Consulting or Infra PE, best way to transition into PE?

Hi everybody,

First post here, and I just wanted to start off by thanking everyone active here in these forums for the highly valued insights you all have provided me. Hopefully, I will one day be able to give back to this forum as well.

I have succeeded to put myself in a quite peculiar situation. After having completed an internship at one of the top consulting firms and another internship at one of the biggest firms in the Infra PE space, I have now ended up with a full-time offer from both firms. As my long-term goal is to break into the PE-industry, I am wondering what offer I should accept with regards to the ease of transitioning into PE later on. Both with regards to what position would prepare me the best, skills-wise, for a PE-job, but also with regards to the name/brand of the firm. In my case, I believe the top consulting firm would constitute a "heavier" name/brand on my CV. Although, I do not know how much this matters at all and if it even is relevant.

I am unsure about how I should prioritize and I am also fully aware of that my personality and personal fit with the firm in many times will be a decisive factor. Although, there ought to be some general consensus here (or not) of what path is the best for breaking into PE.

Thank you very much. All answers and insights are deeply appreciated!


Pitchbook Author

Comments (5)

May 25, 2017

Private equity is the best training to do private equity. I personally consider Infra PE essentially the same as non-infra PE measured by the skill set you'll gain, particularly in North America, though obviously not the same industry knowledge.

If by "breaking into PE" you mean working at a non-infra fund, I'd suggest the infra PE role over the consultant role. It's true that some funds like to hire consultants (think Bain, Berkshire, AEA), but the core associate recruits at almost all PE firms are finance professionals, specifically analysts in IB and PE.

When you mention name/brand, one of the largest infra PE funds will surely have name recognition within the broader PE industry. An MBB will have name recognition with the world, so if you think you ultimately might not want to be in PE then this is something to consider.

Another thing to consider is that some of the largest infra firms invest in fairly commonplace industries such as transportation and infrastructure technology. These experiences could be directly applicable to non-infra PE firms.

In conclusion, you're in a pretty lucky spot and you'll be fine with either.

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Best Response
May 25, 2017

This. I don't get why wouldn't OP consider Infra PE as PE.

Coincidentally, I have been in the three roles you mentioned (MBB, non-Infra PE and currently at Infra PE). The work at Infra PE is VERY similar to non-Infra PE, you just have an industry focus (I was a generalist before). At non-infra PE you will probably have an industry focus as well (FIG, TMT, HC, etc.).

This is a no-brainer, if you are set into PE, go do something that has PE on the job description.

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Jun 5, 2017

This. I don't get why wouldn't OP consider Infra PE as PE.

On second thought regarding my view of Infra PE, I actually do not know where my notion of this matter stems from. I think I reasoned this way because of Infra PE being very unheard of at my school, and thus not "belonging" to PE. I honestly do not know where I got this view from haha, and thanks for correcting my view on this matter.

Also, thanks for your insight, it is very much appreciated!

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Jun 5, 2017

I'm glad I could help. Please feel free to PM me if you want more insight on infra vs. non-infra private equity.

Jun 5, 2017