Another bloody career question (private equity opportunity)

Ok, after spending a few months as an IB analyst at a garbage firm, I quit and was hired as a market and research analyst for a real estate shop. I actually like my job pretty well and the long-term prospects look decent. I’ve been here for 5 weeks. HOWEVER, an opportunity has arisen in those 5 weeks and I’m in the final rounds (who knows when the end is?) with, I believe, the largest private equity firm in the United States. Pretty much everyone here would know the name if I said it, so the firm carries huge weight. The job is a large boost in salary and job prestige, but a boost in hours from about 45-50 to about 55-60 hours per week and I’m studying for the CPA and CFA exams. The job would start in January, which means I would have been with my present firm for about 3 1/2 months and with the firm just before that for about 3 months. I can’t help but think that job hopping like this will lead to nothing but disaster in the long-run. OBVIOUSLY, job-hopping is not desirable; however, does a person pass up the opportunity to work with perhaps the most well known private equity firm in the western world to stay at a job that he/she is good at and likes?

what exactly will you be doing at said PE firm? it doesn’t sound like you will be on the transactional side (looking at a lightweight 55-60 hours). and if it’s really one of the big buyout shops, you wouldn’t be on the operational side or deal sourcing side either (you have no industry experience). my guess is that you’d probably be in a research role, but i can’t be sure. i’m just trying to figure out what exactly your role is…and feel free to post a job description if you’d like. i’m quite familiar with potential opportunities in PE but your post omits a ton of information. could probably help if you provided more detail.

How did you come across this PE analyst gig? kkent, you’ve come a long way… It seems like a PE research role.

and btw, among the top 5 PE shops, all but one of them finished pre-MBA recruiting for their 2008 classes for their LBO groups this past May (and they also don’t start till summer '08), so the role you’re describing has to be something else… either research or some type of assistant job (maybe on the public investing arm of a buyout shop) in all likelihood…

regardless of what the job is (you can deal with the other 4 posters on here)…if you switch jobs regularly but they are well concieved reasons and defined steps UP (not sideways) in your career you shoudl be fine and able to justify them. with that said, you’ll have to spend a min 1 year or more with this PE shop to avoid job jumping. But by 1 - 2 years out, the next firm won’t care you spent only 3 months somewhere. AND nothing says you have to put it on your resume…you can just have your last job and the PE job listed…

stern, what is it that they call it? The law of large numbers? That’s how. :slight_smile: striker, you’re probably right. I’m also concerned about the type of character it could be building in me–I hate HATE the idea of being a job-hopper and hurting my employer. It really makes me upset to think I could be hurting the company that gave me a shot and doing things that undermine my character–I don’t want to be a quitter, ya know? But I guess sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. numi, you’re right, I probably should give some sort of job description (I’m just a little embarrassed that I’m writing another job-related post and cluttering the board with it). The title is portfolio analyst (maybe it’s junior portfolio analyst as the official title). Basically, I would be helping analyze the financial statements of prospective firms and giving my opinion. I think for the most part, the first year will consist of me hyper-focusing on the MD&A section of the financial statements. If hired, they’d pay for my CPA licensing and CFA exams. The position is for stellar new grads or for morons like me with a little bit of work experience. (The firm, btw, pretty much is giving me a chance because they were shocked I passed L1 at age 22. So this is a situation where passing L1 has helped.) Position starts in January (for December grads or for regular guys with jobs). The money is quite good–not IB money, but very very respectable given the hours.

Do you send directly to the firms themselves? What’s your favorite (non school careernet sites?) The only undergrads I know in PE are in mediocre research and assistant roles in small shops.

stern, I used But honestly, the best jobs I found came with extensive research: first, find the PE companies in the area, find the IBs, the accounting firms, the real estate firms, etc, and then research the companies, find jobs posted on their websites (largest firms are usually always in need of people at some level). Finally, applying for those jobs through their websites. Since I’m based out of an area that is very heavily IT and gov’t services, many finance companies have slightly lower standards for otherwise “elite” or highly regarded positions. I’m kind of the guy who took advantage of geography. Also, most people are lazy in their job search and rely totally on their university recruiting. That’s fine and all, but if you’re a mediocre candidate like me, it takes a lot more research, time, and effort. There are a lot of great jobs out there that don’t recruit at your school.

Your success in these matters are highly commendable, man. Many Wharton/Berkeley/Stern/etc. undergrads don’t even make it to front office because they give up after recruiting season. Besides your past experiences in IB/RE/making your own business, what other “hook” do you use? Do you have ER reports written and/ or manage your own portfolio?

Honestly, this sounds vague, but my “hook” was spending–gee, I don’t know–maybe 100 hours perfecting my resume. I may have an ugly best foot, but it sure was forward. My roommate, for example, a brilliant kid with a FAR better background than me, didn’t get the same opportunities because his credentials were poorly presented. You’d be surprised how many brilliant people simply don’t spend the time on their resume that they should. I found that certain resume arrangements were getting me no response, so I’d modify it and I’d do better. And then I’d modify it more. And again when new info. came in. It’s an evolutionary process. My resume in September 2007 was 1 million times better than the one in September 2006 even though my work experience was the same (I was in college). After that, it really was the law of large numbers. You should see the ridiculous Excel spreadsheets I have of the places I applied. I think eventually, God/luck/nature/mathematics just starts feeling sorry for you and throws you bone. Hard work will pay off eventually.

seems like a simple question of which job you like more. i don’t think this is at the “biggest” PE firm out there – at least not on the principal investing side. none of the big LBO shops hire such junior people for portfolio management roles. it must be a fund of funds or secondary PE investment shop. that’s cool, if portfolio management is your thing…it’s just very different from the transactional experience in case that’s what you were hoping for out of PE…but if you find this is more interesting than your other opportunity, then go for it. you don’t have the luxury of switching jobs so quickly as you get older – as strikershank pointed out, being a job hopper is generally not perceived as being a good thing – but if this is your cup of tea and you get it, go for it

carlyle group takes some analysts i think mainly for their real estate practice. would be curious in knowing what PE compensation is like in DC. i’m in the late stages and close to an offer with a fund out there. good luck with the process!

numi, yes, I need to clarify: largest publicly traded private equity firm in the U.S. Not the largest PE firm. It’s really big, but upon further inspection, it’s by no means the largest. But even I had heard of it and I’m not a PE guy. fred, I think it depends on what you’re doing. I think this role is more of an entry-level training role (I’m still 22) in the FSA side of private equity analysis. Think mid 50s to mid 60s so I’ve been told by the HR person at the place.

oh, ok. i know the firm/role you’re talking about now. it really depends on what you see as your longer-term goal – if you ever want to move to the principal investing side, you’re much better off starting in banking or even research. but judging by your posts, it sounds like work-life balance is an important consideration, and if you feel like you’d like to do something in portfolio management or monitoring, this would be it. and yes, the firm is huge and has offices all around the u.s. so the name would be recognizable

kkent, do you mind to share with me some of your job hunting/career decisions? Im also 22 and am sittin for the dec L1. I do not really have a plan to how to get into field. I currently work as IT and i want to get the hell out ASAP. Can i have ur email maybe we can share experiences. mine is bsliu17@gmail dot com

kkent - thx. i’ve seen a couple portfolio companies but up for sale by the firm. they also purchased a company run by one of our exec board members. heard they work you hard but it’s a good shop. salary figure sounds right. shop i’m talking to is looking like 75-80 base for a couple yrs. exp.

fredfunk, what kind of shop is it? do you think 75-80 base is quite low?

numi - investing in renewable energy projects and companies, fund is around $500mm. the base + 100% bonus is low for PE in general but it’s a decent bump for me personally and it’s in dc ( which is 20-30% less in cost of living vs. NY). i don’t have ib exp. so i’d be very happy to take it. how much would you say a typical PE fund ~ $1bn aum is paying for an associate with 2-3 years exp?

generally $150-210K

sounds right. i don’t give much credence to it but the MP told me said it’s his goal to have people out of the office by 6pm everyday. good luck in your search, i was in talks with a couple MM shops around $1bn and they all kind of red-flagged me b/c i didn’t have the ib exp. i’d be glad to take this