Wondering about this. Is it just the prestige/pay? Seems like your experience would be quite limited at megafunds (type of work similar to banking, just modelling focused). Why don't more people pursue MM -- especially if it is less competitive?
Moderator note: This has turned into one of the most candid conversations about what working in PE is actually like that we've had on the site in a long time.
Megafund vs Middle Market
There is a lot of great information in this thread about the experience of working in middle market PE fund and how compares both to banking and working at a larger fund. Below are just a few highlighted portions of the thread.
The difference between middle market and private equity pay.
from certified user @HerSerendipity
I think MFs give first year associates something between 250-300k (last time I checked). This may have changed. I"m not sure what the progression looks like though from years 1 to 2. No carry for pre-mba associates and most, if not all, are 2 years and out programs. Some will give return offers.
I think pay is all over the board for MM PE mostly because there are a TON of MM firms out there. Anywhere between 175-250k is a good range. On carry and the 2-years and out program, some MM firms will participate and some won't; very firm dependent so it's hard to make a generalization.
Comments from the king on the work life at middle market firms.
from certified user @TheKing
In all seriousness, the work-life balance is better, but when you are working on a deal, it can get nuts. You will be pulling a ton of hours when things heat up and it can really get nuts as you get towards the close. Also, the stresses are, in many ways, far greater than they are as an Analyst in banking. There isn't anyone to hold your hands or check all of your work. People rely on you to get things right the first time, and to get them right consistently.
Looking back, the people who have made out best in finance are, generally, the ones who stayed at a bank instead of going to PE and got promoted. Not those in traditional M&A sweatshop groups, but in different roles within banks. Not every front office job is going to put you through the grinder for 10 straight years. I think it's most worthwhile to get into a group that doesn't break your back and has opportunities for promotion.
Of course, if you don't like banking at all, that won't work. Though, if you don't like banking work at all, you probably won't really like PE either.
Perspectives on adding value at a middle market as an associate.
from certified user @apprentice7697
I work for a lower middle market fund, targeting companies with 50-150m revenue. More than a few of our port co's are family-run businesses with unprofessional mgmnt teams (I don't mean that disrespectfully) who make decisions on gut, never data. Most of our energy companies have CEOs with no more than a high-school education. I'm often assigned to think-through some quality metrics, develop some dashboards, bring data to bear on their decision-making. Forget whether I personally add value. The role of the associate in this case can add tangible value to a mgmnt team even if it HAS been in the industry that long. They bring experience. We peddle a really good tool kit.
Put it this way, the CEO of an oil and gas waste management company used to drive the service trucks himself. He doesn't know the first thing about managing his balance sheet. He's never (really) had to care before. Even if it is a $70m company. I'm no genius, but that's something I can bring to the table. I think it adds value.
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