How to transition from Technology Consulting at a Tier 2 into MM Private Equity?

adrian1123's picture
Rank: Monkey | 49

Hi Everyone, posting on a throwaway account (as I routinely post in the consulting forum with my regular account and quite a few people know my identity). That being said, I want to reveal a few details about myself and seek out advice on how to position myself for a career in PE.

A little bit about myself:

  1. Currently a high-performing Technology Consultant for Deloitte
  2. 3 Years out of Undergrad (Bachelors was in Business Administration)
  3. Undergraduate school was non-target (average state school) with virtually no alumni presence in Wall Street. Extensively cross checked Linkedin, no one in the history of my undergrad school has gone onto any BB bank
  4. Consulting representation at Tier 1 is 0% - no one from my undergraduate school has gone onto working at MBB
  5. I was the only one from my school to join the commercial consulting division at Deloitte, with everyone else recruited directly to the federal practice

MBB to PE, and Strategy Consulting to PE has routinely been discussed in detail. I'm fully aware of the Ops opportunities available and Consultant-friendly PE shops.

I understand I face a significant uphill climb so I'm open to hearing feedback (no matter how harsh) and diligently working towards my goal in steps. My Father worked at a boutique PE firm for a few years (before taking a CFO role at one of the companies acquired by the PE shop)...This network is now closed and not an option for me and networking through my Father is also not a viable option at this time.

During the time my Father worked in the field, I got some exposure to the hours, the lifestyle, the salary, and the type of deals undertaken - and it seems a million times more interesting than a Tech implementation project.

A few options I've been seriously considering:

  1. Deloitte Tech Consulting (TC) -> T10 MBA -> Deloitte S&O -> PE
  2. Deloitte TC -> T10 MBA -> MBB -> PE
  3. Deloitte TC -> Deloitte S&O -> Internship Boutique/MM PE -> MBA -> Boutique/MM PE
  4. Deloitte TC -> Ops Role at PE portfolio company -> MBA OR Potentially landing a position with the PE firm

Please let me know - and don't tell me its impossible. I've managed to accomplish quite a few things in my life under greater odds - and overcome several adversities that would have crushed most people to pieces. When I want something - I go for it and will achieve it no matter what.

Would love to hear feedback from the PE forum.

Thank you,

Technology Consultant

Comments (22)

Mar 22, 2017

Tech consulting to PE is unheard of. Hate to be harsh, but you are facing a VERY difficult road ahead (read: nearly impossible).

What value would you bring to a PE firm? Have you ever done M&A? Can you model? Have you ever worked on live transactions? Have you ever looked at M&A or debt legal agreements? The jump doesn't make sense.

Focus on making the switch to a more strategy-focused consulting firm first. Even then, the likelihood going from that to PE is extremely tough given where you are in your career, your pedigree and prior work exp.

    • 2
Mar 22, 2017

Thank you for your response! Would you recommend trying to move into Deloitte S&O prior to pursuing an MBA? Quite a few M&A Partners and Senior Managers are in my local Deloitte office and I've attended a few M&A trainings that they have hosted (which are open to all Service Lines not just S&O).

I am also taking a Finance class starting in April - which should give me some ammo to pursue conversations with the SMs/Partners in S&O further. I'm also in the application process for an MSF program in Finance at Georgetown (which I think would be a major boost in pedigree compared to my undergraduate institution.

I've saved up quite a bit of money and the MSF is something I would do prior to applying to an M7 MBA - would probably just pay for the MSF in cash outright, and take loans for a full time MBA.

Any other recommendations on how to best position myself? Also what are your thoughts on Venture Capital?

Mar 23, 2017

Agree with ledger. I like miracles - but this is too good to be true. Probably better to aim for middling VC of some kind - maybe a firm that focuses on enterprise tools / software.

Mar 22, 2017

Forget the MSF - not going to move the needle for PE, just save your money. And yes, you'll need much better experience before getting your MBA. Getting an MBA with your experience as is will do nothing for your PE chances.

You shouldn't restrict yourself to just Deloitte S&O (not a strong enough firm for PE recruiting). Think about it, you'll be competing against MBB. Move to S&O if that's the easiest move, then try and lateral to a better firm like a Parthenon or LEK. They at least have a track record of sending some people to MM PE.

    • 2
Mar 23, 2017

thank you! I'm going to aim for S&O right now, which is a more realistic step and see what types of projects I can get onto afterwards. I'll be back on this thread when i've made the jump :)

Mar 22, 2017

I know one guy who went tech consulting at Accenture to a top private equity mega-fund. He was able to do so after a 2nd tier MBA in Europe. It also helped a bit that his dad was the CEO of one of their portfolio companies.

    • 1
Mar 23, 2017

Just a thought, but have you thought about VC/Growth equity roles. Those could be easier transition for you rather than a PE role.

    • 1
Mar 24, 2017

My apologies for the late reply - finally home from travel.
I've definitely looked into VC roles after I attended a VC panel presentation at the annual Salesforce/Dreamforce conference a couple of years ago. Most of the VCs seemed to know more about 'technology' than many of the actual 'technology partners' I've worked with in consulting. They all had MBA's from Stanford though (a few VCs were from Sequoia Capital). I do think that it would be just as difficult as moving into MM PE with potentially less upside and more risk.

Mar 24, 2017

Tbh, I have no idea what tech consultant actually does. We hire consultants at our firm because we are very operationally focussed. Usually they are involved in the TMT practice.

Best Response
Mar 24, 2017

Without boring you, I'll provide a few snippets of projects I've done:
1. Customer service improvement project for a Fortune 500 hospitality organization -> optimized and enabled 5 digital channels to improve customer engagement (including Mobile/Social Media). The idea was to keep pace with new competitors including AirBnB.

  1. Mobile Payments/Mobile Deposits for a close to 100 billion dollar financial institution. We created the Mobile app -> saved the organization millions of dollars in reduced Contact Center fees, and positioned them to save even more money to close down branches globally
  2. Created a Social Media app for another Fortune 500 hospitality org, specifically for their 'franchise owners' so the billionaire owners can have a private app to message each other and go golfing together (i found this project/request to be quite funny tbh). I didn't code or develop this but rather focused on all the business logic - only took 4 weeks
  3. For an Energy client, set-up a sentiment analysis engine - which basically searches for keywords across social media. Through this, they were able to collect information on what people are saying across all social media for them, as well as their competitors. This one got CxO level visibility.
  4. For a Fortune 50 (TMT client), I worked on a project to improve Sales by working on a mobile application that enabled door to door sales of their projects. this particular company has thousands of agents and we basically re-did the entire canvassing sales strategy. I did get exposure to pricing and products, lots of analytics on this one
  5. For a recent financial services client, using another technology platform, increasing sales by allowing for the offering of new product lines via a new digital channel being added.

These are my core projects that I'm most proud of, although I've done quite a few others that were shorter in length.

The projects themselves allowed me some room for strategy, creativity, and implementation. I also always worked closely with client Ops teams (not their tech teams) as most of these projects were heavily focused on improving a client's operations using digital transformation.

I know it's not S&O/MBB level experience, but I'm still proud of the experiences and exposure I've managed to gain. It's always been a battle to get onto some of the more 'interesting' projects.

Salary wise - although not close to PE/IB salaries, I did break a 100k base by 25. I'm turning 26 later this year.

    • 3
Mar 23, 2017

I second moving into growth equity instead of PE. There are associates at growth equity firms like Golden Gate and JMI that came straight out of consulting. To be honest, all of those guys are coming from MBB but you might be able to swing it at a smaller firm with the right story. I know Arrowroot Capital is hiring right now. I don't much about the place but they are growth equity.

    • 1
Mar 23, 2017

growth equity / VC doesnt make sense for a tech consulting background either. Either way, he needs to move to more of a strategy role if he even wants a chance at any investment type role.

    • 1
Mar 24, 2017

Thank you for your reply. Can you please provide some advice on how to best position myself for a Growth Equity role?

As for MBB, I had an interview/offer from McKinsey's implementation group before I joined Deloitte (was a rock star in a particular niche tech space at my previous T2 Consulting firm). Aside from the potential benefits of having the McKinsey brand, I ended up picking Deloitte because of a wider range of projects to choose from especially in some of the industries I was interested in, mainly financial services and consumer goods. McKinsey's tech wing was still growing and I sort of knew which project I'd be going to, seemed to be a need-based hiring rather than organic growth at that time. Not sure that McKinsey's implementation group would have given me a leg up in pursuing any finance roles though (it wasn't strategy - which obviously follows the standard undergrad/MBA recruitment process). For the record, I did clear the same SHL test all the Strategy consultants also take, we had the same one.

Would you recommend taking some trainings on financial modelling as a good first step (if I want to pursue LEK or even an M&A project at Deloitte)? I've been looking into the courses that WSO offers as well.

Thank you in advance.

Mar 23, 2017

Moving to S&O might not even be a good decision. If I were you I would try to move to an LEK/Parthenon where you know you will work on M&A due diligence.

In my experience, S&O does a mixed bag of projects and given your background in TC they will probably staff you on tech implementations anyways... you need a guarantee that you'll have relevant experience if you want a shot at PE.

Source: T2 Consulting -> MM PE

    • 1
Mar 24, 2017

Thank you! Can you please share your story on how you transitioned from T2 Consulting to MM PE? Quite interested in any unique experiences or challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

Apr 6, 2017

Hey Guys - thanks again for the great responses. Quick update from my side - I will be starting a 6 week finance class next week (The HBX Leading w/ Finance class I mentioned previously). I also started reading about LBOs and start working on my Excel skills. Any other advice before I have coffee with a PE Partner summer time?

    • 1
Apr 6, 2017
    • 1