Private equity and venture capital: early tips

While some Private Equity and Venture Capital jobs get filled much later in the recruiting process, some start early! Top students have started to prepare in a number of ways, from identifying firms to tracking leads and learning about them. Some suggested activities:

  • Develop list of target firms: have a list of firms ready. Make the most of LinkedIn to mine any connections you can to your companies of interest. Conduct some informational interviews if at all possible! Talk with second year students about their experiences.
  • Consider smaller firms: Everyone has heard of larger firms like Blackstone, Carlyle, KKR, etc. In addition to pursuing those firms, also consider smaller ones that are more aligned to industries you’re passionate about, or under-served geographic areas that will provide you more experience earlier in your career.
  • Read: Monitor PitchBook, PE News, or other favorite news sources and keep track of industries, companies, and deal structures that interest you. Current news you learn hear can provide good topics for casual conversations during interviews and networking events.
  • Build relationships: Private equity requires more networking and relationship-building given the limited staffing most firms have. Go to industry conferences and network with bankers to build mentors and advocates. Like top-tier MBA programs, PE firms have multiple qualified applicants for each available role, so make sure you stand out!
  • Determine if it’s worth waiting for: do other things come first? Get a fair assessment of your chances if you wait, especially if you don’t have prior investment banking experience. This isn’t meant to imply that you shouldn’t go for PE/VC if it’s truly your dream; but stress-test your chance of success. Find anyone you know with industry experience; ask them for a brutally honest take on the odds of success, as well as what you can do to strengthen your candidacy.