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I don't want to write out my whole life story so I'm just gonna summarize a bit. Graduated in 2010 from generic public uni, engineering and econ majors, 3.0 GPA. Worked a generic job at a 401k recordkeeper and another at an engineering software distributor before finally landing a position as an engineer at a small 20-person industrial equipment manufacturer (~$10M rev). Been working here for two years and while I'm getting more responsibility there isn't really any way for me to move up in position.
I'm interested in transitioning to private equity, and was planning on applying to b-school next fall, matriculating 2015. 750GMAT, board of directors of an org with about $750k assets, working on starting my own non-profit as well.
I was offered the opportunity to intern at a local boutique private equity firm January-May/June. This is awesome because I know how difficult it is to get a foot in the PE door. The pay is bad, though (obviously) so I'd be taking a significant pay cut. I also have no idea what I would do after the internship; if I got a job in the field that'd be great, but I don't know how easy that would be to do given I only have 6 mos experience. I also think it would look weird on my resume if I did this internship then went back to engineering or something. It could also possibly confuse my b-school story.
So I don't know what to do now. This sounds like an incredible opportunity because these guys are really well connected in my region, but at the same time I feel like I'm jumping off a cliff and just hoping I can find something after. I'm extremely nervous about not being able to find anything after the internship is over but don't want to have this opportunity pass me by.
If this is REALLY what you want to do, then it's probably worth it to take the risk. I mean it will now be up to you to perform like a superstar and see if you are good at it. And you have this opportunity. After six months who knows what may happen… but will you ever get such another good opportunity again? And once you are in, if people think you are good… well.. you know…
Yes but there are four scenarios I can see here if I take this opportunity.
Best Case: I work here for 6 months and they decide to bring me on full time as an associate. Would look great on my b-school app, would be able to get LOR from my current engineering job as well as the PE firm. Work this job until I matriculate. Possible downside is that I'd be working at a boutique, unheard of firm and would be lumped in with applicants from top PE firms in the applicant pool.
Second Best Case: Work here for 6 months and use it to find a position elsewhere in PE full time. Would look okay on my b-school app, would be able to get an LOR from my engineering job, possibly the internship, and possibly the new job. Same downsides as above.
Second Worst Case Scenario: Work here for 6 months and use it to find a position in a similar field but not PE, such as at a mezz debt shop or something. Would look awkward on my application and I would have trouble explaining my story. Same LOR's as above.
Worst Case Scenario: Work here for 6 months, can't find anything in the field or a related field. Can't get a job at the firm, either. Have to go back to engineering. Can get LOR's from my current engineering job and the internship but not the new company. My resume looks very awkward and makes telling my story very difficult. Lumped in with PE applicants or engineering consultants, depending on how I try to spin my resume.
So the worst case scenario, which is also the most likely, is what I'm concerned about the most, but the other cases have challenges of their own. How do I deal with these issues?
I totally get the issue, but essentially what you are asking me is "Should I go with the high risk scenario, or the low risk scenario?"
And as much as I'd love to help you, there is no easy answer. You are, after all the 'investor', and you need to decide for yourself what sort of risk you want to take on.
What I CAN say though is that the worst case scenario you present is not as bad as you think. Meaning the story arc you will build later on in regards to your career choices can always be tweaked one way or another, so although not ideal, it's also not so bad.
Yeah, my consultant is telling me that I can always just sell it as a pre-MBA internship that I took for the finance experience, and still say pretty much whatever I want my story to be even if it isn't in PE.
It's just nerve wracking taking a position that's a big pay cut for 6 months followed by extreme uncertainty! I'm going to see if I can do consulting work for my current company while I'm doing this internship, and then return after it concludes. I'm thinking because my current employer will understand this all as part of the business school process, that they would be open to the idea, particularly because they know I wouldn't be leaving until I matriculate in 2015.
Well I'm meeting with the partners of this private equity firm next week Wednesday to talk about the details. Talked to one of them on the phone and he said they're working on a deal right now, and think it would be really good for me to come in hand help work on it with them, but also talk about finding a way to possibly keep my current job while working with them and still being able to get the LOR and experience to put on my resume. I don't know what this will result in (one day a week at the PE firm, only doing work at night, half time at each job, etc.), but it sounds like it'll be exactly what I'm looking for (PE experience, an additional LOR, still keeping my current job).
Hey Jon, I was able to actually secure a full time Associate position at this private equity firm. Essentially we structured the internship so I could do it part time with my previous job, but I couldn't get my CEO at my previous job to agree to it so I had to leave. When I came on full time here, they basically were like "why don't we just keep you on full time until you leave for b-school". So I'm getting business cards made and everything.
Please see my updated profile here and let me know what you think of it, thanks!