Career Move - Corp to PE/HF in "late" life stage

mdinpijamas's picture
Rank: Monkey | 47

Hi guys,

I searched the forum for the question I have, and even though there was a lot of information, I couldn't find a situation as near as mine as possible.

So, I was born in Brazil, lived there pretty much my whole life, but I moved to the US last summer. My experience is basically 6-7 years in BIG4, working for Valuation and M&A (1-2 years here), and some business development for the TAS area (1-2 years as well). I have performed valuation for a multitude of companies and situations, I am very confident in my financial modeling skills.

My last 3-4 years were spent being the Head of FP&A in two major manufacturing companies, more specifically the automotive industry.

As I mentioned, I moved into the US and just now received my work permit. I would like to take this opportunity to move into a PE or HF role. I am 36 years old and I understand that I may/should need to take a step back to move into the industry.

What do you guys think, feasible? If so, what would you do to try this?

I have emailed, sent resume to a lot of the companies in the PE/HF industry, but I think I may be missing the point here.

Thank you for your help!

Comments (13)

Mar 5, 2019

I would like to see someone giving feedback on this

Mar 5, 2019

What type of role are you aiming for? Valuation? Portfolio Company Operations? Investing?

Mar 5, 2019

I believe I could add value to all the roles you mentioned, but I am leaning more towards investment analyses, which for me, involves performing valuation.

Most Helpful
Mar 5, 2019

Sure and I should of clarified. I meant valuation in the context of the group responsible for valuation and portfolio company reporting to investors.

You have a background that matches up quite well with this function inside a PE firm, but note this is different from the investment function handled by a different set of people.

Head of FP&A for an automotive industry manufacturer sounds interesting. Given the way you described it, I'm guessing this is not an automotive company itself, like Ford or GM, but rather a supplier of parts to the car company. If you're not at a F50 type company, I would say your chances of doing operations type work for PE portfolio companies are lower However still doable, if you sell yourself the right way.

Being on the investing side is a whole other ball game though. It's not for everyone, and it may not be for you. At your level, it will be a lot about sourcing, and if you don't have the contacts in the market the PE firm scouts for deals, I don't see the entry point for you coming in as green as would be coming in.

Ask yourself why you want to be in PE, or why PE instead of HF. Honestly, they're two very different animals, that I didn't fully appreciate until I joined on the PE side. If it's an industry you really just want to be a part of in one way, shape, or form; look at the first two options more closely, because these would be your best shoot at success. At the end the of day, it sounds like you're already successful in your current career trajectory, so why make the move at all?

Mar 5, 2019

Agree with what was said above. Wanted to emphasize on the investment valuation of current port cos and the investment team are vastly different.

    • 1
Learn More

9 LBO Modeling Tests, 10+ hours of PE Cases and 2,447+ interview insights across 203 private equity funds. The WSO Private Equity Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to break into the competitive PE industry. Learn more.

Mar 7, 2019

Made a very similar move last year. Was your age, working in IB but wanted to be an investor. Had an interest in all things buyside: HF, PE, VC. I understand they're very different, but they all get my brain going in the same way. Ended up at a family office where it's mostly PE but a chance to do VC deals and public co-investments with HF's. Took a sizable pay cut to do it, but that's more than offset by enjoying the work a lot more. And I don't really see it as a financial sacrifice anyway, because I feel better about my long-term earning potential knowing that it depends on my investment decisions rather than my performance as a banker (i.e. ability to win clients).

The day-to-day tasks don't change much: modeling, financial analysis, negotiating deal terms. It's only the lens that changes; investor lens vs. client service lens (in my case) and corporate lens (in your case).

So the question is, how important is that changing lens to you. In most people's cases, I think it's not that critical. I'm jealous of those people, i.e. the guy who can stay on the sellside and make a killing because he sees buyside and sellside work as pretty similar. But for me, I'm not that guy. The lens is very important to me, and is in the back of my mind in any task that I do. Building a model for my own investment decision feels very different from building a model for a pitchbook.

As for how to make the switch; I took a guerilla-style approach. I went to conferences, spoke to investors about their ideas, shared some of my own. Made some friends that way, and eventually it grew into conversations like "hey don't you think you'd be happier as an investor?" which led to other intros and conversations, and eventually a job.

Downside to doing things that way is that it takes a long time. Upside is that when something eventually opens up, you have the inside track because the fund has known you for a while and trusts you as someone they met organically, instead of a guy who's always been looking for a job.

    • 2
Mar 5, 2019

Thank you for your comment. Good to know there is the possibility of change. Your case seems more straight forward given you were already in IB, it seems less corp to an investor, like me.

This: "...but wanted to be an investor. Had an interest in all things buy side: HF, PE, VC. I understand they're very different, but they all get my brain going in the same way." This defines exactly my thoughts today, I want to be in the investor side, taking a chance on investments I believe in and analyzed it myself.

It is important to me to change lens, sooner than later, because time is of the essence it seems. I like your guerrilla-style approach, I am kind of doing similar things, but as you said, it takes a lot of time to mingle and get to be known by the correct people.

Family Office might be a great option for me, it would give me the investor side and I believe there are plenty of them in South Florida. They all have the same "problems" we already discussed like a tight circle, small teams, but could be really good, thanks for the input.

I am also trying to leverage whatever contacts I have in Brazil that might put me in front of people here, but it is not easy as well.

Hope you are happy with your career change.

    • 2
Mar 7, 2019
    • 2