Private Equity Associate: 15 Things I Wish I Knew

jm28's picture
Rank: Baboon | 126

To mirror what I found to be one of the most helpful discussions on this site for IB analysts, what are some things you wish you knew before showing up Day 1 as a PE associate fresh out of IB?

Comments (11)

Most Helpful
Aug 21, 2018

A lot of my advice would be generic / applicable to any new job.

1) Be cautious in the beginning; make good impression and be friendly, but learn the political lay of the land

2) Don't overspeak in the beginning - learn the culture and the players first

3) Work especially hard for the people that matter

4) Be polite and make an extra effort with the secretaries, support staff and other teams

(PE Specific)

5) Try to think strategically about businesses - rather than just processing. Pay attention to the questions your seniors ask and try to understand why

6) Learn from everyone. If your boss is terrible with numbers but makes it rain sourcing, try to pick up on his skills there, and vica versa

    • 2
Aug 27, 2018

+1. Thanks for sharing how important becoming acclimated to the new political landscape will be. I'm sure a little patience will go a long way and can imagine that some associates come in overeager to show how much they think they know only to end up with a foot in their mouth. Also agree that, aside from it being the right thing to do, #4 does not go unnoticed.

For #6, I was curious -- how is it even possible for your boss to have gotten to the senior level if he or she is "terrible with numbers"? Or were you just implying that his value add (and what you should try to takeaway from his skillset) is more relationships relative to more quantitative analysis?


Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

At the pre-mba level, probably 23 to 26 (no different than any other fund).

Aug 27, 2018

Is it more difficult to go pre-mba or post-mba?

Aug 27, 2018

If you're passionate about PE investing and you land at a good firm, your two years as an associate will be tittilating. If you're a yale libarts guy who followed the yellow brick road into the wrong neighborhood, you'll complain about the work and call it banking 2.0.

Aug 27, 2018

I hated banking and love my PE job now.

Yes you will be doing grunt work, but your grunt work is no longer changing colors on your pie charts from blue to lime green at your MD's pleasure.

Grunt work in PE shifts to writing memos, internal docs, reading employment contracts for the 200th time, yes they suck, but at least you are using your brain rather than manual labor like banking.

Aug 27, 2018