"Peaking" too early?


I am currently interviewing for a top PE firm internship after my freshman year of college. I got it through a family-friend who I see at a golf club frequently. Our parents are friends but I knew him well enough to ask directly in person. He is an alum of my college and really tried to convince me to go there when I was deciding. Anyways, now that I have told my parents they are recommending I push back the internship to sophomore or maybe even junior year since they don't want me to "peak" too early.

I probably won't ever get a better internship so would it be better to wait until I am closer to full time recruiting so my experience is more relevant? btw, I don't want to start my career at this firm because people I trust recommend I start in IB before transitioning to buyside. 

Comments (17)

Most Helpful
Aug 28, 2020 - 2:40pm

If you have the opportunity to intern at a top PE firm, do it. 


Do it for the experience and the network. It will help you tremendously. 


"peaking early" is a term I've only seen used in professional sports. My advice would be to never say that out loud when discussing job opportunities with people. 


Good luck.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Aug 28, 2020 - 4:23pm

One of the weirder flexes I’ve seen lol. On a serious note, this is a great opportunity if you want to go into IB, so best of luck with interviewing

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 28, 2020 - 4:28pm

sorry, I don't mean it to be a flex- I don't even have the offer yet, just so we are clear. I have gotten very lucky so far and I'm not going to understate that... 

Aug 29, 2020 - 5:13am

Peaking early is a term we use for high-schoolers who never performed in their lives post-varsity football. Getting a top PE internship by whatever means is just setting yourself up for the future and can edge out other well-connected folks such as yourself by showing that you had the chops to cut it in a real internship - especially for banking, if this is a PE firm everyone knows then you can't really go wrong with starting early

Aug 29, 2020 - 2:12am

Take it. The sooner the better. Plus it'll give your CV more edge. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 29, 2020 - 3:26am

Was thinking along the same lines for an internship at a top hf/pe firm. Chose to do it freshman summer because junior SA recruiting happens before sophomore summer, so your freshman internship is your only work experience at the time. 

Sep 3, 2020 - 3:45pm

Having worked at firms that hired some rising sophomores and juniors (also having interned as a rising sophomore & junior), the biggest risk is making a bit of a fool out of yourself. Everyone will be forgiving but its really difficult to get any productivity vis a vis rising seniors. That said, I would take the internship and absorb as much as you can, at least on the soft stuff like corporate office culture.

2020 Update: recounting my experiences in PE and sharing thoughts on recent deals at https://leverup.substack.com
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Sep 13, 2020 - 11:24am

I feel like everyone else here is looking at your situation through their perspective which is that they would've wanted it earlier. There is no such thing as "peaking early" however there is a sort of career inertia you need to maintain. If you start working at top firms, but then one summer (later on) you get a lower-quality internship it will raise red flags with certain types of people. Now not saying that the red flags are warranted, but you'll be fighting an uphill battle with them. 

Sep 14, 2020 - 9:25pm
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