Kick Start Your Career in Private Equity

In September, we partnered with Advent International, Apax Partners, Apollo, Bain Capital, Cinven, CVC, EQT and HgCapital, to host our annual Junior Women in Private Equity Networking event. Moderated by Andrew Sillitoe, CEO of Apax Partners, our panellists reflected on their move into Private Equity and gave in-depth insights around their personal development within the sector.

Below are just a few of their top tips for a successful career in Private Equity:

  • Develop your investor mindset early. How do you do this when you don’t work in Private Equity? As an advisor, you are in a privileged position to have access to large amounts of information, commercial due diligence reports, legal reports, the list goes on… Read this information, challenge the material you are asked to process and treat everything as a case study. All the information you need to make an informed decision on a potential investment is in front of you, read it and ask yourself “Would I recommend this investment? When would I exit and how?”
  • Learn from as many people as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, listen to what people in the industry have to say and readily absorb this information. You won’t rely on someone to make the big decisions forever, in 10-15 years’ time you want to be ready to do it yourself. Always ask, “How would I do the job of the person two positions ahead of me?”
  • Develop great interpersonal skills. You will frequently work in and manage small teams, you need to trust those around you and learn how to get your team to perform under pressure. Earn their respect but encourage openness, you won’t always be right.
  • Don’t be afraid to have a personality. Managing an investment is like entering a marriage with the person you’re investing with. You’ll be working with them for approximately 5 years, sometimes longer and they need to like you. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and form a relationship with your clients.
  • Mistakes happen. Don’t let it fluster you, take a pause and think “How will this affect my 30-year career?”. Chances are it probably doesn’t, so don’t sweat the small stuff and learn from your mistakes.
  • Develop your independence. You will need to be comfortable making decisions on your own. You won’t always be handed the answer on a plate, so think outside the box and learn how to problem solve with efficiency.

Actively implementing learnings such as these and utilising a bit of forward-thinking will not just set you up for a strong start at the beginning of your career but throughout as well. Developing your technical skills, whilst essential for you to succeed, should only be one element of your development. Taking charge of your learning and embarking on your own self-guided training program will not only be evolutionary to your career but also ensure you stay ahead of the curve. As if turns out, it’s exactly what the most successful of Private Equity professionals are already doing.

Have a good weekend.


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