How to Make a Career in Top Private Equity Firms?

Private equity is a source of amassing capital from wealthy individuals and institutions with an intent of investing and obtaining equity ownership in operational companies.

The goal of investing in private equity is to gain favourable returns over a period.

A private equity investment will be made by private equity firms that undertake this task of investing with an intent of generating profits for the firm and its clientele.

In todays economy with private equity firms becoming an important part of the world economy, the career prospects in this area are increasing exponentially.

Presently it is the most sought after career and this article is to help individuals who are aspiring to venture into this field and also those who want to move to private equity business from their existing banking jobs.

The entry-level position in a typical Private Equity (PE) Firm would be of an Analyst or an Associate and the regular hierarchy within a private equity firm is as shown below:

The roles and responsibilities are somewhat rigid and defined from top to bottom.

For example, the senior professionals at MD and VP level would handle managing relations and taking investment decisions whereas the juniors would be mostly carrying out the analytical work.

In short, the PE firms do not have many layers of hierarchy as they are usually smaller than investment banks.

The advantage of this is, it gives a tremendous opportunity for new joiners to work and learn through direct interaction with the seasoned professionals within the firm.

How to Make a Career in Top Private Equity Firms?

Private equity can be interesting if you enjoy working with people, performing research, doing analysis and presentation, and finally managing finances. As there is no set of predefined steps that one can follow to enter this industry, the following sections in the article will enlighten you with information about:

the job description, work experience, educational background that the top private equity firms in the world today are looking for.

Let us begin with the top 12 private equity firms and know what they expect from a candidate seeking an entry-level position.

TPG is presently the leading private investment firm in the world. Their business focus covers a broad range of sectors like financial service, IT & communication technology, consumer products, healthcare, media & entertainment, travel, industrial, and retail business.

Candidate must have an MBA or a degree in finance, mathematics, economics, statistics, and accounting. It is mandatory to have a prior work experience of 2-3 years as an investment banker or management consultant.

Candidate must have extensive knowledge of TPGs industrial sectors.

Must know how to apply Lean operations practise to increase efficiency and reduce wastage.

Monitor assigned portfolio and regularly update it.

Research to identify strategic advantages across the TPG portfolio.

Good modelling skills to present portfolio and the results to seniors and stakeholders.

Ability to research and present pros n cons on new investment opportunities to a senior team within the firm.

They are leading today in asset management and as an advisory firm to investors. Their business focus is on private equity, real estate, hedge fund solutions, and non-investment grade credit.

At entry-level there are two positions: one is for a PE Analyst and the other is PE Associate.

The primary requirement is 2 to 4 years of work experience in either or both public and private sector. The basic educational qualification required is CPA or a graduate degree. However, for an Associate position post-MBA candidates are preferred.

The candidate is required that they assist seniors in direct acquisitions, divestitures, restructuring, recapitalization, joint ventures, and LBOs across sectors of mid-sized and large companies.

An Analysts work will include performing financial and competitive analysis, drafting internal and external memos, assist seniors in implementation of transactions, computer modelling, and research.

An Associates job includes monitoring and managing current portfolios for potential exits, investment, and acquisition opportunities.

The KKR firm manages investments across numerous asset classes. They includehedge funds, energy, infrastructure and real estate, credit and capital markets.

The entry-level position is that of an Associate. The basic educational qualification required is a Masters or Bachelors degree in finance, business management, consultation, economics, or mathematics.

The candidate must have previous work experience of 2-3 years in a reputed PE firms or investment bank and must possess working knowledge of softwares like Microsoft office, Bloomberg Terminal, Visual Basic, PowerPoint, data analysis, and valuation.

Assist and perform portfolio management and monitoring.

Gather data, analyse, and present information to seniors using tools like Excel, PowerPoint, and Visual Basic.

Preparing preliminary due diligence reports and modelling with growth forecasts for assigned portfolios.

They are a leading firm providing services and strategic advice to individuals and companies with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, risk management, and debt &equity underwriting.

The candidate must be an MBA with 2-3 years of work experience in the similar industry to join as an Associate at entry-level. Fluency in multiple languages like English, French, and German is an added advantage.

The role of an associate includes planning, structuring, and executing financing transactions in the public and private markets.

Advising companies on mergers, acquisitions, and strategies.

They have investors ranging from wealthy individuals and families to private & public pension funds, and other sovereigns like unions and corporations. They focus on sectors like telecommunications, media, power & energy, real estate, and defence to name a few.

The entry-level jobs offered are as a PE Associate/Analyst. They require either a Bachelors or Masters degree from a reputed institute along with 2-3 years of work experience in banking, consulting, or preferably private equity.

The job profile requires focusing on buyout and acquisition opportunities in the respective sectors by studying analysis based on public filings.

Comprehensive industry research, utilizing resources and tools such as the Internet, professional database, Bloomberg, Factiva, Thomson Finance, and expert interviews.

Prepare internal analysis reports, formal documents such as investment memos, and assist in preliminary deal screening efforts

CVC manages capital for over 300 institutions, government organisations, and private investors worldwide. They focus on venture capital, high net-worth individuals, and LBOs.

The entry-level job for an undergraduate is either as an Operations Analyst or Associate. The educational qualification required is either an MBA or masters degree in finance, economics, and marketing along with some relevant work experience in the Private Equity field.

As an Analyst, the primary responsibilities include performance and portfolio analysis along with handling the operations and trade support.

To work and assist seniors in business development and fundraising opportunities.

They focus on investing funds in four sectors i.e. Consumer, Health, Services, and Tech & Telco.

The entry-level jobs are as Associates or Analysts. The basic educational qualification required is either a Bachelors or Masters degree in Economics, Policy Analysis, General Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.

The candidates are required to work on multiple transactions in the sector assigned.

Consult and advise clients and team members along with managing the portfolios.

They focus on nine core Sectors as a part of their Private Equity investment business. These are Chemicals,Commodities,Consumer & Retail, Distribution & Transportation, Financial & Business Services, Manufacturing & Industrial,Media, Cable & Leisure, Packaging & Materials, and Satellite& Wireless.

The entry level jobs are either as a Private Equity Associate or an Analyst.The basic educational qualification required is a Bachelors or Masters degree in Finance and Business Administration. The candidate must have knowledge of working with Microsoft Office/Excel/Word/PowerPoint, and Bloomberg Terminal.

They have expertise in the areas of Consumer, Retail, Dining, Financial & business services, Healthcare, Industry & Energy, Telecom, Media, and Technology.

The entry level jobs for undergraduates are of an Associate Consultant and Associate Consultant Intern. For MBA graduates, the profile is of either a Summer Associate or Summer Consultant.

The candidate will be required to research, structure and perform analysis to highlight and support Bains recommendations to clients.

Presenting the results of your work to partners and clients

This firm majorly deals in asset classes like Corporate Debts, Convertible securities, Distressed Debt, Control Investing, Real Estate, and Listed Equities.

The qualification required is a bachelors degree from a top university or college along with 1-3 years of work experience at an investment bank, asset management firm, or consulting firm.

Analysing markets, products, and new business prospects to develop recommendations on the applicable plan for Oaktree.

Performing quantitative and qualitative analysis, with diligence, valuation, and creating benchmarks by studying industries and sectors for Oaktree.

Building detailed financial models and preparing presentations for senior management and external stakeholders.

This firm currently invests in management buyouts in areas like financial services, Health Care, Energy & Industrials, Insurance, Internet, Digital Marketing, Software, Retail, and Consumer.

The entry-level position is that of an Associate with educational qualification of a bachelors or masters degree in Mathematics, Economics, Biomedical, Engineering, and Business Administration along with previous work experience.

Prepare spreadsheet analysis of the impacts for the potential LBO.

Identify new opportunities and potential buyout candidates through research and screening.

Prepare and present data for senior members for a new opportunity.

This firm focuses on the areas like business services, retail & consumer, financial services, health care, and internet & technology.

The entry-level job is as a Private Equity Associate with the previous work-experience in a similar sector. The basic educational qualification required is a bachelors degree in computer science, engineering, and economics with knowledge of foreign language.

Work on Merger and Acquisition deals; prepare and present data for same.

Creating modelling structures and present the same to team members, clients, and stakeholders.

Assist in creating valuations, identifying opportunities in the form of LBOs, expansion, new sector, etc.

The job description, a professional and educational qualification that is required for applying in any of the private equity firms is more or less the same as mentioned above for the top 12 private equity firms.

For reference, below is the list of the top 50 private equity firms in the world (Source: The list will give you an idea of the huge job opportunity that lies in this business sector as it is still evolving and growing.

I have compiled some additional guidelines and tips that will surge your opportunity of getting aninterview call from a Private Equity company.

The fact is that it is very rare that individuals are taken in as Associates immediately after graduation. This is mainly because most equity firms are small and do not have the manpower or bandwidth to train newbies within the firm.

Now you must understand that most students who graduate from Ivy colleges and reputed universities are always seeking for an internship or training programme opportunity with big and established equity firms like the Blackstones or Goldman Sachs.

As the smaller companies are always in need of people to work, they are willing to adjust their requirements to fulfil these vacancies.

This presents a golden opportunity to those candidates who have the required degree but not from the A schools.

Here you have a chance to work at the grass-root level and understand the business, build contacts, and most importantly gain the required work experience.

It is a definite plus if you have knowledge of 2-3 European languages, for example, English plus German, French, Italian, Spanish, or Dutch. This will help you overcome some amount of competition from undergraduates of reputed institutes/universities.

Finally the last piece of information you must know is that most PE firms prefer to hire people within the age bracket of 30 for an entry-level position.

It is crucial that all aspiring candidates consider all factors i.e. educational, work experience, and age limit required for this profession before making any radical changes in their existing career or job.

I would like to conclude this article by emphasizing the fact that accumulating at least 2 years of work experience in either investment banking, corporate development, or restructuring will undoubtedly help, as for experienced candidates their business knowledge with past achievements will precede their educational degrees.

I wish all aspiring candidates the very best and hope that this article has been insightful and helpful.

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