First major internship - tasks are not exactly what I was hoping for

I recently started my internship at a PE firm for the fall semester. There is one problem: Most of my tasks are related to sourcing deals. This is not what I had hoped I would be doing, and it was only 1 out of many bullet points on the job description when I applied. Is it common for interns to get tasked with these kind of assignments, and is it expected that as you progress, you will gain actual transaction exposure? And would this be an appropriate question to ask? I don't want people at my firm to think I am not a good fit for the role and fire me, as at the very least I need to keep this internship to parlay into another internship at a different firm. Thanks

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Comments (10)

Sep 11, 2021 - 10:23pm

Are you a intern out of undergrad? What do other junior ranking people do at the firm (including analysts and associates)? When you say sourcing, what do you mean task wise? Regardless, you're an intern. You're doing it for exposure (to see what actually happens in PE and what other people do. You're gaining transaction exposure by being there in the first place) and they're doing it to evaluate you for future hire but more importantly get cheap labor for grunt work. I'd give it time.

Sep 12, 2021 - 12:02am

Thanks for the response. I'm a junior in undergrad. I don't know what other analyst/associates do because I technically didn't even start yet, I do on Monday. Although they must be doing a lot of M&A because the firm has made 10 acquisitions in the past 12 months. But they gave me an assignment already which is to go through previously evaluated companies and assess whether or not this firm would acquire them, and why or why not based on a set of criteria. I am still very excited, I am just hoping that if I do well on these assignments I will gain more responsibility over time

Sep 12, 2021 - 6:44pm

You would be surprised how useful sourcing skill are when it comes to transferable skills and experiences that you can talk about in interviews. The ability to find companies that correctly fit the investment thesis of your firm our highly valuable, especially at more boutique firms. Please take this as constructive criticism rather than hate, but I suggest you just focus on sourcing the best you can. In your current role as an intern, the more time that you can save for your higher-ups, the better. Focus right now on sourcing the best you can, and making zero mistakes. I am sure as you get more involved in your role that you will gain more experience on deal-related material. But for now, just do what you are told to the best of your ability.

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Sep 12, 2021 - 7:09pm

Just want to add that my first few months of a PE internship were primarily sourcing. What more seniors at the firm later told me was that they were trying to analyze my work ethic, and make sure that I approached the tasks with the correct mind set. A lot of work done in PE doesn't take a lot of skill, rather it takes a person with the ability to work on several workstreams at once while performing at 100%. Your first few weeks will definitely be tough, but they set the foundation of how you will work for the rest of your life. Take them very seriously, and you will be successful. 

Sep 12, 2021 - 7:29pm

I appreciate the insight. My internship is currently for the fall session, but do you think if I receive a return offer the summer or even have the chance to go FT (23' grad) is it expected that I take on different/new responsibilities like in your situation? Or have you seen people get locked into sourcing? I have no problem doing that kind of work if there is light at the end of the tunnel. And is this something that is appropriate to bring up?

Most Helpful
Sep 12, 2021 - 7:41pm

I would highly doubt that you could get locked into sourcing. A lot of firms rely on junior employees to do most of the sourcing, especially if they are smaller. If you do receive an internship extension/FT offer, I would be willing to bet that you would take on different responsibilities.

As far as bringing this up with others, I would wait until you are a couple of weeks in to bring it up with an analyst/the person you have developed the most rapport with. I know this is hard to know right now, but a lot of people have been in a similar situation as you. I would be willing to bet that there is one junior person that you work with that can provide you better guidance that is more relevant to your firm.

Personally, one goal of mine as an intern was to become close with at least one FT employee. This allowed me to ask questions that I wouldn't get to otherwise. Obviously, don't be pushy/aggressive, just be yourself. 

Sep 20, 2021 - 10:48am

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