PE first round interview at mega fund



I have my first ever PE interview coming up and it's with a relatively new team at a mega fund (KKR/TPG/BX type, and it's in London).

I think I'm well prepared for the technical / modelling stuff (which I think it's more likely to get after 1st round interview) but a bit worried about the first-round interview which I presume would focus more on the fit questions / CV as it's a telephone interview with 1or 2 associates in the fund.

I was wondering, when people say fit or CV questions for PE, do they generally just mean why PE/ why this firm / your past story and experiences this type of thing or do they ask you very robotic competency questions as you would get for banking internships? i.e. give me an example when you work in a team / when you take an initiatives this type of question?

Any insights on what to prepare for the first round would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

Comments (22)

Aug 26, 2015 - 11:38am

if it's with people from the business you will not get asked any competency questions. You might get asked competency questions if you have a HR interview though.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.
Aug 31, 2015 - 5:15pm

Interview Process at Mega Funds (Originally Posted: 05/17/2010)

So last week I had interviews with two large PE funds ($15bn+ AUM) but neither the headhunter nor the people I interviewed with gave me any indication as to how the process works (i.e. I don't even know how many rounds of interviews there are). I've also not heard back from the recruiter (except for telling me right after the interviews that he would let me know as soon as he heard anything) nor anyone I interviewed with. Obviously this is not a good sign, but I was wondering if those who have been through the process can elaborate on how it works. I remember when interviewing for investment banking jobs, if I didn't hear anything for 2 days it meant I didn't get an offer. Is it the same in this case or do these guys tend to take more time? Also, anyone know how many rounds of interviewing is considered "standard"? Thanks for any info.

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:22pm

I've heard that megafunds give offers very quickly - usually same day or next day. A friend of mine got her offer from a megafund within 10 minutes after her final rounds on the walk back from the interview. Some might take longer, but from what I've heard they're usually very fast.

I haven't heard of anyone personally getting an offer within 10 minutes of a final round, but the general tone of the message rings true: within a few hours to a day seems to be the norm regardless of whether you're getting invited back to a second round or receiving an offer. If it's been a week, I would assume that you're likely done in their process.

Also, there is no set number of rounds. They'll interview you until they're ready to decide on your candidacy. 5+ rounds is not uncommon.

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:25pm

Q: do ppl typicall refer to 15Bn+ AUM as a megafund? for some reason i always thinkg of like $30bn+.. just wanted to see what other ppl think of

there is no standard definition, but people generally consider AUMs of greater than $20 billion to be megafunds (talking about PE funds only; not including any side funds (credit / mezzanine / distressed / real estate / etc.). but again, there's no standard definition.

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:28pm

Meeting with a partner in a megafund (Originally Posted: 03/02/2011)

So I am meeting a very senior partner at a megafund to talk about the private equity industry and get some advice from him.

what kind of high-level questions should I ask him? more about the future of the industry or the regulations..? I obviously want to make a good impression, so I would really appreciate any help!

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:29pm

I'm assuming you're looking for an Analyst/Associate role at a mega-fund.

One or two questions on the future of the industry may be helpful, but you should try and use this opportunity to do the following:

1) Learn what role the Associate actually has at the mega-fund.
2) What common traits standout Associates typically have (and how to develop them).
3) Areas to focus when evaluating an investment (beyond "strong management team and positive cash flow dynamics").
4) Demonstrate your interest in the industry and inquire as to how best position yourself for an Associate role.

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:30pm

firm specific questions and questions about the industry are good, but do not come off as disinterested in the responses and just trying to impress him with complex questions. if you ask questions you don't really care about he will notice and be annoyed. try to stroke his ego a bit. most people love to talk about themselves, get him talking about his career path, previous work experiences etc.

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:31pm

PE industry type questions:

  • Are funds being able to deploy their capital, how drawn are their 2007/8/9 funds?
  • How good are valuations, how busy are the auctions?
  • Is the leverage market back in action, will it ever get to 2006/7 levels again?
  • Is there more pressure now for Funds to enact more 'hands=on' operational change, rather than just financial engineering and a board seat'
  • Where are the exits going to be, capital market, trade sales, restructuring?
  • With credit markets as strong as they are, should every company be taking the opportunity to refinance and improve debt maturity profiles.
  • Is the EM pe space becoming crowded?
  • Is the distresses space becoming crowded?
  • Has mezzanine been proven to be a busted flush?

Some to get you started.

Aug 31, 2015 - 5:32pm
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