Choosing between entry paths into PE

PEPlaceholder's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 49

Hi guys,

I am at somewhat of a dilemma, and wanted to get some outside perspective into the decision I am facing.

I am an European monkey about to graduate with Msc by the end of the year and want to land a upper MM (e.g. Bain Cap, Hellman & Friedman, Advent, EQT, Silver Lake) or a MF PE role few years after starting FT. Longer term, I do not see myself staying at a large fund but hope to transition into a senior role at a smaller fund since I would like my work to have an operational vibe in addition to just financing / deal making.

I have received a couple of decent offers for FT work, and I am quite torn choosing between the options I have. More specifically, I can either:

  1. Start at a MBB in beginning of next year and try to recruit for PE roles from there
  2. Start at MBB in beginning of next year, stay with the firm until August and join the analyst program at a top BB (GS/MS) and then recruit for PE roles from there

For background, I have previously interned at the MBB, a solid EB (think Laz/Rothschild/Evercore) and a lower MM PE firm. Neither of the MBB nor BB offers I have are in the city I would like to pursue PE role later down the line, but I have a slight preference for the city the BB is located in. However, the group at the BB is not my preferred one (think industrial goods / nat res)

Based on my previous experience, I found the MBB work to be quite a bit more interesting / challenging than the IB work, and imagine it would take me longer to get bored with it compared to IB work. However, I don't mind grinding it out for 2ish years at IB if the exits are better.

Overall, as I initially said I am very torn between this. On one hand, I feel I should have quite a solid and well rounded profile for PE recruiting if I were to have both top BB & MBB experience. On the other, I would like to go through with the full 2 year MBB experience since I enjoyed my time there previously.

What would you guys do? Is going with the second option more optimal in the long-term given my goals, or am I sacrificing short-term enjoyment for no reason?

Here's a short summary of pros/cons for both options my perspective:

Option 1:
+ More interesting work
+ Better lifestyle
+ More interesting people / better culture
+ Better non-PE exits (if I change my mind)
- Realistically almost no chance at MFs (if I choose to prioritize these over upper MMs at exit)
- Miss out on BB experience (is this just irrational fear or missing out?)

Options 2:
+ Better PE exits (?)
+ Well-rounded skillset (bit of consulting and strong finance knowledge)
+ More interesting city
+ Better pay
- Having to do first 6 months twice (first at MBB, then at BB)
- Having to screw MBB over by leaving after first 6 months
- Sucky lifestyle / less interesting work prior to PE exit

Any insights are appreciated. Thank you for the help!

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Comments (1)

Oct 12, 2018