jun 12, 2018

Thanks a lot for the comprehensive reply. As someone that's recruiting for a private equity position in the Midwest, this is extremely helpful.

How did you get comfortable with the private equity position that you recruited for? At the end of the day, there is not a lot of information on the different PE firms from an associates' experience perspective and you definitely get a pretty biased answer when you are interviewing with the firm.

Also, how did you differentiate between the PE firms that you interviewed at? How did you ultimately make your decision in the firm that you are going to?

Lastly, given that you are leaving pretty soon, how did you handle letting your team / staffer know that you will not be staying on for the 3rd year ( did that affect your first years bonus?)

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Jun 12, 2018

Why did you decide to go back to the Midwest?

How did you choose your fund? What was the recruiting process like?

What can you expect in terms of comp at a MM in the Midwest?

Does your PE shop have a track record of internally promoting associates or sending kids off to Business school?

    • 1
Jun 12, 2018

Thanks for doing this!

  • Did you have relevant experience prior to applying for your SA role? If so, what obstacles did you have to overcome to obtain that experience?
  • Do you feel that your school adequately prepared you for your current role?
  • What are some habits that have helped you succeed in your career?
Most Helpful
Jun 12, 2018

Eh, not really. i interned at a small business lender, which can definitely be compared to IB on a much much smaller scale, but is by no means similar. I just found ways to spin my experience to seem relevant, and also to emphasize the time commitment, being able to balance school alongside work, etc. which are all things interviewers look for, especially in IB.

I actually do think my school prepped me very well. my school had an undergraduate business program, with a ton of accounting and finance classes, so i actually came in more prepared than most other interns/analysts because i had taken modeling courses before and knew corporate finance decently well. but that being said, college courses are by no means necessary in order to succeed, you will learn everything you need to know on the job, so long as you have a good attitude and ask questions.

Habits is a good question, i think as of late just trying to maintain a healthy diet and working out has worked wonders for me. i struggled a lot in my first year with being overwhelmed and as a result my diet suffered and i didn't really go to the gym. Once i made fitness and diet more of a priority, i felt a lot healthier and happier and was able to be more effective at work.

I think another habit to get into is to never be afraid to ask questions. This is super important, but commonly overlooked, as analysts commonly try to just keep their heads down and grind through without asking questions, as to not bother anyone. A lot of time and effort can be saved by asking a few simple questions, and knowing the right question to ask can change an all-nighter into a quick 5 minute fix and you're out. Get into this habit early, as being inquisitive is usually seen as a good thing, and you'll learn along the way.

I think lastly, always be appreciative to those who helped you. i wouldn't be in this job if it weren't for a few individuals who stuck their neck out for me. always make sure to let people know you appreciate what they've done for you, and don't hesitate to do the same for someone else.

    • 8
Jun 12, 2018

Coming from a BB, does it bug you that you weren't able to land a MF or upper MM position? Do you think you would have had better shots at megafunds if you had a higher GPA? Would going to a target have increased your chances?

I'm about to start at a top BB (top coverage group) and I went to a top target with a high gpa, so I'm trying to figure out how to ensure I land at a firm that pays well over 200k for associates

Fuckin my way thru nyc one chick at a time

    • 15
Jun 12, 2018

What the hell? Why'd you jump straight to "weren't able to"?

Total morons on this site sometimes..

Jun 12, 2018

not at all, never wanted to do a MF. Interviewed with a few, but i just wasn't attracted to the focus. Some MF and upper MM shops are great, but as a whole they wouldn't provide the experience that you will get as an associate at a smaller MM firm. As a whole, you get more experience when you're on smaller teams and given more responsibility, which tends to happen at MM firms. i've worked on the sell side for a few deals where the buyers were the TPGs, KKRs, Carlyles of the world and they have like 6-7 people on each team. the associates role is almost like the analyst role at an IBD ( very rigid expectations in terms of work responsibility, not a ton of opportunity to play up to a higher role), and that's not what i want out of a PE experience. I also find smaller deals to be more interesting just due to the operating aspects of the business - tend to have higher growth, more malleability from a PE owner perspective and you're more likely to see considerable operational change over the course of your investment versus a typical MF investment. There is a lot less financial engineering at MM firms too, which was attractive to me.

in terms of your other questions, yea i mean having a high GPA from a target is very important, so is networking, but i think what's equally as important is the group you're in. You can have a 4.0 from harvard but if you're in a poor performing group that has not had any notable exits in recent years, it will be difficult to get interviews, as headhunters rely on 2nd and 3rd years from banking groups to provide them with the 1st years that should be considered for top positions. so keep that in mind.

I will say though, if you're in it for the money, you are going to be miserable. You should want to go to a MF for the network, for the exposure to large, potentially landscape changing deals, and for a 2 year continued learning program that will ultimately result in bschool. If you're doing it for the money, you will burn out and hate your life. Work/life at MF's is arguably worse than most banks.

    • 5
Jun 14, 2018

100% agree. I'm at a small shop in the Midwest and I don't see the appeal to MFs after working here. Hours are better, people are great, and as an analyst I get way more exposure to the business than I would anywhere else. First month on the job I was building models, doing our waterfalls and returns analysis, helping out with operations of our portfolio companies, and sitting in for DD interviews. I learned more in a month here than I had in I did in a year of undergrad classes.

    • 1
Jun 12, 2018

lol hilarious troll

Jun 12, 2018

thanks for offering to do an AMA, will add this to frontpage

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Jun 12, 2018

Hey don't have any additional question on top of what was answered but your answers and insight are great. Thanks for doing this!

Jun 12, 2018

Absolutely, anytime. Happy to help wherever i can.

Jun 12, 2018

I'm also from a non-target in the Midwest (MSU), but I feel like this years recruiting process crushed recruiting for non-targets. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give someone looking to get a NY IB internship?

    • 2
Jun 12, 2018

Same advice i'd give to anyone, just network and try to talk to as many people as possible. The internship scene has become so competitive that it is absolutely imperative you network and spread your net as far as you can. That is the only way to truly set yourself apart it seems. Obviously make sure you are well read on the technicals and have your story down pat, but at the end of the day who you know can go a lot further for you, so just talk to as many people as possible and try to make as many solid connections as you can; at the end of the day those are going to be the people who go to bat for you and help you get your foot in the door. A lot of getting these jobs is luck too. I worked my ass off, but will admit i got lucky along the way. So just work hard, network as much as possible and if you do both these things, chances are good things will happen.

I do know however for my bank, that our nontarget recruiting has yet to start, even though our target recruiting has been going on for a few weeks now. So don't get discouraged, keep trying to prod your network and try to find a way in. i was on a waitlist for my SA Offer for a month, and after emailing HR and the people i interviewed with enough they must have just gotten annoyed with me and extended me an offer. Persistence is key.

Go green.

    • 5
Jun 12, 2018

Thanks for the reply! I have been networking with a lot of alumni and all of them have been extremely helpful. I'll keep going at it and it's nice to see a fellow Spartan on these forums

Jun 13, 2018

Thanks for doing this. With regards to interacting with headhunters and basically making the move to the buy-side, how specific were you in terms of industry/type of fund? Recruiting seems daunting and I wanted to hear about how you approached figuring out what exits made sense given your group (i.e. GS TMT vs BAML coverage, or Evercore vs. CS coverage). Thanks!

Jun 13, 2018

When i met with headhunters i specifically said i wanted to go to a MM PE fund and wanted to be in the Midwest (granted i still interviewed with a few brand name funds out east for the experience and to give them a chance). I wasn't necessarily set on staying in my industry, but it just so happens that the city i'm moving to has a lot of funds focused solely on my industry, so again as i mentioned before the stars just kind of aligned. I was open to generalist positions though and other industries, which i communicated to the headhunters when we met.

Regarding my group, a lot of people who have left in the past have moved on to funds focused on the same industry, but there have been individuals who have gone on to generalist roles, hedge funds, etc. If you communicate your desire to headhunters that you want to move away from your industry, and you are a desirable candidate (good GPA, good school, have great deal experience), you should have absolutely no problem pivoting away from your industry to either a non-related industry or to a generalist role from a coverage group. Same can be said for generalist groups at banks (M&A, levfin, sponsors), you are more tailored towards generalist roles at funds, but if you make it known you want to go to a industry focused fund, and have the resume to support that, you should have absolutely no problem. you just need to make your desires known to headhunters, as they are the gatekeepers for most interviews.

Also, if helpful, i'm in a coverage group at one of the banks you mentioned. so happy to elaborate more on specifics if you want to PM me.

    • 2
Jun 14, 2018

This was really helpful, thanks. I'll take you up on that offer in the coming weeks. Congrats again.

Jun 13, 2018

Congrats on making it from a non target.

Jun 13, 2018

Thanks homie.

Jun 13, 2018

What are your hours like? 12-14 hours a days? Do you work Saturdays and Sundays?

What's your vacation policy?

I only wonder because I'm curious about the lifestyle at a MM PE shop

Jun 13, 2018

haven't started yet so can't speak definitively to lifestyle, but i was told expect hours to be 9-6 on average, with them being more like 9-9/10 when you're working on live stuff. but i can't give you a honest answer until i start, which will be in a month and a half, so i can try and get back to you on that. As far as i know, no Saturdays or Sundays unless you're working on something live.

Vacation policy is i get one day for every month i work this year (so will be 5 days, as I start in late July/early August), and then 15 a year therafter. Firm also names 5 holidays throughout the year randomly, so i guess it's more like 20 vacation days, which is pretty tight. but we'll see how much i can utilize them.

Again, i can try and report back later but i'm still in banking for the time being, unfortunately.

    • 2
Jun 13, 2018

Wow, I can't imagine getting work done in a day that's less than 12 hours...maybe that's because I'm in the HF space,,,but who knows

Thx for the response

    • 3
Aug 13, 2018

Hey my man - So it sounds like you might have just about started your new job at the MM firm. How are the hours like for a real experience update? Also bump the question regarding if you would have still done IB first even if you had a PE analyst offer from the same firm coming out of college? (I am currently recruiting/interviewing for MM PE SA positions as an undergrad from a non-target and am unsure if I should start focusing more on IB than PE recruiting. I want to end up on buyside for sure though). Thanks for the help!

Jun 13, 2018

Hey thanks for doing this, few questions:

  1. Also going to a coverage group at one of the BBs you mentioned (CS/BAML/Citi) - did guys in your group get hit up for interviews with a good number of upper mm or mf firms if that's what they were gunning for? Anything you noticed as a differentiator about who got those interviews?
  2. I imagine some of the midwestern firms wanted you to fly out to their offices for final round interviews - how did you get time to leave NYC?
Jun 13, 2018

Not a ton of people in my class have recruited for PE thus far to be honest (some left for corp dev, some are looking at/going to hedge funds, others aren't really focused on recruiting), but those who did want to recruit got hit up for a fair amount of the firms they were looking at. To be honest, those in my class who are leaving (there are 5 of us), none of us really wanted to do upper MM/MF PE, but almost all of us interviewed with upper MM or MFs along the way, so the opportunity was definitely there. So long as you have a good resume and are a solid performer, you shouldn't have an issue interviewing with these caliber of firms from coverage groups at any BB, assuming your interest in these firms is communicated to headhunters.

Big differentiators to getting interviews:

  • Deal experience (you want to aim to have 2-4 M&A deals on your resume, know these like the back of your hand)
  • Class rank (recruiters will ask more senior analysts in the group who is performing well within the 1st year class, and who should be considered for top roles)
  • School and GPA (less important, but can certainly be a factor)
  • Networking (headhunters control the interviews but networking can be a massive differentiator when it comes to getting interviews, as people inside the firms you want to interview with can pull your resume out of the resume book that the recruiter sends them)

Those are the big things from what i've noticed in my recruiting process.

In terms of travel for interviews outside of NYC, for some i took vacation days, other times i just told my teams i was traveling for personal reasons and would be away from my computer for part of the day, but would work remotely when i wasn't busy. This is generally allowed in my group, but again my group is more open to recruiting so this might not be the best approach to take depending on your groups approach to junior recruiting.

    • 3
Jun 15, 2018

Thank you for your answers and experiences, all have been very helpful. The PE recruiting process seems pretty intense given its accelerated nature in the past few years. Just a few questions going off of the answers you gave to the previous post

  1. Given the accelerated process of recruiting, any tips on how to stay on top of getting staffed for deals going into the recruiting process/if you end up going into the process with no live deals (most seems to suggest pitches are the best way to display skill?)
  2. How is networking treated in PE? Incoming analyst for a BB coverage group and wondering if I should be looking to begin reaching out. I have heard from a few that I shouldn't be worrying about networking this early but also some that mention that now would be best. Should the target be current associates and what general knowledge should one have going into these networking chats?
  3. How structured do your preferences have to be for PE shops when HH's reach out? I believe it was M&I's PE guide that suggested having a solid PE shop in mind (MF/MM, buyout/credit) was the way to go

Appreciate any insights you could give on these questions.

Jun 13, 2018

Nice work, congrats on the new gig.

How far can you punt a football?

Jun 13, 2018
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Jun 15, 2018
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