Which PE firm to intern for?

Career switcher. Ivy undergrad. Attending a top 5 MBA [1st year]. Great profile (and connections) to interview with top PE firms but lack the relevant finance experience to do so right now. Our program offers a Buyout Lab class where you intern with a PE firm (1-2 days a week) during a semester. The following firms participate:

- 2XConsumer Products
- Achievement Asset Management
- AFIG Funds
- AJ Capital Partners
- Baird & Company
- BayView Capital
- Beverly Capital
- Cascade Partners
- Concentric Equity Partners
- Council Capital
- Creative Health Capital
- CSL Capital Management
- Discover Capital
- Enlivant
- Frontenac
- Gardner Standard
- Geneva Glen Capital
- Global Business Funding Group
- H.I.G. Capital
- Hughes & Company
- Lakeview Group
- LaSalle Capital Group
- MAT Capital
- McNally Capital
- New Harbor Capital
- One Praetorian
- Orchard Holdings
- Phoenician Resources
- River Hollow Partners
- Silver Pine Partners
- Sterling Partners
- Transom Capital
- Tyree & D'Angelo Partners
- Waud Capital Partners
- Waveland Investments
- Wind Point Partners

I would love to know which firms would give me a better preparation or exposure that might perhaps turn into an offer or give me a credibility to be in front of KKR, Apax, Blackstone, Apollo, TPG, Bain Capital. I need to rank these PE firms before 2/1 and the school will match one of these firms with me (based on my preferences). I would truly appreciate your insights and a few names you think are better than others. As a career switcher, I am still learning and I'm not 100% comfortable or knowledgeable in terms of which firms are better (than the others). Rankings are always welcome and encouraged.

Thank you.

Comments (16)

Jan 31, 2015 - 2:21am

Only heard of HIG, Sterling, Geneva Glen and Wind Point. HIG would be my first choice w/ Sterling and Wind Point tied for 2nd and last option would be Geneva Glen

Jan 31, 2015 - 2:21am

Only heard of HIG, Sterling, Geneva Glen and Wind Point. HIG would be my first choice w/ Sterling and Wind Point tied for 2nd and last option would be Geneva Glen

Jan 31, 2015 - 11:09am

Frontenac is a good shop in Chicago. HIG is the heavy hitter.

Feb 19, 2015 - 11:34pm

Sterling Partners made me an offer and I am inclined to take it. Having said that, I am struggling with a decision and I would love to hear your thoughts.

We can do the Buyout Lab only once. In that case, do you recommend doing it in the first year or do you think it is better to do it in the second year? Sterling is a small firm (mid size and 3 offices) and the chances of leveraging the Buyout experience to get a summer internship or a full-time offer is probably very small. So, I was thinking whether I should take more finance classes, strengthen my profile, and use my connections in Boston (Bain Capital) and NYC (Blackstone) to see if I can partner with one of those big guys (in the second year, say fall semester). Which option do you think would give me a better chance to get a decent job? As I mentioned I am a career switcher and my finance knowledge is rather limited (compared to competition that is) right now and I am afraid I might not have the impact I desire (re: "Wow. We have to hire this guy!" type) if I jump in this March.

Feb 20, 2015 - 10:24am

Unless you're a really special snowflake, you're gonna have a lot of trouble making up ground against the hundreds of ex-MM and megafund PE associates at H/S/W for jobs at KKR/TPG, et al.

I'm frankly not sure I would get much of a sniff from the megafunds you're talking about, and I'll have two years of actual PE experience on reasonably sized deals.

Sterling Partners is a "decent job" if you can convince them to give you one based on your Buyout Lab performance. Count your damn blessings, take what's in front of you, and take it one step at a time.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points
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