Let me start by saying, no, I'm not naive lol.
I'm returning to Georgetown University to finish my Economics degree that I started a few years ago. During my junior year I earned an intership with State Street, which turned into a full time job as a Client Associate dealing with institutional investors (primarily East Coast hedge funds and some PE shops as well). Nothing to do directly with investing, but everything to do with Relationship Management.
Just recently, I left my job with KeyBank as a portfolio manager. The experience (1.5 years) counts towards the CFA if I ever want to pursue it. Most importantly, during my time with Key, I worked with numerous privately held, middle-market companies. Most of these were multi-generational family businesses. Some were partially owned by PE firms, some got bought out by PE shops, and almost all of them were potentially PE firm targets. I have experience with leveraged lending, in some cases, financing the portfolio companies of PE shops.
Key had proprietary modeling software that I got pretty use to. Often I had to do projections for up to 7 years with stressed variables (e.g. higher interest yield curve, margin compression, revenue pressure, etc.). Point is that I would probably have to brush up on Excel if that's how PE firms do it.
What's your guys' opinions? Can I break into the equity side after graduation?