Coding in Private Equity

I just graduated undergrad and signed as a first year analyst at a fast growing real estate private equity firm. I wanted to get thoughts from experienced professionals if learning how to code Python will be a value add to my firm and if it is worth my time. Our analysis is excel heavy and we use minimal VBA, so if I were to learn how to code, I'd be the first in my firm of 30 to have this skill-set in my toolbox. However, I wanted to get insights from the community on how relevant this skill-set is automating functions in day to day operations at a equity shop. Does Python have the capabilities to supplement/compliment regular excel functions, or will it be a waste of time learning how to code.

My interest in learning Python only lies in creating tools that will help with our processes in the tools we have, and this could potentially be a huge value-add to my firm, but I do not know the capabilities which Python has to be able to know what tools I could potentially create. What exactly can Python bring to the table at a private equity firm, and are there any firms that have vastly incorporated coding into their DNA?

Comments (16)

May 13, 2020 - 12:26pm

There are some situations where a Python or an R could come in handy, like when you're dealing with massive customer / transaction databases with 500K+ rows and it becomes impossible to run analyses in Excel without crashing or freezing your computer.

But there are some tools more native to Excel (PowerPivot and PowerBI) you can leverage instead. The learning curve would be much shorter for most finance professionals already steeped in excel, and you can basically accomplish the same thing as with an R or Python.

You'd save a lot of time learning PowerBI instead of Python. And you can use that extra time to learn other more important things like how to manage the rest of a deal process, understand the legal docs, etc.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - FI
May 16, 2020 - 1:54am

When do you find yourself using macros? I have a modified set of Macabacus ones that I use for formatting but never found any other use card really.

May 16, 2020 - 8:15am

Actually interesting point you bring up. I had my seniors show quite a bit of aversion to my implementing tableau or any language such as Python. The industry is unfortunately run by dinosaurs until they die off or retire so it won't really behoove you to go out of your way to be a good coder in PE, sucks but true

May 17, 2020 - 12:23am

Master your basic technical analysis and focus on what they are doing and find ways to make it better. Using VBA or python is powerful. We have a guy who everyone turns to for python scrapes. Don't tell anyone how you are so good otherwise you get pinged the data guy wen you want to be the start analyst!

May 17, 2020 - 6:25pm

I do statistical coding for a PE firm... building reports for the principals and some late stage due diligence for the deal team.

Your best bet would be to learn SQL and how to pull information from databases. Python and R are useful but at a REPE i am not sure it would be the best use of your time.

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