Call for advice from PE professionals - Undergraduate hopeful in distress

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this. I appreciate even more anyone who decides to contribute. So the situation is the following-

I was just confirmed to attend an "Undergraduate Investment Clinic" for undergraduate students in New York City on January 7th. The 9-hour session is said to include:

  • Insight into the Private Equity and Real Estate Investment landscape and insight into the relevant macro and micro-economic trends

  • Discussions with Private Equity and Real Estate professionals regarding the "art of investment" and metrics on maximizing deal value

  • Practice case studies to develop investment opinions and technical skills to get ahead of the curve

  • Networking with investors: Limited partners, General Partners, and Key firm decision makers.

So that is what the event consists of. The reason as to why I am posting this today is because I want to hear everyone's opinion on how I can get the maximum use out of this opportunity. I am sure you will all agree with me in believing that any face time is good face time and that there is almost always something someone wants to hear and that one idea or series of ideas can persuade and ultimately convince. So experienced PE associates and industry leaders, what would I be able to do, convey, and say during this event which could drive you to want to connect with me? I will post a link to another discussion I have started regarding myself and my profile as a student with interests in the financial markets but briefly speaking on the matter: I have internship experience as an Emerging Markets Equity Research Summer Analyst at a South American Brokerage firm, I have read several fun books on PE including Barbarians at the Gate and Kings of Capital, I manage a small fund, I trade Equity options, Speak Spanish and French and am well connected in South America (Not much help here). Furthermore, My interest and venture into the world of finance in the USA has lead me to tour the NYSE, receive a super day invitation from Goldman Sachs securities and BAML and has lead me to meet Bloomberg economist, Richard Yamarone. The big catch here, however, is that I did not end up receiving an offer to intern for this coming Summer with neither one of these firms nor any other bank that I applied to. Finally, the unfortunate reality here is that my GPA is also below a 3.5. Now I am still hopeful as I have gotten this far but I am in need of some help in thinking of what I can do to stand out to the individuals I will meet next week.

So the question is, what do you think I can do on January 7th to receive an offer to interview with Carlyle Group, Alkeon Capital Management, or Westbrook partners for a summer internship position. I refuse to allow this opportunity to result in a simple meet and greet. I can elaborate more on the "why PE" questions if necessary as I have put a decent amount of thought into them.

We're going for a Hail Mary pass here gentlemen.

  • Torero

Comments (8)

Jan 3, 2017 - 8:39am

Don't try too hard
Be as genuine as possible. Build rapport with people by showing an interest in their lives not their jobs. Sure you can drop bits and pieces about your achievements here and there; but be selective and time it. These guys know how to read people, so the more genuine you are, the more they are going to want to talk to you. Ultimately.. relax and just be yourself if you can.

I've done a few of these events myself and I end up having a beer with the guy I like as opposed to the guy that is probably the most employable...

good luck

Jan 3, 2017 - 7:53pm

Thanks! Good insight. Is there anything you would suggest following in the markets regarding PE that would be valuable to bring up to the professionals I interact with? I am studying the MDA section of the company 10k's to get insight into possible direction

Carl Van Loon Van Loon & Associates
Jan 5, 2017 - 12:08pm

So the list of visiting firms has been updated. I will be meeting with Blackstone, Carlyle, and KKR

Carl Van Loon Van Loon & Associates
Best Response
Jan 5, 2017 - 4:51pm

I'm a bit older than you so I'm going to pass on some advice. People want to work with smart, interesting people, not try hard weirdos who masturbate over getting into their industry. Just by reading your post you can smell the unfocussed desperation and I can tell you would probably be quite irritating in person. You only need to show that you are interested and's just like need to be cool.

So the advice:

Read up as much as you can on the relevant topics beforehand, mainly so you can follow discussion and when/if you open your mouth you don't say anything stupid. You are far better off making one or two very good and well thought points that blurting a lot or irrelevant nonsense.

Wear a suit, not to show off, but to demonstrate that you respect the event.

If you were on a date, how would you behave? Just be the best version of your self and try to chat to people in a professional but interesting way. Don't be too banal and try hard, but at the same time don't be overly familiar, these are complete strangers.

One of the most annoying things people do when asked questions in interviews is to try and give some cookie cutter answer to demonstrate a strength or skill. DO NOT DO THIS it is very transparent to the person you are speaking to. You have to drop things in off hand, or try and lead a conversation in a way that invites the person to talk about things you want to talk about which you know will demonstrate strengths. Of course if someone asks you a question directly, answer it.

Mainly be relaxed and positive, work life is long and there is a certain serendipity about it. Do your best to be the best version of yourself..the type of professional you might want to work for one day, and if someone responds positively to that then that will be the person you would want to work for. If you meet a professional that you would have to drag by wild horses before they gave you a job, then you probably wouldn't want to work for them anyway.

Don't take this all to seriously, there are many ways to be successful in life, most people in finance are ultimately not that successful and none of the most successful people my age (28) that I know work in finance at all.

Lastly, focus primarily on improving your grades. A good degree classification is something that will help you for life...much more so than than an 8 week internship getting coffee and piddling around on spreadsheets for bankcorp x.

  • 6
Jan 8, 2017 - 9:24pm

Great advice! Thanks Suede. The event went well and I ended up connecting pretty well with a director simply because he coincidentally went to the same high school as me. I can see what you mean by being relaxed and not coming off as irritating. I am not usually obsessive but my lack of success in landing an internship for this Summer made me become a bit desperate. I will make sure to relax.

Carl Van Loon Van Loon & Associates
Jan 6, 2017 - 5:59pm

Where's the distress in the OP? I don't see it. Tip, avoid hyperbole because it makes you look childish.

I also agree with suede, try to be cool and try to portray a small amount of attractive indifference. Let them come to you. It's a tough skill to learn and did not come naturally to me but that and silence are golden when you know how to use them.

Think about your competition, how will you stand out? Play that card.

Not that you have time but experience would help. You can chase low-end PE deals on your own and even if you never landed one, you'll know what it feels like and can connect with PE folks on a deeper level.

Good luck

Global buyer of highly distressed industrial companies. Pays Finder Fees Criteria = $50 - $500M revenues. Highly distressed industrial. Limited Reps and Warranties. Can close in 1-2 weeks.
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