So now that your first year bonus has hit your bank account, you're realizing that the real reason you got into banking was to get OUT of banking, and you've got your sights set on hopping to private equity as soon as possible. And why not? Why waste another year of your life being miserable if you can jump to the next rung up the ladder early?
I posted this as a comment in another thread, but thought it would be useful reading for every current monkey looking to get out of banking early and jump to the buyside. Hopefully my experience is helpful to some others:
Proactivity and networking are key. I decided pretty early that I wanted to get over to the buyside as fast as I could. So I made a list of PE shops that focused on technology (my area of interest) and figured out which I thought would be a fit for me. As an analyst, you should be well practiced at making lists of financial sponsors, so use it to your advantage. My initial list was probably 50+ firms, which I then whittled to 20 "top targets" and another 20 "second choices". Once you have this list, figure out how you can get an "in". Don't cold call or cold email except as your last resort. You need a warm intro. Hop on LinkedIn, ask your parents, ask family friends, any favorite professors from college, etc. Find someone that knows someone, its 100x better than a cold call, especially when you're asking for special treatment like getting hired a year early.
Simultaneously, make a list of headhunters. Some firms focus on PE generally, some have specific strengths in certain types of PE (VC, mid market, name brand, certain industries, etc). Figure out who they are - ask older analysts who they've worked with. There are also lists on this board if you search. Most analysts just wait for headhunters to call. You should proactively reach out - they will talk to you. Again, it helps if you can drop a mutual acquaintance - "You placed John Smith atlast year, and he suggested I contact you." Remember, they get paid if they place you, so they'll be glad to receive your resume and make some introductions if you're a good candidate.
If you want to get out in front of everyone else, you've got to make it a priority. It takes work and you've got to get over your fear of rejection. But the payoff is worth it.
- Capt K
"Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham