Reneging on PE offer to re-recruit for a different city?


I'm a first year at MBB in a West Coast office who went through PE recruiting in the fall and signed with a UMM fund in SF/LA. My long time SO just took a job in NYC, so I'd like to move to NYC within the next year or so, and the firm I signed with does not have a New York office. This means I wouldn't be able to start at the PE fund I signed with for summer 2020. Thus, I have a couple questions:

1) Since I went through the process with all the major headhunters and then informed them that I accepted my offer, will they even work with me during recruiting this time around?
2) If I recruit for PE in NYC this fall, what are the odds the west coast based firm I signed with will find out? Will they do anything to hurt my recruiting efforts if they do?

Thanks in advance!

Comments (8)

Most Helpful
May 14, 2019

"1) Since I went through the process with all the major headhunters and then informed them that I accepted my offer, will they even work with me during recruiting this time around?"

I would guess that they would still work with you except for the firm that landed you the offer you are reneging on. You're never going to hear from them again. FWIW, I didn't even renege on an offer, just turned one down, and never heard from that hh again.

"2) If I recruit for PE in NYC this fall, what are the odds the west coast based firm I signed with will find out? Will they do anything to hurt my recruiting efforts if they do?"

This isn't the right way to play it especially since it sounds like you have no intention of being on the west coast anyway. The right play is to call up the firm and let them know that your fiance (fuck it, white lie) is moving to NYC so despite your prior commitment, you're really apologetic but want to be with her as circumstances have changed. You're letting them know so that they still have 12+ months to get their shit in order for 2020. No one can accuse you of being a weasel if you do it this way.

On a semi-related note, did your GF talk to you before taking a job in NYC? Or about you going with her vs. LDR? PE roles aren't exactly easy to get, so if you guys never talked about this, that is pretty worrying. If you did talk about it, how exactly did you come to the conclusion that what made the most sense for you as a couple would be for you to give up a role you have worked very hard for (and already committed to). It just seems very odd for your GF to be interviewing in NYC when she knows you made another commitment ("I know my BF is gonna be in SF next year but fuck it, lemme see what's up across the country in NY" - what does that really say about how she views you and your relationship?)

    • 6
May 16, 2019

Thanks for the response!

May 14, 2019

From my limited knowledge, it's incredibly difficult for even top west-coast banking groups (save maybe MoCo LA) to recruit for NYC PE. Since on-cycle is over, I really doubt you can move to a comparable firm and will likely have to settle for LMM PE or possibly nothing.

I'd really think twice about reneging this position if PE is your long-term goal.

Why can't she move over btw (or why did she accept the NYC job in the first place)? Judging by your post she already knew you were working on the WC and knew about your PE offer.

May 15, 2019

Appreciate the responses so far. To add clarity, my GF also works in finance, and will be joining a top NYC HF (we're a similar age but I took some time off to do service before joining the work force) - where she'll be making more than my PE offer. She did not get a similar West Coast offer. Since we both work in finance, the move to NYC seems to make sense at some point.

When I was going through PE recruiting this fall, there were a number of high quality NYC firms recruiting 2nd years to start this summer, so I had assumed that would be the case this time around as well. My thinking was recruit for NYC PE this fall to see if I get a similar offer, and if I don't then probably stay in SF/LA for 3 more years doing distance until business school at an HBS/Wharton/Columbia. Thus, I don't want the firm I'm currently signed with to find out I'm recruiting this fall in the case I don't get a good NYC offer and would prefer to stay with them. Am I playing with too much fire here though?

May 17, 2019

This is a tough, and I was going to ask the same question - "whats up with your gf?", but this makes much more sense now.

If it were me, I'd be trying for NYC, but leaving LA/SF in the dark for the time being. The risk of ending up with no job is real. Don't put yourself in that position, even if takes a bit of hiding the truth for awhile. Do what's best for you.

May 16, 2019

Trying not to give an opinion, but provide some color from first hand experience: I would be really surprised if the firm you have an offer at found out. In my experience, folks care a ton about recruiting for about 2 weeks, then forget the people they gave offers to exist until they show up (sometimes longer!). Folks I work with aren't exactly calling up their friends at other firms and bragging about the 22 year-olds they just hired (and even if they are, there is no chance the person on the other end of the phone is remembering these kids' names).

Further, since you can box off the risk of your resume landing back at the firm you have an offer at by (1) being very clear you DO NOT want west coast looks, only NY looks and (2) using different head hunters, I'd say there is a low probability your hopefully-not-future firm finds out.

Finally, in the worst case scenario where the firm you have an offer at finds out and asks you, just play dumb and blame it on a recruiter error ("Huh, that's odd - that would explain the couple of emails I got trying to set up interviews. Maybe someone else in this cohort has the same name as me?")

Hope that's helpful - I fully understand and sympathize with the dilemma you are in and the risks you are weighing.

    • 2
May 19, 2019

I know someone who was in a similar position, recruiting from west coast to NYC. My 0.02:

The headhunters will work with you. You're a desirable candidate in their eyes - performed well enough in his first year to receive a strong offer, and is now more experienced and mature.

The reputable headhunters won't leak to your current PE firm. Tell them that you are looking for exclusively NYC and that you will fly out the second interviews kick off, and remind them as the process is ramping up. They should loop you in to book travel once they feel it starting.

When you interview, have the headhunter communicate the situation to the PE firm, or don't mention it at all. I would not bring up your other offer when you interview with investment professionals. Networks are too connected, so there is a real chance that it will leak. If someone was reneging on my firm and my buddy interviewed them and knew, I would expect a text.

There are enough blue chip PE shops interviewing for summer 2020 starts. You should get good interview opportunities and will have a leg up having gone through the process once before.

Best of luck.

May 21, 2019