P/E Private Equity & Minorities - Non-target and did a summer at BB

A little background info....So I'm from a non-target, did a summer at BB in IBD. Also I'm a minority (asian), I was born and raised in America, speak english perfectly as mother tongue. however I've never been your "all-american" type of kid. My family doesn't eat turkey on thanksgiving, my dad never played catch with me, I don't follow football religously, i wasn't in a fraternity, I don't crave "steak" for dinner....I know these are extreme stereotypes, but I think these examples give a little color. I grew up hanging out with a diverse crowd of white/minorities/international kids, who are down to earth, and middle class, grew up in the suburbs, have parents with typical middle class jobs, and aren't obsessed with money/image.

Well a few weeks ago I interviewed at boutique PE shop in Greenwich, CT. Lets just say I felt very out of place. The couple of guys who I interviewed with all went to wharton or columbia, and they introduced themselves by not only their college, but their prep/boarding school that they attended!! One kid even told me he was born and raised in on the upper east side of nyc. All of them were white. I never felt so awkward and out of place in my life. Just by the 5 interviews I went through you could tell how these kids grew up was completely different than me. By nature, PE shops are small and hire few investment professionals, thus the culture/personality fit is extremely huge when it comes to PE recruiting. Regardless on how I interviewed, I already knew there was a clear issue when it came to culture and fit.

....I'm just curious on other experiences, is P/E almost impossible for minorities, or should I rephrase this to say that minorities are generally not happy or won't fit in well with the "PE" community. At the end of the day you want to be happy where you work, and feel like a part of a team....should minorities just cross PE off their list?? I can't imagine spending 60+ hours a week around these same people. At the BB bank I worked at it was like working at united nations, every ethnicity, asian MD's, indians, latinos, even a black female VP, and a guy from greece...literally still had greek accent.
(i know tons of minorities on this forum "talk" about their PE dreams/plans, but how many are actually successful & happy, keyword:happy?)

Comments (15)

Jan 17, 2010 - 10:58pm

He doesn't look too happy--- LOL

thats cuz hes not at his crazy ass HOUSE!!!

Last fall, Mr. Trump sold the last three remaining apartments atop his glass-walled Trump World Tower, a k a 845 United Nations Plaza, to Chinh E. Chu, a senior managing director at the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, for $34.3 million.

Jan 17, 2010 - 11:05pm

Wow.. even after 20 years at the firm, he still can't make partner/group head. Guess that shitty piece of crap university of buffalo degree came back to bite him in his ass eh.

Feb 19, 2010 - 1:06pm

Bankalot, my aunt went to SUNY Buffalo, and she is current a CEO of a large public company.

Your ignorance is only exceeded by your shallowness. He's an SMD, so he is a partner. And every partner has his/her sector focus; there is no such thing as a "group head" at BCP.

Feb 19, 2010 - 1:38pm

Bankalot, my aunt went to SUNY Buffalo, and she is current a CEO of a large public company.

Your ignorance is only exceeded by your shallowness. He's an SMD, so he is a partner. And every partner has his/her sector focus; there is no such thing as a "group head" at BCP.

Your troll radar isn't working.

Also, to the OP, you seem to spend more time posting threads "reflecting" (read: whining) than doing something productive. There are tons of ORMs in PE/HF.

Jan 17, 2010 - 11:12pm

i don't really think that you can compare the people or interview experience at a small boutique in greenwich ct to the people/interview experience at a larger shop.
it stands to reason that if you interview with a boutique pe shop in greenwich the people you meet will be ultra-waspy and may want to talk boarding schools, that's just a naturally waspy thing to discuss.
if you interview with a larger shop in the city, however, I imagine there will be more diversity (not in color so much as in geographic, social, and economic backgrounds) and less boarding-school talk.

anyways, there are definitely asians and indians out there doing private equity, so i wouldn't consider your ethnicity to be an obstacle. if anything, your non-target status is the drawback- you may be better off working IB for a couple of years and then going to a top business school.

Jan 17, 2010 - 11:18pm

If you feel uncomfortable with the culture of a firm, don't join them. Some boutique PE/HF can be very racist because without the "politically correct" standards of BB (they know the consequences if they display racism openly), racists display their true colors especially when everyone else also comes from the same background and color. There is, well, strength in numbers.

Strength in numbers of course work in the favor of minorities too. So you should look for more "diverse" boutique PE/HF shops where there are other minorities, especially at the more senior level. This will rein in the closet racists. I believe there are a lot of such places around.

Jan 18, 2010 - 12:32am

I think you are drawing conclusions on an entire industry based on a rather small sample size. Sure, pedigree is important on the buyside. But there are all sorts of shops, including some that were founded by scrappy state school grads. Finance really is a meritocracy, of course it's not perfect, but I believe that it's the place where the non-privileged have the best shot at making it big.

Feb 8, 2010 - 9:26pm

good thoughts. I think what maybe I'm trying to say is that, often times we completely forget about corporate atmosphere. People on these forums talk about their dream PE/VC exit opps, but often times fail to remember the culture and atmosphere of these small shops. An extremely small percentage of people will get gigs at huge funds with many associates. The majority of people will end up in small funds where corporate-culture will most definitely dictate your happiness and success.
...Long story short, I think I realized that I would enjoy the work of PE, I probably don't enjoy the elitist, stuffy, and cocky types of people who grow huge egos from PE. Finding a PE gig is really hard, finding a PE job at a shop that you enjoy working at is nearly impossible. If a PE gig comes my way at a shop that i like, great, but I think (and many others should too) that you shouldn't get your PE hopes too high. the sun will rise tomorrow. PE isn't the holy grail of humanity.

Feb 19, 2010 - 1:08pm

I totally disagree with the OP. I've come across MANY minorities at MANY PE shops and hedge funds, especially Asians. It's not rare to find shops where the number of minorities and internationals outnumber the "all-Americans". I think you are being overly pessimistic. Looking at the numbers, one can make a much stronger argument about prevalence of sexism in PE and HF than racism.

Feb 19, 2010 - 5:17pm

Don't limit your ambitions because you might be a bit of an outsider. Embrace it. Ruffle some feathers. It's pretty fun. I grew up in a small all-white town where people thought diversity meant Catholic vs. Methodist. Overall, I'm more in tune with myself; I survived. You will too.

I'm a female minority (asian) and work at one of the larger PE shops in NYC. My group is very diverse ethnically. It helps that the head of my group is a minority and I know he actively sought the middle-class background/diversity as he built his team. So your target culture-type does in fact exist, but it might not be the norm. I do feel that the few prep-school, tall, white guys we have are getting better treatment than the rest of us, not from my direct boss, but his bosses (who fit that white category).

Feb 19, 2010 - 9:51pm

Dont let racial issues get in the way of your ambition. I looked at the 300 or so Blackstone employees who had their pic on the site (management)... one was black. Now I know I don't have to go into the statistical probability of that happening randomly on a board like this, so it is pretty obvious what is going on. However would I have any type inferiority complex interviewing or working there? Absolutely not.

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