The Day-to-Day as a Private Equity Associate
Private Equity Associates are responsible for leading deal processes from beginning to end. They work with private equity firms to analyze and monitor data, look for potential investment opportunities for their firm, and raise capital from outside investors. There are different-sized private equity firms that specialize in various industries. Most Private Equity Associates work with Senior Executives, Senior Associates, Vice Presidents, Principals, and Directors or Partners. They consistently work over 40-hours per week, usually onsite. Some firms will offer the option of working remotely one or two days per week.
Private equity firms differ in size, clientele, and industry, and Private Equity Associates will have varying responsibilities. You can usually find them attending to analytical modeling, portfolio company monitoring, reviewing confidential information memorandums (CIMs), raising capital for new funds, conducting calls, reviewing due diligence findings, and assisting senior executives.
What Skills Should Private Equity Associates Have?
Private Equity Associate’s most valuable skills are data analysis and communication. They should be proficient in data analysis, modeling, and visualization. They must also have the ability to distill large amounts of information about a company into a simple one-page summary which a senior team can use to make an investment decision. Etiquette is a major part of this role and should be learned early in the career of someone who wants to work in private equity - before they’ve ever landed a private equity role.
To succeed, a Private Equity Associate will also need to be proficient in Microsoft Office programs such as Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint. They should know how to do financial modeling and valuation, some accounting, make sound investment recommendations, and raise capital. Jargon is a big component of working in finance - terms like CIMs, M&A, LBO, IRR, and due diligence. Getting a handle on this will happen naturally on the job and will be required expertise for a position like this.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Private Equity Associate
Financial modeling is the use of a tool built into Excel to forecast the future financial performance of a business. These predictions are based on the historical performance of a company, and inferences of the future.
Accounting involves processing, measuring, and communicating financial information about businesses. Accounting often uses software like QuickBooks, Excel, and other office communication tools.
Finance involves the management, study, and creation of money and investments. Finance dictates how a company, individual, or governing power acquires necessary capital. Finance typical uses tools like Quickbooks, Oracle, and Excel.
Investing is allocating money with the expectation of a future benefit. Benefits accrued through investment are called returns.
Private Equity Associate Salaries
A Private Equity Associate in the United States makes, on average, $117,602 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Private Equity Associates vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Private Equity Associate salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $117K source n/a
New York City
- U.S. Average $117K source n/a
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
Typical Qualifications to Become a Private Equity Associate
Private equity firms typically expect Private Equity Associate candidates to have at least two years of experience as an Investment Analyst. Most firms will also prefer a four-year degree in finance, math, accounting, or economics, or an MBA. It is possible to get a Private Equity Associate position without a degree if you already haveexperience as an Investment Analyst.
Some firms may also accept applicants with significant management consultant experience or someone who has had at least three internships in investment banking or private equity. Private Equity Associates can earn their Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification which requires three exams and several hours of studying. A CFA is not required but can increase the chances of getting hired as a Private Equity Associate.
Searching for Private Equity Associate Jobs
Private equity is extremely competitive and it is difficult to land a position in this field. You may need to seek out a headhunter to land a position. If you’re looking for positions at smaller firms or outside of major financial centers, expect the salary to be less than the New York average. You may be able to find some Private Equity jobs on job boards if the firm is smaller.
Private Equity Associates can search for jobs on these sites:
Tips to Become a Private Equity Associate
Private equity is an extremely lucrative, elite, and exclusive industry. Landing a job as a Private Equity Associate is a competitive process for anyone who is already working in finance and a long road for those coming from non-traditional paths. A major resource for those who are looking to get into private equity is Mergers and Inquisitions. They layout tips for landing a job, outline recruiting processes and cycles, and share how to transition into this career field from investment banking and consulting, as well as non-traditional paths.
If you’re not already working in a top investment banking pool, you’ll need to take multiple steps to move into private equity from your current career. This might include upskilling and moving from your current role to an entry-level job in finance or business, then getting an MBA, and then working for at least two years in investment banking before you can even be recruited into private equity. It will take four or five years at minimum to move into this industry.
Private equity firms overwhelmingly hire Investment Banking Analysts from bulge bracket or elite boutique banks, undergraduates from top schools who will work in a junior role such as Analyst, and professionals from other private equity firms. If you fit into one of these categories, you’re in luck! Your journey into private equity will be much quicker than a non-traditional candidate, but will still be quite competitive.
Some candidates can move from related industries into their respective private equity firms, such as real estate brokers or lenders moving into real estate private equity, corporate development professionals moving into Private Equity Analyst or Investment Analyst roles, or coming from an MBA directly into a Senior Private Equity Associate position.
Getting an interview at a private equity firm requires a strong network in private equity and being liked by headhunters, as private equity firms rely on headhunters to filter candidates for them. There are on-cycle and off-cycle recruitment processes. If you work in investment banking, you’ve probably heard of on-cycle recruiting and even gone through it already. If you work outside of investment banking or didn’t get an offer during on-cycle recruitment, you’ll want to study up on off-cycle recruitment and headhunter interaction etiquette in order to land a job.
What Job Titles Would a Private Equity Associate Hold?
Most firms attribute the Associate role to someone who has at least two years of experience in banking or management consulting. Some firms will combine Associate and Analyst responsibilities into one Associate role and will usually list this in the job description. Many firms will hire MBA graduates as Associates and label them “Senior Associate.” Senior Associate can also be used as a title for someone who worked as an Associate for two years and was promoted. You’ll need to go through either the on-cycle or off-cycle recruitment process as described in the “Tips” section of this page to land a job or know someone in private equity who is willing to hire you. You are not likely to find any private equity positions on a job board.
Private Equity Associate roles are generally divided into Junior and Senior roles. After two years as a Junior Associate, the next step would be a Senior Associate. Private equity firms typically expect Private Equity Associate candidates to have at least two years of experience as an entry-level Investment Analyst. Some candidates can move from related industries into their respective private equity firms, such as real estate brokers or lenders moving into real estate private equity, corporate development professionals moving into Private Equity Analyst or Investment Analyst roles, or coming from an MBA directly into a Senior Private Equity Associate position.
Investment Bankers, Financial Analysts, Research Analysts, and Investment Analysts are all roles that could lead to a higher-paying Private Equity Associate role. Most of these roles require bachelor’s degrees in finance, math, statistics, economics, or accounting, depending. It would be worth obtaining a Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to elevate your chances at success.
Salary Comparison to Private Equity Associate
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