Workplan for PE studying

MBBKilla's picture
Rank: Baboon | 113

Wondering if anyone has advice on a good workplan for prepping for PE interviews. Like first study X then Y, then Z, etc. I have some months before on cycle starts and want to get solid before PE Associate recruiting begins.

Comments (9)

Jul 3, 2019

Following - wondering the same thing

Jul 4, 2019

This is not a full work plan but just focusing on modeling test / case study stuff:

  1. Do the multiple expansion easy lbo and have that down 100%. Also practice pen and paper LBOs at this step.
  2. Do the multiple expansion advanced lbo and have that down 100%
  3. Start doing past year case studies that you can get from other Analysts / your friends / college classmates the year+ above
  4. Start finding random CIMs and build full lbos with your own cases off of a CIM.

There are other aspects to PE interviewing and each firm does them differently. I don't have a great work plan to attack these but a rambling on what needs to be covered -- If you have deal experience they'll want to dig in on that so know your deals like the back of your hand. Almost all firms will try to see how you think like an investor (what makes a good investment, what drives investment returns) Some firms like to do consulting type case studies. Some firms will ask you stuff you studied for banking technicals.

For on-cycle at the best funds if you are rock solid on the modeling test and technicals and come from a good banking group / university - you probably have a puncher's chance.

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Most Helpful
Jul 6, 2019

I basically thought of PE prep through the following sections:

  • Deal walkthroughs
  • Qualitative (why PE, tell me about yourself, strengths / weaknesses, etc.)
  • Technical (accounting, valuation, etc.)
  • LBO prep (paper, 1 hour, 3 hour)

I used the WSO prep pack and then a number of online resources (Street of Walls, 10xEBITDA, etc.).

I recruited supppeeerrrr late (reached out to headhunters in May for same summer start) and I didn't have a super laid out day by day study plan or anything, but knew I would have at least 2-3 weeks before actual interviews began and basically said every day, I'm going to study at least 1 hour no matter what - if a night ends at 2am, I'll do an hour of studying at 3am before going home and each weekend I forced myself to do at least 10 hours total (avg 5 hours a day). But I was also a 3rd year then and wasn't somebody recruiting only 6 months in, so this approach probably doesn't work for everyone.

1st step was going through 5 of what I thought were my best deals and doing full writeups on them - summary, my role / responsibilities, business overview, transaction overview, financial overview, transaction outcome, whether I thought it was a good outcome or not from the buyer's perspective, etc. Unlike qualitative or technical questions where everyone should have some sort of baseline level / BS-ability, IMO knowing your deals on a very detailed level is absolutely key, and I was surprised by 1) how quickly you forget things and 2) how much people cared about deal walkthroughs, including asking about like the working capital needs of a business.

Then I created flash cards for each of the key parts of the deals, going down to the nitty gritty such as "Company A - revenue" then on the other side I'd have something like "historically $80-90M per year, growing at 5% CAGR reaching $[x] in 20[xx]."

After I felt I got my deals down, I started doing multiple reps of LBOs - 1st paper LBOs, then 1 hour LBOs, then 3 hour LBOs. For each of those, 1st pass trying my best to answer as well as possible but referring to answers when I got stuck / confused, 2nd pass going through w/ no help, 3rd pass w/ a time constraint as if it were "live" - on the last one, make sure you aren't using any pre-installed macros since you likely won't have those on whatever computer you are using on site.

Throughout all the above, I worked on flash cards for all the qualitative / technical questions as well, which is pretty self explanatory.

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Jul 6, 2019

how'd you end up placing if you don't mind me asking?

Jul 7, 2019

Copied from an old AMA: "My team wanted me to stay on as a full Associate and I had an offer to join a PE firm focused on the same industry I'm in now ($2B+ AUM, raising $1B+ on next fund), but headed to a multi-family office w/ $10B+ assets"

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Jul 7, 2019

Are we too late to start prepping if we want MF or UMM funds mainly? For incoming analysts

Jul 17, 2019


Jul 9, 2019

Following this

Aug 28, 2019