I'm having the first one soon w/ a PE shop.
Any thoughts and insights you could provide for?
Questions to Ask at the End of a PE Interview
Just like any interview, private equity interviews will likely end with the interviewer offering you the chance to ask questions about the company and it is critical to have good questions prepared. Going into the interview - you should already have an understanding of the industry that the firm/group is focused on and have an idea of the usual "check size." So you should instead focus on asking questions about the firm's culture and investing style.
Below are some possible questions to ask provided by our community:
- Ask about time split between portfolio company analysis/operations and evaluation of new investment opportunities. Some firms "buy and forget", while others are much more active managers and might send you out for a few days with the company several times a quarter. Get an idea of which type of place you're interviewing with.
- Ask what specific types of deals they're pursuing and if there are any interesting trends in their industry niche.
- Learn more about their career track. Is it a 2-year program followed by business school? Is there an option for direct promotion to a partner track position without an MBA? Which path is more common in their company?
- How are deals typically staffed?
- Walk through the existing funds - what kind of MOIC for each? If you get an offer, ask for their valuation material or a summary of their portfolio, valuation marks, etc... Are you a more senior recruit? As for the PPM and or even a list of the LPs
- How invested is the current fund? How much dry powder? How is the fundraising process coordinated? What's your next target fund size?
- Who are the LPs, predominantly pension funds? Endowments? Is the GP 100% owned by the partners?
- Do you have operating advisors?
- Describe the committee process. Do associates participate? Memos? Presentations?
- Is there co-invest? Yes? Any levered co-invest?
- How do you source deals?
- How do you feel about investing in the current macro? Recognizing there is a pressure to put money to work in the 5 year PE cycle, what industries or strategies do you think make the most sense right now?
- Do you like your job? How would you describe the firm's culture?
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Additional Information For Your Interview
You should also know key portfolio companies, the firm's core industries/strategies and memorize everyone's name. See who is on the boards of which portfolio companies. Then be prepared to ask them about their deals and how they plan to exit. The more familiar you are with the specifics of the company and their dealings, the better prepared you will be to ask good questions and hold an intelligent conversation.
Read More About Interviewing On WSO
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