Best lifestyle PE firms in terms of hours work, comp/size doesn't matter

Making Gravy's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,753

Just curious. If someone wasn't worried about comp, wasn't worried about fast progression, wasn't worried about sector, just liked the work of PE and wanted to have the best lifestyle possible, which shops would you recommend? Do they tend to be clustered places like Denver, LA, Miami, or what?

Comments (33)

May 12, 2018

Why not just go to corp dev at that point? ;)

May 16, 2018

Honestly, because I hadn't thought of it...

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May 12, 2018

Would say leaving NYC is key and you should be targeting family offices. I think certain strategies are going to be horrific in PE such as distressed or hybrid funds where you can do PE and HF investments etc. Would just vet partners thoroughly at any fund you're interested in and make sure you'll have support as you move up (e.g. team structure should make sense not 3 VPs 1 associate type of gig)

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May 15, 2018

Just look for low returns - should be highly correlated with jr professional work load

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May 15, 2018

lmao

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May 16, 2018

Pretty funny, but I could actually see this working in the opposite direction too. When faced with low returns, senior people may work their juniors harder because they're desperate for a big return on their next deal.

May 16, 2018

eh, i worked 9-5 in my last pe gig when the fund blew up. we were just watching portfolio companies and had no dry powder to invest. came in around 930am left around 4pm but that was also because we had no shot at raising another fund and just needed to exit our holdings. it was dope for like 2-3 months but then got old

May 16, 2018

can someone explain what corp dev is.....

Best Response
May 16, 2018
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May 17, 2018

I've been going on WSO for ~3 years and this is far and away the best comment I have ever seen

May 23, 2018

Here, take my SB

May 22, 2018

Heard family offices are the way to go. Looking for something similar lol.

May 22, 2018

Word, good luck dude. Let me know if you make it or find anything good.

May 22, 2018

Try secondaries or co-investing shops.

All the Canadian shops are pretty good hours.

Sovereign wealth funds are also fine, especially the tier 2 ones that aren't too sophisticated.

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May 23, 2018

No big, well known PE shop will be know for having a tremendous work/life balance.

As people have mentioned family offices will be a good bet. You could also just look for smaller, relatively local PE shops.

I work for a ~$500M AUM shop now and the work life balance outside of deals is pretty good. Even when I'm working on deals it's tough, but not as bad as it could be.

As someone else mentioned, it's also really dependent on the partners and how they want to live their life. If you have hardcore ex bankers/big PE guys that run the firm, they might be more inclined to work people in a similar fashion to how they've worked in the past.

I would never go into any sort of PE if I valued work/life balance over everything else. No matter what, if you're working on deals things and timelines will be a little unpredictable.

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May 23, 2018

As someone who took this route (and I think you actually responded to an old thread I was on) and joined a smaller LMM shop for perceived work/life balance....I can reiterate how PE is PE at the end of the day, and who your direct supervisors are will greatly impact expectations.

Everyone in my shop expects 12+ hour days no matter what - with the mindset that there is "always work to be done". Weekend work always expected for the most part, and almost no work/life balance during the week so to speak of. Live deals ramp up even more, and it can be banking 2.0. All founding team is ex-bankers (elite boutiques & BB) with mega-fund level experience - so the work ethic is similar (unfortunately).

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May 23, 2018

What I'm hearing is it might be good to look at the backgrounds of the guys running the shop, too?

May 23, 2018

Have heard good things about Bain cap, crestview, and GA. Funds with strong reputations don't necessarily mean bad hours - it's not a badge of honor to work 100 hours a week, if anything the associates who are forced to do that are less able to have time spent thinking about the business and the bigger picture which is more important to your development as an investor.

May 23, 2018

I believe you're right about GA, but I have not heard the same about Bain Cap and Crestview. That being said, experiences can vary wildly by team/individual even within a given firm. Your general point about funds with strong reputations not necessarily meaning rough hours is right. Hours during live deals/final round bids will always be tough at just about any firm, but the relationship between fund size/reputation/performance and associate level work/life balance is not linear. Make sure you do your research.

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Jun 3, 2018

just did a deal with Bain cap, met with the juniors over drinks after - would say lifestyle wise def not at the top

RL

May 23, 2018

Pretty naive question. If you want to do PE for the lifestyle - oh my, you're in for a rude awakening. Any PE shop worth its salt will grind its associates pretty damn hard

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May 23, 2018

Best lifestyle, not for the lifestyle. The extra hour of sleep is nice.

May 26, 2018

go to a pension fund (i.e. the Norges Sovereign Wealth Fund).

May 27, 2018

Are the pension funds really any better? I've worked on buysides with pension funds, and they worked just as hard as regular PE funds, albeit my sample size is obviously small.

I'd reiterate the above posts, look at the backgrounds of the top guys. If family office / pension funds are run by ex-BB / MF people, they'll likely expect a similar work ethic and run a similar culture in the office.

Jun 2, 2018

yes, I definitely agree with you. However, I do see some Pension funds (i.e. Norwegian / smaller German ones) where there is a more relaxed stance.

May 27, 2018

-

May 29, 2018

Coming from MF to SWF, I can say my hours have improved ~10%, but this probably has more to do with me being more senior now than with the type of the fund. Most people here work just as hard as they did in my previous firm. In New York office, for example, they usually work 70-80h/week, with a lot of face time and mindless grunt work (banking 2.0).

Jun 3, 2018
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Mar 19, 2019