Smoothest Path to MF PE? (besides BB/EB)

From these options, which starting FT job would give someone the smoothest path to MF/UMM PE?

  1. Top Middle-Market firms (William Blair/HW/HL): Tried-and-true path into MM PE... Could possibly grind to get a UMM offer? Possible to take MM and then jump to MF?

  2. Lesser known, up-and-coming "elite" boutiques (Dyal, Robey Warshaw, LionTree): Would probably need to network a ton, but could experience on a few massive deals or exposure to rainmaker seniors help?

  3. Non-M&A, secondary role at BB/EB (Private capital advisory/private funds/secondary at a BB/EB): I assume these roles allow you to work closely with PE firms, but do these guys ever get investing, non-fundraising roles at big PE firms?

Thanks for any insight. 

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Comments (10)

Mar 13, 2021 - 5:43pm

Be Jalen Johnson.

Now, I'm not saying he didn't play in any games at all, but he only played in:

1. 27 games in high school (now I'll say this is a pretty healthy number of games, that he showed up for these games, was successful and led the team, so maybe I'm discounting this part of his experience too heavily) and then...

2. Transferring to IMG only to leave after 6 months of being there (Aug-Jan) and playing 0 games there and...

3. Returning to his original high school for 9 games.

Now, I'll even say that this is a good number of games for a high school student.

But this is what surprises me: In his college career, he only was on the roster for 13 games. He only made a significant appearance in two of those games. (He only played in 5 games, and in one of those, he only was put in to make free throws; the other two he only appeared for a few minutes). 

In the last two years, this man has only appeared for give-or-take 11 games. He's estimated to go in the 15 picks of the NBA draft. 

So, how is that relevant to this conversation? Well, it kind of isn't but it does show how connections and word of mouth can boost draft stock. Despite not ever having performed at the higher level. He performed extremely well at the high school level (he won many awards including being a top Wisconsin player), but he was unable to replicate this success at a higher performing high school (IMG) or at the college level (Duke). This has not much hurt his ability be drafted to the NBA. 

I'll also note that I may not be taking into account Nicolet high school's ability to create talent, that said, I don't think their competition was super strong, at least not as strong as college teams. 

You can definitely do it with a strong network, performing very well at the next level down, and a LOT of hype. It's not hopeless, but definitely not the best way to do it. 

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Mar 4, 2021 - 1:09am

Look up mf associates and tell me which of those backgrounds, if any, they fall under.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 4, 2021 - 4:32am

the fuck? If youre willing to do any of those options why not gun for a BB/EB spot? Neither of those will make it smooth. If you cant land a good banking job GL getting MF PE lmao. Cheers 

  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
Mar 4, 2021 - 7:23am

PE associate here. 
3 is a no if you want to be in investing roles vs. IR.

2 is might get a shot from LionTree for some larger funds with a media focus but all other names you listed is a no.

1 also depends...out of WB Chicago, you might end up at GTCR/MDP which are UMM. WB elsewhere probably not but top MM names or growth equity names, yes. HL maybe a long shot at industrials focused funds or special sits if you are super lucky but higher chance you end up at a regional MM focused on industrials/business services. HW is a no for UMM/MF
Almost impossible to jump from MM to UMM/MF. Might get a shot if you go to HBS/GSB and recruit from there but 1. pretty hard to get in from MM (or even UMM/MF not guarantee...) and 2. HBS/GSB is filled with UMM/MF candidates already 

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