Private Equity Paths

Not all Private Equity firm are alike and it is these differences which intelligent and professional candidates need to identify to be successful in obtaining a role with a Private Equity firm.  Although this is a somewhat broad brush stroke the argument can easily be made that there are two main types of Private Equity funds: transactional and operational.

For candidates interested in making a career in the Private Equity space they must first understand the nature of the business so they can know not only who to apply to for  a position but more importantly how to properly position themselves with each firm.

A transactional fund looks for deals where they can pay below book value or the smallest premium possible for an entity and then resell the entity in a few months to a competitor/partner or perhaps a few years for larger premium.  These funds are looking for an entity that may be out of favor at the present time but within a couple of years “at most” they believe will be highly desired.  Furthermore they look for an entity which they believe may be worth more money broken up into smaller pieces, rather then kept whole.

These firms are looking for people with strong investment banking experience accompanied with solid transactional experience.  They want financial modelers and individuals who can identify value within the different parts of the capital structure of an entity.  These transaction oriented firms typically hire from the major investment banks and in a down market such as the present one, they may hire senior investment bankers. 

An operational fund looks for deals where they can acquire an entity which they feel is being mis-managed or run inefficiently by present management.  Or they may be looking for deals where a company is searching for additional capital or operational expertise to perhaps increase their product line or build a new factory to increase production.  

Since this value is predominately achieved by streamlining operations and enabling the firms to run more effectively these Private Equity funds look for individuals who possess operational experience. These funds recruit heavily out of the management consultant ranks and other operating companies. They value candidate with real life experience and in many cases either proven operators or individuals with a strong operational foundation.

Since there are two types of funds it is very important for candidates to not only understand the value their experience offers the funds, but also which funds will properly value this experience due to their firms investment strategy.  Furthermore it is very important for candidates to know what type of work they enjoy performing. Obviously there are big differences between these two strategies and the professional career paths that are associated with these two types of firms. 

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129 Responses to “Private Equity Paths”

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    Sue,

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