PE Recruiting After MBA

Hi all. Curious if you were a private equity associate at a mm fund (Latest fund ~$2n) then go to a top MBA program (Harvard) how difficult is it to get a new private equity job post MBA? Do you have to go down stream or are there opportunities to move to a slightly larger fund?

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Comments (21)

  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020 - 10:57am

Another question adding on to that, is it still through headhunters like pre-MBA PE recruiting? Thank you

Apr 9, 2020 - 11:34am

If you're at one of the top schools they have robust career services (similar to what you see in undergrad) & the larger firms will come on campus and host info sessions / networking sessions at local restaurants and recruiting continues from there. Typically a much much longer process than what you might have experienced during Pre MBA PE. They are much more focused on limiting false positives since in theory it is a partner track position

Apr 8, 2020 - 11:21am

There are more pre-MBA positions than they are post-MBA and funds tend to give their best performing associates return offers (ie. a lot of fund don't recruit much or at all). The vast majority of MBA students coming from PE want to go back. A lot of MBA students without PE background would like to get in. Therefore, competition is absolutely fierce and on average, people move downstream.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 8, 2020 - 12:03pm

What percent of bschool pre-mba pe professionals end up going back to their same firm I.e. are most sponsored or unsponsored? I would imagine sponsored since to get in you need good recs & if you get good recs they probably would want you back? Or is it that most people just want to change firms?

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Apr 8, 2020 - 12:26pm

Anecdotal evidence only, but all my friends at HBS that wanted to do PE got a PE internship at top funds (Blackstone, KKR, etc.). None of them had prior PE experience but had good non-finance resumes, obviously.

Apr 9, 2020 - 5:11pm

You'd be lucky to get post-MBA MF job coming out of HBS with pre-MBA MF experience.

When I was in an Associate, MF incoming class was usually 8-12 associates, and post-mba incoming class was usually 1-3. From what I understand Associate classes have gotten bigger, but Sr. Associate classes have not. So just do the math.

Apr 9, 2020 - 5:36pm

There are certain networking/fellowship groups you can apply to after Y1/RC year at HBS. Among that cohort, it's roughly split between people trying to go PE and people trying to go VC. The majority of those who were dedicated to that and did full-time networking landed PE or VC internship offers this year, PE from the firms I mentioned. Friends with two who turned down those offers for other opportunities, friends with more who are following through. Would probably be very different this upcoming season, but that's just my observation.

Apr 13, 2020 - 11:10pm

How many people in your class went to b school and wanted to come back post MBA?

If 10 people are in a MF associate class, sometimes half don't pursue the MBA in the first place. Of the 4-7 that do, one or two aren't pursuing PE post MBA, and another one or two are either looking to change geographies or they are jaded by their associate experience and want to go anywhere else.

That's the feedback I've gotten from my network, at least.

Apr 9, 2020 - 3:05pm

I'd say going down or staying the same is on-trend. Most MM folks just ended up in the MM world though. There were several (read: 6-7 or about 10-15%) of FT offers in my class where someone, not URM, went meaningfully upmarket e.g. from MM to UMM or MF.

So yea, in 85-90% of non-URM situations where you'll end up at the same level or tad below.

Apr 13, 2020 - 4:45pm

Yes. I would say 60-100% who want to, go back. Though I would say many people had to make sacrifices. E.g. someone really wanted tech and got consumer. Someone really wanted Chicago and got Boston. Someone really wanted large cap and got a solid MM.

1) Background - far and away the most important. If you have GS/EB -> large cap/umm -> HSW you will have tons of opportunities. If you have ok bank -> LMM you'll get looks but maybe not quite as many.
2) Interview performance - If you have the background you will get 15-30+ interviews and plenty of chances to screw up. In any case your competition is FIERCE. No margin of error for anyone and it's not uncommon to convert only 1/10-1/20 from interview to offer
3) Economic environment - 2018/2019 and Jan-Feb 2020 were exceptional based on our offer data

You can only control number 2 and so I would make sure that by early summer b/w 1st and 2nd year you have spent a TON of time on your story, deals, technicals etc. All of this assumes non urm ofcourse

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