Stereotypes for PE associates at each of the megafunds


Any general insight is appreciated, including impressions on background, education, bank and other general observations

Comments (34)

Oct 1, 2019 - 10:04pm

Blackstone: Tired and scared (Because they accidentally spoke during a management meeting and they got an e-mail from their MD "to come by my office ASAP")

Apollo: Tired and angry (Because they are pursuing 14 deals that will never happen and their Principal wants a "quick workup on this PubCo I met")

KKR: Tired and depressed (Because they are in it for the long-haul and are still 14 months away from the Principal promote)

Carlyle: Moderately rested and winning bad deals they thought were crazy competitive auctions that it turns out they were the only real bidder on

TPG: Moderately rested and losing good deals to UMMs that don't need to do diligence to pass their IC

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Oct 3, 2019 - 12:05am

If we're honest about it, even the senior guys at most PE funds think rather lowly of the associates. While there is a standard path to promotion these days, that's not generally the path they took. All of the most successful PE investors have quite different backgrounds than the associates their more junior partners hire. Even the junior partners tend to have different backgrounds than they're currently searching for.

I think, then, the truth is simple: most people inside the business view PE associates across all firms as hard-working cucks. There is a good reason there is a much lower conversion rate from, say, 'senior associate' to principal these days than there once was. If you want to make money in PE, you can either accept a long-term servitude as a cuck or take some risk like your predecessors did and start a fund of your own. In the event you never make the latter choice, you're a cuck. By the way, for the money a MF might pay you, that's not a bad thing. But if you're consistently too scared to take any entrepreneurial risk yourself, you need to accept that people like me will always look at you as a cuck.

Oct 3, 2019 - 2:22am

While there is some truth to this I think it's a little off. People don't respect PE Associates because just like banking Analysts they don't know shit and think they do. It's like the sophomore who thinks he's the king because he's not a freshman anymore. It's not a bad idea to spend at least a few years at a fund before trying to start your own. That's how you build credibility to get capital and develop your skills as an investor. As for people who are trying to grind out the promotion track, a portion of these people are probably cucks who are just top tier performing corporate cogs, but I get the sense that a lot of these people have golden hand cuffs and aren't willing to cut back in order for the bumpiness of the risk from starting your own fund or some other entrepreneurial endeavor. Not everyone has the chops to be #1 and most people on this forum even those that do MF PE and go to HBS probably never will.

Also, feel like I see this a lot with the lawyers I work with as well where there seems to be even less opportunity to get your own nut.

Oct 3, 2019 - 6:32am

M_1 has been here long enough to know--the rest of you are just guessing. No one with any seniority gives a fuck about you guys. We really, really don't. When you leave, there will always be a stream of other little dicks hoping to be big dicks that don't fundamentally understand deal-making or any aspect of the process for closing a deal.

Even the idea that there is a stereotype for associates from various firms is insane. That idea is predicated on the notion that partners at PE funds have a preconceived notion of the personalities of associates based on the funds where they worked. That's not only not true. It's fucking dumb.

If I knew the kid who asked this question, I'd slap him in the face with my cock.

Oct 3, 2019 - 2:33pm

There may be an element of truth here regarding the way in which senior people view associates, and yes to make the big bucks you need to be in the founding circle of your fund.

It's worth noting however, that most funds (PE and VC) do not make any money, and even most "good" funds generate mediocre returns. The number of quality, high returning PE / VC funds is very, very small.

Oct 3, 2019 - 4:57pm


There may be an element of truth here regarding the way in which senior people view associates, and yes to make the big bucks you need to be in the founding circle of your fund.

It's worth noting however, that most funds (PE and VC) do not make any money, and even most "good" funds generate mediocre returns. The number of quality, high returning PE / VC funds is very, very small.


I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
Oct 3, 2019 - 9:56pm

I'm surprised this is getting such of a positive reception.
Most PE associates are kids, just a few years out of college, that are trying to learn the business.
Anything transaction based at its core is an apprenticeship business. If you're trying to learn the business, doesn't it stand to reason that the best way to do it is working for the leaders in the industry?
From a learning standpoint, what's a better alternative in your mind? You could be the most talented investor, but if you've never negotiated an SPA or financing before, it just doesn't seem realistic to go out on your own.

Oct 3, 2019 - 9:50am

is this a troll thread or like a serious thread? can't tell

what's with all the negativity? A lot of these associates take on these jobs because of the money they can make, and i believe some do in fact believe the job is interesting. Yea, prestige comes into play for many but it's more than that. Also, these jobs provide a lot of exit opportunity in the form of lateraling or joining new fund, b-school, or other gigs

And I'd like to believe a decent number of associates at these funds, maybe even most, understand the odds are stacked against them. I'd hope most are not that naive to think they have a real clear path at Partner. Note, i said clear path

Oct 3, 2019 - 6:50pm

A 100x this. Yes, it makes sense to start your own "fund" but how do you do that without becoming an associate first at an already established PE firm and getting some experience? I guess you could come in as an associate in a new firm but I'd say your risk/reward is much worse versus coming in a little later.

To all the senior guys on this thread hating on us - things are much more packed in the middle now and we absolutely DO know how difficult it is to make partner.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 3, 2019 - 7:10pm

Exactly. Also, "senior guys" - more like resentful boomers at shitty LMM shops or fundless sponsors lmao. Can't say I've run across many MF partners on WSO come to think of it...

Oct 4, 2019 - 12:45am
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