Does having multiple Private Equity internships look bad for IB SA?

123...'s picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 597

Hey guys,

So just wanted to check whether having multiple PE internships look bad when applying for IB SA? For context I spent my freshman year in public markets, one semester of sophomore year in a PE Firm and now potentially the summer in another PE Firm (with a different focus).

Just worried that I may seem like a 2 years and out IB analyst (even though everyone does this), and also worried about the eventual question "Why IB over PE" (AM is easier to answer).

Thanks guys!

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Comments (10)

Jan 10, 2018

No it doesn't look bad at all - especially if you could speak to some of the more "IB"-ish tasks you completed at each firm (modeling, company profiles, etc.) vs general intern tasks (cold calling, administrative garbage). As a bonus, these PE firms should have great connections with banks (that they pay to source deals/financing) that (assuming they liked you and you did a good job for them) you should be able to leverage to win more first round interviews next year.

As far as the "why IB over PE" question, yes you will probably be asked at almost every interview. There are a ton of great (canned) responses you can give for this, and assuming you sound genuine, it shouldn't pose too much of a hurdle at all. There might be a few shops skeptical that you're going to jump ship after 2 years to go back into PE, but I think the amount of shops that are okay/expect that from a lot of their analysts will outweigh the former. Good luck!

    • 1
Jan 11, 2018

I met somebody in PE who gave me a great response to that question. For IB, play up competition. You know who you're competing with, and every year is another chance to do better. You can't get a sense of your performance in private equity until years after the investment is made.

Jan 10, 2018

Thanks man appreciate the response!

Anyone else with a different viewpoint?

Best Response
Jan 10, 2018

I had a PE internship last summer and was asked "why IB over PE" in almost every interview I had for SA recruiting this fall. The answer I gave, which was usually quite well received was something along the lines of "I really enjoyed the analysis that went into placing investments, but more than that, I really enjoyed advising portfolio companies, helping them grow and navigate obstacles etc. Over the course of the summer however, I came to realize that operated in a small niche and dealt with primarily very similar companies, and I became interested in serving in a similar advisory role but with companies on a larger, more global scale and across a more diverse set of transactions. Ultimately it became clear to me that banking is the perfect place to do that"

you can try to tailor that answer to your specific circumstances, but it was good enough to get me an SA offer

as for explaining why you did a second PE internship, I don't think that will be too difficult. just think of something about your first PE internship that inspired the move to the second PE, and then you can use the "why ib over pe" to explain the move away from PE to IB

    • 12
Jan 10, 2018

Sb'ed. Great stuff man!

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Jan 11, 2018

Of course man. Feel free to pm me if you have other questions

Jan 12, 2018

Curious to know your thoughts on having a PE internship and then having a HF internship the next? (Sophomore Summer)

Is it a bad look for IB interviews if your internships have only been in Exit Ops.

Jan 12, 2018

Wouldn't ** banking be better training? Assuming if you had pe internships means you have a lot of friends to set that up so couldn't you sell well connected?

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Jan 13, 2018

It's hard to say without knowing the type of work you were doing / the focus of the funds that you intered at , but you really just need to put together a coherent story linking your string of internships. Two buyside internships is definitely not going to hurt you, but it definitely does have the potential to make your interviews more difficult, and it means that you're going to have to put some real thought into explaining your transitions. But it also gives you the opportunity to make a much more convincing argument of why you're interested in banking than people without solid finance experience. When interviewers ask you why sell side over buy side, to a large extent they're really just busting your balls. They were in your shoes and fully understand that the sell side is generally the best place to start a career in finance, but they want to see that you can demonstrate a solid understanding of the differences between PE, HF, and banking in your answer and why banking is more appealing beyond the obvious answer of exits etc. I'd be happy to help further but it's largely a matter of creating an answer that works for you.

    • 1
Jan 14, 2018