Taking a break after a pre-MBA stint in PE -- doable, or a disastrous idea?

As some of you already know, I'm a second year Associate in lower middle market PE and I'm coming to the end of my stint (program ends in July) and am pretty burnt out. I don't really care for PE and am just brutally sick of working on deals. The process is monotonous and it's something I'm just not built for.

Anyway, long story short. I'm wondering if anyone has experience in taking a self-imposed break after finishing a stint in PE without going to business school. Truth be told, I could use some time to mentally refresh. Additionally, I've got a couple of non-finance things I want to work on but can't give appropriate focus to thanks to my day job.

Anyone have any advice on this? Is it just an awful idea?

Comments (15)

 
4/9/12

Question: Do you want out of PE forever? If so, by all means, go do what you what and enjoy it. You only live once. Hopefully you've been smart with your $.

Is an MBA out of the question for you? If so, are those "non-finance things" actual business ideas? If so, you'll be working just as hard on your start-up... but hopefully you'll love it. Good luck.

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4/9/12

1.) I have zero inclination to ever work in PE again. To be honest, ideally, I'd be able to find a job at a bank with a better work-life balance and decent pay. Something that would allow me to pay the bills, live comfortable, and work on my side projects after work and on weekends.

2.) I literally never want to get an MBA. It's a lot of money / debt and I don't want to be a PE partner one day, so I don't see the point of it.

3.) I've been fairly smart with my money and am currently in a position where I have no rent obligation.

4.) My non-finance things are business ideas, both are early stage and are just things that I work on after work and on weekends. Nothing major, but something I'd like to spend more time on. To be clear, these aren't "startup" type businesses, but rather small business type ventures.

I suppose what would be ideal would be to move into a role that has better work-life balance so I can work on my side projects after work and on weekends and make a decent salary from my day job.

A better question for me to ask would be - am I setting myself up for disaster if I finish out my role in PE, take a couple of months to recharge, and then hit the job search hard? I'm definitely looking now as well, but I'd legitimately kill for some time away from the rat race.

 
4/9/12

ps - sorry for ranting a bit.

 
4/9/12

if you open a biz, sign me up...

 
4/9/12

taking a break in this type of economic environment can be suicide. if you don't have something to fall back on and want to jump back in... you're taking a huge risk. Line something up while you're in PE and then take a 2 month break before your new start date. That will give you enough time to 1) re-focus 2) move and settle 3) sleep.

 
4/9/12

Yeah, the economic environment is what gets me. I'm trying to find something more chill than PE / M&A so I can have the best of both worlds, on some level. It's just not easy out there. Even though the economy is improving, it's still competitive as fuck.

 
4/9/12

how about working part-time doing something "meaningful" like being some sort of social worker for 20 hours a week for a year. see if you can get flexible hours and ample time off so you can take vacations or whatnot. then in a year or two try jumping into Corp Dev?

idunno just a though.

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

 
4/9/12

It sounds like you should be looking into corp fin at a F500 or something along those lines.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development

 
4/9/12

Just curious. What do you want to do next? Are you thinking of leaving finance altogether?

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

 
4/10/12

It's useful to have an idea of what you want to do in the medium term. Will give you a better ability to plan.

If you are just burnt out and want to chill you might get stressed after the first weeks/months of not working if you don't know what you want to do next and have not made steps towards that goal.

It's awesome to take a year off to travel, relax and work on a few ideas, but it is difficult to get back into the usual six figure white collar job after a break of a year or more as you will need to rely heavily on your network and the people you interview with won't "get it" and may focus only on your most recent work... You'll have to demonstrate how you can make someone money or how you slot into their corporate hierarchy.

If you want to commit to your business ideas and have the resources, go for it. Being a successful business owner may give you a lot more control over your life choices. However, you have to realistically be able to make a good amount of money to do that to forgo your current career trajectory.

 
4/11/12

Thanks dude. That's sort of my thought process. My ideas can be worked on in my spare time / weekends. Ideally, I'd like to launch something and get some cash flow coming in before I say "fuck it" and leave the 9-5 working world.

Honestly. I'm just so tired of the same old shit. I feel you on the fact that most people won't get it if I were to take any time to travel. Typical drones that make up the majority of people in the work force don't get that kind of shit.

::end rant::

Thanks to all for the thoughts.

 
4/11/12

TheKing,

Sorry for the late post. I have a friend that did 2 years of banking then 2 years of PE and decided not to get a job afterwards because he was sick of PE and dealmaking. He has spent the past year exploring numerous "out of the box" opportunities. He has also made the most of his newfound time to improve his physical appearance (not that he wasn't in great shape before) as well as play sports and find a great girlfriend. He did some interviewing at PE firms over the course of the last year but ultimately ended up turning down all of the offers.

If you're in this situation -- go for it and don't look back. There are so many ways for a smart person to make a buck in this world that you shouldn't feel trapped by the 9 - 5.

Goodluck.

CompBanker

 
4/14/12
CompBanker wrote:

TheKing,

Sorry for the late post. I have a friend that did 2 years of banking then 2 years of PE and decided not to get a job afterwards because he was sick of PE and dealmaking. He has spent the past year exploring numerous "out of the box" opportunities. He has also made the most of his newfound time to improve his physical appearance (not that he wasn't in great shape before) as well as play sports and find a great girlfriend. He did some interviewing at PE firms over the course of the last year but ultimately ended up turning down all of the offers.

If you're in this situation -- go for it and don't look back. There are so many ways for a smart person to make a buck in this world that you shouldn't feel trapped by the 9 - 5.

Goodluck.

this. Do what makes you happy man

I'm gonna get that bish some binary

Bishes love binary

Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

 
4/12/12

CompBanker:

I thought you'd have some good insight into this. Your friend's situation sounds a lot like mine and I'm with you 100% on the fact that there are countless ways to make money - it's honestly astonishing to think about.

I think I'm going to keep looking for a more chill job while I finish out in PE. I've still got a few months left here, so the job search could pick up and some interesting roles could come my way. I'm pretty focused on work / life balance, so maybe something solid will pop up. Either way, I'm going to put some work in on my side projects.

If anything, I'll finish up my stint in PE and not have a new job locked up yet. That could be a blessing in disguise. So, I don't think I'll actively look to take a break, but if that happens by way of the job market, I'll make the most of it.

Thanks again for the thoughts, as per usual.

 
8/21/15

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