What do you do if you want to stay in PE after your 2-year associate program, but don't want to go to B-school?

g0ttag0's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 99

So I feel like the most common path if you want to stay in PE is: 2-yr PE associate>B-school>PE Sr. associate/VP.

What if I don't want to get my MBA? Do I lateral to another firm and be an associate again for 2 more years? Then hope for promotion to senior levels? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like most funds will not hire sr. associates/VP's after only a 2-year associate program.

Thanks!

Comments (36)

Feb 5, 2016

Your hunch is correct. Some will, but it's more the exception than the norm from what I've seen. What I've seen is either lateral to another associate role (in which case you're just kicking the can down the road) or, for firms where the first post-MBA role is VP, they'll make you a senior associate for 2-3 years before promoting you to VP. In the latter case, theoretically, a guy a year behind you could jump over you post-MBA if you took an extra year somewhere in the process.

Dec 7, 2016

Bump. Interested in hearing people's experiences. I am currently an Associate as a lower middle market PE shop. Current associate program ends in mid-summer 2017. Business school isn't an option. These are my thoughts in order of priority: 1) senior associate role 2) associate role with career track 3) corporate dev or strategy 4) associate role w another defined 2 year track.

Best Response
Dec 7, 2016

1 and 2 (and progressing in PE in general) are gonna be tough with no MBA. Potentially also 3 as well, but I'm not as sure - it'd probably be tough to go to a F100 and progress in a meaningful way w/o the MBA, but at smaller companies (including portcos, which isn't an uncommon exit for PE associates) it's probably a better bet. 4 is possible but you're really just delaying the inevitable because you're just going to be left with choices 1-3 in 2 years again.

If you're dead set on no MBA but staying on the buyside, you might look into HF's.

    • 2
Dec 7, 2016

Depends man. Some firms have an up and out policy (most big funds do). Others will promote without B-School.

GGC has a great program -- they promote / pay for b-school of those they want to keep. Basically you have the option to go to b-school for free OR stay and progress up the ladder.

Just make sure to ask the fund that you are looking to sign with about their policy.

Dec 7, 2016

Granted you're not that bad. Especially true with PE firms that do not have a "program".

Dec 7, 2016

.

Dec 7, 2016

you will never need an MBA, at all, whatsoever, for anything.

Dec 7, 2016

Yea I had a friend do RayJay into PE no Bschool. Southern Fratstar.

Dec 7, 2016

Even though it's not required, does having an MBA from M7 make you that much better of an applicant?

Dec 7, 2016

You don't need it as there are certainly PE firms that hire straight out of banking.

Dec 7, 2016
saints2009:

I'm an econ major at a USNWR top 5 school, and I've secured an ibanking internship for this summer at a MM investment bank in the south. Provided that I don't want to get into Bain Cap, KKR, Carlyle, BX, and the like, is it likely that I won't need to get an MBA? What about for smaller or middle market private equity firms?

you have 3 SB's and 53 Monkey shits. I'm not saying that means anything (and it probably doesn't), but for some reason, I'm impressed.

Dec 7, 2016

you can move to a legit fund no problem. it happens all the time. hell i've even seen associates from top notch MM PE firms move up to megafund without an mba after 2 years. of course, this doesnt happen all the time, but i've seen it.

Dec 7, 2016

Agreed with above. Although I've never worked in PE I'm relatively familiar with the game. If you have a respectable resume, know your shit, and contribute to the team you probably have a shot. Pretty simple.

Also I think something you could do in liu of a MBA, is join a portfolio company you've worked with. You'll already know everything financial about the company and it's operations and getting experience with the rest of company I think would blow an MBA out of the water in terms of long term perspectives.

I'd think someone with an IB/PE background and then realized sucess on the corporate side would be and invaluable sr. associate / VP level PE investor.

Dec 7, 2016

bump

Dec 7, 2016

Most post MBA jobs are under the "senior associate" role, not VP. Doing a lateral move to that position can happen, but it is rare.. Like Stringer Bell said, if you know your stuff and have a good resume, you'll have a shot. The problem is that there are very few senior associate positions open at any given time. In order for a position to open up at a PE fund, everyone in the graduating associate class has to be so bad that no one is promoted. Also, they have to choose not to go through MBA recruitment for the new hire (i.e. they need someone now so badly that they can't wait for MBA recruitment to begin).

Dec 7, 2016

who's going to give you money for an lbo or a hedge fund?

Dec 7, 2016

thanks for the responses

New Yorker:

who's going to give you money for an lbo or a hedge fund?

i think i could invest enough equity and get enough financing for a small lbo...along with maybe others

just to clarify, i was discussing moving to a hedge fund, not starting my own

Dec 7, 2016

You can always look into an MSc, MPhil, or other degree which will 'think outside of the box'.
Can't have too much schooling.

Dec 7, 2016
zeropower:

Can't have too much schooling.

School Suckz

Dec 7, 2016

I am in my first year of PE and do not plan on going to business school. Not ever in my life.

That said, if I wanted to continue in PE for a long-term career, I'd probably go. But, I'm not looking at this as a long-term thing for me.

After PE, if you don't go to b-school or move to another PE firm / hedge fund, you can absolutely enter industry / start up a business. No reason to go to school and spend $150 grand when you can be earning more and doing things you're interested in.

Dec 7, 2016

Do Wharton's online extension school...happy medium haha

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Dec 7, 2016

i sit in between two VP's at my fund, 1 went to B school and one didn't. If you are a "star" they will not want you to leave and go get your Masters but you better hope things work out at that fund because you will not be able to move laterally as a VP without a business degree.

Dec 7, 2016

^^^Of course if you end up doing shitty after a direct-promote, you can always go and get your business degree

Dec 7, 2016

I have a friend who did 2+ yrs of BB IB, then moved to PE where he has been for about 9 months. He doesn't anticipate going back for an MBA unless the fund falters (it is a fairly well-known fund).

Dec 7, 2016

So would getting an mba be beneficial even though you are a business major and you want to continue at a pe firm?

Dec 7, 2016
branson562:

So would getting an mba be beneficial even though you are a business major and you want to continue at a pe firm?

I would imagine that an MBA is always beneficial. Whether it's a necessity depends on the firm you want to work at/are working at.

Dec 7, 2016

I recently started at a boutique PE firm (not in NYC) and originally planned on being here 2 years and then heading off to a good Bschool.

Now, I am not so sure anymore. Of course this is still a very real possibility but I think I will be more likely to look for other FT opportunities (at larger funds) then I initially thought. I think it will be hard to pass up the money and experience to go back to school for virtually no reason (other than networking). I recently have started viewing bschool as a "trump card" that I want to hang on too until I have to use it.

My situation is a little different from most because I came into PE out of undergrad (so no IB experience) and my fund has a "specialty" so it doesn't require full blown LBO models like your average fund. So, while I am sure I would be a great bschool candidate going in, it has sort of hit me that I might not be "that" competitive for the FT recruiting process on the back end.

Hopefully I can leverage this position/experience into a larger, better paying position that will give me greater exposure and increase my network and simultaneously increase the quality of my bschool application.

With all that said, I will say that I think an MBA can actually be a very important factor in PE...especially if you don't come from the traditional background. I have a smaller network than most BB analysts, so I realize that an MBA would be a great way to close that gap and provide me contacts across many industries that will give me access to information and potential deals, which is a HUGE part of senior level PE.

Regards

Dec 7, 2016
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