Dad's a partner at a PE shop how do I use it to network?

507's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 202

Hi, y'all this may seem like a dumb question so rip away if you want. My father just became a partner at a PE shop a few years ago (shop size~ 10B aum). Having a family member in this industry is pretty new to me and I'm not sure how to use it to network myself into an IB job. I know the other partners in the firm are very well connected in the banking scene in my city so I know they could introduce me to the right people. My story is, I go to a top state school think (UF,UT,UVA,UCLA) I'm getting my masters and undergrad in accounting in one of those 4+1 programs. I've interned at a big 4 as well done an internship at boutique IB shop. I have an ok GPA (3.3-3.4) so I recruited for FT both BB and MM, I ended up not getting any offers. After that I turned around and thought I was going to be going full time at the Boutique shop I had previously interned with, but that opportunity just closed up due to lack of deal flow. I've never been the one to use "Daddys connections" to get a job, but given the current circumstances, I'm thinking I'm going to have to play this card. How should I approach my situation?

Region: 
United States - South
United States - West

Comments (76)

Mar 31, 2020
  1. Walk up to your dad
  2. "Hey dad, do you have any friends in IB I can talk to and network with?"
  3. = Goldman TMT
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Mar 31, 2020

lol

Funniest
Mar 31, 2020

Array

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Apr 1, 2020

Lol, the interview question killed me

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Apr 5, 2020

this is so good

Mar 31, 2020

lol I wish it was that easy. The man is really well connected in the engineering world, but not so much in the IB world.

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Mar 31, 2020

lol I wish it was that easy. The man is really well connected in the engineering world, but not so much in the IB world

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 31, 2020

Lmao top state school UF, UT, UVA, UCLA (assuming its UT Austin)

we know its UF bro

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  • Prospect in Other
Mar 31, 2020

One of these is not like the others

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Mar 31, 2020

yikes.... Hook'em!

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Apr 1, 2020

UT for sure the "y'all" was a dead give away

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Apr 1, 2020

Think it's UF cuz I don't recall UT having a 4+1 program

Apr 2, 2020

Only UF people think UF is a tier 1 public school.

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Apr 12, 2020

it's #7 among publics and #34 in the nation...the numbers don't lie

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 31, 2020

Hello dad give me an internship before I tell mom about your mistresses in Miami and the hidden money in the Cayman Islands.

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Apr 1, 2020

https://www.leveragedsellout.com/2005/09/the-bouti...
Damn, I knew that OP reminded me of somebody...

Vincet Voluntas - Will shall win

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 1, 2020

Where are these questions going?
Ask if he knows an in at the shop you want. If not, he will most likely give you places he knows how to get you in.

Do you want father-kid relationship advice as well?

Apr 1, 2020

I probably should have been more specific. The only reason the firm made my dad a partner is due to an engineering expertise he has. He knows no one in financial services other than who he works with. I was hoping to find out if by reaching out the other partners if I might have a legitimate chance of getting into a bank. I'm not sure how much pull people are willing to use for some co workers kid.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 1, 2020

Depends on the bond your father has with them and whether your father is willing to burn part of his goodwill with these people. Remember that the more people you involve to pull strings for you, the more people's reputations you are playing with. Your performance will be forever linked to them.

Apr 1, 2020

Hi my dad is Jamie Dimon, do you think that I can get an internship at JPMorgan? I've already met the CFO and head of HR that will push my resume

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Apr 1, 2020

Nah, I would check in with David from this small GS boutique thingy

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Apr 1, 2020

Not a fan of Jews, let me check with my WASP mates from MS

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 5, 2020

criminally funny underrated comment sb'ed hahaha

Apr 1, 2020

It sounds as if OP's old man may be an Operating Partner. Lots of good down to earth not super duper networking slick Ferragmo ties like that. Or I'll assume that.

OP - ask dad to call in a favor to some of the partners at the PE fund to talk to some guys. Ask if you can maybe you can get an internship, unpaid. At a $10bn shop this will be totally doable but it's probably structured well enough that there are formal processes to actually being hired.

Live at home, intern unpaid, do good work, help out be liked. PE guys are banking clients and so if they like you they can call their banker friends and be like hire this guy, he's not dumb, hard working, likeable and one of our guys. It will be good for business. DONE.

That is a much lower risk hire than some kid who went through the entire process....

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Apr 1, 2020

yup thats pretty much right. Considering I'm graduating in may would the unpaid internship still be a good move? The only decent offer I have is in big 4 valuations. Would the valuations experience be helpful in getting into IB later ?

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Apr 1, 2020

If its with the investment team (or even IR) yeah. Once you show that you are likeable and hard working and do good stuff and the people know you there and can vouch for you.

This is assuming that you do not have any debt or bills to pay and are living at home/are subsidized

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Apr 5, 2020

A lot of people in IB are ex-Big 4 and respect it. Valuations is, broadly speaking, a great skill as relates to IB. No shame in it.

I think starting that role, putting in some time, and then going to the PE connections, from the perspective of an employed young adult at a solid name firm from a solid school who managed to secure a position in a difficult environment is much more enticing and less of a burdensome favor. You'll have more to talk about when you are connected to these individuals, they'll be more enthusiastic and helpful.

Apr 12, 2020
Jamoldo:

It sounds as if OP's old man may be an Operating Partner. Lots of good down to earth not super duper networking slick Ferragmo ties like that. Or I'll assume that.

OP - ask dad to call in a favor to some of the partners at the PE fund to talk to some guys. Ask if you can maybe you can get an internship, unpaid. At a $10bn shop this will be totally doable but it's probably structured well enough that there are formal processes to actually being hired.

Live at home, intern unpaid, do good work, help out be liked. PE guys are banking clients and so if they like you they can call their banker friends and be like hire this guy, he's not dumb, hard working, likeable and one of our guys. It will be good for business. DONE.

That is a much lower risk hire than some kid who went through the entire process....

This.

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Apr 1, 2020

If you're asking this... I quesiton if you have the basic social or commercial awareness needed to succeed in business.

Ask your fucking dad dude and be honest with him about other avenues you have explore on your own merit. I'm sure you will find a good seat. Good luck.

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Apr 1, 2020

Gotcha. I was trying to be wary considering I don't know anything about the politics in banking. The old man hasn't been at the firm too long and I didn't want to be some shit head kid asking around for a job and potentially hurting his reputation. I'm not sure how often people in banking get asked for favors in hiring. Consequently, I'm being overly cautious before doing anything that could potentially annoy/piss someone off.

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Apr 1, 2020

Unless you just don't want to ask him I don't see how this could get any easier.

Apr 1, 2020

I definitely talked about it with him. Considering he is still one of the newer partners he just wanted me to think of a tactful approach how I would network with the partners. I was more curious in how I should do this. Should I ask for an introduction and talk to them myself? Or would it be better to have him talk to them directly about me? Additonally, once I start talking to them should I directly mention I'm looking for a job or just mention I'm trying to break into banking. Like I mentioned in the post, this probably was a dumb question. I'm trying to navigate the little differences in networking considering the position I'm in. The previous internships I have had I got through many cold emails and calls. This was when my dad was still in the engineering world, so he really couldn't help me with connections in the finance world. Things have definitely changed now that he works with people that are well connected in banking.

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Apr 2, 2020

I understand, I'd try and speak with the founders and ask for advice on how to proceed with your career. Work in your experience and ask your dad to tell you a little about the Partners and find an angle to connect with them.

Apr 2, 2020

I understand, I'd try and speak with the founders and ask for advice on how to proceed with your career. Work in your experience and ask your dad to tell you a little about the Partners and find an angle to connect with them. See if you can intern for your father if your college is close enough, let them see how hard of a worker you are and that may impress them.

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Apr 1, 2020

Even if your dad was an MD of a BB, he couldn't get you a job within the group. The most he can do is get you a first round interview.

Might be a different story at a lower MM or boutique, if your dad could influence the purchase of an M&A sale. That way your salary could be paid for with fees from the transaction.

My recommendation would be skipping IB together and just asking if you could get an A1 position at the PE firm.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Apr 1, 2020

Thanks, this helps out a bit! I wasn't very sure in on how much hiring power different positions had, and if they could hire someone out of a favor. I would love to be able to work at his firm, but I think it would be very unlikely considering the current associates come from top schools and previously worked 2-3 years at BB or MM banks

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Apr 1, 2020
507:

Thanks, this helps out a bit! I wasn't very sure in on how much hiring power different positions had, and if they could hire someone out of a favor. I would love to be able to work at his firm, but I think it would be very unlikely considering the current associates come from top schools and previously worked 2-3 years at BB or MM banks

He's a Partner.

He's your father.

The math here isn't hard.

The job is yours, or he's either a pretty awful Partner (can't get it done) or a pretty awful father (won't do it)....

There is no stronger connection than your father in finance.

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Apr 1, 2020
Jamie_Diamond:

Even if your dad was an MD of a BB, he couldn't get you a job within the group. The most he can do is get you a first round interview.

Might be a different story at a lower MM or boutique, if your dad could influence the purchase of an M&A sale. That way your salary could be paid for with fees from the transaction.

My recommendation would be skipping IB together and just asking if you could get an A1 position at the PE firm.

Eh, I'd dispute that.

If his dad was say a baller MD in healthcare, his son would get into TMT pretty easily. Same group gets tricky with HR.

Smaller banks yep, done deal.

But your suggestion is right. If his dad can hire him right into PE, may as well do it.

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Apr 12, 2020
Jamie_Diamond:

Even if your dad was an MD of a BB, he couldn't get you a job within the group. The most he can do is get you a first round interview.

Might be a different story at a lower MM or boutique, if your dad could influence the purchase of an M&A sale. That way your salary could be paid for with fees from the transaction.

My recommendation would be skipping IB together and just asking if you could get an A1 position at the PE firm.

If the firm normally hires in people with two years of IBD experience, this may not go over well with the rank and file. I am not a banker-- just a statarb QR, but if some kid got hired in without knowing how to code because his Dad was a bigwig, that would cause political problems. My understanding is that to work in PE, you generally have to know how to do modeling and stuff.

I like the unpaid intern route better-- maybe it will turn into a FT offer if you can do the work.

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Apr 1, 2020

'I'm new to having my dad as a connection'

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Apr 1, 2020

If you have to ask I am wondering if your dad doesn't want to help. And that would lead to a whole world of problems

Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.

Apr 1, 2020

No I'm pretty sure he's open to helping me out. But given He's an operating partner and relatively new to the firm not mention PE in general. The last thing he wants to do after years of busting his ass is rub someone the wrong way. Thats why I reached on here first to see how situations like this are regarded and how much I could actually get out of the situation.

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Apr 1, 2020

Why do you want to do investment banking? It sounds like you have a low-medium GPA, focusing on accounting, etc. Why not just do Big 4 to start with, get your CPA, maybe an MBA later at a top school and then do banking, or something else? If you couldn't recruit for banking without connections, there is no guarantee you will succeed in banking if you did get a job, or even like it. You might be miserable. What is it that you really want to do, and why?

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Apr 1, 2020

Good question. The reason I went looking for a internship with the boutique was to see if I actaully would like banking. I actually really enjoyed working at the boutique. The group did a lot of M&A advising with tech companies. Although there was a lot of crap shoot work (building decks and other random junk the associates needed done). I really enjoyed the client side of the business. A lot of these guys had built something they now where seeing to fruition. Its a shame they are probably going to be closing up shop soon I would have really enjoyed going back. The MBA route is likely the most feasible, that would give me time to get to know the various people my dad knows without the pressure of trying to get a job, which could help 5 yrs down line (assuming thats when I would graduate B school). I was just looking to see if I could hop into banking now. Who knows what could happen. Thanks for the solid question, I do believe it's something not a lot people ask themselves.

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Apr 1, 2020

All good, well, if you can break in as a banking analyst now, it definitely gives you an overall leg up on your long term career, but there are downsides if you totally burn out / flame out. I personally went the Big 4 -> MBA -> BB banking route myself so that's why I'm curious.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 2, 2020

Wait why did you do Macc at UF as opposed to MSF if you wanted IB...

Did you get rejected from MSF?

Apr 2, 2020

I don't go to UF, and since its pretty obvious I'll say I go to school in Texas. The landscape here I think is a bit different than up north. I orginally was a finance major but I realized that with a finc degree a lot of guys even with high gpa's if they didn't land in banks they would end up with not so stellar FP&A jobs (not trying to throw shade at FP&A). In both of the big Texas schools UT and TAMU most of the B school resources are poured into their 4+1 acct programs. I thought it was a good idea since at worst I would end up with a big 4 job. Both UT, TAMU and even to some extent Baylor and Rice place a good amount of kids in energy IB. I do have a few classmates as well as buddies at the other Texas schools who have locked up MBB offers out of the acct programs. A decent amount of my classmates in the program don't intend on a career in acct, but its just where the schools have focused their resources. This is just what I have seen I'm sure there will be others that disagree.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 2, 2020

UF is a great school, don't get me wrong but I (as many) were surprised to see it on par with UCLA/UVA in your OP. What was your reason for writing that?

Most Helpful
Apr 2, 2020

Your story is amusing, I get why everyone is dogpiling on you but I see it a little differently.

You come across as having really great intentions but not the highest social IQ. That's okay. This is really common among some of the best technical founders I've invested in or operating partners I've roped in on deals. Sounds like that's your dad, and perhaps the apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree.

Here's how I recommend you pursue this. Show your father my post here and get him to understand the sequence as well.

Get your father to email the partner you've identified (the one you said you looked through the LinkedIn connections of). It should read something like:

*"Hi NAME,

My son is finishing school at PLACE and interested on building on his internship experience in finance. My background is much stronger in engineering, but I'd love to help him get some pointers. Can you spend a few minutes on the phone with him sometime to share advice?"*

When they say yes, your father should cc you in on your school email. You should get on the phone with them and follow the same type of conversation you did with your successful cold email game. Run it from the perspective of whether banking is the correct first step for a career in investing; their answer is almost guaranteed to be yes, and this lets you be very direct at the end and ask "I would love to start my career in banking; do you have anyone you'd be willing to put me in touch with to explore opportunities?"

You can either keep it open-ended like above, or if you've paged through his LinkedIn and found one or two banks he knows numerous people at (e.g. fifteen people at Barclays alone as opposed to less than five at any other single firm, indicating that's his primary coverage team), tailor it by mentioning that firm specifically.

The guy is going to say yes. He'll write an email to someone he knows explaining that you're the son of an operating partner at the firm looking to get his feet wet. You now have the warmest of warm intros to a bank. At that point it's entirely on you; the conversation you carry and your preparation for an interview.

The above strategy will work with more colleagues at your father's fund than the one you identified already. There was probably someone who onboarded him in HR; senior people like your father always get a great point-of-contact internally for general questions and guidance on navigating the firm. Whoever that is is also an amazing lead; they're likely in the fund's HR department, and they likely have a strong relationship with HR across the Street. You can run the exact same email I outlined above with them.

I think you deserve kudos for acknowledging that there are sensitivities here. You come across as thoughtful, and that's valuable in a young person. You're right in trying to avoid blowing up your dad's spot. A bad way to do this would be to email his colleagues directly yourself. Avoid that. Also avoid running through too many people at once. You don't want people at your dad's firm pinging each other going "Did this guy try to pawn his kid off on you too?"

The correct way to do it is one at a time (don't have your father introduce you to a colleague until that person has already gotten on the phone with you, made an intro, and you've had a conversation with that introduction). That person (e.g. someone at Barclays) will email your father's colleague after you talk to let him know it happened, and your father's colleague will email him to say the same thing. That's when it's okay to duplicate it with another colleague.

I wouldn't call it politics per se, just smart reputation management.

You're really lucky. Your dad is in a tremendous spot to help you, and it's equally great that you're being so considerate in how you leverage it. Definitely leverage it. Anyone cracking jokes here is just working on getting themselves into a position where they can do it for their own son down the line.

Good luck.

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Apr 2, 2020

Hi APAE, thank you this is exaclty what I was looking for. I do have one question though, given the current scene in the energy IB world would it be wise to target specific shops? such as an RX shop over one specializing in M&A. Or would the route of leaving it open to him to choose who to connect me with be a smarter play. I would want to maximize my chances of any shop taking me given the whack energy has recently recieved .

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Apr 2, 2020

This is one thing I thought about mentioning in my first post. There is nothing forcing you to stay in energy. The fact that your father is an engineer is irrelevant. You can run the entire sequence I shared above the exact same way, but simply mention in your phone calls with your dad's colleague and with whatever bankers they put you in touch with that you've been interested in X-industry for Y-reason and Z-cool-anecdote.

There's nothing wrong with being interested in consumer or TMT or healthcare. Bonus points if you can point to something in your prior internship experience that would corroborate that. If you found anything particularly cool during your Big 4 or boutique internship, that's a great example.

Say you did a sell-side for a media company at the boutique. You can very easily speak about how that sparked an interest in TMT, which you've followed up by joining a club on campus or beginning to read various industry blogs like The Information or Stratechery or Dan Primack's letter. Or if you did a due diligence project at the Big 4 for a sponsor's acquisition of some middle market company, you can talk about how that led you to be really interested in the history of the private equity industry. You then started reading books like Barbarians at the Gate, King of Capital, and Merchants of Debt, and now you're really interested in sponsor coverage.

I personally wouldn't focus on oil and gas to launch your career. Separate from the cyclical (and also structural) headwinds it's facing, it is one of the few industries that 'siloes' you and thus limits your exit optionality. The general pointer is that being in energy, FIG, or real estate very often will pigeonhole you to working in only that industry. On the other hand, 'traditional' industries (read: that all use the common metric of EBITDA) allow you to transition more freely between them.

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Apr 2, 2020

Wow, I thought I had good EQ but this response is out of the park!

Array

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Apr 2, 2020

This (@APAE 's response.. very nice stuff). I will add this in to say, once again, it may be worth considering to keep it open ended to ask said Partner or founder if you can "help out" internally at the fund anywhere, on any team (and for free - "I understand that this isn't the best of times and I don't need to be a line item").

Of course you would cost mere pennies but the intent matters. This kind of thing works best with old school traders/HFs, but I know it has worked at PE/illiquid places as well. Maybe IR needs help setting up the AGM. Guess what, you do that, with a smile and help in any way possible (because that's adding true value), help a ton of people, look good and maybe IR takes you on, and that becomes a warm intro to the deal team. Or to bankers. Or to LPs. Or whoever.

There are always exceptions on the street, especially for connected types.

Honestly across this industry, so much is about trust and about being known/liked. As a young kid in tough times, this is a way to accomplish that. Being known interally and liked means that you can be far less qualified or unqualified and get in the door because they can then train you to be their kind of guy (at lower pay of course).

Just some unstructured ideas.

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Apr 2, 2020
507:

My father just became a PARTNER at a PE shop A FEW YEARS AGO... Having a family member in this industry is pretty new to me

Troll post?

Apr 2, 2020

Not at all. I could see how you would think that. I was unaware of what an operating partner was until my old man was hired. Some PE firms ( at least his does this) hire guys who are well versed in a specific field and have strong corp dev experience. My dad didn't go looking for this job, and with any other stroke of luck, he could still easily be in the engineering world.

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Apr 3, 2020

APAEs advice is by far the best.

To offer my own view, If was in your position I'd ask my dad to provides intros to bankers he knows so that you can find out more about the industry. From there, I'd ask for intros to VPs and Associates / Analysts to get a better understanding of the role. A few will take a liking to you assuming you're socially capable, ask those to put you in touch with others in the industry. Eventually you'll build up a network across multiple firms by repeating this, more importantly it'll be with those who are involved in recruitment. When you do land interviews, you can bring it back to how you understand the space through your dad, and I think it will impress people you went about off your own bat rather than asking daddy to ring a couple of sponsor coverage bankers to get interviews.

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Apr 4, 2020

I agree that APAE (and Jamoldo's) insights above are great and I recommend you follow their advice. In addition, there appears to be some confusion in the thread regarding why the OP's father may not be able to just "get him the job." The key is that his father is an operating partner rather than an investment professional.

Operating Partners are increasingly common in PE and their roles can vary depending on each firm. However, the general concept is that the operating partner is tasked with working with portfolio companies to improve the operations. This can covers a huge range of functions -- supply chain, manufacturing, contracts, human resources, overall strategy, new product development, you name it -- all can fall under the purview of an operating partner. Often times operating partners can work across multiple portfolio companies simultaneously.

Operating partners tend to spend the majority of their career in industry. They may have risen to be the CEO of a small companies or an executive / senior manager at a publicly traded company. After establishing themselves in industry, they go to work for a PE firm either on an exclusive full time basis or as an independent contractor for multiple different portfolio companies or even multiple different PE firms. It really depends on the PE firm's model.

Because the operating partner grew up in industry and is focused on portfolio company work, it is rare that the operating partner has any exposure to the transaction side of PE. They don't tend to know any investment bankers, may get involved in due diligence (may not), and in only rare occasions serve as members of the investment committee. Their compensation tends to reflect that as well -- pay is significantly less than an investment partner.

Reflecting on the original poster's story, it seems that his father only recently joined a large PE firm as an operating partner. While his father has an incredible job (which is not easy to get -- tons of former executives are all clamoring to be operating partners), he likely has very limited influence on who gets hired and who does not. His father should be able to secure a good referral though. However, as operating partners rank below investment partners in every PE firm that I'm aware of, it would not be surprising if his father was hesitant to essentially ask his boss to hire his son.

Given this dynamic, I think @APAE has the perfect approach.

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Apr 5, 2020
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