How limited are my long-term PE prospects post-MBA without prior finance experience?

I have an offer from a top 3 MBA program that will give me a decent shot of placing into a banking position even though I don't have previous finance experience. My understanding though is that these positions are all at the associate level which means I will miss out on what seems like the extremely valuable education that bankers acquire as analysts.

I can't say for certain that PE is something I want to pursue down the line, but how limited am I by not having that analyst experience if I ever try to recruit from banking to junior PE roles? Additionally, is there any way to gain that analyst experience (and a way to signal to an employer that I have this knowledge) if I've missed the traditional undergraduate recruitment window?


Comments (3)

Best Response
Feb 25, 2018

I think a lot of people on this board like to spew that MBA associates have a 0.001% chance of ever landing a PE gig. This is just not true.

Although it is HARDER, there are definitely MBA associates who end up joining a PE firm 2-4 years into banking. Sometimes it's through working with the same fund through multiple deals and they have a hiring need for an experienced senior associate and they really like you. Sometimes a new firm gets created from senior guys who spun off of bigger PE firms and they need to build out a team.

In terms of gaining "analyst experience", you need to focus on really developing modeling skills. So make sure you actually know how to model and not just know how to "check work". Start thinking like an investor, ask the right questions, start developing intellectual curiosity and most importantly, kill it at as an associate. Start developing and fostering relationships with guys at PE firms that you may work with and start networking.

    • 2
Mar 2, 2018

Sorry for not getting back to you quicker! Really appreciate your contrasting perspective on what's possible given the track I have in mind.

Feb 25, 2018