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Switching into PE/VC?

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Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2008, 20:55
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Hi folks,
Out of curiosity, how does one do a career switch from something like MC to PE/VC?

It seems that in reading some of the threads about getting into I-Banking post-MBA:
- having an I-Banking background can help with recruiting process during school
- those who want to switch into IB from something like MC can do so with some focused networking, prep courses prior to starting, strong math/finance grades

Does the same apply to PE/VC?

Thanks,
ac.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 20:32
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jasonc wrote:
terp06 wrote:
jasonc wrote:
I don't quite understand the appeal of PE/VC (well, I don't know much about them period), can someone explain?

Why is the demand so high?


Interesting, fulfilling, and challenging work (for most) coupled with outsized compensation.


challenging & outsized compensaton I can see

interesting & fulfilling... can you be more specific? :)


The way I see it, being in venture capital or a growth-oriented private equity firm is like being a risk-free entrepeneur who runs 5 companies rather than 1. VC/PE firms will invest in an early to mid-stage company, and they will then take a seat or 2 or 3 on the board of directors of the company and they will advise the management team on best practices, growth, M&A, etc. They will leverage their firms contacts to help entrepeneurial companies build a more corporate-type infrastructure, get appropriate lawyers, get good management practices in place, etc. Their function can actually be described as somewhat similar to management consultants - except that they have their skin in the game and a (generally large) stake in the company.

Larger PE firms that do leveraged buyouts are generally focused on buying larger, established companies where they see an opportunity for either financial engineering or fundamental changes that would significantly increase the value of the company. People with top investment banking backgrounds generally thrive at these firms.

Junior-level people at these firms generally get paid attractive salaries and have a lot of exposure to entrepeneurial companies and ventures. They can leverage this experience to start their own entrepeneurial PE/VC backed venture in the future, or to work their way up to partner at the firm.

Partners at these firms generally get paid carried interest on the investments. Let's say that a PE firm raises a $1 billion fund. The typical fee structure is 2/20. Meaning that 2% of the $1 billion ($20 million) is a management fee that is generally used to pay base salaries and bonuses, office/support costs, etc. and 20% is the portion of the returns that the partners will split up between themselves. Assuming that they return 25% to their investors ($250 million), they would get to keep 20% of this (or $50 million) and divide this up between the partnership (at a fund of this size, most likely 4-5 partners). This is taxed at the capital gains rate (15%) rather then normal income tax rates (which is the cause of a lot of uproar on Capitol Hill currently, and I believe the capital gains rate is changing to 20%).

Not sure if that all made sense. I'm tired. I think a few others on this board have more knowledge about this than I do and they can and should feel free to chime in with their opinions.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 05:56
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PE/VC recruiting is basically this:

If "You were in PE/VC before an MBA"=TRUE {
solid=like a rock;
else
solid=like water;
}

If solid=like a rock {
Then
You have a Network = TRUE;
Else {
You have a Network = FALSE;
}

If You have a Network = TRUE {
Then
PE/VC Job Probability Function = .0009;
Else
PE/VC Job Probability Function = 1x10^-42;
}

Recruiting_Begins();

If solid=YOU SUCK {
while (calls<10,000) {
Network_Like_Mad(Every Day, All The Time);
Foreach(Call(EveryoneInTheWorld())="ACTUAL CONVERSATION")) { calls++; }
}
Pray->God(); // Warning call to null pointer? There is no god?
Backup_Job_Plan->Trash(NOW());
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(IB);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(MC);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(GM);
if (male = true) {
Make_Of_Steel(Balls);
else {
Dig_In(Heels);
}
Job_Offer=PE/VC Job Probability Function*calls
}


In short, landing a PE/VC gig is 98% who you know. It's ALL networking.

The biggest issue frankly is that you have to be 120% commited. PE/VC recruit in spring - after IB, after MC, after GM, marketing, hedge funds, commercial finance, leadership programs, after basically everything. To do PE you have to roll the dice - and roll with a big bet. Its not for the risk averse.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 09:24
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That was a funny post, Rhyme, I wonder if it was funnier if you have a background in programming languages.

I think there needs to be a distinction made between PE and VC. While in actuality VC is a subset of PE, the term PE nowadays almost always refers to LBO PE firms. PE hiring is becoming a little more institutionalized than VC ever will be, but it still is quite unlike IB/MC or other traditional career paths.

For VC I think the “network” angle is as important as rhyme says it is, I really don’t know. However, for LBO PE it’s a combination of that plus your previous experience and pedigree that will get you interviews, usually via recruiters. To get jobs in LBO PE you are competing with those who have pre-MBA work experience doing (in order of general competitiveness, according to me):

1) BB IB / Top MC + Mid-Large Cap PE
2) Mid-Large Cap PE
3) BB IB / Top MC
4) Small no name PE / MM IB
5) Small no name IB / Non-Top MC / Big 4 Transaction or Due Diligence
6) Industry / Corp Development / Big 4 Other
7) All other career switchers

Keep in mind that almost all of these people will also have good academic pedigree including: a respected undergrad (high GPA), test scores (SAT + GMAT), and a top MBA. It is possible that pedigree, e.g. HBS MBA, could help you jump a level relative to the above ordering, but the problem is that pedigree is already there in almost all of those groups. The good news is that the smaller and less established the PE firm, the less this ordering applies (not because they would rather take someone from #6 and #7 over #1 and #2, but because there aren’t so many of #1 and #2 to go around.)

While there might seem to be a good amount of PE shops, they are staffed very lean and definitely don’t want to train their junior professionals. In my limited experience, I’ve heard a lot of guys that are in #5 or below and not going to a H/S/W say that they want to do PE and I have to refrain from telling them that they are pretty unlikely to get a job in PE, because I don’t want to be “that guy”. But the reality is that it’s very, very tough. However, networking can be the great equalizer. I would encourage all those from #5 and below to give considerable thought to doing IB first before putting their eggs in the PE basket.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 06:42
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OhThatMBA wrote:
Thanks for the advice - as someone w/o prior PE experience, it's very much appreciated.

Another component of the original question was the ability to transition from MC to PE/VC. I've heard elsewhere that working for M/B/B may serve as a potential stepping stone into PE/VC. Any truth to that?

Here's a good article on PE recruiting: http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting-in-2550-words/
Read through this site and you should have many less questions about PE/IB.

I know Golden Gate Capital is all ex-Bain guys, but I'm sure it's not an easy path to take.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2008, 21:03
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ac8706 wrote:
Hi folks,
Out of curiosity, how does one do a career switch from something like MC to PE/VC?

It seems that in reading some of the threads about getting into I-Banking post-MBA:
- having an I-Banking background can help with recruiting process during school
- those who want to switch into IB from something like MC can do so with some focused networking, prep courses prior to starting, strong math/finance grades

Does the same apply to PE/VC?

Thanks,
ac.


3 scenarios:

1) Your pre-MBA experience is at a top bulge bracket bank or at McKinsey/Bain/BCG - You will have to network like crazy, but it should be possible out of the M7+Tuck schools. It is by no means guaranteed.

2) Your pre-MBA experience is not at a top bulge bracket bank or at McKinsey/Bain/BCG - You will have to network like crazy, and even then it is very unlikely. It is probably not worth the effort unless you are at H/S/W.

3) Your pre-MBA experience is at a reputable PE shop - you are likely sponsored by your PE firm to get your MBA from H/S/W and you will be returning back to your firm at the Vice President level.

This is of course considering that you are speaking of breaking into PE/VC directly after your MBA. It also assumes that you are speaking of reputable PE/VC firms with histories of good returns - and not a start-up or small-cap PE shop (these will be a lot easier to get into).

The biggest part of this equation, as rhyme mentioned once I believe, is the risk of trying to break into PE if you fall into categories 1) or 2) above. All of your classmates will be lining up investment banking jobs at top banks and you will have to wait until the late Spring to even start recruiting for PE summer internships. Even then, you may or may not get one.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2009, 21:09
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I think the biggest thing about breaking into a mid-size PE/VC firm that no one is discussing is the financial knowledge and ability you need on day one. That I would say is the toughest hurdle to get over. In PE/VC, there are no training classes or firm orientation to teach you how to build LBO models like there are at BB banks for associates. You have to know that $hit cold from the first time you interview. That is why they prefer people with BB experience - they can model like crazy and know corporate finance/valuation cold. With those people there is no on the job training, which these firms don't have time for.

If you are really serious about PE/VC, then I would start studying corporate finance/valuation now, especially if you haven't ever built models or worked in IB. Take the self-service Training the Street course this spring so you can get ahead. Build your own models and learn why a company makes a good LBO candidate. What levels of debt are you looking for? How much senior, subordinate, and mezannine debt can the company's cash flows support? What is the maximum IRR with varying levels of equity? Build a sensitivity analysis to analyze various deal structures. Study previous LBO deals and run the numbers. Then, when you know the numbers and accounting cold, spend this fall learning about the firms and the industries they invest in - not figuring out how to value a company and build a model.

That is just my advice. I'm also starting to think about the McCombs Venture Fellows program at Texas. There are a few good firms that have internship partnerships with the university - Centennial Ventures ($340 million), CenterPoint Ventures ($300 million), Blue Sage Capital ($400 million), and Austin Ventures ($3.9 billion). I think any of those would be great places to end up - especially Austin Ventures. Of course there is also the possibility of networking into HM Capital or Hicks Holdings!!
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2009, 13:58
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Anybody familiar with the Kauffman Fellows Program? Sounds interesting.

http://www.kauffmanfellows.org
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2009, 09:07
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That's interesting... I know that northwestern's JDMBA class mainly choose to practice law whereas Harvard's will likely practice business. I wonder if its the quality of bschool exit ops that influence what direction the class is headed
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 06:01
Rhyme,

You never cease to amaze me. As a programmer too, I think this is one of the most creative posts I've ever seen!

Allen
rhyme wrote:
PE/VC recruiting is basically this:

If "You were in PE/VC before an MBA"=TRUE {
solid=like a rock;
else
solid=like water;
}

If solid=like a rock {
Then
You have a Network = TRUE;
Else {
You have a Network = FALSE;
}

If You have a Network = TRUE {
Then
PE/VC Job Probability Function = .0009;
Else
PE/VC Job Probability Function = 1x10^-42;
}

Recruiting_Begins();

If solid=YOU SUCK {
while (calls<10,000) {
Network_Like_Mad(Every Day, All The Time);
Foreach(Call(EveryoneInTheWorld())="ACTUAL CONVERSATION")) { calls++; }
}
Pray->God(); // Warning call to null pointer? There is no god?
Backup_Job_Plan->Trash(NOW());
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(IB);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(MC);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(GM);
if (male = true) {
Make_Of_Steel(Balls);
else {
Dig_In(Heels);
}
Job_Offer=PE/VC Job Probability Function*calls
}


In short, landing a PE/VC gig is 98% who you know. It's ALL networking.

The biggest issue frankly is that you have to be 120% commited. PE/VC recruit in spring - after IB, after MC, after GM, marketing, hedge funds, commercial finance, leadership programs, after basically everything. To do PE you have to roll the dice - and roll with a big bet. Its not for the risk averse.

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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 07:06
Rhyme,

Another classic, thanks for conveying the message in a creative medium...

So... how many calls did you make to land your gig? :wink:

~Sam
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 08:42
Remember there is always dumb luck for a few people in any job search. However, I would say PE/VC/HF jobs arent the type people typically fall into...maybe a few at H/S do but at the other schools probably not so much.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 14:58
Great post rhyme.

Pray->God(); // Warning call to null pointer? There is no god?

Hahaha.. how do you begin to come up with this stuff?

rhyme wrote:
PE/VC recruiting is basically this:

If "You were in PE/VC before an MBA"=TRUE {
solid=like a rock;
else
solid=like water;
}

If solid=like a rock {
Then
You have a Network = TRUE;
Else {
You have a Network = FALSE;
}

If You have a Network = TRUE {
Then
PE/VC Job Probability Function = .0009;
Else
PE/VC Job Probability Function = 1x10^-42;
}

Recruiting_Begins();

If solid=YOU SUCK {
while (calls<10,000) {
Network_Like_Mad(Every Day, All The Time);
Foreach(Call(EveryoneInTheWorld())="ACTUAL CONVERSATION")) { calls++; }
}
Pray->God(); // Warning call to null pointer? There is no god?
Backup_Job_Plan->Trash(NOW());
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(IB);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(MC);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(GM);
if (male = true) {
Make_Of_Steel(Balls);
else {
Dig_In(Heels);
}
Job_Offer=PE/VC Job Probability Function*calls
}


In short, landing a PE/VC gig is 98% who you know. It's ALL networking.

The biggest issue frankly is that you have to be 120% commited. PE/VC recruit in spring - after IB, after MC, after GM, marketing, hedge funds, commercial finance, leadership programs, after basically everything. To do PE you have to roll the dice - and roll with a big bet. Its not for the risk averse.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 17:16
Haha rhyme - that's great! :lol:

This brought to mind some other threads (think they were rhyme's) about the sequence of recruiting and how it works - waiting for PE/VC until the very end of the year must be ridiculously tough unless you're fairly certain that you'll land a position!

rhyme wrote:
PE/VC recruiting is basically this:

If "You were in PE/VC before an MBA"=TRUE {
solid=like a rock;
else
solid=like water;
}

If solid=like a rock {
Then
You have a Network = TRUE;
Else {
You have a Network = FALSE;
}

If You have a Network = TRUE {
Then
PE/VC Job Probability Function = .0009;
Else
PE/VC Job Probability Function = 1x10^-42;
}

Recruiting_Begins();

If solid=YOU SUCK {
while (calls<10,000) {
Network_Like_Mad(Every Day, All The Time);
Foreach(Call(EveryoneInTheWorld())="ACTUAL CONVERSATION")) { calls++; }
}
Pray->God(); // Warning call to null pointer? There is no god?
Backup_Job_Plan->Trash(NOW());
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(IB);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(MC);
Watch_Everyone_Else_GET(GM);
if (male = true) {
Make_Of_Steel(Balls);
else {
Dig_In(Heels);
}
Job_Offer=PE/VC Job Probability Function*calls
}


In short, landing a PE/VC gig is 98% who you know. It's ALL networking.

The biggest issue frankly is that you have to be 120% commited. PE/VC recruit in spring - after IB, after MC, after GM, marketing, hedge funds, commercial finance, leadership programs, after basically everything. To do PE you have to roll the dice - and roll with a big bet. Its not for the risk averse.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 17:36
wow thanks cougar! The hierarchy is esp helpful - I didn't realize that there was even a perceived difference btwn previous experience in IB/PE and the firms themselves. It's also interesting to hear that those without previous PE or IB experience are at such a disadvantage when trying to break in. Is the reasoning (from the company perspective) really that they don't want to train newbies? Is the training that complex or costly?

It's also good to note that doing IB opens so many doors - it can really be a stepping stone for many careers!

cougarblue wrote:
That was a funny post, Rhyme, I wonder if it was funnier if you have a background in programming languages.

I think there needs to be a distinction made between PE and VC. While in actuality VC is a subset of PE, the term PE nowadays almost always refers to LBO PE firms. PE hiring is becoming a little more institutionalized than VC ever will be, but it still is quite unlike IB/MC or other traditional career paths.

For VC I think the “network” angle is as important as rhyme says it is, I really don’t know. However, for LBO PE it’s a combination of that plus your previous experience and pedigree that will get you interviews, usually via recruiters. To get jobs in LBO PE you are competing with those who have pre-MBA work experience doing (in order of general competitiveness, according to me):

1) BB IB / Top MC + Mid-Large Cap PE
2) Mid-Large Cap PE
3) BB IB / Top MC
4) Small no name PE / MM IB
5) Small no name IB / Non-Top MC / Big 4 Transaction or Due Diligence
6) Industry / Corp Development / Big 4 Other
7) All other career switchers

Keep in mind that almost all of these people will also have good academic pedigree including: a respected undergrad (high GPA), test scores (SAT + GMAT), and a top MBA. It is possible that pedigree, e.g. HBS MBA, could help you jump a level relative to the above ordering, but the problem is that pedigree is already there in almost all of those groups. The good news is that the smaller and less established the PE firm, the less this ordering applies (not because they would rather take someone from #6 and #7 over #1 and #2, but because there aren’t so many of #1 and #2 to go around.)

While there might seem to be a good amount of PE shops, they are staffed very lean and definitely don’t want to train their junior professionals. In my limited experience, I’ve heard a lot of guys that are in #5 or below and not going to a H/S/W say that they want to do PE and I have to refrain from telling them that they are pretty unlikely to get a job in PE, because I don’t want to be “that guy”. But the reality is that it’s very, very tough. However, networking can be the great equalizer. I would encourage all those from #5 and below to give considerable thought to doing IB first before putting their eggs in the PE basket.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 18:22
ac8706 wrote:
wow thanks cougar! The hierarchy is esp helpful - I didn't realize that there was even a perceived difference btwn previous experience in IB/PE and the firms themselves. It's also interesting to hear that those without previous PE or IB experience are at such a disadvantage when trying to break in. Is the reasoning (from the company perspective) really that they don't want to train newbies? Is the training that complex or costly?

It's also good to note that doing IB opens so many doors - it can really be a stepping stone for many careers!


I'm not 100% sure on this, but my guess would be that their philosophy is "why train people if we don't have to?" Most of the large PE firms only hire a handful of new people every year, and smaller/medium size PE firms may only hire 1-2 people the whole year. With all of the people at the top of the "heirarchy" interested in PE, they can cherry pick whoever they please. Supply exceeds demand - and by a lot.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 18:26
I don't quite understand the appeal of PE/VC (well, I don't know much about them period), can someone explain?

Why is the demand so high?
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 18:38
jasonc wrote:
I don't quite understand the appeal of PE/VC (well, I don't know much about them period), can someone explain?

Why is the demand so high?


Interesting, fulfilling, and challenging work (for most) coupled with outsized compensation.
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 18:57
terp06 wrote:
jasonc wrote:
I don't quite understand the appeal of PE/VC (well, I don't know much about them period), can someone explain?

Why is the demand so high?


Interesting, fulfilling, and challenging work (for most) coupled with outsized compensation.


Yup what terp said :)
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Re: Switching into PE/VC? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 20:09
terp06 wrote:
jasonc wrote:
I don't quite understand the appeal of PE/VC (well, I don't know much about them period), can someone explain?

Why is the demand so high?


Interesting, fulfilling, and challenging work (for most) coupled with outsized compensation.


challenging & outsized compensaton I can see

interesting & fulfilling... can you be more specific? :)
Re: Switching into PE/VC?   [#permalink] 24 Jul 2008, 20:09
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