Downshifting from VC to PE. Worth It?

jnaz's picture
jnaz - Certified Professional
Rank: Senior Baboon | banana points 178

I recently received an offer from the buyouts group of a noted growth equity fund (think GA, TA, TCV). I'm glad to have the opportunity. I've been looking for work for the past 2 months after the VC fund, where I was an analyst and later promoted to associate, shut down. The concern I have the role is that it is an analyst role not an associate role. While there is an opportunity to progress to associate after 2 years it's not automatic. I'm currently 3.5 years out of undergrad. The role is primarily sourcing, relationship building with banks, and running simulations with some execution on the deals I find.

I have three burning questions:
1) How does a downshift like this look to business school adcoms?
2) How will analyst level buyout experience position me in LBO associate recruiting 2 years from now?
3) If I want to leave PE/VC all together and join a mature tech company in a PM or BD capacity, am I well positioned coming from growth PE (as opposed to VC)

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Comments (5)

Jan 26, 2018

Congrats on the offer. Interested as well.

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Best Response
Jan 29, 2018

1) By "downshift" do you mean from associate at a VC to analyst at a well-known PE firm? It may not really be seen as a downgrade/demotion. Adcoms have some knowledge on firms that carry status., so they may see the value of the move without it needing to be explained away. It really depends on how you pitch and craft your story.

2) Great, especially having well-known firms on your resume. While depth of experience at these firms matter (think deals completed and intensity of quantitative work like modeling), very few of your business school peers also looking to get into PE will have any prior PE experience.

3) Depends on what you mean by "mature tech company". With the likes of bigger firms like Amazon/Google/Facebook I don't see it helping as much as with a smaller player that's in late/growth stage rounds of funding.

I would say take the offer and see if (growth-equity) PE is for you. If not at the very least practice your story and make the career switch via business school.

Jan 25, 2018

This is great advice. Tangentially should I be worried about joining a fledgling LBO group? The firm has a great growth reputation, but I will be going a team that is not their core competency. Does that matter?

Feb 2, 2018

1) Since those are strong brand names, business School ad-coms will care more about your experience vs. "downshifting." Adcoms also care about the other stuff like GPA, Gmat, recs, etc.

2) If you position yourself to gain the necessary experiences and network properly, you definitely have a shot

3) Same as point #2

A good way to look at it is this: when you're 43 does it matter if you're at the same level as someone who is 40? No, I don't think so.

Jan 25, 2018