Work Life Balance at MF PE

So it seems like a ton of people leave for PE for a better lifestyle (true or false, not sure as i have not done it yet). What is your experience in terms of lifestyle at MF PE? Looking for people there currently or that have been there to share their experience. What is work life balance at Blackstone, KKR, Silver Lake or even firms like H&F, CD&R, Sycamore. Thank you!

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Comments (25)

Dec 27, 2019 - 10:42pm
Intern in IB-M&A:

I've heard apollo is a sweatshop, KKR has very long hours as well. Bain Cap has exceptionally good work life balance.

This is not the Bain Capital that I am familiar with but to each their own. These are all megafunds and be ready to work.

At the end of the day, 70 hours relative to 90 isn't all that different if you're engaged with the material (literally a prerequisite to be successful at anything).

But hey, maybe that is just me. Feel free to blast away.

Edit - this is through friends. I have not worked at Bain, Apollo, or KKR. Cheers.

Dec 28, 2019 - 8:08pm

I get where you're coming from saying 70 is similar to 90. Long hours are long hours. But having worked ~90 for a year straight vs working 65-70 for the last ~6 months, I can tell you that the difference is life changing. Something about seeing the sun after getting off work...

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 28, 2019 - 11:22am

You will work hard at all the MFs (if you are good). Don't expect a lifestyle improvement from banking. At several shops, hours will be significantly worse than most analyst programs.

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Dec 28, 2019 - 11:55am

BX/KKR/Carlyle/H&F are all no better than banking in terms of hours. Someone i knew at H&F said it was worse than banking, but they were comped very well and would never do it again.

  • 1
Jan 4, 2020 - 5:08pm

worse than banking, but they were comped very well and would never do it again.

Did you mean to say they were comped very well and would do it again or the hours made it not worth it?


Dec 29, 2019 - 11:50pm

In my view, a good MF PE associate work life balance is working 60 hours a week when it's normal and 80-90 hours a week when busy, and only being busy for a few months of the year. Bad work life balance is working 70-80 at all times and flexing up to 90-100+ when chasing a deal. There are people at my firm that are on both ends of the spectrum, and it has only a small correlation with performance. Some people like it more than banking and others do not, but most people I know are happy with their decision for compensation, career prospects, etc.

Dec 30, 2019 - 11:44am

I think that's what any ambitious person in their 20's should expect. It seems like everyone wants great work/life balance within a few years out of school, it's absurd. I would never treat my analysts/associates the way I was treated, but they seem to want the extreme opposite end where they really aren't working hard at all. And for anyone who wants to "Ok Boomer" me, I'm an elder millennial.

Dec 30, 2019 - 11:59am

Pretty much like this at my firm (>$10bn for latest fund). 60h weeks during normal times with portfolio mgmt (got two portfolio companies) and early stage investment work / diligence. And then the usual 80-90h weeks for when things are heating up. The main upside for me vs banking is that those 60h weeks are the norm and the work is actually interesting (most of the time). Main downside (at least at our firm) is that if you have a portfolio company and something happens with it, you take care of it at all times, i.e. weekends, holidays, etc.

Dec 30, 2019 - 12:05pm

What does your firm specialize in if it's ok to ask. I know some funds are carve out specialists, or financial engineering, operations specialists, etc

“If you ain’t first, you’re last!” - GOAT
Jan 1, 2020 - 10:38pm

Is it usually random or is there a factor that's common with the ones working more (or the ones working less)?

“If you ain’t first, you’re last!” - GOAT
Jan 4, 2020 - 1:27am

Ebbs and flows are largely as @foxridge123 described above. I'd say big changes are that the "off" days are usually MUCH better than "off" days in banking, where even non-deal or slow deal work could lead to 10 PM in the office just because you're waiting on comments to turn around after senior people are done with calls, even if you're fucking around most of the day and aren't that productive. In general, PE downtime is more lenient, unless you have an annoying portco that needs chronic attention for whatever reason.

Two big changes (a little firm-dependent) are (1) visibility and (2) ability to modify timelines if you have dinners / events you want to plan that aren't vacations. The latter is no guarantee if you're in a sprint in the middle of an auction process or IC, but generally more acceptable to voice otherwise than in banking.

As always, these things can be vertical- or principal-dependent, even within firms, so try to avoid the assholes.

Jan 5, 2020 - 8:13pm

Sister is an associate at Bain Cap, about to be a VP after B school. Off deals, she prob does 60 hours, on deals never more than 70-75. she has a very good work life balance I would say. go in m-f at 8:30, leave after dinner. sat and Sunday work from home / stop by the office for a bit.

Most Helpful
Feb 29, 2020 - 6:59am

Hours are worse than banking for me. Lots of really late nights and deal execution / modeling type of work. I would say it's rewarding but talking to my friends at LMM / MM firms, they seem to get a more holistic deal process experience. MF honestly tends to extend your banking experience at times given the hierarchy but hey it's what you sign up for. I wish there was more mentorship at times but there isn't always time as people tend to blow things out of proportion in terms of prioritization quite often. Just what I've seen

  • 3
Mar 2, 2020 - 8:49am

Nope - worked in MM banking though so maybe you got wired crossed there

May 21, 2021 - 12:36pm

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  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
May 24, 2021 - 4:23am

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