MM PE Analyst vs Non-MBB Consulting FT offer

I'm currently a Econ senior at a non-HYPS undergrad (Duke, U Chicago, Cornell) deciding between returning full-time to a Tier 2 consulting firm focused on PE due diligence (LEK, Strategy&, Parthenon) or accepting an analyst offer at a MM PE firm (500-800MM AUM). Both offers are for NYC.

If I were to stay at the consulting firm, I intend to transition to PE after two years. Buy-side exits to PE here are not as great as MBB have it, but not impossible for MM firms.

The MM PE firm is a smaller team, but is reputable and has a strong path from analyst --> associate after 2 years. Most of the associates come from IBD / MBB backgrounds, or from the analyst program.

My concerns/factors that I am considering are:
1) Is it better to just start off as PE analyst, when the buy-side exits aren't as certain from consulting?
2) How do H/S/W MBA view a Consulting+PE background vs just PE background?
3) If I wanted to lateral to an upper MM / MF post-MBA, which background is better? How do other MM PE firms view MM PE analyst backgrounds?
4) How much value should I place on a bigger network of people at consulting, especially since I am just moving to NY?

Thoughts? Advice?

Comments (4)

Dec 6, 2017 - 7:49pm

Those "Tier 2" consulting firms are still very strong brand names. 500-800MM AUM is not really that large of a fund, so I would stick with the consulting offer since it is a lot safer route.

Best Response
Dec 7, 2017 - 12:40am

First of all, congratulations on your offers. Like you, I was an analyst at one of the Tier-2 consulting shops and eventually transitioned into a well-known MM PE shop.

Rather than directly answering your questions, I would reframe your decision in broader terms - where do you see the arc of your career taking you and what skills do you hope to pick up along the way? If you are 100% committed to private equity, particularly in the strategy and industries that the PE firm invests in, then I would suggest taking the PE analyst role. If, on the other hand, you think that you may have other interests outside of PE (e.g., product management, corporate strategy, the public sector), then I would highly recommend consulting.

I would also recommend consulting if you want to develop a broad range of general management skills. When I was a consulting analyst, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a wide range of problems, from M&A due diligence to corporate strategy and finance all the way down to operational improvements and organizational restructuring. You might find some non-investment topics uninteresting (I certainly decided that I would avoid repeating certain types of projects when at all possible). On the other hand, I am now a much broader and more complete business thinker than I would have been had I gone down the investment banking or PE route out of undergrad, and in retrospect, I'm very glad to have started out in management consulting.

It all depends on how you evaluate those dimensions and what your personal preferences are. I don't think you can go wrong here, but I would encourage you to think beyond the recruiting mindset and instead reflect on your goals and aspirations over your broader career.

Good luck!

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