Q&A: Non-target UG to MM IB to $8bn+ UMM Buyout Fund

Been a lurker here for awhile and always found these threads helpful. So I don't give my identity away I won't go into anymore personal details than the following. Went to an SEC school (not Vandy) - only had a 3.7 GPA Worked at a middle market IB for a few years (i.e, Baird, Jefferies, Harris Williams, William Blair etc.) Networked and was able to get off-cycle with a PE firm whose latest fund is $8bn+ and been there for just over a year Feel free to ask me about my experiences or any advice if helpful. I won't name specific industries I've worked or currently work in, but will try to share as much as I can.

Comments (18)

Oct 27, 2019 - 2:49pm

I got the job in the spring of my second year. At the time I had an offer to stay on as a third year. I was pretty upfront with my bank and told them about my offer. They understood what a good opportunity it was and let me finish out my second year.

Oct 27, 2019 - 2:52pm

It's your typical LBO shop. Pre-MBA associates don't get carry, but the post-MBA senior associates do get carry. Not sure how many bps they get, but it's my understanding they have some. Comp is what you'd expect. Think $120k - $140k base plus a bonus that is a little smaller than your base.

Oct 27, 2019 - 2:57pm

I certainly tried to network with the recruiters, but I found them to be no help whatsoever. I got this job through networking with the PE fund directly. If you work at a bulge bracket and/or went to a target school then I think you'll have a lot of success going through the recruiters, but if not then you shouldn't rely on them. You could be a great candidate with a lot of deal experience, but the recruiters are always going to push the kids with better logos on their resumes. Just my opinion based off my experience.

Oct 25, 2019 - 3:29pm

Thank you for taking the time to do this. How much of a factor was your undergraduate GPA in the buy side recruiting process?

Oct 27, 2019 - 2:59pm

It never came up. If it did I would have been prepared to answer it. I never got below a 3.9 my last two years when my classes were harder. I was just a little immature my first couple years of college and became more focused my last few years.

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Oct 25, 2019 - 5:10pm

What was your process of networking like? From everything I've read, it sounds like networking usually takes a back seat to recruiters for PE recruiting (curious on your take). Was it similar to breaking into banking (cold-emailing random PE guys at desired funds, talking about experience, etc etc?)? Did you feel that being at a MM shop was a disadvantage to break into UMM PE? If so, how did you compensate?

Sorry for all the questions, very much appreciate your help!

Oct 27, 2019 - 3:12pm

As I alluded to in my previous post, I did go through recruiters but found them to be no help. I networked directly with this fund. I would encourage you to find 2 or 3 funds that you would want to work at and do whatever you can to get introduced to as many people at those funds. Stay in touch with them every 3 months or so. Have a good story about why you would be a good fit and pray they remember you when they want to make a hire. Them going into their own rolodex will save them money from going through recruiters too and a proprietary candidate imo is a stronger candidate than a resume from a recruiter. Plus hiring a kid who has been begging to interview at their fund specifically will make you stand out vs. kid that the recruiter is hyping.

Working at MM shop imo is only a disadvantage when going through recruiters, bc they'll prioritize the kids with better logos (again all my opinion). PE professionals don't care if you worked at GS or Baird or went to Harvard or Boston College. They care if you're smart, humble, easy to talk to and someone they could work with 12+ hours a day. Obviously, if there's two equal candidates they'll probably choose the kid that went to Harvard over BC.

Oct 27, 2019 - 4:42pm

How did you make the selection of type of fund you wanted to target/work for? Similar industry from what you did in banking or completely different?

In essence, what drew you to the type of fund you targetted? And also, how did you prepare for interviews/modeling test?

Oct 27, 2019 - 5:53pm

I didn't want to work in NYC. So I picked the 2 or 3 biggest funds in the city I wanted to work in. I knew I didn't want to work at a lower MM or MM fund - only UMM or MF. The fund I work at now primarily invests in much different verticals than the industry I worked at in banking.

I had to do a mini-lbo in an hour and a half the day of my interview. I had some good modeling experience in banking so felt I was prepared for that aspect. Also supplemented my experience with the typical WSO materials.

Oct 27, 2019 - 11:49pm

Also in MM IB and considering buyside. What made you want to leave to go into PE? Did you recruit as a first year or second year? Also, can you shed some light on comp - because I've heard when you go buyside, you stay on an analyst salary/bonus and give up the associate salary/bonus. Thanks!

Oct 28, 2019 - 8:52am

Thanks for the AMA

Curious as to what your hours are like compared to IB?

Maybe not relevant but I saw you mention Comp at your fund wanted to frame that against IB. heard MM sometimes pay as much as street or sometimes better.

Mind sharing a few data points on what Comp was like for the analyst and associate level?

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