Should I leave PE after a month and go back to my MBB?


Just started my Associate gig at a PE fund on the west coast. Before that I did two years at MBB where I was a top performer. For context, I've also been admitted to the Deferred Admissions program at Stanford GSB so I already have B School locked down.

To be honest, I'm not loving the new job. I think I underestimated the stress of PE in general, specifically being staffed on multiple things at the same time vs. just focused on one project in consulting. I also miss the team culture/environment of my MBB, as PE feels much more like a lone wolf type role. I'm performing well to date, (as well as you can a month in, but I've been getting praise from MD's) but I'm pretty sure this isn't something I want to do long term. Looking ahead at the next role, my VP is up at 2am answering my emails and combined with the stress and the lack of team component that's not a lifestyle I really want.

On the flip side, I really loved my MBB and it was tough to leave. I was top rated in my class, genuinely enjoyed the experience, and they would love to have me back. If I go back for one more year they'll pay for my MBA, and I could see myself progressing beyond my two year commitment on the back end because I like the way the consulting role changes as you progress.

My real question is: Should I go back already? On the one hand I'm only one month into PE, so it's really early to make that decision. Plus, it's just a difficult situation to explain away in the future. On the other, if I know I don't want to do this job for more than 2 years and I can go back to a top tier firm that will pay for my MBA and offer me the opportunity to advance doing work I know I enjoy, shouldn't I just do that now?

Many thanks in advance!

Comments (51)

Sep 10, 2020 - 9:44am

A few things to consider:


1. one month into a job is not enough time to truly evaluate anything.You'll need at least 6-12 months.

2. What is it about the job you don't like? Is it purely the "stress"? I understand some ppl value WLB more than others but perhaps it's just part of getting up to speed. I came from IB but I imagine coming from consulting, it's a little harder to get up to speed on DD, process, valuation, modeling, etc. Further, maybe you need a bigger fund with more junior folks.

3. Why did you originally want to do PE and what aspects are you not getting?

4. If you leave a PE job within a month (or even 6), it will likely be tough to get back into PE at any point. You will need a very good reason besides "I didn't like it then but I do now". Funds are generally limited headcount wise and the upper level folks don't want to get someone up to speed then have them immediately leave. 

5. On the flip side, you were at MBB and admitted to Stanford so you're obviously a pretty intelligent and hard working individual. No matter what you do, Stanford will be a great resource for pretty much anything. 


  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 10, 2020 - 10:13am

Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

1. Pretty much agreed here. I think it's better to stay 6-12 months to have to really evaluate it, but if I then go back to consulting I'll have effectively delayed a year of trajectory. Probably not the worst thing though.

2. It's mainly two things: a) I miss the team aspect of consulting where you have lots of internal check-ins and a general sense of camaraderie. I feel pretty isolated as a lone wolf in my job now, which is probably exacerbated by WFH. b) being on multiple projects at the same time with different VPs who all want priority is stressful vs. one project in consulting with one Project Leader.

3. It's hitting everything I thought it would, I'm just really not liking points a) and b) above.

4. Fair, but I don't think I want to do investing long term. I'd either want to stay in consulting, or take an operating role at a growth-stage company.

5. Thank you. I think you're right it probably makes the most "sense" to stick it out and see how I feel in 6 months, but just don't want to stay in a job I don't like when I know I have another great job I loved that I could go back to.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 10, 2020 - 1:15pm

OP - I had typed out a long response but it might be better suited to a PM. I am in a very, very similar boat. Would you please PM me?


For the sake of public contribution I'll add this: the remote start has been hard, and it is difficult to develop relationships in a purely digital environment to the point where you feel comfortable with spontaneous non-job related conversation with fellow Associates. Sometimes I wonder if I miss the case team environment and camaraderie, and sometimes I wonder if the remote start is simply making me feel lonely. This job takes up many waking hours (if not all), and one of the axes along which I evaluate career fit is whether or not a job meets social needs for me. At the moment it is not doing that the way that consulting did, for one reason or another. 

Sep 29, 2020 - 6:19pm

Working on multiple deals / engagements is part of progressing your career. Even at MBB, as you get promoted up the ranks you will have increasingly more engagements under your direction that will require prioritization of your time and resources. That's how you increase your leverage and value to the organization. In PE / banking, you tend to see that earlier in your career. This may be uncomfortable, but in any service-based industry (consulting and asset management are both service-based industries), having the ability to work on multiple things at once is critical. Otherwise, you will become known as an "execution guy/gal" that can't be burdened with more than one thing at a time (feel that glass ceiling on the top of your head?). 

-- sm
Sep 10, 2020 - 11:19am

I disagree that a month is not enough. You can’t tell if you’ll love a job in the first month, but you can be pretty damn sure you’ll hate it sooner than a month, because of various reasons, most common being the lifestyle isn’t right, you don’t like the colleagues or you find the tasks meaningless.

Honestly OP, tons of people will tell you not to leave, but life is too short. If I were you I’d not quit in an instant, but tell them your plans and start lining up options accordingly. I think it's much better than tell them 2 months after joining that you have a new job. You might be more careful about disclosure if you just really need the money, but even then I highly doubt they’ll kick you out the moment you tell them. They already must think highly of you and will try to make that transition happen on good terms. I don’t know your situation, but perhaps you want to be more on the ops side of things? Maybe the firm can make it happen and you could work on portfolio co's while you line up your next thing. Who knows, you might even enjoy it!  

I know a few people who quit traditional PE to pursue startups or a career in public markets or at an LP and all of them without an exception are happy with that choice. Especially, given your situation with b-school and how early you are in life and assuming have no major financial responsibilities, you should be working towards a life & career that works for you rather than checking boxes and living someone else’s dreams and expectations. Feel free to PM if you want to talk more.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Sep 11, 2020 - 9:45pm

Second dad hated a job but wanted a few years before leaving. Never left and has been miserable for 20+ years


Sep 24, 2020 - 1:38am

A month may be too short. I quit PE after ~6 months, but was thinking of leaving for the ~4 months leading up to that.

From the get go, the firm was not a good fit, and it confirmed for me that I don't want to do PE.

Every person and situation is different. Also sounds like there's some covid weirdness mixed in.

If a month in, you TRULY don't see it ever working, I say pull the plug. #YOLO and although not so long in the grand scheme, a miserable year or two is still quite miserable... anyways just my $0.02

Sep 10, 2020 - 12:01pm

One thing that's not being mentioned: from a resume perspective, if you leave immediately you can probably pretend your time at MBB was continuous instead of a short hop away which just looks awkward

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 10, 2020 - 1:26pm

This is one thing contributing to the idea that leaving now may be better, since I left my last job in August and it's still September so the gap would be non-existent. If I leave in 4 months the gap will look weird.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Sep 10, 2020 - 1:37pm

Feel the same way about IB. About a month into my gig and hate it


Most Helpful
  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Event
Sep 10, 2020 - 2:49pm

I would encourage you to try to stick it out for at least six months before pulling the plug. I don't know a single person who has gotten fully up to speed on a new job within the first 3 months, let alone the first. It is probably closer to a full year before one starts to really gel with the team and process. As others have mentioned, starting remote is tough especially when coming from a more team-oriented setting. So, you have that challenge to deal with, but an additional challenge of going from MBB to PE. I really don't blame you for not liking it! You are clearly a smart guy and a hard worker, or you wouldn't be in the position you are in. The fact you are confident you can quickly walk back to your old team speaks to the quality of your work and how highly they value you. I doubt you'd mind answering 2am e-mails if it was for your old job, but correct me if I'm wrong. Working on something you really enjoy and feel confident with can make all the difference when it comes to long hours. If you decide to leave now, the fact is, your current employer will be pretty upset. I'm sure out of politeness they will try to make your transition as painless as possible, but they won't be happy with you. I suspect your MBB employer will also be suspect as to why you only lasted a month as well, even if they are fully willing to take you back on. Side note, I have seen the "we're happy to take you back" offer from an old employer blow up before. When put on the spot, these places always seem to be at capacity or just don't have the need at the moment. Successful cases of that have been with folks who communicated to the old firm they were thinking about coming back ahead of time and it was a more organic process while they were still working at their old job. This is probably something you would bring up with your old contacts once you're 6 months - 1 year on the job. You don't want them to view you as damaged goods from PE or someone who couldn't hack it (no matter how you frame it to them in the moment, this is how a quick return will look). You want to give off the impression that you crushed it at your PE job, and could continue crushing it going forward, but you really feel your interests are better aligned with a career-oriented MBB role. It would be icing on the cake if you learned a few tricks, or made some contacts, in PE that you could port back to MBB to add value at a more senior level. 

I hope that perspective is helpful. For what it's worth, I suspect your initial post has some level of emotion baked into it. It might be hard with your schedule, but finding some time to unwind and work out, go for a walk, or socialize to the extent that you can would likely go a long way. 

  • Prospect in Other
Sep 10, 2020 - 3:46pm

If your fund has an operating group, then it might be worthwhile looking at transferring there instead of going back to MBB. 

Sep 10, 2020 - 5:25pm

Honestly I think you should try to stick it out for at least a year. I completely get that it's a tough environment right now and you're not enjoying yourself but I think things will improve meaningfully once you a) get used to managing multiple deals at once; and b) get to see your colleagues face-to-face. If you decide PE isn't for you, it's a much cleaner story if you move back later and, more importantly, you'll have picked up some valuable skills along the way. At the very least you'll have insight into how investors think about prospective investments and the unique challenge PE portcos face. Moreover you'll have a very solid modeling and transactional toolkit which will be invaluable if you ever decide to jump over to growth-stage company. 

Sep 10, 2020 - 5:37pm

If you're only a month in and already hate it, hate to break it to you but it's not going to get better. Agree with earlier comments that it generally takes 6-12 months to see how you feel about something but think that's true if you're on the fence or considering it as a long-term career - not for someone who is disliking the experience to start.

As far as explaining the decision, unless you're interviewing for another PE fund post-MBA nobody will give AF (esp given what's going on in the world today). I feel like we overestimate how much of a difference quitting will make early in our career, one of the analysts in my banking class quit 6 weeks in and landed on his feet / is at Wharton getting his MBA now. The only reason to stick it out in PE would be the paycheck which is a non-issue since your MBB paying for bschool negates that, or if you want to go to PE post-mba or a HF role, neither of which seems to be the case. If you're miserable get out - you won't regret it. 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 10, 2020 - 7:39pm

These are all incredibly helpful comments. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, I really appreciate it. To summarize I guess I would say I don't hate it, I just don't really love it like I did my last job. When I look objectively I think that's driven by a few factors: a) Ramping up while WFH is hard. Without the opportunity to bond face-to-face with co-workers and easily walk to someone's desk to ask a question, I'm feeling a bit isolated. b) Managing multiple deals at the same time is stressful and a test of my prioritization / time management skills. c) I'm not as good or quick or in the job as I was in my last job, which is eating at my confidence and therefore my enthusiasm coming out of great reviews in consulting. 

I would say a) really has little to do with PE specifically, and c) is something I would face in any new job, so it's really only b) that's structural to PE at the moment. I like the actual work (especially the market work, the modeling I'm struggling with a confidence issue) and I don't HATE it, so I think I'm going to stick it out for now and re-evaluate in 6 months.

Sep 14, 2020 - 3:52am

c) ("feeling not as good") is actually a good thing. It means you are out of your comfort zone and growing a new set of skills. I understand it doesn't feel great going from being a superstar in your old firm to being an average junior in a very competitive industry. But this really means you are being challenged - and it's good for your long term growth. You're developing new strengths that you didn't need in consulting: multi-tasking, managing priorities, modelling, working on your confidence, "thinking like an investor". All these strengths + the analytical framework you developed as a consultant should open a lot of doors for you somewhere down the road

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2020 - 12:30am

Seems like you enjoy the work but don't enjoy the late nights and overstaffing, with wfh further exacerbating these problems as you aren't really able to interact with your coworkers. A lot of PE funds will be similar to your current fund but there's definitely some out there that have a more favorable work-life balance and are more relaxed with a more collegial work environment.. However, it seems like you're really passionate about consulting so it might be better for your career and inner self if you continue down that path. I'd probably stay 6 months and then go back to MBB or join an impact fund (either something like the IFC or an independent one) where the hours are better.

Sep 11, 2020 - 12:40am

OP, it sounds like you've more or less figured out the next few months, so I won't belabor any points that have already been made. Also agree with your decision and most others that sticking it out a little longer is a good thing.

I will say that regardless if you like/dislike PE as a career, there is a lot that can be learned professionally from the experience, especially if you're not at a PE firm where most of your life is being an excel or ppt jockey. While I've never worked in consulting, I tend to think strategy consultants are more creative and out of box thinkers (isn't this what MBB looks for and trains to develop?), which are very important qualities to be a successful professional and certainly a senior operator. But, as a consultant, you're never going to have a comprehensive view of a business, all of its inner workings, challenges, opportunities, priorities, etc. It's not your job to. But as the PE firm, particularly if one that allows Associates to get visibility into managing portfolio companies, will give you a glimpse into that world which is really important exposure. Without having the full picture, it's hard to appreciate how changes in one side of the business, will affect other parts of the business or many other parts of the business.

As an example, maybe a consultant will tell me, as the Chief Revenue Officer, that I should spend more in marketing. But to do that, I'd have to ask the CFO to make room for the extra spend otherwise the company won't hit its budgeted profits for the year. That might mean having to cut spend some in R&D, which could mean limiting innovation long term. It certainly doesn't have to be logical or meritocratic either. Let's say as a consultant, you tell the CFO that this division is unprofitable and there should be layoffs to make it profitable. What you might not appreciate unless you've seen it happen before (unlikely as a newer consultant), is the head of that division also for whatever reason, has a lot of political power with the CEO. And forcing the head of that division to fire people he/she cares about could mean him/her retaliating by talking poorly about the CFO, which the CEO will take into consideration and could eventually lead firing the CFO who is actually very competent. Those were completely made up, but I'm positive some variation has occurred in real life. There are an infinite number of examples of how a decision can unexpectedly impact many parts of the business. PE can really open your eyes up to that, in a way consulting just can't, and that understanding is incredibly valuable. If anything, it just conditions you to think about as many potential consequences as possible. And you'll of course learn all the finance stuff as you'd expect from a PE job.

The underlying point is actually this. Early on in your career, its easy to think sticking to the same job (or type of job) will accelerate your career achievements, so don't waste time being sidetracked. But the truth is, detours can actually exponentially accelerate your career in ways you can't even appreciate until you've gone through it. Since you're already in the seat and already have b-school as something to look forward to, might as well soak up what you can in PE while you're there. After all, careers really are marathons than sprints. A strong head start doesn't mean you'll finish first, and certainly won't guarantee having a fulfilling career.

Sep 11, 2020 - 10:25am

Several things:

1) PE has a huge amount of variance, firm to firm. This differs from consulting or IBD, where there is a greater similarity firm to firm. Working for a MM PE shop is totally different than a megafund. Working for one industry may differ dramatically to another. Clearly it had occurred to you to move to the buy side, so you have some attraction there.  Therefore, while this particular firm may not be a fit, you may at some point want to be on the buy side in the future. You may end up wanting to look at HFs or VC in the future. While coming in from MBB back to the buy side is always going to be an option, you'll be better positioned for such a transition after a year or two.  Hence, sticking it out for a little longer is good for your CV, with a long-run view to keep buy side options open.

2) As is mentioned above, every new job has things to learn. If you get the chance to try a new function or industry, you should embrace that opportunity, if only to pick up a new set of skills. You will not get that chance so easily in the future. In my own case, I had previously been in an ibanking rotation program (S&T, ECM, ER, REPE, PE) and I jerked out early to go to PE.  It was a dumb move. I was so sure I'd love PE that I failed to realize I was being given a chance to learn new things. That seemingly irrelevant S&T role would impart sales skills. The ER experience would have imparted skills evaluating public equities. Even if you do not end up doing PE long-term, that experience WILL serve you well. One day you may be consulting to PE firms, and will be a better consultant having spent time in their shoes. Do not underestimate the opportunity to learn from this new role, even if pain is involved in the learning.

3) You can shape your new job. Have a heart to heart with your VP and company about expectations and your preferred work style. Stop responding to emails after midnight. Limit your weekend responses to critical matters. Try to set limits with your employer.  Try to get staffed on activities you think are more to your liking.  Turn this unpleasant employment experience into something more enjoyable by shaping it.


  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 13, 2020 - 5:11pm

I think this is really good advice under point 3. I just started ~7 weeks ago and while obviously this job is incredibly difficult, I enjoy what I am doing.

However, what kills me is the random requests that come in on the weekend, and, as someone who just started, I feel the need to drop everything and respond. I can’t go and enjoy lunch or go do something on Saturday afternoon because I just live in constant fear of something coming out of nowhere. On nights where I’d get off early and try and get some sleep (go to bed at 10), id set alarms at 1am just to check if emails came through. I feel like it’s just not sustainable.

Part of me thinks that this is sort of a WFH issue, as you are always technically “in the office” and expected to respond to things. It sucks because I really like the work and could see myself trying to do this long term, but I can already tell the lifestyle at a MF is just not for me. I would love to find more of a lifestyle shop (if it exists), as I value my personal life and can’t imagine being a 30-year old VP with a family and kids responding to emails at 2am on a Thursday for literally no reason.

Sep 29, 2020 - 6:29pm

This is a culture point that may be specific to your fund and not PE in general. If putting your phone on 'do not disturb' at night is not acceptable and you are required to be on 24/7, that may not be a very good culture fit for you (or anyone who doesn't eat/sleep/breathe work). But rather than giving up a month or two in, think about ways that you can create barriers between work and life. Try to make it sustainable rather than enduring the pain. I guarantee you will learn through the process, and if you still hate it or get bad reviews, you've got GSB off ramp on the horizon. Don't fret, you are doing great.

-- sm
Sep 11, 2020 - 12:28pm

I came from MBB as well to a MM PE firm. I get what you're saying about missing the team environment and the feeling of always being in a teamroom, the constant team dinners, the feeling of problem solving together for 3-4 hrs a day with your team and clients. I felt the same way when I first started in PE as well - it is way more lonely of a role. Hours spent reading CIMs on your own, building a model on your own, conducting DD analyses on your own, thinking about questions for mgmt on your own etc. Obviously you're doing these things in "collaboration" with your VP, etc. (as in you get feedback and iterate), but yes, only a former MBB consultant would understand that this is a far cry from the camaraderie and teamwork that existed at MBB. 

I would say - stick it out for another 3-4 months until the end of the year. See if your feelings change once you get staffed onto a deal that goes the distance. That got me really excited, but it didn't really happen for me until like 7 months into my role (obviously had some deals that went to mgmt meetings, etc. but not all the way until through to LOI). If you find that you still don't like the job by then, I recommend you head back to MBB. A six month stint at a PE firm is easily explainable, and frankly if you want to become a partner at MBB, it won't matter that you only stayed 6 months. Just give your team a 1 month heads-up before you leave, and make sure you keep it diplomatic. Explain why you haven't found the job to be a good fit for you, but that you want to leave on the best of terms. Good luck!

Sep 12, 2020 - 4:58pm

When I read this I get so jealous.  I had so much wanted to be in consulting, both out of undergrad and MBA. I wanted that collegial workroom environment, group work, problem solving and variance of work. I got close on several occasions out of undergrad but was unable to clinch it. Pity. I can see why OP might dislike PE work, if consulting really is delivering such an experience. PE is often socially isolating, modeling for hours, reading docs, and ultimately has a lot of repetition. And that’s under the best of circumstances. Not answering the OPs question here, just musing on the differences.  

I guess my key question is how long the MBB will keep the job open for you? If that window is closing then go back. If the job is open for a while then keep gaining PE experience even if you know you won’t ultimately make that a career. 

  • Analyst 2 in Other
Sep 11, 2020 - 7:55pm

If you know this isn't for you, I would leave and not waste your time or the PE firms. Also it would open up a spot for someone that is committed.

If you like MBB work (strategy) and want some PE action, look into portfolio ops at PE firms.

  • Research Associate in HF - Event
Sep 12, 2020 - 12:41am

I would leave immediately if you are sure you can get back your own spot at MBB and not give this a second thought for a minute. Life is way too short for this bullcrap and I can tell by the way you are writing that you thrive in team oriented cultures with clear deliverables in a highly structured manner that doesn't require huge technical skills (100 pg models) or work life commitments (100 hr weeks).


I work at a large HF so maybe more relevant to me versus PE, but you failed to really mention the aspect of really being excited about investing whether that is getting excited about making large control investments, generating alpha / returns, being hungry to beat out your competitors in the next best deal / IRR and the general allure of what makes people excited to hopefully become an top investor in their respective asset class. To me, it's a red flag when someone comes into the investing world and isn't immediately drawn to the natural passion of investing away from the natural downsides of the job (always plugged in needing to follow news / markets / companies / email flow / tight deal deadlines, working on multiple companies to diligence / get through the finish line, burning time and effort going through 10-20 pitches that get shot down or you get outbid on for every successful idea the fund actually invests in, working as many hours "as needed" to justify your investment returns, being a lone wolf etc).


A few of my female friends that went into PE felt the same way but miserably stuck with PE for two years because it was their ticket to bschool where they would eventually pivot into corporate or MBB. Life is too short and too valuable to put up with crap and in my opinion you don't need to when you are as intelligent as you are. If MBB takes you back, they pay for the MBA you know you will be going to regardless, you know you can see yourself as a top advisor/consultant to the next Chewy and potentially down the line get a role in the next Chewy itself, then MBB makes absolutely all the sense in the world.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 12, 2020 - 3:10am

Similar boat - 2 months in and job / team is absolute misery. Might be worth finding a mentor / senior team member and sharing your concerns. If you are considering leaving anyway, nothing to lose. And it would be unfortunate for them if you left without ever even communicating your reservations / frustrations (recruiting is a big time sink for PE firms and they'd rather keep you than find someone again to replace you).

However, if the conversation yields no fruit (they don't listen / dismiss your concerns - highly likely to be the case), life is too short to waste, especially in your youngest and fittest years. You have GSB lined up, you tried out PE and know what it is like. My intuition is that they may improve things for you in the short-term but most PE firms are fairly set in their bad ways and they'll forget again... I'd suggest do what makes you happier, go back, have a life and then go to business school and chart out the next non-PE career path (or stay in consulting forever, but either way you can reflect and explore the options in b-school).

Sep 15, 2020 - 11:54pm

I'd say if you're completely dispassionate about investing then sure, go for it and get your old job. However, revisit the part of you before and the part of you now that convinced you to get into PE - was it based on an interest in investing? If so, stick it out. Right now a lot of the work may seem, and is, quite banal and bitch-like but there is a method to the madness at play here.


TLDR: If you did PE for the prestige then beat it, if you did it because you like the idea of being an investor then stick around for a year

Sep 16, 2020 - 9:40am

You should be a bit more patient and gain some perspective.  This is your career, not a Tinder meet-up you want to cut bait on.  If you go to an impressive and credentialed place to work and then leave within a month the assumption is (it would seem rightly so here) is that it was too hard for you/you couldn't cut it.  That's a hard narrative to break; you've anchored yourself to a certain performance caliber for the remainder of the 1st third of your career.


Generally speaking, and this is especially true when you first go to the buyside, the first few months will be incredibly stressful.  No one is babying you, no one is double and triple checking your work, its a ton of responsibility and a ton of work.  Until you get the hang of things, regain your footing, and become a well-oiled machine (~6 mos.), you'll barely be keeping your head above water.  Unlike the first few years out of UG in IBD/MBB, there's no 1-3 month training period, there's no Sr and Jr mentor program, they don't (to the same degree) ease you into things, etc.


My advice would be not to give up at the first discomfort.  Give yourself some credit, don't rob yourself of the opportunity chance to exceed your own expectations and figure out that you have more grit and tenacity than maybe you initially realized.


Get the hang of things, and do your time.  MBB will always be there in 2 years, or maybe if you're entirely decided a year in, have that convo with your MBB team and maybe at your firm.  But to leave a (presumably legitimate) place within a month of starting is very poor signaling for the foreseeable future for you.


What makes you think that when you're 3-5 years into your career at MBB you won't have much more responsibility that is going to also entail a lot of stress?  The first few years of an MBB/IBD career are a bit of a joke IMO.  The challenge is working long hours/constant travel is largely an exercise in brute force.


As you move up in your career the pressure progressively increase, and become less about brute force (i.e., time) but rather focused on: 1- avoiding a meaningful unforced error that puts you/your firm at peril; 2- pressure to produce/originate; 3- creating and preserving your reason to exist on a daily and yearly basis.  These pressures aren't specific to banking or consulting or PE, they are pretty consistent across most high-achieving professions.  You either need to acclimate to performing at a high level (i.e., being challenged and getting the hang of things, only for the goal posts to move and again being pushed out of your comfort zone), or you need to move to a career where the track is less progressive and more plateau-like.  Neither is good or bad, just depends on how you are wired.  "Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 16, 2020 - 10:28am

OP here. This is very helpful, and eye-opening. Honestly the kind of tough love I really need in a situation like this, so thank you for laying it out in such detail and without mincing words. In combination with all the super insightful comments on this post, I've been talking to mentors/peers/friends about my experience and where I've come to is this:

a) My last job was a great job. Fantastic culture, great people, interesting work, great brand, good pay, etc. There really was a lot to love.

b) Consulting firms baby you a bit. I didn't realize this at the time, but they definitely hold your hand through a lot - especially your first 6-12 months.

c) I was really good at my last job by the time I left, so I felt great doing the work and had a great reputation that helped me stay happy powering through longer hours.

d) My current job is a great job too. Culture obviously isn't as collaborative as consulting, but all the people are generally good people and they're all incredibly bright / people I want to learn from. The work is probably more interesting than consulting, with much better pay as well.

e) I'm getting thrown in the deep end without nearly much as support as a new hire in consulting, which is uncomfortable, but this is a great opportunity to stretch and grow and challenge myself. Regardless of whether PE is the long-term fit for me, I will be better for having worked to get up the learning curve here.

f) I have no reputation here yet, and lack the confidence that gave me in my last job. This is something I will just have to build with time, and over time as I develop these the job will feel better / easier / more enjoyable.

This all leads me to re-framing my situation a bit. I'm starting a new, more challenging job that will require a significant mental and physical investment to get up the learning curve. Once I do though, there are a lot of things about the job I think I'd really like. Who knows if I'll like it enough to stay long term, but it's worth pushing through the discomfort right now to find out because no matter what I'll be a better man for it.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 17, 2020 - 11:06pm

I feel like there is often a front that the grass is greener on buy side and not many people share that they’re questioning whether moving to PE was the right move. I’m in a similar boat, just started over a month ago but from banking, and I’m wondering if this path is right for me. I plan on sticking it out but WFH has definitely exacerbated the situation. It’s also tough because there aren’t many opportunities to bond with colleagues whereas before my team was quite collegial. 

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