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 (33)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in PE - Growth
Jun 8, 2020 - 9:29pm

Thanks for doing this. Have a couple of questions regarding career trajectory in GE and knowledge/skills needed to excel and grow.

1) What drove you towards GE and how did you make the transition to GE with a levfin/MM PE background?

2) Apart from prior experience, a strong drive and passion for GE, what are some skills and qualities that you look for in Analysts and Associates (when looking at candidates as well as current juniors trying to climb the ladder)?

3) How important is it to have an MBA to grow your career in VC/GE if you already have a IB/PE background and how does this differ at MF/UMM/MM levels?

4) It's well-established on this forum that moving up-market (LMM -> MM -> UMM -> MF) is quite difficult in PE as transaction sizes/level of DD/deal work and other processes differ vastly. Since MM/UMM/MF GEs focus on the same type/size of transactions ($20M Series A, $40M series B, etc..), is it just as challenging as PE to move up-market in GE? If possible, how would you suggest one to make a strong case for himself/herself?

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 9, 2020 - 1:31pm

Okay, I will admit that my moves weren't quite as intentional with GE in mind as end goal. I knew from lev fin I wanted to invest in something credit oriented rather than straight buyout. In my junior capital investing experience, I was doing mezz and pref, and liked the idea of coupling downside protection in structure with the equity ups (I am a very risk averse personally, and my money goes into these funds, too, plus carry so I wanted to invest where I believed I'd get a good risk adjusted return). For me, I had the skills around credit analysis already and the ability to think about relval. that's all that really mattered.

best skills for me in interviews - I expect you to have technicals down esp if you're coming from a bank (some people don't and can't answer basic NWC questions or think about valuation). I am looking for is intuition, experience modeling different structures, and drive - my roles have always had sourcing, underwriting, and portfolio management components. Do you have the ability to balance those?

apologize if this last piece isn't that helpful, but I was not in a traditional growth equity role, but if you're an analyst or associate, I don't think you need to stay locked into a market if you have the analytical skill set.

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
Jun 9, 2020 - 4:41pm

maybe i am just ignorant but i think thats wild that an associate whos interviewing from a bank doesnt have NWC or basic valuation technicals down going into an interview.

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 9, 2020 - 1:35pm

re: MBA, my teams have always been mixed bag. some firms require it to get to VP level, but I didn't want one given business undergrad (and never applied to any institutions that required). I think of MBA as helpful only if pivoting massively... or if you want to take an expensive break.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 8, 2020 - 9:31pm

Not in this situation but would love to hear your response - you're on track to receive carry from multiple funds for the next 5-7 years as a VP but you start to notice a lot more insensitivity towards women at work and strong male representation in senior-level making it further difficult to climb up the ladder and lead change. Would you sacrifice your future million dollar earnings to lateral and settle for something smaller (if you are fortunate to have an offer from a less attractive and low-performing fund) where you would have more respect/better work culture or would you go on so as to not compromise on future earnings and use the help of HR/Legal teams to pave your way to a senior-level position to drive change?

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 9, 2020 - 1:44pm

I can give you my personal opinion. obviously given industry, money is important to all of us. I have a very low tolerance for BS though, and I would always rather have a better culture and lower pay. that's why I'm not one of the people on here who did BB -> large buyout -> whatever.

you can try to make a difference, but HR and mentors cannot fix systemic issues (at least not within your employment/life). ultimately, if you want to have a family or a life or basic respect and your institution isn't making that possible, you can try fighting or you can give up a little $ for happiness. Your choice if you have the will to fight. not everyone does.

that's just the compromise women have to make.

Jun 9, 2020 - 8:20pm

One more - thank you again for your time! Can you talk a bit about your transition from a mezz fund to growth equity? Eg. once you went to a mezz fund and decided you wanted to work in a different product, wasn't the credit background "sticky"? Would imagine the growth equity role has more of an operational component / different risk profile, so would love to hear about the transition, how hard it was, how you framed during interviews, etc.

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 9, 2020 - 8:30pm

again my role was different as it was late stage / structured preferred rather than clean 1x series b deals. BUT. my mezz background gave me a leg up structure wise - I knew docs and minority rights and weird ways to structure deals better than others joining my team. preferred equity is still a hybrid security and so you do need a component of credit thinking to understand how to underwrite and value that risk and also how to think about waterfalls in an exit.

Jun 9, 2020 - 8:48pm

Thank you very much for such a quick reply, and that's great to hear! Could you please touch a bit on how you found your next gig? Curious on what job market liquidity looks like at "pre-MBA" assoc -> VP level, think a lot of us just entering the buyside could benefit from hearing what our options are, especially across industries / the cap stack.

Thanks again!

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 10, 2020 - 11:32pm

I'm working at a LMM tech buyout shop that invests in profitable, typically bootstrapped tech companies but we are doing more minority deals now due to COVID.

What is the biggest difference in staying at my current role vs. going to a GE firm? Do you ever do buyouts and is it typically minoritiy investments and more dealing with cap tables/structure and growth to get the returns? More sourcing I imagine too at the associate level?

Any insight would be helpful as I am trying to figure if this stage of investment is something I want to stay at in the future.

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 11, 2020 - 12:40am

I did minority deals only, both in my former junior cap role and in GE. I just was never a buyouts gal.

i would expect minority deals as the norm, lots of unique structuring discussions as you get into later stage businesses, and yes, more sourcing at the associate level. you'll most likely have an ever growing cold call list and meeting setup quotas.

I ended up looking at techier, more recurring rev businesses vs prior role, and I spent less time with cash flow modeling and more time on unit economics, valuation, and steady state

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 11, 2020 - 1:02am

Thanks! Do you feel like this is a role you will stay in long-term or will look for something else in the future?

Do you feel imposter syndrome at your current job or are you familiar and more confident in your career now?

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Jun 11, 2020 - 12:35am

What doors do Associate and VP level positions at Growth Equity firms open? Not looking to enter Growth Equity for the exit opps per se just more curious what my options would be if I decide to leave the industry or what cool things peers have gone on to. Thanks in advance!

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 11, 2020 - 1:01am

people I know who have left the industry usually go on to startups / growth stage businesses for financial suite or biz dev roles. I know a lot of people who just stay and move between funds.

  • VP in PE - Growth
Jun 11, 2020 - 1:15am

can't speak for other firms, but both of my buyside employers hired exclusively folks with IB backgrounds for associate roles.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

August 2021 Private Equity

  • Principal (7) $694
  • Director/MD (18) $575
  • Vice President (66) $368
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (68) $270
  • 2nd Year Associate (137) $254
  • 1st Year Associate (276) $224
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (25) $160
  • 2nd Year Analyst (61) $135
  • 1st Year Analyst (177) $118
  • Intern/Summer Associate (19) $70
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (210) $59