I have made a research into the backgrounds of PE Associates in Europe to find where and what they studied and where they worked before to repeat their steps and land among them in the future.
I analysed 28 companies and found 162 analysts that had information on their background on their website. I used the list on AskIvy, which has PE firms with offices in London with AUM 500+mil.
101 of 162 associates are based in London and 61 in other European offices. The high number of London associates is due to the list that only has companies that have a London office.
Findings for London graduates:
33 of 101 London associates had Masters degrees that were not part of a bachelor's program.
5 had PhDs
Out of business, finance and economics related masters, the target ones seemed to be:
HEC Paris 5x (Grande Ecole MiM program)
HEC Paris International Business 3x
HEC Paris Finance 2x
LSE Economics&Finance 2x
SSE Economics & Business 2x
ESCP Management 2x
Copenhagen BS Finance 1x
Copenhagen BS Finance & Accounting 1x
Copenhagen BS Economics & Finance 1x
Associates mainly did not have MBAs, even the ones that had been with the company over two years, so it seemed that they are less common than in the states.
Out of the 101 London associates only 6 had MBAs. 3 were from INSEAD, 2 from Columbia BS, 1 from Stanford.
Which fields did they move to PE from:
72/101 in London were
12/101 in Management Consultancy
10/101 in BIG4, either Corp Fin/Audit
Findings for Continental Europe associates:
60% of associates had Masters of PhD degrees
10/61 had MBAs, mostly from HBS, Insead, Columbia
Popular masters programs
HEC MiM 4x
HEC Finance 2x
ESCP MiM 2x
SSE MSc Business Administration 2x
6/61 from Big4
30/61 from IBD
A lot of continental Europe's associates had had their IBD experience in London.
Consider opting for a management masters
1) For me, these findings were interesting as I found that MSc Finance programs were less popular than Masters in Management programs. Therefore, people who are looking to get into European IBD/PE might consider opting for a management masters when they don't get in straight after UG.
2) Also, I personally underestimated the international scope that a person needs. International education and languages seem to be very important as the number of similar level continental schools is bigger than the number of UK schools among these associates, so if you are considering between two similar level higher education institutions, pick the one that gives you more international experience.
Starting off in Management Consultancy or Audit
3) Starting off in Management Consultancy or even Audit is not that awful and can still land you in Private Equity down the line. What I saw though, was that usually you need more years of experience when in audit compared to management consultancy or IBD. IBD 2 years seems equivalent to 3 years of management consultancy and 4+ years of audit.
ACA vs CFA
4) Fourthly, ACA was more popular than CFA. There were 5-10 people with ACA and only 2 with CFA. But the fact that both designations were noted in the website might show that companies still value both of them to some extent, so if you don't have a lot of better things to do with your time, even CFA could add some value.
If you have any questions/comments, feel free to add them. If you have some similar kind of information that could help to understand the European PE landscape, please share.
Mod Note (Andy): Throwback Thursday - this originally went up September 2013