PE After Graduation?

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?

Comments (6)

Most Helpful
Jul 12, 2018 - 3:26am

Probably better fit at a lev. loan sponsor like Antares. For the equity side; you'll need to know how to model out these variables (margin, etc.) in Excel with less focus on credit downside/IR risk and more on IRR, MOIC, and operational improvements.

Companies like Antares, Ares, etc. provide "pack" financing for LBOs, e.g. Revolver, Term A, Term B, and 2nd Lien; but some bank groups do this and syndicate the debt. Jefferies has a very strong group that until recently was run by Jim Walsh.

To answer your question (and to be honest, if you've worked as long as you have, you should really know the answer already); it's very feasible to move to an PE shop at Georgetown after graduation if you line up your networking ducks properly. There is a very strong finance network and a good number of my friends who went there sit buy-side.

You'll just need to learn some new skills re: modeling; but you should come off as a more experienced and mature candidate if you play your cards right.

Jul 12, 2018 - 10:01am

I am a little confused on your background - did you work at State Street and KeyBank without a degree or are you going back to finish a second degree / masters?

My bad if I am missing something or misreading your post but trying to understand the timeline a little better.

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