How does my resume look for future mega fund recruiting?

Sorry for the cross post but I posted this in job search and nobody responded:

I come from a pretty uncommon background: graduated with a 3.0 gpa at a no-name public school, majors in engineering and economics. Worked as an engineer at a very small company until recently when I was able to get my current position as an analyst at a small private equity firm. My plan is to work here until starting b-school in Fall 2015, so I'll have about 1.5 years in private equity under my belt and possibly a promotion or two. I'm going to be applying to HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Stern, Kellogg, maybe a few others. Ideally (based on little research) I'd like to go to Booth or Columbia. I think H/W are long shots but I'd like to apply for the hell of it.

I'm just wondering, with a fairly unconventional background like this I've heard even with the PE experience and good b-school it'll be tough to find internships and full time positions at better name firms. My firm is small - just myself and the partners - so I get to get involved in pretty much every single aspect of every deal and portfolio company that the partners do (for example, just two hours into my employment I was in a meeting with a management team about a management buyout, and the partners have since entrusted me with modeling the deal and updating based on how our negotiations with them have been going). My ultimate goal is to source a deal for them that they end up acquiring, but I'm only in my third week and don't even have business cards made up yet haha.

Anyways, with such an unconventional background how realistic is it for me to shoot for a summer internship while in my MBA at a larger fund or mega fund? Is it completely a pipe dream to think about applying for Blackstone's summer program?

Right now, based on what I'll be planning on doing, my resume when I leave this firm is going to look like this:

* Meet with management teams to discuss potential acquisitions
* Attend portfolio company quarterly board meetings
* Work a deal from start to finish, being involved at all levels of the process
* Work with firm partners on acquisition deal structures and proposals
* Prepare quarterly statements from portfolio company financials
* Be involved in bank financing for a portfolio company

How good of a resume would this be for a mega fund summer internship while at a Booth/Columbia?

Comments (17)

Mar 5, 2014

Consider your competition: Ivy League undergrads with +3.8's, 2 years at a BB then 2 years at a fund larger than yours and then H/S/W. There are enough of these people to fill up associate spots at all the MFs. Congrats on your current position but to be honest with you, if you want to do private equity I would seriously consider staying at your current fund if that's a possibility.

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Mar 5, 2014

Ugh, yeah, that's true. I was just hoping that I'd have less of an uphill battle than I did getting my current job - then again who ever would've thought it'd be possible for an engineer with a 3.0 gpa from a no name school and no professional finance background to transition straight over to PE? Guess I'll have to keep pounding the pavement. A former intern here just got a job at a mega fund so I reached out to him to talk about it. It's a ways out (like 2 years) but figured earlier is better. Maybe I'll have a great WSO success story to share down the line...

Mar 5, 2014

chances are slim to none. other poster summarized it well. you're facing an uphill battle. you may be able to move up market to middle market firms but megafund doesnt seem likely.

Mar 5, 2014

Yep, that's what everyone said to me before I got this job so I guess it'll just be more of the same - networking my ass off and hoping I get lucky again, haha

Mar 5, 2014
Khayembii:

Yep, that's what everyone said to me before I got this job so I guess it'll just be more of the same - networking my ass off and hoping I get lucky again, haha

It sounds like regardless of the responses you get on here, you haven't changed your mind. Why megafund though?... just curious

Mar 6, 2014

I'm in no rush. Any position I hold right now is just theoretical because I'm not looking at trying to make such a switch until b-school. I understand what everyone here is saying and am not discounting it, but don't see any reason to change my mind just yet simply because my current decision is at least pointing me in a good direction. I didn't post here to get people to sway me one way or another, just to get people's opinions on my current situation so I at least know where I'm at.

I chose megafund for the same reason most people do: the desire for greatness, the pay, getting involved in massive deals. Besides, it's a good thing for me to aspire to right now to motivate me, even if I change my mind further down the line.

Best Response
Mar 6, 2014
Khayembii:

I chose megafund for the same reason most people do: the desire for greatness, the pay, getting involved in massive deals. Besides, it's a good thing for me to aspire to right now to motivate me, even if I change my mind further down the line.

This comment embodies everything right and wrong about WSO.

Many contributors have been in the position of viewing the MF route as the end all be all, but many come to the realization that it's not the right and most beneficial route. The role of MF Associates and Senior Associate are essentially spreadsheet jockeys... with the standard complimentary roles. Some people listen, and some don't. There is a benefit to both routes.

I'm sure you have had great experience and contributed immense value to your fund/fundless sponsor, but let's be honest, many of us who have been members on WSO for years could say the same thing, but yet we have a realistic perception of how things work. And at times this may limit us, but a majority of the time it allows us to focus on the practicality of our industry, much like you as a potential investor would not waste time on a deal that some of us would call "hairy". In the industry with the time constraints that we all face, this is a necessity.

Great, you have helped arrange communication and coordinated transaction structures for sub $250MM deals. How does that compare with multi-billion dollar deals? Have you ever been involved with foreign currency hedges? How do taxes flow through to K1 investors in an LLC with NOLs/DTAs? How do you identify false cash reconciliations with companies with fraudulent accounting practices? I could go on, but these are just the basics that regardless of your experience, all of us will face at one point or another if we make it to the senior ranks in a fund and some of the questions we face as bright eyed 22 year old know it alls in investment banking.

I don't want to sound rude, and I applaud your dedication and "I won't take no" attitude, but unfortunately we live in an industry that is not focused on effort, but is instead focused on pedigree. I think you're background makes for a great story, but so many bodies are left in the road after failing to even get IB internships, even well qualified individuals don't have options on entering the industry.

MFs fall into the category, regarding hiring practices, of being risk averse. They hire a UPenn kid with 6 months of experience from x number of banks to start a job 20 months from now. There's no way of justifying it, I'm sure you think you're better than that kid, many of us do. Unfortunately that's how PE and finance works. The fact is, that risk averse process has not let them down historically, and until that day comes where the kids with perfect SAT scores and 4.0 GPAs from Ivy league institutions start breaking models left and right, their hiring practices will not change.

I know the Post-MBA path is different, and you are correct in that you have a chance (albeit minimal) to make inroads following your MBA. The competition is steep and outside of a few schools, Carlyle/Apollo/KKR aren't exactly hiring 5 Senior Associates from Kellogg/Booth to do multi-billion dollar deals.

If you think the MF route is the path to greatness, I'm not the only one who feels bad for you. Regardless of my comments, which are not meant as a discouragement but a recommendation from someone who has been there. We all have choices in life, to listen to advice we asked for or to ignore it and proceed as if we never heard the responses... in this instance there is no wrong choice. I really do wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep us posted.

The grass is always greener...

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Mar 5, 2014

Also at most of the better name funds (including upper middle market funds) large percentage of VP's (what I assume you would be shooting for as a post MBA w/ 1.5 years PE experience) are going to be people who worked at those shops as Associates. For some firms / groups this is a pretty well followed rule.

Mar 5, 2014

These firms offer summer associate positions for MBA students. Wouldn't it be possible to secure one of these positions with the past experience and use that to get in?

Mar 5, 2014
Khayembii:

These firms offer summer associate positions for MBA students. Wouldn't it be possible to secure one of these positions with the past experience and use that to get in?

Unfortunately, I think you've severely underestimated how competitive it is to get a post-MBA position, even coming from a blue-chip Ivy League + BB + megafund PE + HBS. Good to hear your experience has been varied, but pretty much every PE associate I know, megafund or MM, participates in management presentations, attends board meetings and works with the C-level guys at their portfolio companies. At the top growth shops, they are involved in sourcing as well. As a result, your experience isn't that unique. The difference then becomes brand and pedigree unfortunately, and that counts a lot in the industry.

There are plenty of folks who led pieces of $1bn+ transactions at a megafund who would be extremely happy to land at a good MM PE shop as a senior associate. Even for them, it's nowhere near guaranteed and you see plenty of people who did pre-MBA at excellent PE firms (megafund or upper MM PE-Welsh, Lindsay Goldberg, Avista type firms) who went to HBS/Stanford, couldn't find their way back and ended up back in banking or consulting. That's your competition unfortunately. If you're at Wharton/Columbia/Booth, that'll be even more of an uphill climb. In fact, the post-MBA process is so competitive that many guys at top PE shops are reconsidering the industry and b-school simply because it's so tough to move up (even with their background).

I don't think you'll be in the running for a megafund or a good MM shop really. I would reconsider B-school today if PE is what you are gunning for; why don't you think about moving up in your firm or using your partners rolodex to move to a bigger firm, and then apply to B-school?

Mar 5, 2014

getting into a tiny PE shop with an engineering background is a very different game from securing a post-MBA role in "upper" MM or MF PE. odds are very good that even if you do somehow get into a top 5ish business school (which is pretty unlikely unless you have like a 770 GMAT and great soft factors beyond work), you will not be able to find any sort of post-MBA PE job, let alone with a firm anyone has ever heard of. as tough as you might think the competition is, it's 100x worse. serious, serious networking success would be your only hope. on the bright side, there are plenty of other things you can do, especially if your only goal is to make money or whatever!

Mar 5, 2014

I'm working with an admissions consultant and based on my past it's seeming like I'm going to be out of reach of HSW but realistically targeting other schools beyond that (Booth/Columbia, for example, as I said before). I got a 750 GMAT and a lot of other stuff going for me, and have been working proficiently at that aspect, so I'm fairly confident I'll be able to get into the schools I want to get into.

Now regarding the thread generally, if I have direct experience sourcing deals that go into our portfolio, and/or working a deal process from start to finish including all management discussions, investor correspondence, etc. that the partners already do, isn't this a more comprehensive skillset than someone that came from a standard background but worked at a larger fund where the division of labor is greater and thus don't have as comprehensive experience? I know the company brand matters, obviously, though.

Anyways, thanks everyone for offering sober responses and not shitting all over me for asking a seemingly ridiculous question. Aside from contributing an insane amount at work and working towards business school, I think my next step is going to be to start talking to more industry folks about this.

Mar 6, 2014
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