Ask Me Anything: Undergrad straight to PE in Latin America

So I've been lurking for a while now and thought I should contribute a little bit to the community. Not sure if my story will be useful to other users given my geography, but here I am in case it is helpful for some.

My Story:
Undergrad in Latam (engineering major). I was looking for jobs in IBD and bumped into the possibility of a open spot at one of the regional PE funds (non-Brazil). After lots of interviews I was lucky to land the job.

Been working here for 6 months now. I'll be happy to answer your questions and hopefully help someone along the way.

Comments (12)

Dec 7, 2013 - 11:19pm

1) What was your internship experience like prior to the job?
2) Can you transition to a US-based position later on, or would you prefer to stay where you are?
3) What are plans beyond the analyst years (MBA, etc)?

Sep 10, 2014 - 5:41pm


1) What was your internship experience like prior to the job?

2) Can you transition to a US-based position later on, or would you prefer to stay where you are?

3) What are plans beyond the analyst years (MBA, etc)?

1) None! In Latam we don't have the internship culture, the only ones who tend to work internships are the kids coming back over the summer from US colleges. We do have, however, a whole mandatory semester during which we are supposed to work an internship. I was actually looking for an IBD internship when I bumped into this full time PE job opportunity.
I did, however, found small company while in school.

2) To land a US based job I guess the easiest thing to do would be to attend a US based MBA program first. I don't suppose cold calling PE shops in the US would be very successful as my experience hardly makes up for the hassle of importing an international employee. Most people in the industry here with MBAs haver very prestigious ones - think Wharton and up - and about half of them have previous PE or HF experience in the US. No mega-funds though.

3) I, as well as the great majority of PE analyst in the region, am thinking about an MBA as a next step. Theres no strict 2+2 path around here though, so I get more flexibility on when I want to leave. I'm aiming for top MBAs, and hopefully land a good job for a couple years or so in the US and then come back, or simply start my own company after that.
Most people in the region (if not all) hope to come back sooner rather than later. So is my case. The quality of life is just way better here than in the US.

Dec 12, 2013 - 9:51am

1) What is your total comp like?
2) How is the work/deal flow?
3) What would you do on a typical day in the job?

Progress is impossible without change...
Dec 12, 2013 - 2:07pm


1) What is your total comp like?

2) How is the work/deal flow?

3) What would you do on a typical day in the job?

1) I earn about 50k US total comp, which is, I think, the highest salary in the country for people without experience. I earn slightly more than the BB IBD analysts (there are only about 6 BB IBD analysts (JP Morgan, Merryl Lynch) in the country and those are the ones always landing the PE jobs, and considerably more than consulting analysts (MBB) as their bonus is much smaller than mine. The analysts at my firm, who all did IBD before coming, are making about 100k a year.
these salaries are really good given the cost of living. I estimate we are making 3-4 times what our friends are making.

2) Deal flow is good. I've been here for 5 months now and we have looked at over 50 deals and have analyzed in detail over 12 possible transactions The country is a bit hot atm so we haven't gone through with much due dilligence as we aren't offering such high multiples.

3) Due to recent events I've been head deep in one of our portfolio companies, so doing a lot of actual operating. Other than that I usually do industry research to understand what is going with specific industries we are looking at and then building the models for the company to see if it the deal it self is attractive. Each of our regional offices have small operations so I basically get to sit in on pretty much everything that happens around here: Intense board meetings, bank workouts, MGMT presentations, pretty much all of it. Its also really cool because I'm basically a no one at the moment and I'm constantly speaking with some of the most highly regarded business people in the country.

Bonus: As you can get from the above responses, the prestigious jobs everyone in these forums is afer (IBD, PE, HF, MBB) are extremely competitive as there are basically no spots available. In my country (Top 5 Latam countries) there are: about 6 BB IBD analysts, about 10 MBB analysts, and about 8 PE analysts, and no Hedge funds. As a plus, people are a lot less aware of these and if you really want them, and plan ahead, that gives one a big edge over every one else. My case: I prepared with the interviews guides here, and I killed the interviews. Also, we are very well placed to land acceptance at the top MBAs

EDIT: Now that I think about it, there are most spots, I was just taking into account the main firms. There some other pretty good ones out there as well that would probably double the number of spots for these jobs.

Dec 12, 2013 - 12:20pm

Oscar RJ-J:

What im interested most is how to get interview from PE firms...... They dont seem to recruit, especially for undergrad... is there any formal path to get an interview without connection?

No. You are right, there is no formal process and you only get interviews if you know people, or people know you, or you work at the best IBD groups. it's tough both ways, I know of a firm who has been looking for an analyst for over 6 months now with no luck.

Also, it seems no one ever uses the firms website to contact them (in LATAM), 90% firms have no open spots, but if they did, I'm sure they would take a look at the resume that get in through the website.

If you are looking for a job, PM and maybe we can talk in detail.

Dec 12, 2013 - 2:03pm


I would be interested to know if you are in a 2 year program, or less structured (maybe yearly contract ?)

Generally there is no predefined structure. There are so few employees there is no formal recruiting and there is no formal path either. Everyone is on an "undefined term" contract, which means they can let you go whenever they want to and pay a severance in function of the amount of time you worked for; it also means you can leave whenever you want to. (I'm not sure how it works for the high-level people, I supposed it may be different. Im speaking for the analysts and associates)

Most people do 2-3 years and then MBA, although some stay for up to 5 years, and then simply look for something else to do with their time and money.

Dec 13, 2013 - 2:50pm

I've got questions more about the Latam market.

1. What's deal flow like in Latam, both in Brazil and non-Brazil? What are the deals you are seeing in the PE space, both in terms of sectors and types of deal (LBOs, take privates, pre-IPOs, control or non-controlling stakes etc)?

2. What's the investment banking coverage like in Latam? I've heard that it's a pretty fragmented market, without any IBs have strong market dominance. Is that true?

3. For the BB IBs you've seen active in Latam, do they cover the region mainly from regional offices or out of North America?

4. Are you seeing much cross-border money flowing into Latam, particularly from China, Japan and Korea?

5. What sectors is cross-border money flowing into - mainly resources and infrastructure?

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
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