Going back home for Thanksgiving during on cycle PE recruiting - Bad Idea?

Quint101's picture
Rank: Baboon | 123

Hi there,

My girlfriend and I are both from the midwest but doing banking and consulting, respectively, in the west coast. We've both met with recruiters that told us the on cycle process began last year early December. Would it be unwise to go back to our cities for ~roughly 5 days near Thanksgiving to see family, particularly if this year starts earlier?

Mod Note (Andy): See more PE recruiting rumors here.

Comments (38)

Oct 21, 2018

It'll be done before thanksgiving

Oct 21, 2018

[citation needed]

Oct 21, 2018

I've heard similar things, isn't that super early?

Most Helpful
Oct 21, 2018

No one can give you a firm answer on this.

Do you want your maximum chances of success in what is effectively a one-time shot at the 'on track' recruiting cycle? (Obviously you can recruit the following year, although there are a very few narrow-minded senior people who actually look unfavorably on someone recruiting as a second-year to enter private equity with three years of prior experience.)

If yes, then stay local. Almost every fund will launch within 48 hours of each other when they hear someone jumped the gun and went early. There will be some stragglers, however (funds that launch the following week), and that means that being available and accessible the 5-15 days trailing the main process can give you interesting opportunities.

A buddy of mine at a megafund griped last year that he lost one of his three incoming associates one week after they all signed because that guy got a hedge fund offer from a week-long interview process that continued after the bang-bang private equity process wrapped up.

Guess what: he had to go back to the headhunters to find someone to fill the seat, and since it had to be a discrete process (what megafund would tolerate the community knowing someone accepted and then jilted them), they wanted to bring in ideally just one high-probability candidate who they'd be confident about being able to make an offer to.

So some poor guy who didn't sleep for two weeks thinking he struck out in private equity recruiting despite his 3.8 from a strong school winds up getting a call for one of the most recognizable names and gets an offer two weeks after all his friends. Miracle, huh?

(or)

Do you want to catch every memory possible with your friends, family, and loved ones? Then prioritize the holiday, go home at the same time as your girlfriend, and roll the dice on the timing not overlapping with recruiting.

//

There isn't any one right answer. I have taken either fork (hard choice in favor of career life, in favor of personal life) at different times based on what I was facing. I always boiled it down to what I think of as 'replaceability': "Which of the options I'm selecting between is least easily replaced?"

Applying that heuristic here, the clear suggestion would be to prioritize recruiting.

It's a one-time inflection point for a significant career step ... where your backup options are to repeat the process either (a) exactly one year later with, at best, equal odds of success or (b) on an ad-hoc basis with unpredictable timing thanks to the irregularity of off-cycle opportunities.

You can take the same amount of time (or more) with your family for Christmas/New Year's, and while every family prioritizes different holidays differently, I think any rational family member would understand that you're trying to juggle multiple balls and make it work however you can.

For the record, I have practiced this logic and chosen to deprioritize work in instances of an unexpected illness in the family, a close friend's impromptu wedding, a literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be backstage for several consecutive nights on tour for one of the most famous artists in the world, and more.

Each time it was simple calculus: which of these am I unable to replicate in the future?

  • Saying goodbye to an older relative who mattered a lot to me; I was able to witness another relative make peace with their passing and be present for support in a way that strengthened our continuing relationship as the depth of care we had for the same family member became clear.
    - Here I eventually wound up losing a Limited Partner. I got an earful from them for missing their annual summit (they host a bunch of parties on-site for presentations to the broader Investment Committee, Audit Committee, Oversight Committee .... death by committee, so to speak. It deteriorated the relationship; they tried to exert pressure on fees the next time around, and I eventually just closed them out from future opportunities. Doesn't matter; there are a lot more capital sources than relatives.
  • Someone I knew for years and always thought highly of but didn't get to see often thanks to how busy we all let our lives become invited me to a surprise wedding. This meant a lot to me. He had a rough time romantically; he comes from a family background where he could theoretically do a lot of favors for people, and "friends" constantly put him in compromising positions with an "Oh, I'm sure he'd be able to help". When he finally found someone who was kind and caring and mature, it was a joy to see how he continually got happier each time I saw him (every year or so). After four years they were ready, and a handful of us got a "Please meet here at this time for a three-day trip" out of nowhere.
    - Here I lost a higher bidder on an asset I was closing a sale process on. I needed to be holed up in a boardroom with them for at least one full day or two to convince them to pay a turn higher than the competitor before the competitor's offer expired that Thursday. I could've done it (it made a ton of sense to roll into their flagship asset) but the guy I had helping me on the deal lacks the gift of speech I seem to have and couldn't get it done in my absence. (Plus me not being there sends a pretty strong signal about how much that conversation matters to me.) Oh well. I can always find businesses to invest in and someone to give me an exit. I'll never forget the private charter back and forth, the intimate sunset ceremony with nine people all on a quiet, glowing beach, and two other guests who have actually become strong friends that I would never have met otherwise. I also wouldn't be in the original friend's life the same way I am for having shared that memory and demonstrated how much he matters to me.

//

Pick your priority and make it happen. Good luck in recruiting either way.

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Oct 21, 2018

Great perspective I'll keep in mind

Oct 22, 2018

Incredibly insightful post @APAE" , thanks for this. It's very meaningful for us younger professionals to understand that sometimes these trade-offs need to be made in favor of your life rather than your work, and that's okay. +1 for the anecdotes.

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Oct 24, 2018

Is it really so bad for a firm's reputation if other firms found out that someone accepted and then jilted them? Doesn't really sound like a big deal to me.

Oct 24, 2018

It shouldn't but finance and particularly IB/PE is the stupidest, most gossipy industry there exists on the planet.

Oct 24, 2018

Can you please write a book?

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Funniest
Oct 24, 2018

This made me smile. If I ever do, I'll put two quotes on the dedication page.

"Can you please write a book?" - @IntlBaller"

"If you do not compile and publish a book of @APAE"'s greatest hits, then I will, and we'll work out the royalties in court." - @Layne Staley"

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Oct 29, 2018

Great post!
Glad to see another 'older' head around to provide some perspective to the young guns on the forums.
I sometimes wish I was able to be more helpful to some on here but feel that since I've pulled back from the go-go world of IB's and huge PE funds I don't have as much to contribute in the tit-for-tats battles over rankings/prestige/tiers/etc. But after reading this response I reckon there can be a niche for me.

Oct 29, 2018

Excellent, insightful post @APAE". We need more of this kind of quality conversations on WSO.

Oct 21, 2018

Heard some firms are already starting? Couple of my analysts have first rounds in San Fran mid next week

Oct 21, 2018

Interesting, would you mind sharing where at?

Oct 21, 2018

Solid Upper MM shop over there. Heard they started pretty early last year too so who knows

Oct 21, 2018

Heard similar things. Jesus I hope this doesn't mean what I think it does.

Oct 21, 2018

When you say first rounds do you mean 1-on-1 coffees or clearly defined "interviews." Was aware the former was in full swing - didn't think the latter had kicked off.

Oct 21, 2018

A kid in my class "suddenly had to fly out of town for a client meeting" when I know for a fact it was for formal recruiting meetings. People play it pretty close to the vest around my firm since recruiting isn't exactly "promoted" but word is that they got an offer they can accept at any time. Sounds like funds are jumping the gun like they did last year

Oct 21, 2018

Can anyone confirm

Oct 21, 2018

Headhunters have all told me to expect same timeframe as last year. If things are actually kicking off now that would be brutal. Can anyone confirm specific funds 5bn+ that have offered first year analysts interviews? Second years = different story.

Oct 24, 2018

Family first is my mantra.

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Oct 24, 2018
Antiaverage:

Family first is my mantra.

Why would someone throw monkey shit at this ...

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Oct 24, 2018

Not a clue...

This is a topic that I have a strong opinion on, going through recruiting a few years ago I shifted a handful of interviews around the holiday season / finals without an issue with GS, Citi, BAML, EVR, PWP, DB, UBS, may be forgetting one or two, but one firm made such a negative impression on me I would not consider working for them under any circumstances.

My mother was admitted to the hospital having heart issues (turned out to be a heart attack, which I disclosed) and I had an interview with MS scheduled, I emailed HR and informed them of the situation and said that I would appreciate the chance to reschedule but I have to head to the hospital. I still recall vividly getting the cold email back from HR - "We do not have any flexibility to reschedule. In the future inform us earlier if you are unable to meet a scheduled interview"

I never replied, got where I wanted to go career wise, but to this day, fuck MS.

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Oct 28, 2018

I didn't throw monkey shit it at, but I do find it glib and unhelpful. OP's post doesn't ask "which is more important, family or career?". We all know family is more important. But it's one holiday weekend with family vs. a particularly key entry point in someone's career. Obviously a more complicated trade-off than simply "family vs career."

Oct 24, 2018

For what it's worth, my UMM firm is targeting being done with recruiting prior to Thanksgiving. I expect we will have some, but not all, offers out in the next 2-3 weeks.

Oct 24, 2018

Have you indicated this to candidates/started interviewing? Speaking for NY, the baseline response from firms is still "We'll go when someone else goes."

Oct 25, 2018

No we haven't

Oct 24, 2018

Here's a solution to your problem: buy your tickets on Southwest, then cancel them if you need to be on the west coast for interviews. Southwest will give you a credit for the price of the ticket, so you can just use that to buy another ticket at a later date.

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Oct 28, 2018

FWIW TPG and Centerbridge started this weekend

Oct 28, 2018
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Oct 29, 2018
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JM28