Post-MBA Careers for Pre-MBA PE Associate from non HSW M7

It sucks always thinking two steps ahead... but I'm a pretty burnt out 2nd year IB analyst who's not super jazzed to join my MM PE shop over the summer because I know it will already be more of the same stuff. Hopefully the hours will be less and the work will be more interesting, but frankly I am not as interested in building models and doing diligence as I was when I got the PE job almost a year ago. Soo... all that being said, I have started thinking about what comes after the PE gig and I am heavily leaning towards doing an MBA. Given my background (MM IB --> LMM PE, excellent grades, excellent GMAT, great extracurriculars), H/S is a possibility but unlikely. Wharton is a coin-flip and hopefully the other M7s are 75%+ chances. So my question is for those coming from a PE background, but did not go to H/S/W, what was the "next-step" after doing the MBA?

IB? (JK LOL) Consulting? Mutual Fund? Hedge Fund? Corp Dev? Back to PE? 

Private Equity Interview Course

  • 2,447 questions - 203 PE funds. Crowdsourced from 750k+ members
  • 9 Detailed LBO Modeling Tests and 15+ hours of video solutions.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring private equity professionals just like you.

Comments (18)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jan 25, 2021 - 5:37pm

I was moreso asking about what pre-MBA PE people do after their MBA if they don't go to H/S/W.

But if you're asking, heres what I think I'll like at my PE shop: reading CIMs, understanding how businesses work/meeting management tams, doing SHORT memos/simple models (not super complicated with a ton of bells and whistles), portfolio management, hours when no deal work happens

What I don't think I'll like: Stress during live deals, hours during live deals, fear of getting numbers wrong, putting together huge decks, random NDA negotiation, constantly having to pressure 3rd parties to work faster, balancing multiple deals and portco management

Jan 25, 2021 - 6:10pm

Following - interesting topic that I have not seen covered.

I think another common option is growth/venture.  Those shops almost always have better hours, are great comp (generally not as high as traditional PE, though), and keep up the intellectual stimulation some love from PE.  This could not be as common as I think, so feedback welcome.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 25, 2021 - 10:08pm

Great suggestion but going to a reputable growth equity firm would be pretty hard unless you were at a top MF or UMM fund pre MBA. VC's even harder to transition to, at least at the fund's worth going to. AFAIK most people are going downstream or going to equivalent level funds after their MBA in the PE/GE/VC world. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 1:27pm

I generally agree with this.

My one potential caveat depends on the definition of "Reputable".  I think a growth or venture firm (or traditional PE for that matter) could still be very legit (good returns, smart people, high quality companies) without being reputable in the sense that it is well known.  I think less well known (but still quality) firms would recruit the candidates you describe, and I think these could be good gigs, though they would probably have to be vetted well.  I guess this is to say small, and therefore not reputable by most definitions, firms can be solid options post b school and would probably be interested in hiring someone with your background. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2021 - 2:20pm

You're definitely right that there are small VC firms that aren't well known but do well and have top notch people. Have known some people going to such firms and they've all enjoyed it. Although, I think it's quite difficult finding/getting into such firms and from what I've seen they're all top target and MBA (H/S) heavy.

  • VP in VC
Jan 26, 2021 - 1:47pm

VC is harder to transition to if you jump the classic job recruiting hurdles but if you go out of your way to spend two years building a strong sourcing pipeline, publishing novel (key word: novel) content about a subject that interests you (and ties into your pipeline) and start networking with VCs even before you start your MBA program, it will literally be a cake walk, because you will be doing the job before even starting the job.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 26, 2021 - 2:15pm

Not too many VC guys on this forum, I'd love to PM for personal questions but could you elaborate more on the process of "walking the walk" before you get into VC? Especially if your PE/IB gig is already based in SF?

Most Helpful
  • VP in VC
Jan 26, 2021 - 2:56pm

Let's say you're interested in "Infrastructure Saas". What you would do is read every primer available on it so that you know what everyone else knows. Then summarize it in essay form so you get in the habit of writing. Then you go research all the major companies in the space and know them in and out. What is Snowflake. What is Alteryx. You get people on the phone to talk to you about these things, because that's good practice - a lot of VC is talking to people. Then you start going to (currently virtual) meetups, building a network of founders. Talk to them about their business. Volunteer to help them with their pitch decks. Go to startup workshops. Ask for referrals. Make your own CRM, keep in touch with these people. Ask how they think about fundraising. Notice what they're doing and what problems they solve. Make market maps that you keep (of companies you want to keep secret), and make market maps of emerging trends with essays of novel topics that you publish weekly on Medium (the stuff you give away for free). After 2.5+ years of this you will have a perspective nobody else has, a network in the space, and founders who trust you to give referrals, and potentially raise from. There you go boom that's the job.

Jan 26, 2021 - 2:38pm

I ended up going into tech marketing and couldn't be happier with my decision. PE skillset isn't really that helpful for product, which is what I was originally gunning for, so unless you're an URM or covered tech vertical in investing, it will be a tough uphill battle.

I'd say of my peers with similar backgrounds, some stayed in investing either in PE or search funds, a couple went to MBB, a few went corp dev/strategy roles, and others went down the GM path.

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Jan 26, 2021 - 6:09pm

Was staying in pe less common than going down general management path route?

Jan 26, 2021 - 6:20pm

Libero minus ea laborum placeat consequuntur minus non. Ab consequatur delectus magnam molestiae earum est. Officia eligendi est iure. Doloremque sint ut et nulla ab ad sit.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Private Equity

  • Principal (7) $694
  • Director/MD (18) $575
  • Vice President (68) $367
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (68) $270
  • 2nd Year Associate (139) $254
  • 1st Year Associate (284) $219
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $159
  • 2nd Year Analyst (61) $135
  • 1st Year Analyst (185) $118
  • Intern/Summer Associate (20) $67
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (219) $59