Currently I'm working in valuations with a plan to apply to MBA programs next fall (2015).
One thing that I have not seen much discussion of on this site has been on the topic of breaking into PE post-MBA without pre-MBA banking experience. I would love to hear anecdotes, experiences, opinions, etc. If location plays any sort of factor, in my case it would be Chicago.
How to Break Into PE without Pre-MBA Experience
Our users shared that it will be difficult to break into Private Equity after getting an MBA if you don't have experience working in private equity before going to business school. However, another user shared that it can be done if you focus on a specific industry.
It's pretty hard to do even with IB pre-mba experience. In most cases you already need to have worked in PE pre-mba in order to get it post (i.e. the typical IB-->PE-->MBA-->PE path). PE industry hiring models are very particular, and they can afford to be given the small number of openings every year. I personally spoke to a partner last week at a MM PE fund and they literally screen resumes for PE Associate and if it isn't there the resume is tossed out unless they have a contact at the firm who speaks up for them.
That said, I can name a few people who made it into PE post-mba without prior IB or PE experience. But they are the exception, not the rule. The most common ones were guys who worked in Corp Dev prior to b-school and were able to spin their experience to be semi IB/PE like.
That said there's a few smaller PE funds that hire straight out of MBA programs without looking for pre-MBA PE experience. Comp/prestige right out of the gate aren't the same but from what I hear it's a pretty fun time.
While it is difficult - user @initialandrew, a corporate finance associate, shared a success story.
As someone that went into PE Post-MBA without Pre-MBA banking I can tell you it isn't easy but if you know the operations in a specific sector (i.e. tech, oil&gas, infrastructure, healthcare, etc) then it is completely doable. You will always be the long shot but especially MM PE they want you to know the operations of the sector for strategic purposes since they run such small teams.
If I was you I would network hard during school, be involved in anything finance/VC/PE related on campus and really know a sector then target firms/funds that do that.
On another note if you have valuation experience and don't plan to enter school until next year you have time to network now and try to score a pre-mba internship that will boost the resume.
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