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Breaking into Private Equity

While Privatal focuses on Senior Finance + M&A talent for Private Equity portfolio companies, we're often asked for our advice on breaking into the funds directly - so hopefully this is useful. The private equity industry is highly competitive, and making the move into the industry can be a challenge due to limited roles and high levels of competition. There are several key strategies that individuals can use to increase their chances of success when making the move into private equity.

One key strategy is to start investing. Building a personal portfolio of stocks and maintaining corresponding valuation models not only provides a simple yet effective indication of enthusiasm and commitment to investing but also prepares individuals for case-study work. Managing personal investments can help individuals to determine which sort of fund strategy they wish to pursue in their career, such as assessing large or small cap companies, equity or credit structures, or performing versus underperforming/distressed companies.

Another important strategy is to practice regularly. The majority of private equity interview processes require some form of technical modeling exercise or case study, which can be practiced and trained for further. This requires a methodical approach over time, with enrolment in a course or familiarization with YouTube videos on building a leveraged buyout model.

It is also important to know one's CV and be able to recall details about projects or deals, as well as show independent thought on work done. Private equity professionals are natural skeptics and expect individuals to have had deep involvement in deals rather than merely surface-level process management.

Knowing why one wants to move into private equity is another key strategy. It is important to have an honest and compelling reason for making the move, as many individuals churn out generic responses and end up being blurred in with all their competition. Those who have given the move to private equity real, careful thought will have a more genuine personal touch, which is far more likely to leave a lasting impact on the firms with which they are interviewing.

Finally, benchmarking against colleagues and peer groups can help individuals to identify areas for improvement and increase their chances of success. Private equity firms want to hire the best candidates, so it is crucial to do everything feasible to ensure that one is competitive.

While this list is not exhaustive, these strategies provide food for thought as individuals consider a move into private equity. The industry remains highly competitive, so those looking to make the move must be prepared to encounter more rejection than acceptance. However, a combination of relevant experience, key skills, a strong network, and a deep understanding of the industry and its culture can help individuals to succeed in this challenging but rewarding field.

Your Career

To discuss your future in private equity, reach out to us here. We can provide guidance on factors to consider when assessing a new role, such as the firm's size and reputation, investment strategies and sectors of focus, level of responsibility and autonomy, opportunities for career growth, compensation package, and the culture and values of the firm.

About Privatal

Privatal are specialists in Executive and Senior finance + M&A Recruitment for Private Equity Backed businesses. We specialise in recruiting private equity portfolio companies.

Despite only being on the market for 2 years, we've grown to 22 PE specialists & won the 'Best Private Equity Recruitment Agency' at the UK Business Awards in 2022.

To tap into our huge portfolio of Private Equity experienced portfolio talent, reach out to us here.


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