Would you think I'm an asshole?

Hi, I will be a freshman in college in September (in Europe). Since I want to break into the industry I have spent my time reading books, learning about business models, and reading 10Ks. After reading Valuation by McKinsey and doing a modeling course I am capable of creating what I think are decent LBO models. I would like to know if you think I will come off as an asshole if I approach PE associates on LinkedIn with a 15-page report with my analysis on a recent deal.

I am wondering if I should do this and if it would help me land an internship, thanks in advance.

Full disclosure: I still haven't done it as I am still wondering whether I should and since I still have 4 months until then.

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Comments (49)

Apr 23, 2020 - 2:52am

This is a retarded idea and you would look weird. Please do it and make it easier on the rest of us.


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  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Apr 23, 2020 - 6:32am

You seem earnest so I'll be helpful and honest. People want to hire people, not aliens / possessed vessels - the 15 page report idea you had would reveal you to be one of the aforementioned beings and therefore kill your chances.

Tl,dr: try to blend in and act like a normal human being

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Apr 22, 2020 - 7:23pm

I think if you are asking the question there is probably a hint of doubt in your mind that this may in fact be a retarded idea. Trust that instinct!

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Apr 22, 2020 - 7:29pm

Thank you for the answer. Is there any other way I could show them I have the technical ability to be more helpful than the next guy?

Apr 23, 2020 - 12:03pm

I know you're already changed your tune in later posts, but technical ability won't make you more helpful than the next guy (especially since your 'advantage' is held >4 years before you'd actually need it) . For every PE desk, there are 10 analysts at banks who can easily run the LBO. Focus on developing your soft skills in college (you can definitely stay abreast of PE while there, but don't make it your life) and revisit your "technicals" when it comes time for PE SA recruiting.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 22, 2020 - 7:28pm

I think if you approached MDs / Partners they'd view this as a high level of enthusiasm. Anything underneath their level would be cringe.

Apr 22, 2020 - 7:32pm

Do you think the direct approach could work with more senior people or should I still build rapport first?

Apr 22, 2020 - 7:37pm

Cause you're in Europe, I'd be very hesitant to do so. Finance in the UK is pretty structured, formal recruiting/networking/connections etc

I've recruited very briefly in the UK so take it with a grain of salt, but sending a pitchbook out of the blue would for sure get some eyebrow raises, and kinda disrespectful to the 'system' that all of these analysts/associates went through.

That being said, you might have better luck if you set up calls and in the end, ask if they'd be interested to read over a pitch of yours

Edit: btw make it shorter. no associate/VP is gonna read a 15 pager

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Apr 22, 2020 - 7:42pm

Thank you, I heard that in the UK things were more structured. Unfortunately, I am not sure how else I could really show them I'm different than anyone else applying from the same type of school I go to. I will try to build rapport before doing that. Thanks for the help. I'll make a shorter version.

Apr 23, 2020 - 3:09am

What I would do in your place is to use Linkedin to start networking with people in the industry, and post that report on Linkedin as well. You can make it 'feautured' on top of your profile with the latest Linkedin function they introduced last month.
You will definitely have some folks reading it and inviting you to talk about your report and the model.

Feel free to reach out to me through DM and connect with me on Linkedin, I will gladly help you sharing your report to give you visibility from my huge industry network from the UK, Germany, and other European countries.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 23, 2020 - 7:02am

I wouldn't do that. Professionals don't have time even to look in-depth in their own models, so, even more, they wouldn't have time for some random guy approaching them on Linkedin. However, something like this can be useful during interviews. I am pretty sure that they will ask you questions about your knowledge/expertise, so then you can mention that you prepared something like that (maybe do a valuation for your own portfolio, etc. to sound more natural?). In my case, during my final round interview, I mentioned that I participated in CFA Research Challenge (preparing valuation report, etc.), after what interviewer asked me if I can share it with him, that was huge value-added.

So yes, you can do it, but please don't send it straightforwardly without being asked. Instead, try to direct the networking call or/and especially interview in this direction so that you would be able to share it.

Apr 23, 2020 - 8:34am

That makes a lot of sense, I think it will definitely help me once I'm in that room. I will definitely go for this CFA challenge and I will also post the research on my Linkedin but I won't send it to random people.

Apr 23, 2020 - 8:32am

Not to sound like an asshole but just because you have read the McKinsey book and done a valuation course doesn't mean your technical ability is through the roof, especially since your coming out of high school. Now I could be wrong about that but I think it's important to know that you do not act as if you know all the ins and outs of financial modeling out of high school. What is going to matter for you is how you connect with people and build your network. Trust me, nobody is gonna give you a job because you can follow an LBO template. You will get jobs by making meaningful connections and the best way to do that is by making people like you, not sending someone who works 60-80 hours a week a 15 page report from a high schooler.

Apr 23, 2020 - 8:38am

I understand where you are coming from, and I don't think I can do good research (I meant in comparison with college students). Anyways, the model is just to support the analysis. I think a great analysis with an ok model is much better than ok analysis with a great model. I just think that since modelling is a necessary skill in the industry it would be a nice support for a decent research. Any tips on building those connections?

Apr 23, 2020 - 12:48pm

I was in a similar position as you. I was able to network my way into a fund following my Freshman summer. I am now a Sophomore and will be interning at a larger fund this coming summer and I can attribute it all to one connection. I think that a lot of the advice that people are saying is accurate. You want to network and put in the work but you aren't even in college yet, having fun is just as important right now.

When I got my first interview they did not expect me to know much in terms of valuation and I truly didn't, but I was in the interview because of networking. I ended up getting the job and that is where you want to employ the hard work that you are trying to display. You should try to find any meaningful connections. I have found that people who are young enough to still remember networking for their jobs but old enough to pull some weight at their firms are the best people to make connections with as these will be the most helpful people. Do not get discouraged, play the numbers game and hope that you can find one or two meaningful connections.

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:10am

What you could do is create a website or a blog that will focus on a specific industry/sector/product that you are doing your research on. Then upload everything on there and keep it organised. You would then be able to spin it as work experience or leadership experience on your CV. That will kill two birds with one stone.

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:16am

And if you want to take it even further and look like a real hardo, then you could ask people from you uni to contribute weekly and post their own shit on the website. This would essentially become a quasi-business-society and banks love that shit.

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:14am

Echoing literally everyone else. This is a stupid idea. No one wants to read a 15-page garbage report from a freshman.

I'm sure you learned something from putting together the report. Use that to ask intelligent questions in an informational interview. don't fucking send a 15 page report for the love of god

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:20am

"Asshole" isn't the right word, but "bizarre" probably is. I very much doubt most people in PE spent their senior year of HS reading 10Ks, pulling together IMs, and sending their findings around to random dudes on LinkedIn – and I would imagine they would look side-eyed at someone who did, even if the analysis were technically sound or impressively original (both of which are doubtful).

You're much better off meeting some industry professionals for coffee, etc. and learning about the space. If you really hit it off with someone, then sometime down the line MAYBE ask them to take a look to see what they think / if they have any modeling tips or ideas for analyzing the business qualitatively. Cold-messaging people with 'look how good I am at your job' in the form of a 15 page case study and model will get you left on read.

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:21am

Alright, I'll bite.

Look, PE is not a technically hard business. You're a freshman and read a few books, and you can do an LBO model (maybe it sucks, but I bet its fine). That's not the hard part.

Being good at PE involves sourcing a deal, negotiating with the sellers, negotiating with banks, being a resource for the management team, being a value add at the board meetings, building relationships with investment banks, negotiating with the buyers, understanding insurance, understanding accounting & QE reports, hiring counsel... shit like that.

Depending on the size of the fund, you do that at different levels. In the LMM/MM world, I've been doing that kind of stuff since I moved to the buyside. At a MF, that might not be your role as an analyst/associate. However, the person who can be good at that eventually is the archetype that gets hired on the investment team.

Use your time in college to become well rounded. Lead a student organization, throw some parties. If you want to read books and build models all day, try looking at being a quant for a public markets investor. The private equity skillset is the soft skills you really cant read about.

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:28am

Thanks LeonTree, I will spend a significant part of my time networking and trying to really connect with people as this thread has given me a better understanding at the fact that technicals by themselves won't cut it. I will try to improve in that sense and hopefully I will be able to have both skills by the time I get to PE. Do you have any tips on how to make connections with professionals in the industry? Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Apr 23, 2020 - 5:25pm

While PE guys don't really appreciate the inbounds - if you have a great investment idea and able to write a great thesis around it, sending it to asset management guys will get them interested

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