PE Horror Stories

We thought (maybe just me) that PE would have none or significantly less of the silly bullshit that banking had. Would love to hear some horror stories of pre-MBA associates being owned by their more senior colleagues.

The gorier the better.

Ill start it off:

Last Saturday all-nighter for a diligence pack, dismissed with a casual (< 5 minutes) flip-through. No sweat off their back. It was "urgent"

Comments (67)

Apr 13, 2017

Anyone else...?

Best Response
Apr 13, 2017

Portfolio company was in some real trouble, so of course the new Associate could help. I was asked to go through a list of 10,000+ companies, go to their website and determine if they would be a tier 1, 2 or 3 potential sales lead (based on company given criteria) for the sales guys to call since the company had downsized their BD and sales team (and of course they didn't want to do this either). For Tier 1 and 2, I had to find names and contact info for business development and any executive I could. Even at 30 seconds per company, assuming 100% efficiency and no breaks, that is 83 hours of work; I probably got to a minute per company at my best. It took me almost 3 weeks (including weekends) of nonstop work - I almost quit.

Apr 13, 2017

Wow that sounds terrible... at some point, I would just throw up a job posting for an unpaid internship. I'm sure there'd be plenty of eager college kids with time to spare in exchange for some experience.

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Apr 13, 2017

That is brutal.

Apr 18, 2017

Sounds pretty awful, with that being said there are tons of outsourcers who you can pay a few bucks an hour that can do all of that.

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Apr 20, 2017

Why didn't you post this on upwork? Plenty of English speakers in 3rd world countries with internet connections that would do this for a couple of bucks per hour....

    • 1
Apr 13, 2017

This was many years ago.

Apr 13, 2017

Just had another weekend of mind-numbing diligence, that feels mainly worthless... yay!

Apr 17, 2017

Get used to it. This past weekend I spent most of my Saturday turning an internal deck (not even investment committee) that I doubt we get half way through flipping it in this upcoming BS meeting.

Not to worry - we do have a multipage overview of a highly fractured industry (READ: many companies), but these are essentially backpocket materials and may never see the light of day. BUT in case the senior partner is curious, we can pleasantly surprise him, like my Saturday!

And in case you were wondering, my industry overview has graphics and logos and formatting that would make a banker blush. No sweat off my principal's back of course.

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Apr 13, 2017

sadness. For logos / graphics gotta try logointern.com, will speed it up a bit. Happy saturday!

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Apr 20, 2017
BillyAckman:

Get used to it. This past weekend I spent most of my Saturday turning an internal deck (not even investment committee) that I doubt we get half way through flipping it in this upcoming BS meeting.

Not to worry - we do have a multipage overview of a highly fractured industry (READ: many companies), but these are essentially backpocket materials and may never see the light of day. BUT in case the senior partner is curious, we can pleasantly surprise him, like my Saturday!

And in case you were wondering, my industry overview has graphics and logos and formatting that would make a banker blush. No sweat off my principal's back of course.

"make a banker blush" - lmao this is gold.

I work at a relatively small shop (<$500m AUM) and I have to be honest, I have never had to do some of the BS work mentioned here. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my (short) PE career so far is drag a CFO out of bed on a Saturday at 7 AM to give her comments on 2017 budget because the Partners and I wanted to get an early round of golf in at 8 AM.

    • 8
Apr 1, 2019

This is a crime

Apr 18, 2017

Currently interning at a smaller LMM firm (latest fund raised at ~250m). After thinking about this for a little while I'm actually surprised how little BS tasks I've been asked to carry out so far, but I guess that's a good thing! knocks on wood

Apr 13, 2017

Don't tempt fate!

Apr 19, 2017

This is golden. SBs all around!

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Apr 19, 2017
babymonkey357:

Last Saturday all-nighter for a diligence pack, dismissed with a casual (< 5 minutes) flip-through. No sweat off their back. It was "urgent"

Regular shitshow for me. That's why I'm 24/7 on WSO debating trivial shit.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

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Apr 20, 2017

Did non-stop financial diligence work for three weeks for a company that is valued <$10m and Principal asked to inflate the price somehow to $20m. To make it worse, need to make all the levers and inflated numbers look reasonable for the IM. Surprisingly, the Investment committee bought the BS and invested almost half of it in equity. Need to find a place where people take numbers seriously!

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Apr 20, 2017

From the other side, pitching / working for a PE client can suck.

1) 80 page book, every number and FN spot checked, everything perfect, during the introductions the Principal flipped through the book. When the introductions were done, said, "ok, this is all very interesting, let's start at page 34". We stopped and talked on FOUR other pages in the book. He expressed some small interest, so in the car back to the office, the MD started sketching out the follow-on presentation we needed ready for next week, which was going to really go into detail, not skim the idea like our first book.

2) PE shop calls on Tuesday to ask if our Lev Fin team can back them in an LBO for the majestic total of $150 million. The shop has AUM of c. $100 bn, but want us to provide $150 million for this deal, oh and it needs to be done by next week. Waves a carrot of "if we do this, we might get to pitch on a $3 bn sellside in a few months", so of course the MDs leap at the chance. On Wednesday we start the book / model for Lev. Fin, it's not worth their time, so they bump it down to Credit. Credit Committee ("CC") meets on the coming Tuesday, CC needs the book Friday, their analyst needs the model Thursday. We even got bashed on the fee because the firm didn't think we did enough work to earn it. Later, we wouldn't participate in an RBL the PE shop needed done, so we got bumped from the list that could pitch for the sellside.

3) >$5 bn deal that went through in Q1 / 2017, we pitched several PE shops for both a lending and advisory role. We blow our brains out building the valuation and lending model on the implied sense that if we impress, we'll get the role. Find out later they've already appointed GS as the adviser, and invite us to the lending facility, fuckers. We politely decline, take our talents to another buyer in the auction. Find out from my colleague at GS that the PE firm gave them MY fucking model for the debt capacity analysis, double fuckers. In the end, neither of our buyers won the auction.

For the kids that got stuck doing shitty work, I'm surprised you didn't just outsource to a bank, we often get requests from the buy side for random bits of analysis.

    • 8
Apr 20, 2017

Saturday conference calls... unreal. I'm also assuming your shop is not a partner track shop? I find career track firms are more respectful to junior resources' time.

I do work on the weekends, don't get me wrong, but if the deal team needs to be together, we usually hit up the Partner's house and work over brunch and lots and lots of alcohol.

Apr 13, 2017

This sounds like nothing me or former analysts I'm friends with have experienced. Am I dreaming?

Apr 20, 2017

This post is gold. A buddy at a <$5b shop has a colleague who will wait until Friday afternoon to dump data requests on IB analysts to intentionally fuck up their weekend.

Apr 20, 2017
Prescott Moncrief lll:

This post is gold. A buddy at a <$5b shop has a colleague who will wait until Friday afternoon to dump data requests on IB analysts to intentionally fuck up their weekend.

That's honestly fucked up on many levels. Your bud should tell his colleague to get his head checked...

Apr 20, 2017

From every Ibanker ever, your buddy's colleague is an asshole, unfortunately not alone.

Because I'm an asshole, I almost took an offer to go buyside from a fund we worked for, specifically because I wanted to send requests to my old MD on Fridays looking for data / analysis on Monday, then someone pointed out that I'm not screwing the MD, I'd be ruining some analysts' lives.

Similar vein, was on a sell side for a corporate and would get an email every Friday at 17:05 with the list of things the seller wanted for Monday 8:00. If you read down through the email chain, he would send an email to the internal teams at 8:00 on Friday asking for all the things they wanted, and to be sure they sent it to him for 17:00, so he could send to the bank to get done over the weekend, and it was important they get it to him by 17:00, so he could go home and not work over the weekend.

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Apr 1, 2019

This is cruel and sick like the life isn't bad enough??

Apr 20, 2017

Agreed, most suicidal I've been is working for an infrastructure fund. "Oh just add another scenario / toggle that won't be hard yeah? Cheers mate" Like dude please get out of my life forever.

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Apr 21, 2017

Great examples of what makes banking so damn frustrating. Everyone whose been through banking could rattle off at least 10 stories just like this.

Apr 22, 2017

know how you feel. working for PE clients (espi the BX, Apollo, PIA) - painful!

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Apr 20, 2017

Saturday 8am team conference calls ... every Saturday

    • 1
Apr 20, 2017

What. How is this possible. I've never heard of this. Please tell us more, I'm intrigued.

Apr 20, 2017

That is hilarious.

Apr 20, 2017

Not the OP, but I was working on the sell-side and one of the potential buyers was a global mid-market fund.

They had a standing team conference call at 9:00 am (EST) each Friday.

Since they had portfolio companies in Europe and Asia, each team member had to dial into the call no matter what time zone they were working in.

Apr 20, 2017

I dodged a bullet, as the staffing went to the assoc sitting beside me: working out of the London office, six month long strategic review for a ME client, 9:00 am update calls, every Sunday, local time. So she had a 6:00 am call every Sunday, for six months. Oh, and she liked to party, which didn't really work out for a while.

Apr 20, 2017

adonbilivit

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Apr 25, 2017

pls delete

    • 3
Apr 13, 2017

Lol this sounds all too familiar.

Apr 20, 2017

LMM PE here. Babysitting incompetent management teams that make 3x what I make is essentially my fucking day job.

Common requests:

  • "Hey can you fix this Excel spreadsheet?"
  • "Do you have a formula for this?"
  • Proof reading documents for mistakes that a 6th grader would make (ie grammar and spelling)
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Apr 13, 2017

This is fucking gold.

Apr 20, 2017
LeveragedTiger:

LMM PE here. Babysitting incompetent management teams that make 3x what I make is essentially my fucking day job.

Common requests:

  • "Hey can you fix this Excel spreadsheet?"
  • "Do you have a formula for this?"
  • Proof reading documents for mistakes that a 6th grader would make (ie grammar and spelling)

hahaha

i can't believe i didn't post this since it happened yesterday: CFO calls me scrambling and wants to look at a projection model together because the partner asked him to add some line items and all of sudden the model doesn't balance anymore.

ok we're on the phone, i open the attachment and boom its the template i built for him, its fucking fool proof and now its out of balance. did the standard checks on why its not balancing and couldn't find it. i tell him lets hop off the phone and let me take a closer comb through. 30 seconds later i couldn't believe my eyes. he didn't add RSUs back as non-cash.

in all fairness this doesn't happen regularly and i actually enjoy doing some of these one-off "favors" for the mgmt team and its also a good thing that they feel at ease asking for help (think of this from an investment POV, as if its your own investment). also a plus when i know they sing my praises to the partners. :P

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Apr 21, 2017

Not PE, but Lampert once sent a summer intern on a road trip to every AutoZone in the country.

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Apr 21, 2017

Do you have any sources or news article for this? Sounds hilarious.

Apr 21, 2017

My VP loves dropping presentations on me at 5pm on a Friday for a meeting the following Tuesday. Like you didn't know that we'd need to create a bank book for the meeting earlier in the week? Thanks for the heads up man. Then he just peaces out of the office while my weekend is destroyed.

Apr 21, 2017

Would be awesome if everyone could put the approximate fund size of where they work along with these. Would be interesting to see if any type of horror is consistently in one range more than another.

    • 1
Apr 13, 2017

I doubt there is a correlation.

Apr 21, 2017

Oh my god, I can't believe I signed an offer. What have I got myself into...

Apr 21, 2017

Doing a diligence trip in India for 2 days with a Go Pro strapped to your chest to make sure the company's warehouse actually exists.

I say 2 days because it took 3/4 a day to fly there, walked around for half a day with a go pro, and then took 3/4 a day to fly back.

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Apr 20, 2017

This takes the cake.

Apr 21, 2017

Doesn't sound that bad though

Apr 13, 2017

Hopefully you're not expected to be responsive on the flight...

Apr 19, 2017
Chris7:

Doesn't sound that bad though

I see you haven't done much PEing.
Being sent to a shithole developing country is the worst. I don't mind being sent to Colombia or even Egypt. But when you get sent to a shithole country like India, Pakistan or the middle of Brazil, where your hotel room is more like a Fortress against the shit outside.
Was once sent to this rural industrial zone on the outskirts of Delhi. Within a day of landing over there, I had to buy a fucking gas mask (like the ones troops used in WW1) to get through the fucking streets. Ended up staying in the hotel room as much as possible. Pakistan? Try Lahore, don't think about Karachi. Brazil? There are only two places in Brazil, Sao Paulo's beaches and Rio's beaches. If you want to travel the Amazon, your best bet is to go via Peru.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 2
Apr 27, 2017

Went to a meat processing company located in mountains of southern China during spring. Quite humid and hot. The Company had recently started incinerating the animal to power the local town. Still can't get that smell out of my clothes.

Apr 27, 2017

If you want more strategic type work, then go do corp dev / strategy at a tech firm or start-up. Most PE firms are not that strategic, esp for those at the associate level. You'll be doing modeling and other "non-strategic" type stuff, similar to what you did in banking.

Apr 20, 2017

if you don't enjoy transaction work, stay far away from PE as possible.

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Apr 27, 2017
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