How Do I Get Into Private Equity?

For those that don't know, private equity firms invest in a company, take a majority stake, improve the company and then exit their investment at a large profit. In order to magnify returns, PE firms make use of leverage (borrowed money) to conduct Leveraged Buyouts (LBOs).

Read a detailed guide to Private Equity on WSO. This guide goes through the basics of the industry, and where you can get started.

How to Get a Job in PE?

There are several common paths to make it into private equity:

  • Investment Banking - This is by far the most common way to get into top tier private equity firms. These firms recruit top analysts out of investment banking analyst programs. Analysts interview for PE shops early in their first year and then work at their banks for 2 years before moving over
  • Direct from Undergrad - While less common, PE firms have been creating post undergrad programs to hire students direct from university. Learn how to jump straight to the buyside on WSO
  • Consulting - Similar to banking, some PE shops recruit top candidates out of consulting firms as their skills are applicable to the management changes that are needed at PE holding companies
  • Post MBA - After going through a top 10 MBA program, there is a chance to go through the PE recruiting process - however, this is less frequent as often times PE shops will prefer to hire candidates who worked in PE before going to get their MBA

how to break into private equity without experience?

It will be very difficult to get into private equity without experience in IB or PE and without having gone to a typical target school. However, it is not impossible to break into the industry.

  • The best chance is to get a strong job in the financial services after you graduate and then attempt to move into investment banking laterally. This will require a great deal of cold networking and studying on the side of your main job.
  • Read more about cold emailing on WSO.
  • If you are able to successfully lateral into IB - then you can attempt to go through the more traditional PE recruiting process. You should focus your energy on networking intensely with small and middle market private equity shops that might be willing to hire candidates in non-traditional ways.

Understanding Private Equity Fundamentals

Check out the video below for another overview:




Read More About PE Recruiting

Interviewing for Private Equity Jobs?

Want to land at an elite private equity fund try our comprehensive PE Interview Prep Course. Our course includes 2,447 questions across 203 private equity funds that have been crowdsourced from over 500,000 members. The WSO Private Equity Interview Prep Guide has everything you'll ever need to land the most coveted jobs on Wall Street.

Private Equity Interview Course

Comments (232)

 
Mar 27, 2017 - 9:08am

Soon to be Chicago with Merrill Lynch. I'm trying to leave Merrill though to get out of the Financial Advising path and into PE/M&A. I am very open-minded regarding my location if it makes a difference. Chicago/New York/Detroit are the top possibilities.

 
Mar 27, 2017 - 10:04am

Financial Advising is nowhere near where you want to be in order to break in. The role you will be joining is more of a relationship based position, and very often new graduates joining will be cold calling/sourcing new clients.

While we are seeing some PEs recruit directly from undergrad, 95% look to IB analyst programs as a farming system. Realistically you will need to be an IB analyst in order to have a shot at targeting your goal.

You may have to re-brand yourself with a Masters/MBA if networking like crazy doesn't work out.

 
Mar 27, 2017 - 2:40pm

Mimsy:

Financial Advising is nowhere near where you want to be in order to break in. The role you will be joining is more of a relationship based position, and very often new graduates joining will be cold calling/sourcing new clients.

While we are seeing some PEs recruit directly from undergrad, 95% look to IB analyst programs as a farming system. Realistically you will need to be an IB analyst in order to have a shot at targeting your goal.

You may have to re-brand yourself with a Masters/MBA if networking like crazy doesn't work out.

Even MBA/Masters without prior PE experience will have a difficult time getting in.

 
Best Response
Mar 27, 2017 - 4:01pm

Brutal truth and you may dislike me for this, but even if you don't believe it, at least hear it; there is little hope. Here's why. PE firms look to recruit from IB, especially with regards to 2 years in IB post undergrad since there is a recruiting process. However, most of these firms will kick you out after 2 years to go do something else. For those who want to continue to do PE, they have to get their MBA at a top program and then recruit to be a post-MBA associate. Even then, many of these roles will never lead to the partner track where you are making operational changes and raking in real money. It is virtually impossible to get one of these post-MBA associate roles in PE unless you've done PE pre-MBA. Considering that you won't be able to get into a PE shop pre-MBA since you haven't done IB (or MBB consulting for some shops), this will not be possible. Even if you did, the fact that you haven't done IB at a good shop will put you at a disadvantage in comparison to other candidates. Especially considering that you are from a non-target, your candidacy has no real merits.

Here is some hope though. If you want to do IB, this is certainly very possible. Spend a couple years working in something business/finance, got to an M7 MBA and then recruit as a post-MBA associate in IB. Doing PE after this stint will most likely not be possible, but you will at least be able to work on M&A at an investment bank. Especially considering how crowded the PE space is and how much more saturated it is getting (with too much dry powder chasing too few deals), the IRR's are also coming down so if you are looking to build a long-term future in this career, it will be not be as great a space to get into. I'd advise that you look more into IB in the future if you are interested in IB, but PE even for a candidate that has been at a target, good GPA, and IB experience is an uphill battle for most candidates. With your case, it is not likely.

 
Mar 27, 2017 - 3:57pm

therealgekko:

Brutal truth and you may dislike me for this, but even if you don't believe it, at least hear it; there is little hope. Here's why. PE firms look to recruit from IB, especially with regards to 2 years in IB post undergrad since there is a recruiting process. However, most of these firms will kick you out after 2 years to go do something else. For those who want to continue to do PE, they have to get their MBA at a top program and then recruit to be a post-MBA associate. Even then, many of these roles will never lead to the partner track where you are making operational changes and raking in real money. It is virtually impossible to get one of these post-MBA associate roles in PE unless you've done PE pre-MBA. Considering that you won't be able to get into a PE shop pre-MBA since you haven't done IB (or MBB consulting for some shops), this will not be possible. Even if you did, the fact that you haven't done IB at a good shop will put you at a disadvantage. Especially considering that you are from a non-target, your candidacy has no real merits.

Here is some hope though. If you want to do IB, this is certainly very possible. Spend a couple years working in something business/finance, got to an M7 MBA and then recruit as a post-MBA associate in IB. Doing PE after this stint will most likely not be possible, but you will at least be able to work on M&A at an investment bank. Especially considering how crowded the PE space is and how much more saturated it is getting (with too dry powder chasing too few deals), the IRR's are also coming down so if you are looking to build a long-term future in this career, it will be not be as great a space to get into. I'd advise that you look more into IB in the future if you are interested in IB, but PE even for a candidate that has been at a target, good GPA, and IB experience is an uphill battle for most candidates. With your case, it is not likely.

not sure why this got a MS but it is true

 
Mar 27, 2017 - 4:54pm

The first step is to get a job as a banking analyst. It sounds like it would be virtually impossible for you to get a decent role in PE from your current position (not to be harsh, just the truth).

Go into investment banking, check the analyst box, and you'll be able to get into a mid-market fund as an associate.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 1:13pm

Trying to get into PE with different angle - thoughts? (Originally Posted: 04/28/2014)

Hi all, my goal is to get into PE (less quant more mgmt) - eventually I would like to get into funds that are more likely to build portfolios in which they bring in their mgmt to build value. (if such a place exists)

Here is my background -
non target JD - worked in lower tier BB in compliance/legal function now work in upper tier BB same type of work - (VP lvl) roughly 150k base with 30-40k bonus

I've also been buying/selling stakes in small companies (think mom and pop shops - liquor store, gas station, etc) the last 2/3 years and have been really enjoying building some wealth/value pretty quickly,

I'm wondering is this at all a selling point to get into PE, basically saying look I've been doing similar work on a much smaller scale?

I'm kind of at cross roads - either I stay in my current functions Legal/compliance or i try to make a move now using my current role and angle? to get into PE, I'm guessing its a very small shot but if there was ever a shot now is the best time to take it, otherwise I'll been compliance for the rest of my life.

Thanks for your input.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 1:35pm

Path to PE (Originally Posted: 08/09/2017)

Is there any possible path for me to get to PE?

Background:
- Graduated from a school at the lower end of semi-target with a degree in Finance and a 4.0 GPA. Also worked ~20 hours a week during school and was in greek life
- Was naive to career options. Got a job working for a local commercial real estate broker while in school and just kept rolling with the real estate career path without doing much research to finance alternatives
- I'm bored in real estate (been an analyst for 2 years). I've been doing more research and would really like to be in normal PE. It sounds so much more challenging and interesting. Not to mention the pay seems to be double for the same hours of work as RE (from my experience, great mid-career comp in RE is 300-400k all-in, late career $500k-$1M. To get this sort of comp you're probably working 60+ hour weeks that get intense when doing deals. Sounds very similar to PE hours)
- I have no interest in MF PE (and also no shot). Would really like to work at a smaller PE shop in SoCal

Is there any sort of path for me to get to PE? I know the typical the answer is going to be "no", but given my high GPA and finance degree I'm wondering if there is any shot.

 
Mar 29, 2017 - 9:17am

Op. Make 1000 cold calls and send 1000 cold emails and get back to us.

Make sure to use the assumptive close with the MD "Well that all sounds good I will be showing up tomorrow at 9AM for my unpaid internship. See you tomorrow. Click." Turn off your phone and don't check your email so they can't contact you.

Then the next morning show up with donuts and coffee for everyone and do anything they need done.

OP this might be your only chance.

Array
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Apr 9, 2017 - 1:40pm

How should I go about breaking into PE - Looking for some personalized advice... (Originally Posted: 08/07/2010)

here's the short and sweet of it...

i'm 23. i'm a recent graduate of a small, but prestigious, liberal arts school in between detroit and chicago that has a great local reputation. i majored in education/history because i thought that i wanted to be a high school teacher/football coach when i made the choice. i have since decided that i want to pursue a career in private equity (i won't waste space with the reasons why here). i took a lot of courses in a lot of different areas - some i excelled in, some i didn't - so my overall gpa ended up not being that high, about a 3.3 (i also got sort of 'lost' along the way). most of my work experience to this point has been as a tutor in local schools, so i have no financial experience.

but...i am looking at my life right now, and i am seeing opportunites to start fresh somewhere. mathematics aren't a strength of mine. i suppose that they could be, but i've never really had much interest in them. in college i never took calculus, but i did take econ101 and stats101, and got relatively easy A's in both of them. i'm an ENTJ personality (the executive). i'm smart (at least smart enough to have gotten into a top four public university out of high school). i'm humble. i'm likeable. i'm hard-working. i'm a quick learner. i have great people skills. and i have great analytical skills. given the right approach, and the right mentor, i think that i could have a great deal of success in the PE world. for me, right now, it's just a matter of doing this thing the right way. once i have the right plan in place, i think that i will be able to succeed.

onto the questions...

1) what should i do right now? should i try to get a job at an investment bank? should i try to get a job at a management consulting firm? or should i try to get a job at a private equity firm? or should i go for a masters degree in a relevant field to improve my chances of landing a job at one of these places? i'm lucky enough to have parents that can support me for a few more years, so, if necessary, i am more than willing to work for free to get my foot in the door. i'm much more concerned about finding the right mentor and learning the business than i am about making money right now. it'd be cheaper/more convenient for me to work in detroit, but if i've gotta go to chicago, i've gotta go to chicago i guess.

thank you very much in advance for any input! it would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

sincerely,

blue

 
Apr 4, 2017 - 10:07pm

"Online forums tend to veer into extremes very quickly." -M&I

You can absolutely get into PE, but you pretty much HAVE to go to business school. Get relevant IB experience (corp finance, comm banking, or a MO/BO role at a top firm) and go to the best school you can get into. Then, get into IB as an associate and you'll have a good shot at getting into PE. People will say that's impossible. That's bullshit (or monkey shit lol).

There's a good M&I article on this. Google it. You can do it. Chase those dreams. They're achievable.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:12pm

A somewhat unusual path to PE (?) (Originally Posted: 08/07/2017)

Hi all, I think my situation is pretty unique compared to what's usually discussed here so I allowed myself to start a new thread.
I'm 26 years old, from Israel, and I have a major in law and finance. I'm about to start working at a corporate/M&A law firm (tier 1 locally, but not an international brand).
My dream is to eventually get an MBA in the states, and maybe go to PE. I've consulted with an MBA prep firm, and was told I have a pretty good chance at an M7 school.
My question is, will any of the following grant me a chance (which isn't skating up an ice hill) at a post-MBA PE job? Assume I would work one year at the law firm anyway, I want to test those waters before I decide.
1. Gain some more experience as an M&A lawyer after the first year (which is mandatory in order to get a license).
2. After one year, work two years at a big 4 (PwC) transaction services group and get a CPA license (2 years is the regulatory requirement). I already have this job if I want it (might sound weird but that's how it works here).
3. After one year, try my hand at consulting for an international tier 1 firm (like McKinsey).
4. After one year, try my hand at an Israeli PE firm, which is MM/MF in Israeli terms, but would be considered very small in US terms. I'm guessing this is the best option, but it is also least likely, so don't assign too much weight to it, I wanna know if it counts for anything at all.

Thanks!

 
Apr 4, 2017 - 11:29pm

I actually listened to a podcast with an interview of Patrick Curtis. He was asked what his favorite part of the job is. He said that his favorite part is reading about success stories. He pointed out that there was this veteran who never had a banking, consulting, or even accounting job. After reading up on PE, he really wanted to do it. He wanted it so bad that he taught himself modelling, cold called 1000 recruiters, PE funds, and networked like crazy until one person gave him the opportunity to phone interview. He had been a smart guy, but had a 3.0 gpa, so not amazing. After his tour he studied and networked until that one phone interview with the headhunter convinced the firm to let him come onsite and it worked.

My point is, is that there are ways around the conventional recruiting and hiring methods. I know someone who works at General Atlantic in NYC, got there after being a realtor. The way I see it- do your best to differentiate yourself and learn the skills you need. Grind to get there because there is going to be someone who does, just make it you.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:15pm

Breaking into Private Equity with a Masters in Finance and no IB experience (Originally Posted: 09/17/2015)

Hello everyone,

First time posting on here, so thanks in advance for any input, comments, or overall advice.

I am currently 24 years old and have realized that I would like transition to a PE firm to make my career there. I am entrepreneurial, analytical, and love finance; something that I think PE embraces quite well. However, given the pre-req of IB experience, I'm looking to position myself for a summer internship with a bulge bracket bank this upcoming summer.

Nevertheless, I'm having some doubts whether I should apply for an IB Summer Analyst or Associate role, given that I'm currently pursuing an MSF at a target grad program and have 3 years of Management Consulting/Financial Advisory Experience.

To provide you with a better image of my profile, here's my CV:

Experience:
- Deloitte Advisory
M&A Analyst (1 year, 3 months)
- McKinsey & Co.
Analyst Intern (7 months)
- Boutique Consulting Firm
M&A Business Analyst (1 year)

Education:
- MsF, Target School (Graduation 2017)
GPA 3.80
- BBA, Finance Non-target School (Graduation 2014)
GPA 3.80

By the time I would start the summer internship (June 2016), I would be nearing my promotion with my current firm and have ~ 3.8 years of work experience.

So I only see 3 options here, which are:

A) Apply to Summer Analyst role: This kind of sucks because I would be forgoing my promotion and be essentially "demoted". Not only would I make less than an analyst, I would also have worse hours.

B) Apply to Summer Associate role: Ideal scenario; however, I would be competing against MBAs who may be on par or have more work experience.

C) Scrap IB entirely and gun it for PE: Personal favorite, but quite unsure of how successful it will be seeing that I do not have any de facto IB experience (though I am very well-versed in valuation given my current role).

Do you think an IB internship will suffice to secure a PE gig or do you think I may need the full 2 years of IB experience?

If I do need 2 years, what do you make of the above options?

Any comments, advice, or feedback will be highly appreciated.

Cheers!

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:17pm

Transition to PE without Corporate Finance experience (Originally Posted: 09/19/2006)

Hi All

I'm a management consultant looking to make a move into the world of finance.

There are currently couple of opportunities I'm persueing.
1) Analyst role @ top tier boutique corporate finance advisory firm ($500MM + transactions)
2) Analyst role @ top tier MBO LBO private equity firm ($100MM + transactions)

I know that the "normal" route is to get the adequate skills from CorpFin then move into a more commercial role in PE.
However what I'm considering is moving into PE first, and then get an MBA in the US, and then get into IB Associate role.

Do you think this is a realistic plan and a good plan?
Or is CorpFin Advisory a better move?

Calv

 
Apr 5, 2017 - 12:34am

Frankly it's too late. The PE firms you get into will probably have shit pay and no exit ops.

PE is for the weak but privileged. You must go into ivy league schools which requires you to be rich and privileged enough to get SAT prep at a young age OR be an average minority / transgender / woman

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
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Apr 5, 2017 - 1:25am

Find a mentor (who is highly connected and worked in the industry before) who has a lot of things similar to you (family friend, same race, same background) > ask him to get you a job at a family office (that he knows) for principal investing (learn the skills on how to invest and manage company) - is okay if you start out as office admin or errand boy > pitch a private equity firm that you can get your family office as LP to invest in their next fund (the requirement is that they need to hire you) > they won't be able to refuse it. Note: I did exactly that.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:27pm

Entrepreneur Breaking into PE (Originally Posted: 12/22/2011)

Hey Guys,

After investing in and building a dot.com business, I'm thinking about starting up in Private Equity. My background is in Finance and I really enjoy entrepreneurship so that's where most of my experience is.

I'm pretty new to the investment banking and private equity industry, so here is my first shot at a resume.

I'm curious as to how my resume looks to bankers. If you guys think I can do better in any place, don't be shy.

http://www.razume.com/documents/23535

impossible is a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given rather than exploring the power they have to change it
 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:32pm

I need some advice to land a job in private equity (Originally Posted: 09/06/2014)

Hi everyone,

my name is Lars and i have actually an undergraduate degree in computer science, to be more specific in software development. During an internship two years ago i've got the chance to develop a fund management solution for a little private equity boutique. Anyway, this is when i got in love with finance and i've decided that i'm gonna major in finance and work in private equity. To get a better chance to get accepted in a Finance Major, I studied finance and accounting on myself with some textbooks that i found on ebay during these two years. I didn't get accepted here in France in all known business school because of my unrelated computer science degree even though i have a solid understanding in finance, for someone who didn't study finance but computer science. After i've got refused by all french business school i tried the UK and i've got accepted in Edinburgh's Business School, where i can major in Financial Management. It's maybe not the best, but it's better than nothing. My problem is that i've only had experiences and internships in computer science, not in private equity or finance, so what would you advise me to do to improve my chances to get a job in a private equity firm? I'm already searching for an internship to get at least one experience in private equity before graduating. My second question is what 3 other courses than M&A should i choose between these so i can have a better chance to land a job in P/E and does not appear unlogic ( some students choose majors and minors without a logic, i don't that to be my case):

Corporate Governance
Mergers and Acquisitions
Practical History of Financial Markets
Quantitative Methods
Research Methods for Business and Management
Strategic Planning

Thank you very much guys!

Lars M

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:37pm

Break into PE via top consulting firm or IB (Originally Posted: 10/12/2016)

Hi, I have a question about which way is the best to break into PE

My guess is that most people will say of course IB.

Many folks with consulting experiences at Bain&company or McKinsey are also hired by PE and make their way to the top. It surprises me that almost 30% of the key members (VPs or Partners) in the west-coast mega PE firms I looked at have consulting backgrounds. Perhaps this trend was in the past. Not sure about now.

My background is in big four M&A advisory. It is hard to break into PE with mere financial due diligence experiences. I'm planning for my next move among three choices, corporate finance within big four (essentially does the same thing as IB), a reputational consulting company (M&A advisor), or a boutique IB.

Which way is the best to break into PE? Could you please shed some light?

Thank you very much!

Hang in there!
 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:41pm

Domicliation as possible PE way-in? (Originally Posted: 12/04/2012)

Hello!
I have an offer from a Domiciliation Service company, based in Europe, which provides Domiciliation and administration services for hedge funds and private equity companies. They work with most of the big American and European PE firms, especially Real Estate ones.
I was wondering, if working there for 2-3 years and acquiring deep knowledge of the industry and the day-to-day operations of a PE firm would allow me to move to one. I am also pursuing the CFA charterhold (currently studying for L2).
Is there a chance that combining this accounting knowledge with the CFA would open doors into the industry?
Many thanks in advance!

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:46pm

MBA student seeking your advice - How to break in to PE? (Originally Posted: 07/25/2007)

Hi all,

This is another one of those - "How can I get XYZ, highly sought after job?" posts, so please bear with me and help if you can :)

I posted this a couple of days ago in the "Private Iniquity" forum and did get a few responses (thanks to all that responded, your help is appreciated). However, I am reposting this here, as it seems most of the career related "action" is here.

I will start with describing my background:
Masters in EE from a top-5 engineering school (think Georgia Tech, Michigan, Berkeley)
Six years of experience in high-tech
Second year MBA student at a top-20 school
GMAT:770 and GPA:3.8
CFA L2 candidate for June 2008

I am looking to move over to finance from tech (Yes, I know this is a major career shift) preferrably in to PE (1st choice) or IB/IM (second choice).

I am currently interning at a small PE shop, but it cannot be translated in to a job (because they don't usually hire MBAs). The work is not great, but I am doing it to get PE on my resume.

My questions are:
1. Given that I am pushing 30, does it make sense to go the IB to PE route?
2. Does joining an IB as an associate, at my age, the right thing to do?
3. Can I get in to a PE firm focused on tech, given my extensive background in tech?
4. How much does "progress towards CFA charter" help?
5. Do IM firms (MFs or HFs) hire people of my profile?
6. I am an international and would like to return back to my country's booming PE sector, in about 4 to 5 years. Is this something I should highlight and would it help me sell myself?
7. Do I have a realistic chance of getting a PE job post-MBA, at all?

Please provide any critique/suggestions you might have. Thanks in advance.

PELBO

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:52pm

Getting into PE after 1 year (Originally Posted: 03/29/2008)

Hi,

I understand that the normal path is to do a 2-year IBD stint before moving to PE. But what about moving into PE after just one year? Have people done it? When does one have to apply, and how is the process different from the one for 2nd year analysts? Finally, what are the chances of landing at a top fund after only one year?

Cheers,

B.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 2:55pm

getting into PE from UG (Aust.) (Originally Posted: 11/01/2008)

Alright here's my situation: 3rd yr student at a top Australian uni studying Bcom/LLB (5yrs) with good grades. Lucky to have landed a IBD SA gig in a top IB for this summer (Dec-Feb). Will be doing CFA Level 1 in June 09)
Aim: put myself in the best position to get into PE when I graduate.
Options:
(1) Cold-calling PE firms as I finish my internship for unpaid/paid part-time work experience during uni -> PE internship for following summer.
(2) Do another internship in an IB (if I'm lucky to get another one) then ask PE firms in my 5th year -> FT when i grad.
(3) Anything else?

Any other advice related to getting into PE in Australia would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:01pm

Getting into PE summer?! (Originally Posted: 02/23/2011)

hey,

trying to get in pe summer. i have some s & t but i dont wanna do that. can i gain anything by calling MDs that went to my school setting up an informational interviews? also would it
help to have PE on my rresume even if I worked for free at a mm shop? or would S & T be better?

ideally i wanna do pe straight out of undergrad

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:09pm

Getting into PE as a 2nd yr Analyst/1st Year Associate? (Originally Posted: 12/05/2011)

Hey guys,

Starting full-time in an industry group, IBD at a BB (UBS/Citi/BAML) in a regional office. Talking to PE guys who are alumni they say recruiting for the 2012 analysts (for 2014 PE roles) will start anytime from Jan-March 2013.

If I can't lock down a PE position in my first analyst year, or I'm not sure if I want to go down that track, can I try again the next year, or the year after (after associate-promote)?

Thanks for the advice guys,

Happy Holidays

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:13pm

The Path towards Private Equity (PE) - how do I get there ? (Originally Posted: 04/25/2014)

I am currently an Engineer in Houston Tx (like most Engineers in Houston I work for an oil and gas manufacturing/services company), but I have always wanted to get into the finance world. Ever since my internship at Cameron ( $CAM ) I was exposed to trading stocks by a young high school kid who worked in the tool room (since his uncle was the engineering manager) and ever since then I was hooked. Eventually as time went on I got to know more about the finance world and really started looking into PE. At the same time I'm a business man at heart so I would like to one day run my own PE firm probably focused on tech/software , SaaS technology companies. But given that I only have an engineering degree with no real finance background what should I do ? I have thought about perhaps going back to school , getting a MBA with a focus on finance at a good university but how do I even find the right school that could lead me into getting my feet wet in PE ?

From what I have researched, most people that get into PE have had experience in Investment Banking. So I have come up with a list of schools that have good track record of producing IB'ers but from what I know about IB sleeping is not really an option, and I like to get some rest every now and then. I would like to just have enough money on my own to jump straight into my own PE firm but I believe it is best to get experience first and coming up with millions on my own isn't easy.

Help me out guys.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:17pm

Need advice on choosing an offer that will help me on a path toward PE (Originally Posted: 07/14/2016)

CFA L3 candidate, seven years of diverse finance experience but none in sell side banking. Long term objective is buy side, preferably PE, but will always keep my eyes open for opps in public company buy side.

I have been going through the process of searching for a new gig for a few months. I focused my networking on PE and on sell side CF/M&A as the most obvious route to PE. Unfortunately I haven't been successful there. But I am in the happy position of having two offers and possibly a third, and I am trying to decide which way to go.

  1. Boutique valuations firm. Provides valuations and reports primarily for litigation and insurance claims. A tiny bit of M&A (less than one per year I suspect). Industry agnostic. The partners are all CPAs with ABV or equivalent. I would be a Sr. FA supporting them. Compensation is below what I think I'm worth and can't be negotiated further. But work-life balance would be extremely high (very 8 to 5 culture).

  2. Publicly-traded firm with North American ops and expanding to Asia and EMEA now. Growth company. I would be doing IR, capital markets, internal performance reporting and corp dev and reporting to the President. Industry is a combination of tech and green building products. Comp is a bit low but perks are good as you can expect with a company that says it's in tech.

  3. AVP in the mid-market credit group of a regional bank. Analytical focused (versus BD). Easy segue to a larger bank someday I think. Bank also has a new VC group and owns a boutique IB. Would touch capital markets occasionally but not be directly involved. Comp is best of the three.

What seems most appropriate for my long-term interests? Insight and opinions appreciated.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:20pm

Private Equity Future Path? (Originally Posted: 11/07/2017)

Hi everyone, first ever post here (joined WSO last night)
A little bit about my current situation:

-Double major from non-target (supply chain mgmt/ops mgmt)
-Did 4 internships in luxury fashion production operations, 3 were with the same employer, and was dead set that this was where I wanted to be for a career
-I received an offer mid April telling me I had to start ASAP, even though I graduated end of May and had my brother's wedding in June. After much back and forth trying to push back a start date that would accommodate me, the offer fell through as the company went through a layoff wave in the summer.
-Back to square 1, I start looking into finance jobs bc I realize exit opps/pay are way better than having such narrow focus in luxury fashion when that sector of retail is struggling (and fashion industry doesn't pay).
-I have a final round interview with a local private equity shop, they know I have minimal finance knowledge/0 financial modeling experience, but I've been teaching myself a little in my spare time these days.

With all this being said, I want to know if I do end up an analyst in a tiny PE firm:
-How hard will it be to move from a MBA associate position at LMM/MM PE firm in NYC?

I am trying to get a gauge for the rigidity/mobility available within private equity provided that I am starting so low/local.

Thanks!

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:22pm

Degrees Needed To Break into PE (Originally Posted: 05/28/2017)

Hello:

I am a high school junior who has his own portfolio and aspires to break into PE one day. I am looking at UPenn's dual-degree programs right now including LSM and M&T. I want to be in PE Biotech Firms.

What degrees would you need to break into PE Biotech?

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:28pm

Best degree to get into PE? (Originally Posted: 09/10/2009)

Hi,

I am currently in the process of finishing my bachelor's degree in Economics and Business (in hindsight this was a bad choice). I would like to get into PE at one point, and have 2 choices for a master's program.
I can either go into econometrics (quantitative program which will be difficult since I have a weak background in mathematics, it will take 2 years to complete), or I can go for a master's degree in financial economics (many of the topics covered seem to be applicable to the PE field, also this program will only take 1 year to complete). What do you guys think?

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:35pm

Will this get me to PE? (Originally Posted: 05/01/2014)

I have recent been approached to interview for an associate role within an I-banking Advisory group. When it comes to services, their site reads, "These services include Strategic Advisory, Merger & Acquisition Advisory, Capital Formation, Financial Opinions and Valuation." The firm is full of CFA/CPA/MBA types. I have written a few mentors in the PE space to get their take, but figured this would be a great outlet as well. The opportunity is certainly intriguing but want to ensure I have an exit, ideally into PE, if it is not as good as I originally thought.

Some background about the firm. The advisory team as a whole is composed of roughly 7 head count (3 analyst, 1 director, 1 partner, 2 managers). The parent company is a forensic accounting firm with a history of success and large geographic footprint. I noticed that the parent purchased this advisory firm 3 years ago, re-branded it, added more head count, and plans to spread it into its existing global forensic offices.

What are your thoughts?

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:48pm

how to get a PE internship (Originally Posted: 02/28/2012)

Hey guys,

How should one approach a PE firm you want to intern at? and does that approach change if one of the partners is an alum?

I lucked into a pretty good PE internship before but would like to move on to a different fund strategy (bad fit). I didn't manage to land an SA offer yet and I'm thinking i'd rather work at another PE fund than an IB boutique.

Also, can anyone point me to some PE case studies? I heard WSO is going to make one soon.

Thanks

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:52pm

How hard would it be for me to get into PE full-tme after graduation? (Originally Posted: 02/26/2014)

I'm currently a junior-year econ major at a top-10 school with an okay GPA (3.4). I interned at a boutique/middle market investment bank last summer and will be interning at a business development/VC firm focused on early-stage healthcare companies. I have a great connection to a guy with many PE/VC connections in my hometown (not megafunds like Bain,KKR, Carlyle, BX,etc) . Could I realistically get a PE/VC analyst position in my hometown if I network well?

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:55pm

Prospective PE Analyst - Undergrad (Originally Posted: 11/15/2017)

Greetings, I am currently a junior in business school, and am seeking a career in investments after graduating. This summer, I will be interning with a PE group. Here are some of the questions I have:

  • What are some of the day to day tasks of a PE analyst/associate?
  • What upper level coursework (besides investment/finance courses) would you say are the most beneficial to a new grad in PE (economics, accounting, management, etc.)?
  • What metrics for valuation/modeling would you say are of the most use in PE?
  • Being new in PE, in order to effectively learn and grow, what are the skills you should have down by the time you graduate?

Hopefully I'm asking the right questions, but feel free to give me any other recommendations! Thanks a lot!

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 3:59pm

Best Finance Track for PE? (Originally Posted: 05/13/2016)

Hey everyone, I just joined Wall Street Oasis in hopes to get more information.

I'm currently going to a semi-target school. JPMorgan, BoA, Morgan Stanley and The Big 4 all recruit from there, I'm not sure which positions exactly but I don't think it's IB, and to my understanding it's very hard to get right into PE from college.

The school I'm going to offers six finance tracks for the program; they are Financial Analysis, Analytical Finance, Real Estate Finance, Financial Marketing, and Expanded Finance. I was wondering what you think the best track would be if my goal was to try and break into PE? I know Financial Marketing and Real Estate Finance most likely won't help. I was thinking Financial Analysis.

Also, is there a lot of alegebra involved with this degree/career? Algebra isn't my strong suit but I'll obviously power through it if I have to. Thanks for the help.

 
Apr 9, 2017 - 4:00pm

I like how you chose to leave out the name of your school but list out all the tracks so that it's easy to figure out...
Looks like Financial Analysis would be helpful - understanding accounting is definitely important. Then I would say Expanded Finance is the next best one.

I hope you're talking college-level algebra like Linear and higher, which you won't need. If you're talking high school Algebra I, then even if you're not explicitly solving systems of equations, there are times where you will solve for variables. If that's a struggle then I'm not sure that bodes well for developing analytical/modeling ability.

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