How Do I Get Into Private Equity?

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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).

Understanding Private Equity

Check out the video below for another overview:

Read a detailed guide to Private Equity on WSO.

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. It will be next to impossible to get into a PE shop without this (or consulting) experience. However, there are always exceptions to the rule therefore 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.

Read More About PE Recruiting on WSO

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 (188)

 
3/27/17

Which city are you based in?

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9 LBO Modeling Tests, 10+ hours of PE Cases and 2,447+ interview insights across 203 private equity funds. The WSO Private Equity Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to break into the competitive PE industry. Learn more.

 
3/27/17

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.

 
3/27/17

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.

 
3/27/17
"Mimsy" wrote:

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.

 
3/27/17

get into banking first.

 
3/27/17

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.

 
3/27/17

I knew this would get hit with MS, but I responded anyway because there are some things, even harsh that it helps to hear early on; you do you in the end though

 
3/27/17
"therealgekko" wrote:

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

 
4/4/17

Lol it's definitely the non target seniors without IB jobs that are feeling ticked off. I get it, it's not fair, but it's just the way things are

Edit: To the non target seniors who failed to get an IB job, continue throwing as much MS at this as you want, Idgaf

 
4/5/17

Ok, so I got into target, now what ?

 
4/5/17

Now just wait for KKR to come begging

 
4/4/17

Thanks for the response! Understanding the reality is much better advice than wishful thinking. Great info and thanks for the honesty. You're post was very helpful.

 
3/27/17

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.

 
 
4/9/17

To rephrase - is your question whether your experience making investments in small businesses (e.g., liquor stores, gas stations, etc) is enough to get you into the PE field, either a management or investment role? If so, then

-Investment role: No

-Management role: Highly unlikely. PE firms that hire managers generally do so for specific existing portfolio company investments, and they're usually looking for seasoned operating executives. From what you have shared, it doesn't seem like you fit the seasoned executive description

I think investing in SMBs is interesting and will resonate well with some employees at PE firms, but will likely not be enough to get them to hire you

 
4/9/17

Above poster is correct, but if you're interested in moving up in the entrepreneurial role you could try approaching some of the smaller PE firms around you to raise capital for your ventures. For example, instead of buying individual liquor stores, raise capital to purchase 20-50 stores in the state. You 100% won't be able to get official private equity funding for such a deal, but a lot of these guys, especially at smaller funds, are interested in going in on such a deal if they like you, and just do it on the side with their own money and a small group of investors they know personally. Not exactly what you were looking for in this thread but it's an idea.

 
4/9/17

(a) you'll have a very hard time getting to PE at your level with your background

(b) the side investing role won't be viewed as a substantive part of your value proposition as a candidate

(c) finding a quality management team is among the significant challenges faced by PE investors, I'd venture to say that there are few to no PE firms out there that buy companies with the intent of installing their own management teams; this is for a few reason: (1) like I said before talented mgmt teams are hard to find (2) you never know what the mgmt+company chemistry will be, so sometimes even a talented team is a bust; (3) you'd have to keep the management team on ice while you find the right investment for them, which is very expensive; in summary, its just not really how PE investors seek to create value. The idea of a PE firms buying swaths of companies, firing management and installing their own teams is a misconception. This is usually only done on one-off cases if the PE firm has a management team they are looking to back on a new project because that's part of their investment thesis/angle or if their initial assessment of the management didn't pan out and they need to be replaced because they haven't delivered the results expected of them.

(d) To be completely blunt I'm not exactly sure why you think that making investments in mom and pop stores with 1-3 employees would suggest you have the qualifications to manage a medium sized single-location restaurant much less a SME (i.e., a business with tens of millions in revenues, sales, accounting, finance etc departments etc).

If you really think you have a unique and valuable skill set the best way to make the transition would be to put your money where you mouth is. The value of your skillset is not really applicable to and won't really be acknowledged by the traditional PE world. If you've had out sized success the mom-and-pop world, you should be able to quit your job and showcase your track record to friends and family and provide them an opportunity to piggyback on your investments, scaling up to a much more meaningful investment size in an environment where you're the one actively managing the business.

Keep in mind, one of the reasons you see PE firms that are atleast several hundreds of millions of dollars in size (and thats on the very low side) is because you need substantial scale to make the math work. So investing in half a dozen gas stations and liquor stores is very difficult to make a living on as a "GP" unless you're on the ground managing them actively and making a modest salary (i.e., would need to quit your job and go all in).

 
4/9/17

Hi all,

first off, i want to thank all of you for posting back, its not easy getting solid feedback, even though hearing it sucks.

although this gives me hope, however small!

"I think investing in SMBs is interesting and will resonate well with some employees at PE firms, but will likely not be enough to get them to hire you"

My plan wasnt just to use my SMB exp but use it in combination with my JD/Compliance exp & my upper tier BB exp (however insignifacnt each one is, in combined maybe gives me some hope?!)
Also im considering pursuing my CFA, although open to suggestions if other certifications are move valuable (I was reading about business appraiser?)

Additionally, I'm hoping if nothign else I can get into PE by way of compliance exp in performing due diligence from an AML/Sanctions perspective, basically reviewing to see if any of the portfolio companies have any exposure (I'm not sure if PE firms do that now, or have counsel review) Either way I could possibly use as an angle as I have that exp in a BB.

Again, thank you for your feedback. I really hate being in the BO. I dont particulary want to leave corporate and own liquor stores full time, some of the business have 5-10 employees but I didnt necessarily own 100% of those. either way i dont think my exp is a perfect fit, just trying to see what % chance i got to get in based on these factors.

When you state "you'll have a very hard time getting to PE at your level with your background" - is my lvl too old or not enough exp for mgmt?

 
4/9/17

Because your experience isn't relevant for a traditional private equity path.

It strikes me that you may have a distorted view of who is hired into a management role at a PE firm. Its almost always a very successful executive who is probably among the top 10-20% of executives (i.e., CEOs and CFOs) in his/her respective industry/. They've probably had a meteoric rise within a fairly large and sophisticated organization and have a track record as a high-level executive and have demonstrated a high degree of success in that capacity.

I'm not speculating whether or not you fit that bill because I know nothing about you... but judging from what you've said so far, I can definitely say that making side investments in small family businesses and working in compliance for a handful or so years certainly doesn't isn't really the typical PE-management team resume.

If you're really bent on going the PE route, I can tell you that (a) nothing is completely impossible and (b) the paths you're mentioning above are substantially off the mark. You may be able to get a job at a PE firm in compliance, but you would have slim to no interaction with investment professionals and/or portfolio companies. You'd probably be best off trying to first get into some sort of advisory role and then trying to get into a PE shop.

 
4/9/17

blastoff - the basic problem is that PE firms are targeting particular skill sets. The PE space is quite institutionalized and there is way more demand for PE jobs than supply of them, so firms can afford to be very, very picky. I do not mean this to be discouraging, but am just shooting you straight based on my experience/observations

To expound bit, if you're interested in a PE
(1) Investing role: then experience in banking, consulting (to a lesser extent, but viable), or other PE are the tried and true ways in. I don't have stats, but would estimate this represents 95% of the backgrounds of people who are currently entering PE investing jobs (may have been different 10+ yrs ago, I don't know..)

(2) Mgt role: PE firms are targeting senior executives that have managed large groups of people + delivered results

The problem with your thinking is that (A) SMB (e.g., mom + pop store) investing + (B) compliance BB (C) CFA does NOT equal anything that makes your marketable for either of these 2 paths. Again, not trying to put you down, here

You may be able to land a legal or compliance role at a PE firm. Would note that I think there's little-to-no-ability to transition from there to a PE investing or PE mgt role, though

Maybe shoot for a VC firm, particularly if you've had SMB investing in tech? Not sure if you're interested in VC, but VC firms are generally open to more varied backgrounds - although VCs also have the job supply/demand imbalance working for them, thus are very selective as well

Hope that helps man, good luck

 
4/9/17

Why are you even interested in getting into a management role with a PE firm? You're apparently already managing multiple businesses which means you've got your own thing going. If you've been doing it entirely with your own equity, why not bring in other investors to expand your operation? Bring your investments under a single umbrella, right your balance sheet if necessary, then go out to potential investors and show them what you've done and make a bid for some equity/debt to grow your operation into way more locations.

 
4/9/17

I have to agree most with Khayembii. This is totally true. You've got your hands in a number of different businesses and assuming they are doing well, you have multiple cash flow streams. You can use that to either scale businesses, or exit your stakes and re-invest in other things. What you are doing right now IS PRIVATE EQUITY. ON YOUR OWN. And that is just AWESOME, bro (*fist pound*.)

So why compete with all of these bankers/pe types/consultants etc, to join a shop to crunch models/do powerpoints and deal with all of these processes and auctions? And be someone junior? Right now, you don't have to share carry, deal with investors etc, the money is all yours (and Uncle Sam's I suppose) and you've got the power/freedom to make the decisions. Heck if you do well enough you can start your own PE shop for like tiny businesses and get some investors to broaden your reach. Why not make this your full time thing and drop the legal/compliance, once you have enough money. You seem to have enough experience and skills to always go back into it if it does not work out.

OK no there's a ton we don't know. But let's step back and assume for whatever reason (your potential investors want to see that you have some sort of formal training, or you want it on the resume or whatever) that you really want to/need to join a PE shop.

This place is probably not the best place to ask, since most folks are young and looking to do junior stuff (ie. Associate etc). You need to somehow build networks at the senior level and tell them your story and what you do. No doubt, that with a little bit of dressing up of what you do, that there will be senior folks somewhere that think your story is awesome and that you would be a real value addition rather than some excel/powerpoint monkey. Why? Because you may understand how management and business owners really, think and feel and act. That is invaluable, especially for more growth capital type shops, where the PE firm is a minority shareholder in the business. So maybe start at your bank. Who are the MDs/EDs? Do you run across them at all? Even in the elevator? At the coffee place? On a deal/compliance meetings? Just be a nice person, say hi, be sociable - people generally hate compliance, so if you're the friendly compliance face, then use that to your advantage to get a coffee. Maybe ask someone out for a drink. Ask them about what they do, their past, how they got there, what they like to do in their spare time etc. Some, if not most, will ask you the same questions back. Now is your time to shine over that beer and tell them about your personal investing/what you are doing on the side and be enthusiastic about it. Some may just kind of brush it off, others may think "wow here is someone enthusiastic, that I like, and who has something that I could maybe use, and he/she is internal which means its a lateral hire".... From then you could do that for some time (but might be tough to juggle that with your personal investing) and make the move to a PE shop.

Or find PE shops directly, but you want smaller ones, and there are a lot. No big or middle market shops, you want lower middle market or small cap shops where there will be much more of a fit element and they will be dealing with small businesses that they want to buy and sell. You could have a real angle there. Its just a question of meeting the senior folks and telling your story. I think its a compelling one.

But then again I don't do direct PE, I'm on the consultant/LP side. But I meet tons of high level folks at PE shops and I have definitely met people who would be interested in your profile if you discussed it.

Good luck and go get 'em

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.

 
4/9/17

As seemingly sexy as PE is I agree with Jamoldo. I would much rather have my own thing going on the side and focus on building that up. Especially considering that a person with a perfect background still has a hard time getting in I couldn't imagine what it would be like not having a perfect background. But then again I am not even a viable candidate for a PE position let alone in one so what do I know about all of that? Also it seems a better use of your time would be to build what you are already doing well in than trying to gain the experience needed to have a shot at PE.

 
4/9/17

I think everyone hit the nail on the head. The one thing that people fail to realize is that just because you've done ~$5MM deals, doesn't mean that you can do ~$100MM deals, although there are a great number of similarities, there are also some notable differences.

I would take advantage of what you're doing now and try to keep focusing on that. There are a number of government loan subsidized programs that provide cheap capital to smaller businesses that you can use to help the Company's you are working with. These programs (there are many outside of SBA/SBIC), are not very well utilized and the level of scrutiny is not nearly as much as a smaller end PE shop DD.

If you execute on your strategy long enough, you could effectively shift your entire focus on this and open up your own shop. Investors in the alternatives space are focusing too much on the sexier, larger funds (opinion), but some of the best returns are found in the lower MM, due to the lack of capital being deployed in small businesses. You will see a shift in focus in the next few years (opinion), especially with increased scrutiny on PE compensation going forward.

I worked at a fund that did smaller check sizes, and we won deals on our experience, not on valuation. The owners of these small businesses, as you know, want to create value with a partner, not be taken advantage of by deal structure and preferences/dividends.

The best thing you could do would be to raise a smaller fund and generate strong returns. At the same time, you need to be constantly hitting the pavement in search of potential partners and building your network, which will be helpful at the time and going forward. If you eventually wanted to leverage your track record and network, it is feasible that another small fund would love to bring you on.

In this scenario, you have a number of characteristics that make you attractive
(1) Fundraising experience
(2) Strong track record
(3) Strong network of unique and proprietary deal flow (the holy grail of lower MM PE)
(4) Management experience (assuming you convey it as taking a hands on role; ie analyzing SKU performance at gas stations)
(5) Capital Structure experience (assuming you stay invested in future rounds and help bring on formal financing, utilizing your prior BB experience ~ kind of a stretch)

At the end of the day, it's better to invest in yourself. That takes balls, but the statement that makes is that you are someone who should be acknowledged and respected.

In addendum, I also invest in small businesses on the side, and have been a PE investor. There are many differences which I won't list to save every one from an exhaustive monologue, but feel free to reach out.

Best of luck and don't forget to keep the WSO Community updated on your path!

Regards,
EightAceTres

Father to Junior EightAceTres, the projected top summer analyst in Gleacher's 2034 Investment Banking program.

 
4/9/17

Agreed, somewhat. I also think you're being generous calling them $5m deals... the businesses OP describes are more like $0.2m-2m businesses. And a $100m PE deal is a very tiny one... so its really ~$1m deals vs. $250m-2bn deals.

Investing in small businesses (which is technically the private equity asset class) is not the same as private equity in the Wall Street / alternative Asset Management sense. They are two very different animals, require disparate skill sets, and have very different risk/return profile (and I'm talking the risk return of being a PE professional vs. a small business investor, not the risk return of a LBO vs. a gas station investment, which is also very different).

That being said... at the end of the day.. who cares what you call it? If what you enjoy doing is investing in small businesses, there's no reason you can't do that while you still have your day job. If you want to spend more time on that, why not scale it to a level where your investments can support your lifestyle and cut the chord and do that full time once you reach that point?

The parallel between investing in small businesses and institutional private equity is a very very weak one. Having done both, they're about as similar as farming and private equity (I'm being a bit facetious, but not much).

If what you really want to do is institutional private equity, the investing in small businesses lends very very little to your candidacy. You need to do a lot more (in-line with traditional qualifications) to be competitive and (as I mentioned earlier) you're not even in the same universe as someone that would be considered for management roles in portfolio companies. You're about as likely to parlay your gas station/liquor store investing experience into a PE PortCo management seat as you are to leverage it into a position as the GM of a pro sports team.

 
4/9/17

@SSits may be able to weigh in on this

 
4/9/17

Thanks for the mention @"notthehospitalER" but I don't think I've got much useful to offer in this situation. The way I understand "legal/compliance", that's more on the regulatory and licensing side for an IB. I didn't deal with that stuff and instead was on the legal side of an IB's PE and debt deals, structuring, reviewing and negotiation deals (along with reviewing endless NDAs and mandate letters) and running through DD reports.

@"blastoff" - Based on my experience, I can only recommend picking up more banking-side qualifications (eg CFA) and trying to get into a legal role that involves deal negotiation, then use legal skills in a very commercial way and demonstrate execution ability from that stage. I did that (although without the intention to move into the banker side of IB) and was asked to move into banking. The director who asked me to move across didn't know about the CFA (I had one exam left), but it did help a little in me understanding banking acronyms and concepts faster when I was a lawyer, which demonstrated to the director that I'd be a good transition.

That would put you into a banking role rather than PE role, though - ie only partly down the path you want to head down.

My story is probably not the most efficient route and bear in mind that I was doing PE from within an IB, not at a PE shop (although getting to a PE shop may have been one of a few next choices). My IB is non-US and the options to do PE or SSits from within a US IB are probably limited due to relatively recent regulations applying to US banks. My story was also a product of the region I worked in at the time of the transition (Asia), my professional/education background (accounting degree as well as law degree, my time in private practice as an M&A lawyer, a 3 years corp fin qualification I picked up in my spare time while I was a lawyer, 2 levels of CFA before the jump), the opportunities I was lucky to have and a hell of a lot of luck.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.

 
4/9/17

OP, you may want to identify your ultimate goal. If your aim is simply to invest in private equity full-time, the paradigm PE fund is not your only option. Depending on your capital availability, you may want to consider becoming a franchisee, for example. This endeavor need not constrain your ambitions to operating a "small" (re: revenue/profit) business. There is a trend toward multi-unit operations in the arena, some of which have revenue in the hundreds of millions or billions. For more information, check out the link below. Good luck.

http://www.franchising.com/multiunitfranchisees/
http://www.franchising.com/multiunitfranchisees/bu...

 
4/9/17

first and foremost - very much appreciate all of your responses -

most of the deals are what marcus said - roughly 200k - 2 mil - although the bigger the deal the less equity i have

SSits - is there a link to where you describe your story - im very interested to hear your transition

As for my legal/compliance exp - you're right im no where near the deals - not like for example MA legal would be in a given deal, so my interaction is very limited with the deal guys - so basically extremely low chance of leveraging any of them for a possible internal transfer.

I know some of you mention me continuing my small business buyins/buyouts - and i agree im sure its pretty diff to the PE you guys think of - but TBH i dont want to be a 7/11 cashier or DD manager (essentially what I would do in these roles if i took them up full time )

basically it sounds like i have a 0 or very close to 0 % chance of getting in - although for obv reasons i like 8Acetres response!

so any suggestions if you were me as to how to get into PE given my situation - are there smaller/mid market places i could potentially try to get into. Im in NJ so a smaller place here would be great, although of course i would work anywhere in tri state just figuring NJ has less comp. - also anythign else besides CFA to consider - lately ive been spending quite some time reading PE profiles on various small/mid cap shops that post them - seems CPA is pretty common with business evaluation touted by some.

 
4/9/17
blastoff wrote:

lately ive been spending quite some time reading PE profiles on various small/mid cap shops that post them - seems CPA is pretty common with business evaluation touted by some.

Maybe; not the worst idea. But shit, you already have a JD. Not to state the obvious, but the CPA is for people in accounting. A part of me wonders (and I'm no expert) if your time would be better spent networking with small business owners/franchisees and the aforementioned investors in those small deals, reading about those situations, learning as much as possible, etc etc.

 
4/9/17

Check PM

"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

 
4/9/17

Don't want to reiterate what everyone else said, but I think it's all been pretty accurate advice.

I will suggest that maybe you look into some sort of business broker type role. Depending on what your cash flow streams are from the private investments you've made, you could potential fund yourself, and additional deals, with very little work on your end. In some states you don't need much more than a real estate license to sell businesses and your legal background could serve you well. You could help these smaller business owners sell their businesses and snatch up the ones you like. Obviously, that is rather a simplified version of how it all works, but I'm sure you get the point.

I'll second what many of the other posters said, don't try to get to a PE fund because you think you want to work at a PE fund. As was pointed out, your skill set isn't valuable to reasonable sized PE firms so it's very unlikely you could get a serious look from them. I'm not sure what the future looks like on the compliance side, but maybe you have the option to sit tight for a few more years, squirrel a bunch of cash away and continue doing what you are doing. At some point you should be able to hit critical mass and cash flow enough dollars every month to leave your job if you want.

My goal is to do something very similar to what you are doing. I hope I can help fund some deals/investments with some friends in the next several years and eventually get to the point where I can use the cash flow from those deals to buy one or two of those small businesses by myself. If I continue to work a few additional years, on top of the side deals, I should have a reasonable amount of capital that will allow to purchase a larger, more substantial business. Whether that's a franchise or some random manufacturing business whose 75 year old owner has to sell because it selfish kids aren't interested in running/owning it, I'm fine either way.

Also, consider your lifestyle. Even if you aren't making front office money, you do get to work back office hours. Those hours are much more conducive to side businesses than the front office hours would be. It's possible that you could still do the side deals if you were able to move to a front office role, but you would likely have very little interaction with the companies. Instead you would probably be giving money to a buddy that's also investing in the deal and he'll be doing the stuff that you seem to find most interesting.

Lastly just realize that wealth takes time to build, whether it's in compliance w/ side investments or at a PE firm where you'll wait half a decade or more to get your carry out of a fund, which you will probably heavily reinvest in the next fund. Point is, nothing will come quickly.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
- Ronald Reagan

 
4/9/17

I'm still trying to figure out why you want to get into private equity. You're already running businesses from an operational perspective, and have a portfolio of sorts of your own. Are you just interested in having to invest others' money instead of your own, and being held accountable to investors and the stresses that come with it? srs

 
4/9/17

I have to agree with most of the posters here about trying to get into PE. I don't want to kill your dreams but it will be very difficult at the fund or operating company level. However, some of the wealthier people I've known throughout my life are the entrepreneurs who start or acquire unsexy businesses and grow them. And they own and control the business and don't have to answer to asshole IB/PE bosses along the way and then to asshole LP's when you make it towards the top of a fund. I've acquired some boring ass sounding businesses from entrepreneurs who walked away with more money than I'll ever make.

 
3/29/17

Ambition is priceless.

 
 
4/9/17

You said you went to a semi-target, so (without knowing the school/where you're located) you might have some MM options in-network - I'd start there. Perhaps your school has an IC or another finance-related org that you can leverage? See who in network works in PE.

More general advice is to figure out what you're really good at and market yourself to firms needing that expertise. I know my advice is vague but it's ultimately how I got into PE from a much a background that is much more distant to PE than where you're coming from.

Good luck. Getting into PE (or any other high-demand field) is like dating - for some it's easier than others, but ultimately, there has to be a beneficial match for both parties.

 
4/9/17

Sure, start sending emails and meeting with some people from smaller funds in the area where you want to work.

 
4/9/17

Never say never... but this is extremely unlikely for you. You're going to have work your ass off AND get ridiculously lucky. Your best bet is try and network now and move to a small IB firm that will take a chance on a guy with the wrong kind of experience. Then lateral to a more credible MM IB. From there, again - network and try to break into a smaller PE shop.

 
4/9/17

I think it all relies on your frat if I have learned from @FratLord correctly..

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'

 
3/29/17

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.

 
 
3/31/17
 
3/31/17

I imagine it as part of an inspirational movie. In reality, it would probably get you escorted out by security.

 
4/9/17

Looking at a map, the only schools between Chicago and Detroit that most people in IB/MC/PE are going to give a shit about are Michigan and Notre Dame. Don't let that stop you, but it's going to be an obstacle, even if you had a higher GPA in a more relevant field. If you didn't go to either of these schools, and can find anyone in your alumni network to mentor you, that's a good start.

You seem woefully underqualified for apply for PE right now. See if you can intern at a boutique bank or something, maybe turn that into a full-time offer. Try to move up from there. PE is going to be a stretch, because of the amount of people already into their 2nd year at a BB who want to get into the field...a good deal of them probably won't make the buyside...so what can you bring to the table?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

 
4/9/17

Dude, everyone wants to work in PE, why the hell do you think everyone wants to start in banking...because they like living in a NYC office cubicle 100 hours each week while paying $2-3k/month on an apartment that you never even see?

 
4/9/17

petergibbons - thank you for your response.

i realize that im not qualified for a paid position at a pe firm right now. or even at an ib or mc firm. but like i said, i am willing to work for free (intern). is that going to be harder to do at a pe firm than it would be at an ib or mc firm?

in a perfect world, where i did have the qualifications to get a paid position at a pe firm, an ib, or a mc firm...if my end goal was to make it to partner in pe...which of those three places would be the best place for me to get my pre-mba work experience?

also, fwiw, i actually started off at the uofm, and i got accepted into nd as well. i transferred to the small liberal arts school after one year because i didnt think that i was getting much of an education at the uofm. the school i transferred to is actually rated much higher than uofm and nd on the forbes list...the one publication that ranks liberal arts schools alongside big schools. we obviously dont have as many alumni out there as a uofm, or an nd, but we have an outstanding reputation in the midwest, and, graduating no more than 250 students a year, our alumni connections mean much more.

 
4/9/17

youngblood - thank you for your response as well.

you didn't really answer my question though. i realize that...pe, ib, or mc...i'm probably going to have to start off working for free. the questions im asking are these...

1) which would be the best place to get my pre-mba experience?

2) is it harder to get a job working for free at one than the others?

3) would i be better off getting a masters degree in econ or something...and then trying to start off with a paid position at one of these places?

 
4/9/17

Wabash does not have a good reputation (or any reputation) in the Midwest IB/PE community. I don't remember coming across any alumni in any of the boutiques in Chicago.

You should try for small boutique IBs, and commercial banks in the Midwest. Work at one of those for ~1-2 years, and then lateral to a more recognizable IB as an analyst. From there, try for MM PE before getting an MBA.

Google is your friend. There are a few small PE firms in Michigan, and small IBs (this firm comes to mind: http://www.pmcf.com/pmcf/pages/default.aspx).
Did you play football at Wabash? A high school friend of mine did and just graduated from there.

Edit: Wabash is a great pre-law school. Would you consider going that route? You could work in PE law in Chicago, and end up at a fund eventually. If this is a consideration, target: Mich, ND, Northwestern, and UofChi.

 
4/9/17

I'm familiar with that Forbes list, and I definitely understand that value of going to a smaller school. I'm not doubting that the Forbes list is potentially a better list than US News, but I don't think too many people in PE feel that way, since they probably went to schools like HYPSW.

I'd say you're best bet is starting with IB over MC...I think larger/better IBs have more respect for what you'd do at a small boutique as an unpaid intern than MBB/LEK/Parthenon would for similar work at an MC. You'd probably need to get into one of those five MCs to have a shot at PE, but working at an MM bank could probably get you into MM PE if you kill it there. Try for an unpaid PE job if you want, but I think the competition for that is going to be very fierce, and I don't think you could add much value there yet.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

 
4/9/17

petergibbons and thavanburenboys - great responses, thank you very much...lots to talk about...

1) small schools - no, i am not an alumnus of wabash. the school i attended is rated higher (but i'm not going to get into a guessing game here). the thing about elite small schools in general is this - we only graduate about 250 students a year, so we don't have much in terms of strength in numbers. but, it's still a great school, so a lot of our alumni's go on to have great success. and sharing membership in such a small club, well, it means a little more than being members of a club like the uofm, where there are 10,000 new students looking for jobs everyear. the school i attended, successful alumni are known for helping out recent graduates, especially football players. so, there might be hope.

2) the job search - it is sounding like the consensus here is that IB is a better path to PE than MC. it's great to get a question answered, lol. my particular first real job search will probably go something along these lines - #1) i'll get into contact with our schools business professors, and get the names of some alums working in PE, IB, and top 5 MC firms in the midwest that I could contact about jobs. #2) i'll start with contacting all the alums in PE, then I'll go to the alums in IB, then I'll go to the alums in top 5 MC's...offering to work for free in the case that i'm not qualified for a paid position.

*quick question - it sounds like we have a bit of consensus about starting off at IB being better than starting off at MC as far as getting into PE partner path is concerned...but...if i am lucky enough to get the opportunity, would starting off at PE be better than starting off at IB?

3) PE Law - i'm not that familiar with this approach, but it is intriguing, as most of the other history majors from my school have traditionally gone on to law school. is it harder to make pe partner going this route? do you have a good link that could get me up to speed on this approach?

*quick question - this is probably a stupid question, but what is the difference between an MM bank, and an IB?

thank you very much again in advance for any input!

 
4/9/17
  • I was referring to MM IB. Think of what Goldman Sachs does, but for businesses valued $5M-$1B. Robert W. Baird, William Blair, Piper Jaffray, Houlihan Lokey, Lincoln International...these are top MM IBs in the Midwest. You could target them, but they're difficult to break into (and pretty much all of them are strict about a 3.5 min GPA). If I were you, I would start with lesser known IBs (like the one I posted before) that don't have campus recruiting schedules.
  • There isn't a link for the PE law route (or if there is, I don't know about it). Just visit PE websites, look at their team, and you will see some lawyers in senior roles. These folks come from firms like Barnes & Thornburg.

Sorry about trying to pinpoint your school. I know quite a few football players from smaller schools in Indiana.

 
4/9/17

mm bank and ib aren't really different. an ib is just any investment bank. investment banks have different sizes, so a MM is middle market, BB is bulge bracket, and of course you have boutiques. Size is determined by size of deals, number of employees, etc.

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best...
Is your school on this list? Haha for whatever reason whenever people give big hints for their school I (among many others on here) like to figure it out lol

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
 
4/9/17

thank you for clearing up all the MM thing...lol.

here's something that responders seem to be ignoring though - what about getting a masters degree in something like economics to improve my employment opportunities?

 
4/9/17

blueadams,

Even if you are willing to work for free, I doubt many shops would bite. These places aren't looking for cheap labor, they are looking for talent. They can afford to pay well for talent.

While working for free is definitely nice, you end up being a liability given the fact that you bring no relevant experience. As a result, reputable places are unlikely to hire you.

I don't want to say your ship has sailed, but you're going to need to swim pretty hard to catch the boat.

CompBanker

 
4/9/17

^ I agree. Actually, you said your parents can support you for a while, so I would do a few things at this point:

1) Just get a job. Commercial banking would be good. There's plenty of it in the Midwest, and many senior PE guys in the Midwest came from commercial banking.

2) Reach out to alumni, and others, at boutique IBs. Ask for advice, don't ask for a position. They will ask for your resume if one is available, and if not, then you get advice + a bigger network.

3) Get parents to pay for the next Analyst Exchange session in Chicago. Put on resume.

4) ?????

5) Profit

 
4/9/17

what about getting a masters degree in economics...interning near the school while i'm doing that...and then looking for a paid position?

i'd have some 'talent' then, wouldn't i?

 
4/9/17

I'm more familiar with MC than IB, but I can't imagine a MS in Econ being very helpful. You might be a good candidate for the MS in Commerce program at UVA, the MMS at Duke, or something similar, if you have no/little work experience and the $ to pay for another year in school? That could get you into IB.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

 
4/9/17

Now that UFC is over (Black House bitch!)...

I agree with Duke MMS or McIntire M.S. Commerce.

Blueadams, I have only met 1 person in IB with a MA in Econ. Your chances are best with the two previously mentioned degrees, or with the career paths mentioned before.

 
4/9/17

interesting...masters in management science...or masters of science in commerce.

i've never even heard of these degrees.

what exactly makes them better - for getting on pe partner track - than a masters in economics? or a masters in applied economics?

 
4/9/17
blueadams wrote:

interesting...masters in management science...or masters of science in commerce.

i've never even heard of these degrees.

what exactly makes them better - for getting on pe partner track - than a masters in economics? or a masters in applied economics?

The Duke/UVA name on your resume.

 
4/9/17
blueadams wrote:

interesting...masters in management science...or masters of science in commerce.

i've never even heard of these degrees.

what exactly makes them better - for getting on pe partner track - than a masters in economics? or a masters in applied economics?

Their only purpose is to get another shot at IB/MC/Development Program recruiting. And like I said before, I have met only 1 person with an MA in Econ in investment banking, and they're at a very small firm. Might be more helpful in MC recruiting.

You should apply for the Strategy Analyst position at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on this site. If you can't lateral from there, you'd at least be set up for a good MBA program.

 
4/9/17

First reach out to any alums you can that work in the industries you are interested in. If someone bites, then you won't have to worry about all the other options.

Second, apply to the schools listed above. If you (and your parents) can foot the bill, it will cost you one year of your life and some money, but you will have opportunities to interview at good banks assuming you have a better GPA than your undergrad.

You've put yourself in a rather undesirable situation. Work the contacts through your school hard because that is likely your only shot at getting a FT gig at this point. The free interning won't mean much and likely won't lead to any sort of full time position.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
- Ronald Reagan

 
4/9/17

i just dont get why the masters in management science from duke...or the masters in commerce from virginia...means more than a masters in economics from michigan?

could someone please explain that?

 
4/9/17
blueadams wrote:

i just dont get why the masters in management science from duke...or the masters in commerce from virginia...means more than a masters in economics from michigan?

could someone please explain that?

Maybe they aren't. However, I think the general consensus is that they have better recruiting and a better network on WS. I've mentioned before that I was (still am) floored by how strong UVA is represented (both undergrad and Bschool) at MM PE. The UVA network seems rather large on WS and they appear to be very dedicated to their alumni.

I'm not sure what else you are looking for. Someone already mentioned they only know one person with the degree you keep asking about, although anecdotal in nature, it implies you might be spending more time and money to put yourself in a marginally better position. The other 2 schools would arguably put you in a better situation.

The problem is (and my intent is not to bash you) that your qualifications are mediocre at best. You went to a school that few people would value (outside of alum), your GPA was lackluster, the soft skills you mention possessing are of little use at the junior level (and whose accuracy is questionable) and you are trying to get into one of the most competitive/high paying industries on the planet. Potential counts for very little when being recruiting and the people doing the hiring typically aren't willing to take a chance on someone who might perform when they have a candidate that already has (whether it be previous work experience, internships, ECs, GPA, etc). Because of the economic conditions, you are competing against the cream of the crop (ahh, yeah, that is certainly arguable) coming from the best schools that have known, since 10th grade, that they wanted to do 3 years in a BB IB, then 2 years Pre-MBA at a mega PE then 2 years B-school at a top 5 MBA program then on to million (+) dollars per year paychecks. The deck is stacked against you and while you always have the possibility, it diminishes rather rapidly. Good luck.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
- Ronald Reagan

 
4/9/17

I think it's just that the Duke/Virginia brand names (as far as finance is concerned) is more well-known. Duke and UVA both have pretty heavy presence on the Street. I'd say that UMich is mostly compared at the b-school level.

 
4/9/17

It's simple:

Most Masters in Econ programs are very academic (as in, stepping stones to obtaining a PhD. in Econ). There are a few obscure Masters in Applied Econ programs (like at a Michigan), that are non-PhD. track degrees. These are feeders to government and consulting jobs, but recruiting is non-existent for IB and PE, because you're not learning financial analysis or accounting. You go this route, and you'll be doing your own recruiting for IB and/or PE.

MMS at Duke and MS Commerce at UVA are career degrees. Their literal purpose (though they don't say it) is to get another shot at recruiting. You'll take relevant and directly applicable courses, and, most importantly, will have access to recruitment from IBs, MCs, and F500s.

 
4/9/17

1) "that have known, since 10th grade, that they wanted to do 3 years in a BB IB, then 2 years Pre-MBA at a mega PE then 2 years B-school at a top 5 MBA program then on to million (+) dollars per year paychecks."

this is the path that i want to get on. and i don't think there's much of a difference between me and these people, abilities-wise. i think that the biggest difference between us is that their parents were probably bankers themselves (or lawyers, professors), lived in big cities, attended private schools, etc.

i'm from a simple working class family in a small midwestern town. i hadn't even heard of hedge funds/private equity/venture capital/management consulting/etc. until my third year of college when i was fortunate enough to live with a very bright business and economics major. but, i've kicked ass in everything i've ever done to this point in life (aside from history seminars...in part because i became so disinterested in the field, and so unsure of my future). i had great grades in high school. great test scores. and i got accepted into a lot of great colleges - northwestern, notre dame, michigan, etc.

if i could do it all over again, knowing what i know now, sure, i would've gone to northwestern, majored in pre-business, interned at an investment bank, and be working at a top investment bank right now. but i didn't know then what i know now. i didn't parents, teachers, or persons otherwise around me that knew anything about this world. i transferred from michigan after one year because i wasn't getting an education there. that school was for the kind of people you mentioned - that already knew what they wanted to do in 10th grade. i needed an EDUCATION. i needed to have forge close relationships with brilliant professors. i needed to be introduced to things like philosophy and psychology. i needed to gain my own wisdom because i wasn't lucky enough to have it handed to me.

now, here i am. i know what i know now. i know where i want to end up. i'm at point a, and i know about point c. how do i get from here to there. i have a non-relevant degree from a great non-target school, and no finance experience. i'm 23 years old. not 30. i don't think it's too late to start over. i was asking about the masters in economics programs because i didn't understand what was so bad about them. now i know, and i'm incredibly thankful to you guys for taking the time to tell me. these masters programs at virginia and duke sound much, much better.

i mean, if you guys were me, knowing what you know, what would you do to get from point a to point c? it sounds like i should go to one of these masters programs at virginia or duke, intern at an investment bank while i'm there, try to get hired full time at an investment bank...or if i'm lucky enough, a private equity firm...try to get into the best mba program that i can after 2-3 years, and then try to get hired at a pe firm. does that sound good? if you were me, what would you do?

again, i am very very greateful for the advice, i can not stress that enough! i owe just about everything i have to people like you who are willing to take time out of their day to pass their knowledge on to someone who lacks it.

p.s. - i'm very, very interested in learning about what the best non-mba business-relevant masters programs are for career-changers/starters at this point. these options at virginia and duke are very intriguing. are there any others that you would reccomend i check out?

 
4/9/17

The bottom line is you either need to get lucky, or create an opportunity for yourself. The luck will likely come through alum contacts from your school. The creation opportunity are the Masters programs listed.

I would do the Masters program and hope for the best. You will need to separate yourself from everyone else and get a stellar GPA in order to prove to HR/recruiters that you are a great candidate that got lost in the shuffle.

It's tough, I was in a similar boat to you. My parents have a relatively blue collar background and I had no clue what investment banking was until my sophomore year. At that point I still didn't know enough to make the decisions I needed to make (like transferring to a more target school) and didn't find that out until it was too late.

Some people are born more lucky than others (more money, more situational awareness, more athletic, etc). This is where determination and drive come into play. You essentially need to score as high as you possibly can on your GMAT and do so well in the Masters program that no one is going to care where you are from, what school you did your UG at, what your GPA used to be, etc.

Other thing to point out is that these programs are 1 year (at least Duke's is) so there will be NO summer internship for you. You seriously are buying a name to put on your resume, a chance to increase your GPA, the opportunity to be 'forced' to learn finance/management principles, the ability to possibly have some relevant ECs and the opportunity to participate in some recruiting (although likely somewhat limited).

Having these degrees won't qualify you for anything more than an analyst position, so you are spending 1 more year in school and $40k on additional classes just to end up where some of the more "lucky" folks end up out of undergrad. But honestly, this is still your best (maybe only) shot at breaking into IB/PE in the near future.

I nearly did the same route because I couldn't find a job out of UG but didn't come up with the plan until after the application process was over...so I wasn't able to apply and by the time I decided that I was going to have to make the sacrifice, I landed a job (a year after graduating).

Study and take your GMAT now while you have the chance, apply to the above listed programs and keeping searching in the mean time. Try and find an internship someplace relevant while you wait out the time and do whatever you can on your own to learn more about the industry, etc. You can also look into Vandy and I think Georgetown, they have Masters of Finance programs (I think) but again, you are kinda trading a better school (UVA and Duke) for 2 "lesser" schools...at least as far as most people would agree recruiting strength is ranked (no offense intended).

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
- Ronald Reagan

 
4/9/17

thank you for the great response...

do you mind me asking what you did end up doing? and how its working out?

 
4/9/17

@blueadams, what are you up to now?

 
4/9/17

Personalized roadmap:
1) go to Wal-mart
2) buy knee pads
3) fly to new york (with your knee pads)
4) put the knee pads to use

otherwise i suggest you kill yourself

 
4/9/17

Blueadams how confident are you that you understand the day to day experience of working in PE? For someone that admittedly doesn't have much strength in mathematics, and doesn't have much interest in them, I'm curios why you'd join a math heavy industry where your day to day for the first 5-10 years would be spent in excel analyzing numbers. You've indicated that you have the ability to master anything you put your mind to, and PE isn't rocket science math, but it is all numeric. I'm sure you could do it, but why would you put yourself through that? Why exactly do you want this job? Its about as far from education, coaching, and tutoring as you can get. I get that people change, but 180 degrees? The IB-> PE-> $1 mil a year is a good sounding path, and "doing deals" sounds cool, but how much do you know about the daily work of a junior or even mid-level PE professional?

 
4/9/17

good point by burnstest. not trying to be mean, but you didnt even know the difference between IB and MM bank... i just dont see how this is going to happen, but im pulling for you.

 
4/9/17

great points across the board

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4/4/17

"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.

 
 
4/4/17

Also try to lateral. It's possible, so give it a shot.

 
4/9/17

Might be different internationally but here is the US its very tough to break into PE Post MBA without prior PE experience. I haven't gone through the process myself, but I've seen many first hand accounts of very bright, motivated students at H/S that can't break into PE after their MBA.

Regarding your path, it seems somewhat circuitous, you want to do law, transaction services, consulting, each for a year and then make it into PE?

You'd probably be better off doing Law and then Investment Banking and then trying to lateral into a small PE firm and spinning yourself as a dual threat law/banking prospect.

The most important thing about PE is deal experience. Law, especially in the context of contract law that is used in M&A transactions would be helpful and if you combined that with deal experience from the sell-side that would give you a good skillset. With all that being said, its still really tough to make it into PE, you'll have to hustle and get a little bit lucky.

 
4/9/17

Thanks for the reply! I didn't mean do all of these things, these are different alternatives and I was wondering which, if any, would be viable.
Also, to clarify - I meant a PE job in the states.

 
4/4/17

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.

Array

 
 
4/9/17

Bump for worthy question and credentials.

I think you either need to backdoor the process by something like finding a deal, securing, placing, closing and maybe running it - or you need to get in line behind the IB experienced. Others will have better advice

Global buyer of highly distressed industrial companies.

 
4/5/17

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!

 
 
4/9/17

you don't need IB experience to do PE (or not any more beyond the fact that it helps getting PE interviews).

 
4/9/17

if you plan on going back to school for an MBA anyway, then it's not hugely important what you do until then as far as how it sets you up for a post-graduation job.

 
4/9/17

1) You can always take PE and do advisory later; not the other way around
2) It's always better to leapfrog a step if you can
3) It's always better to be closer to the capital

 
4/9/17

thanks for your views, personally I find MBO and PE more interesting, more action oriented given that I'm managing the fund and the deployment of the fund. Taking responsibility for the performance of aquisitions....

however, down here in Australia, there's a general view that Advisory or pure IB is more "prestige". Is this the case in US?

Calv

 
4/9/17

In the States, PE at a top tier firm remains more prestigious than anything, at least from my observations. Blackstone and KKR PE groups kill GS or MS IBD any day.

 
4/9/17

I would easily pick the PE route. You can always jump into ibanking if the PE thing works out, but PE is much harder to get into.

There are quite a few PE shops out there that hire exclusively from management consulting (Golden Gate Capital in SF - which is an run by old Bain people and Bain Capital itself).

 
4/5/17

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.

 
 
4/9/17

IBD -> PE is more reliable than consulting -> PE, due to the better general overlap in skill set between banking and PE. Some firms like Bain Capital and Audax tend to be more consultant heavy, but most PE people are former bankers.

Even in the worst-case scenario you outlined -- you don't land a PE role and don't want to stay on as an associate in IB -- you can always hope to go from IB -> consulting as your pre-MBA work experience as the banking skill set is transferrable to consulting. If PE is really what you wanted to do, then continuing with MBA -> PE may be possible. Pre-MBA PE is a huge plus, but going from banking -> consulting -> MBA -> PE wouldn't be unprecedented. It would make more sense if you spent a lot of time working with PE firms during your pre-MBA experience -- e.g., financial sponsors or LevFin as an IB analyst and some type of role working with LBO's as a consultant.

I also wouldn't necessarily worry about age that much. Your GMAT, work experience, story, essays is more important than being a couple years ahead of the median. There are plenty of people at top MBA's who are in their 30's.

 
4/5/17

GTFO of Financial Advising as quickly as possible. You would be a lot better off doing f500 corporate fin. And make decent money in the meantime.

 
 
4/9/17

if PE is your goal, you MUST have solid financial modeling skills and experience. make sure to put that on your resume if you any experience.

 
4/9/17

Get a session from WSO Mentors //www.wallstreetoasis.com/wall-street-mentors-home I wouldn't put your GPA as its not very impressive and I would highlight your experience more. Also your story has to relevant for your move from Entrepreneurship to PE. You need serious feedback from an experienced PE associate.

Also, dropping resumes wont help you at all.PE recruiting is very structured and you have a "different" background which doesn't bode well with prestige jocks. So, get your story in place and start networking with PE firms in Bay Area. Good luck buddy.

 
4/9/17

To be honest, if someone has a really entrepreneurial background, I'm not sure they'd enjoy PE / IB all that much. I'd do a ton of research and reading up before diving in too deep.

 
4/9/17

Yeah I've been talking to a MD of a Private Equity firm in San Diego. From talking to him, he indicated that it wouldn't be too difficult to get in somewhere as an entry-level analyst. I'm not looking for anything incredibly prestigious, I just want to learn more about investing in businesses.

I'm pretty skilled at Excel and I'm learning financial modeling right now.

@theking, why do you think I wouldn't enjoy PE/IB that much?

And thanks for the feedback guys, it's awesome.

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

 
 
4/9/17

are you looking to graduate with your financial management degree and have a full time offer in hand at a PE shop when you graduate?

Because you could try to get an analyst position in IB, do that for 2 years, then exit to PE that way which would probably be easier in the long run. I'd hate for you to give up your dreams because you couldn't get something right upon graduating.

Also, get an internship in your middle summer. That will help too.

You could take any of those courses and they will likely all be able to apply in some way shape or form to PE.

make it hard to spot the general by working like a soldier

 
4/9/17

Thank you very much for your sincere comment.It's better to know that i can't get a full time offer at a PE Shop now than later. So Investment Banking Analyst for 2 years than -> PE, understood thank you very much also for your advice on the courses!
Have a nice day!

Lars

 
4/9/17

I'm not saying that you CAN'T get a PE job right after finishing your masters, I'm just saying that you shouldn't ONLY focus your job hunt on just PE jobs, and that IB analyst > PE is a typical route people take.

make it hard to spot the general by working like a soldier

 
4/9/17

Thank you for your clarification!

 
 
4/9/17

I think: big name consulting > boutique IB > Big 4 advisory

Maybe boutique IB > MBB if you're willing to go to smaller PE. There's a lot of quality differential in boutique IB.. I don't know if that's Harris Williams or something unknown.

 
4/9/17

Thanks a lot for responding. Is there a particular group at MBB those PE funds target for hiring? Is it the management consulting group with an industry focus or M&A deal integration group? Could anyone shed some light on why PE funds would like to hire consultants?
Thank you very much!

Hang in there!

 
4/9/17

Bain has a very reputable group that works with sponsors and I think has a marginally better placing rate. McKinsey also has specialized turnaround team, but I'm not sure there are many openings for people right out of school.

 
 
4/9/17

Really unlikely. Effectively this is the worst part of BO work within the PE industry. Moving from BO to FO within large organisations is already very difficult - in this job, you'd even be further away from the FO guys by virtue of working at a service provider that FO is never dealing with or would want to learn about.

What you'd work on in that job has nothing to do with investing in firms, it's rather reporting on how portfolio firms are doing plus some legal stuff I don't know much about. If you want PE FO, get good experience in M&A or strategy consultancy. If those are not options for you currently, get into a feeder firm for such jobs (BIG4 TS, smaller banks, small -strategy- consultancies, corp.dev.) and move on from there.

 
4/9/17

First of all, many thanks for your feedback! But I am surprised about that answer, if feels pretty dead end job.
I know that some people of that company have managed to jump to Big Real Estate PE firms, and I thought given some background (my last position was at Deutsche Bank in the Strategy department) and the valuation skills from the CFA in addition to a top-tier university degree, it would be attractive for a PE FO position. Obviously not directly at a senior level, but IDK at least better chances than from outlier banks or B4 firms.

 
4/9/17

M2 is correct, it's going to be close to impossible. Also "day to day" PE operations is meaningless, learning about our expense reports and which bank to wire the funding isn't going to help you become an investor.

And people need to stop talking about CFA or other certifications. It's also completely irrelevant when recruiting for PE.

If you want a real PE job, network hard with current professionals or hit up a top headhunter. That's 99.9% of how people get jobs in this industry. Don't mean to be harsh but I want to cut to the point and give you solid advice. Forget this job, start networking hard and think about a top Bschool first.

Oh and please change your username if that's your real name. Trust me you'll want to stay anonymous if you start using this site frequently.

 
4/9/17

Hi thanks for the advice. I appreciate the harsch direct tone, better than fake hopes. Regarding the nickname its fake, its neither my real name nor surname.
I am an undergraduate from a top Bschool (top 10 FT ranking) and top 25% degrees. I just thought that the position gives you access to working with the management of several PE firms, as you are carrying their operations abroad (so you point of contact are very senior roles). That is why I thought to get in there.
But given your advice, I will better reject the offer, despite it had international career opportunities.
Regarding the Networking, its pretty hard as I am an undergrad, and basically no one in my year is not even near to a PE position and IB recruiting is close to 0 in Europe.

 
 
4/9/17

1.) You are currently in graduate school, so you should be pretty clear about what career path you want to follow. Either you want to go into PE or IB. Choose a path and follow it. Later down the road you can decide to change directions from either one of those areas.

2.) How else would you get into the IB out of B-school? student to MD? Let's be realistic. You are joining as an Associate and you will probably have a few years on your peers, but given you have no finance background and it was your decision to start late, you're still doing relatively well for yourself given your current choices.

3.)All depends on where you went to school. You said top twenty. You'd be surprised how the Top Ten and Bottom Ten contrast in opportunities. You do have a shot.

4.)This may sound harsh, but given your age and top 20 school affiliation, you need the charter designation now to enhance your candidacy at a top PE or IB. "Progress" is a mute point. Be sure to knock it out come June 2008.

5.)Yes, but not often in what I've seen. Your competition comes from Top 10 schools and have big names on their resumes. Know your comp and just run with what you have. Networking is your best friend.

6.)I wouldn't mention that. Not a strong selling point if the firm does not do business within that region.

7.) I would say 30 - 40% for a top PE shop. Pass level 2 of the CFA, and I'd say 50/50. Anything's possible...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

 
4/9/17

Hi Vadremc,

Thanks for your reply.

[Either you want to go into PE or IB. Choose a path and follow it. Later down the road you can decide to change directions from either one of those areas.]
My ultimate goal is PE, but I would be happy to do IB for a few years and get the experience and the name on the resume, before moving to PE.

[How else would you get into the IB out of B-school? student to MD? Let's be realistic. You are joining as an Associate and you will probably have a few years on your peers]
I agree. I am just concerned about any sort of age discrimination. On the positive side, I do look a couple of years younger than I am, for whatever that is worth :)

[All depends on where you went to school. You said top twenty. You'd be surprised how the Top Ten and Bottom Ten contrast in opportunities. You do have a shot.]
I agree, but I got to work with what I have.

[This may sound harsh, but given your age and top 20 school affiliation, you need the charter designation now to enhance your candidacy at a top PE or IB. "Progress" is a mute point. Be sure to knock it out come June 2008.]
That's the plan. I need to start studying for the L2 soon. I have heard though that CFA doesn't matter in the IB world and that in the PE world it is only marginally more valued (unless you are talking about a PE fund of fund type place). I do understand that for a non-finance background guy, the CFA does add some needed finance-dust to the resume.

[ I would say 30 - 40% for a top PE shop. Pass level 2 of the CFA, and I'd say 50/50. Anything's possible...]

Thanks for youre response. Can I ask what your background is? I am just tyring to understand where your perspective comes from. Thanks.

Pelbo

 
4/9/17

hey dumbass:

A - maybe if you post this again you'll get the response you're looking for. Go talk to your career center, people you trust, etc...

B- Way to try to be vague about your school. You go to UT - McCombs. I couldn't care less either way, but either tell everyone or hide it better (you put it in your profile, if someone clicks on your name they see where you go to school and where you're currently located).

Honestly, I hope you get the PE job you're looking for, but posting this a few more times wont get you any closer. It's crap like this that ruins this board.

 
4/9/17

What are you so frustrated about?

Did your MD work you 120 hours the past week, only to throw your pitch book in to the trash bin, because it was total crap?

Where else would you post about career change, than in the Jobs board? How does this "ruin" the board?

 
4/9/17
vandeja1 wrote:

hey dumbass:

A - maybe if you post this again you'll get the response you're looking for. Go talk to your career center, people you trust, etc...

B- Way to try to be vague about your school. You go to UT - McCombs. I couldn't care less either way, but either tell everyone or hide it better (you put it in your profile, if someone clicks on your name they see where you go to school and where you're currently located).

Honestly, I hope you get the PE job you're looking for, but posting this a few more times wont get you any closer. It's crap like this that ruins this board.

You're a bloody idiot Vendeja! Shut the hell up and take my order: 1 order of Pappadums, 1 Bottle of Jonnie Walker 3) order of Butter Chicken [Go light on the cream, I don't want to stretch out my w34 l34 new armani pants]

My second point: You're a bloody idiot
My third point: Clean your uniform, it's getting dirty

 
 
4/9/17

Had a friend move from a industry specific investment bank to a very large industry specific PE fund after a little over a year. I believe he worked with a head hunter on it. FWIW, he didn't like banking too much.

 
4/9/17

Aside from the additional training / work experience that PE funds are looking for, people very rarely make the jump to PE after one year because of timing issues associated with PE recruiting.

At a "top fund" (e.g., large-caps) your chances are close to zero, since recruiting starts and finishes before you've likely even begun your job in banking.

 
 
4/9/17

in this part of the world - more often than not you will need some work experience behind you (2yrs banking, consulting)... shops here are extremely small and as such structured programs are virtually non-existant... not saying that its impossible but i myself am unaware of any major shop that has a PE internship program (but who knows - you may just get lucky). Its possible to move over though after 1yr+...

 
4/9/17

Thanks for the honesty ermen. Have you heard of anyone who has obtained some form of PE work experience during uni?

 
 
4/9/17

Waterloo grad here > McKinsey > Kissinger & Associates > Council on Foreign Relations > PE

MM PE are easily impressed with fancy names. IB gig would be ideal. That would get you to door. End of day, you better know how to put an lbo model together.

good luck

 
4/9/17

thanks.
so even from a regional office, ibd> mbb

 
 
4/9/17

If you can work at a reputable PE shop for free it is certainly worth doing as jumping into PE (especially without first doing a 2-3 year analyst stint) can be very difficult. I would definitely network with fellow alum.

 
4/9/17

Haha get in line, bro.

 
4/9/17

Just that everyone on this site would want to go buyside right out of college.

 
4/9/17

would a small PE fund beat a lower BB S & T??

 
4/9/17

In a fight? Maybe.. In basketball or football? Probably ya..

 
4/9/17

I got lucky with a PE internship in the MM, my shop was small, but I can tell you that fit was extremely important as was maturity. You need to present yourself well, a lot of these guys will be older with tons of finance and corporate experience.
Your post is horrendous, I have typos, but did you even read the fucking thing? I expect that you would never write an email that is anywhere near that bad, or talk to someone with a similar carelessness/nonchalance.
If you're trying to get into a small shop ~100-200MM, there is a good chance that it will be a few old rich guys and an associate/vp or two, so you need to be able to convince them that you can work in that environment. Good luck - let me know if you land an interview and I can tell you more about what I went through.

fdba Emory Blaine and BBA or otherwise trying to find the perfect pseudonym.

 
 
4/9/17

Yes, if you are offered and accept the offer to stay on a third year you can get another shot at PE recruiting.

CompBanker

 
4/9/17
CompBanker wrote:

Yes, if you are offered and accept the offer to stay on a third year you can get another shot at PE recruiting.

As a side note, is it generally the best analysts that get asked to stay on for the third year? Do many then stay on to become associate?

 
4/9/17

Thanks for the help!

 
 
4/9/17

Go for your MBA in a school that actively recruits for IB/PE. There are tons of threads here on that so just give the forum a search. Good luck!

 
4/9/17

If you can't figure out how to find threads on this website about this subject, then you probably shouldn't pursue PE. I would suggest starting off as a teller at a commercial bank and work your way up there.

 
4/9/17

you should get a profile pic

 
 
4/9/17

1 sounds horrible. #2 and #3 are fairly different. #2 would be a place you could see yourself setting at as a career since it's more of a "company" rather than working at an investment firm. #3 sounds basically like middle market banking. Of all the choices, the bank would likely be your best path towards PE but by no means is it a feeder into PE. Depends what you find the most interesting.

 
4/9/17

i assume 3 is some sort of mid market senior debt lender? i guess that's the best option but you really need to do banking if you ever want to get into PE

 
 
4/9/17

Hi Silver Boy, the silence is deafening, sorry about that.... Any of the threads below helpful?

  • "The Future Is...Private Equity" From today's WSJ: "The Future Is...Private Equity It may seem counterintuitive, given ... the problems infecting a number of private-equity firms such as Apollo Management, Blackstone Group ... private-equity shop to full-blown institution. KKR already has its broker-dealer license and has dabbled in debt ...
  • Energy Private Equity Future a university to pursue a degree in finance or economics to secure a position in energy private equity. My dream ... is to one day own/manage a energy private equity fund. This plan will land me somewhere at the age of ... with degree to get into private equity. Also can my past business ownership experience trump having to ...
  • Views on the future of Private Equity butt off to board a sinking ship, especially with having to face the competitive private equity ... interview process... Banking to Private Equity ...
  • value of CFA for private equity job the future and I am wondering if having a CFA would add significant value to my profile. MBA PE CFA ...
  • From Private Equity Associate to VP in Private Equity Private Equity Associate There's a perception of people on the street that private equity is ... syndrome? Not quite, private equity is pretty awesome by most standards; that's why becoming a private ... everything you need to know is right here. Private Equity Associate- What Do They Do? PE associates' ...
  • Networking: Should I join ULI chapter in current city, or in future city?. Real Estate Private Equity ...
  • To All My Future Rainmakers please refer to bullet 1 analyst associate Vice President private equity PE bonus promotion to Sunday, ... "But they said I had a bright future here and that I had great potential! They care about me and say ... I'm a future leader!" Before you continue reading, please watch this ~30 second clip and see if ...
  • New Private Equity Interview Prep Pack is Here! The Private Equity Interview Prep Pack has arrived after years in the making! 2016 Update: It is ... insight into the recruiting, history, deal process and technical nature of the private equity industry ... you can see how extensive the guide is... Good luck with your private equity recruiting prep! Learn ...
  • More suggestions...

Or maybe the following pros can chime in... @dreamingofsummer @tomhooper @manuelcuret

Hope that helps.

 
 
4/9/17

explain your 'portfolio'...
wanna make sure I'm following

26 Broadway
where's your sense of humor?

 
4/9/17

A degree in two years of investment banking

 
4/9/17

yep, that's what it comes down to.

26 Broadway
where's your sense of humor?

 
4/9/17

The normal degrees people receive are Finance, Accounting, or sometimes an IT/Math - obviously there are many others you could get and still break into PE, but these are the most common from what I have seen

 
4/9/17

Oh yeah, in addition to what Bobthebaker said

 
 
4/9/17

Neither will be helpful. PE firms look for IB experience. It's better if you work for a few years, get a top MBA and then head for PE. Masters in finance programs help with hedge funds but more with sales and trading programs. Even the courses may be applicable, PE firms really don't care that much. You might see some people make the break from MSF programs into PE but these are people who have had previous experience in IB or PE/VC.

 
4/9/17

Thanks for the reply. What about if I work in an IB for a few years after my finance master's, could that be enough to get into PE (i.e. without getting the MBA)?

 
4/9/17

Ok so you studied econ/business, stated it was a bad choice, and now you want to go on and study for another irrelevant degree before you have any relevant work experience. You are full of good decisions.

If you know you want to work in PE and you realize that IB is generally a pre req then why wouldnt you apply for a FT position upon graduation.

Also, any particular reason that you want to go into PE?

 
4/9/17

I'm with junkbondswap...I'm curious as to why you want to be in PE. You can get into a PE firm without a business related degree. You see this happening all the time; PE firms care about your relevant experience. They want to know that you can handle the work and have done similar work that will lend itself into PE. As far as your Master's...the only relevant one in PE (generally speaking) will be the MBA. I also know several people with their CFA Charter.

 
4/9/17
Silverback88 wrote:

...finishing my bachelor's degree in Economics and Business (in hindsight this was a bad choice)

Why is this a bad choice? If you studied Business and Economics as an undergrad you won't need an expensive (bullsh*t) MBA. I assume you learned the basics in finance and related subjects in your undergrad studies, so you can concentrate on relevant work experience and doing your CFA now.

 
4/9/17
NuevoBanker wrote:
Silverback88 wrote:

...finishing my bachelor's degree in Economics and Business (in hindsight this was a bad choice)

Why is this a bad choice? If you studied Business and Economics as an undergrad you won't need an expensive (bullsh*t) MBA. I assume you learned the basics in finance and related subjects in your undergrad studies, so you can concentrate on relevant work experience and doing your CFA now.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

The reason why I think it was a bad choice was because the first and part of the second year were full of courses which were not interesting to me at all. It's only now that I'm doing finance & corporate finance related topics, I'm enjoying it.

I've been keeping the CFA in mind and am planning to do it in the future, but the main issue is relevant work experience. I'm in Europe and it's hard to find a good job without a master's degree. I'm hoping to do a 6 month internship at a boutique starting from February, but unfortunately they only hire people with master's degrees for full time positions.

Regarding my reason for wanting to get into PE, well I've always had an interest in finance, but I finally decided on what I wanted to do after I completed my investment & portfolio theory, and corporate finance courses during my undergrad.

Anyway I need to make up my mind fast because I should be graduating in January and am still uncertain about what to do after that.

 
 
4/9/17

Oh, forgot to mention, they are broker-dealers and are listed with FINRA and SIPC

 
4/9/17

umm no, sorry. it's hard enough for associates from bulge bracket or well known banks to make it to PE. Your chances from a no-name 7 person shop are next to nothing.

 
4/9/17

What if I were to jump into a smaller PE shop? Also, I should mention that I have turnaround and strategy consulting experience. This makes me an ideal candidate for an operations-focused PE shop, no?

 
4/9/17
toeknee9121 wrote:

What if I were to jump into a smaller PE shop? Also, I should mention that I have turnaround and strategy consulting experience. This makes me an ideal candidate for an operations-focused PE shop, no?

If your am A&M or Alix in Rx&Turnaround, you can exit to MM PE from there, albeit in an operations role, which are admittedly few and far between...but you can definitely make it happen if at one of those firms, and its sure as hell a better shot than moving to this boutique bank.

 
4/9/17

If you're actually interested in the work this financial advisory team does, go for it. If you would only do it to get into PE, don't.
Unless it will put you in an uncomfortable position with your current employer, definitely start the interviewing process and see what you can learn from meeting them in person.
Generally I agree that this doesn't sound like a clear cut path to PE. We don't know who you work for currently but my gut feeling is that moving on would help a little but not change your odds significantly.

 
4/9/17

Good take on it. I am actually working in the TMT (Telecom, Media, Tech) space currently in turnaround. I am transitioning to this firm as I believe 1) I have a good shot of really growing there and maybe even become partner as the firm expands 2) worst case scenario, I build up my financial acumen and exit into PE. To bolster my financial skill set I decided to pursue to CFA, sitting for L2 this summer.

 
4/9/17
Burlington21 wrote:

worst case scenario, I build up my financial acumen and exit into PE

lol

 
4/9/17

its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to jump to PE from a no-name brand. unless you make the jump to a 3-person no-name PE shop. i think that's your best bet.

 
4/9/17

I think it's more towards a sales associate type of role. Be aware that you should confirm it with them. Bad feeling about it. Just make sure you are not doing broker-type of sales in a boiler room afterwards. That would terminate all your chances of getting into PE or whatever.