I go to a school with alumni at almost every major PE firm.

Going to be joining a BB after graduation as a first year banking analyst. Interested in PE after banking. Does it make sense to network with alumni the same way I did for banking positions or does it not matter because the headhunters are now the gatekeepers?

There are alumni at the big search firms too. Should I network with them?

Thanks for your help!

Comments (11)



any info on the importance of networking for pe recruiting would be greatly appreciated.

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Yes, you definitely should. The headhunters are just one way to get in the door. Alums at different funds may be part of the recruiting process (so you can circumvent an HH directly). At the end of the day, it's the fund that's making the decision whether to hire you or not. The more people you can get to vouch for you, the better.


Definitely a good idea to go the networking route. I'm at the end of a process right now that started with me reaching out to network about 7 months ago. My contact told me then that they'll be raising a fund soon, and will be looking to bring in an Analyst once they hit a certain hurdle in the raise.

At this point, they're talking to my references, and haven't even advertised the position (hopefully they never have to)!


Absolutely. More than half of my firm's hires are through referrals, not through headhunters.


As usual, HerSerendipity speaks the truth! I'll go so far to say that we prefer referrals over headhunters.



The more people in your corner the better. At some point, many of the candidates look the same, especially at the junior level. Sometimes the difference is just someone saying "that dude seems pretty cool".


I know cold e-mailing/LinkedIn alumni was a mediocre strategy for getting IB internships/jobs but how effective is this for PE?


I would say that what you know is wrong. Networking is not a mediocre strategy to get into IB. When I was involved in the recruiting process, the first resumes I pulled were those applicants who had reached out and had strong credentials. If you weren't quite as strong but had made a good impression and demonstrated interest in my firm, I'd often make case for you over some other applicant who might be objectively stronger but had not reached out.

As for PE recruiting, I would say that it's a lot more variable. With some firms, it doesn't matter how much you've networked - you HAVE to go through the headhunters. On the other hand, many other PE firms recruit 100% through referrals (don't have to pay the headhunters), so you can get in through networking or sometimes through a senior banker pulling for you.

So in short, yes networking helps, but maybe more so at some firms over others. At the very least, it can't hurt, so go for it!


It really depends. Networking helps if you're not in a group that historically gets a lot of PE interviews, or if there is a particular PE firm you're really interested in.

If you're in a really crappy group, you'll need to network not only with PE firms but headhunters as well.

If you're at a BX/GS TMT/MS M&A type group, you'll get most of the interviews anyways, so networking becomes less useful. If there's a particular firm that's your absolute top choice you just have to let the right headhunter know.


I have met with all of the main HHs, is that what you mean by networking with the HHs? I have not been asking for specific firms from the HHs though is that too aggressive? Also, is it worth it to cold e-mail or LinkedIn alumni at the PE shops I'm interested in?

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