Six months into your new investment banking analyst position and the glamour is starting to fade away. The long hours are starting to take their toll and that small voice in your head starts whispering, “Am I getting paid enough for this?” At first you scoff and think of your starting salary range. But that little voice keeps repeating, “Maybe I should be getting paid more…”
This is the moment that every private equity firm is waiting for. Over the past five years, competition for junior level talent has become fierce on Wall Street, with firms fighting over newly hired investment banking analysts with only six to eight months of experience in the industry. But why?
Wall Street is no stranger to competition, as many of you already know. Private equity firms have moved their recruiting timeline up to solidify acquisition of the best talent by offering sometimes double the current salary of an investment banking analyst. Since the process has become unprecedentedly intense, here are some tips for young bankers to stay on top of their game during the recruitment frenzy and land a private equity job.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Once the recruiting process starts, it’s a whirlwind of phone calls, questions, and formal interviews, so start going over your resume as soon as you can. It’s important to know your story, and be able to thoroughly discuss every word on your resume, even your hobbies and interests. Private equity firms know you might not have the most experience, so everything on your resume is fair game. Review all of your current or past deals and outline how your role was pivotal to the team. Highlight anything you produced such as financial modeling, valuation, credit analysis, and any other presentations, analysis, or administrative tasks that the deals required. Once the interview rolls around, you’ll be better prepared to dive into the details.
Once a firm reaches out to you, research their portfolio companies and think about macro-trends in their industry that could affect potential investment opportunities. Bring a few investment ideas to the interview; brainstorm a few reasons why a specific company or two would be a smart investment decision for the firm. It’s also crucial to stay flexible during interview time, as some firms will ask for you to fly out the next day for an interview. Hesitating or saying no could result in a missed opportunity. Most importantly, don’t forget the names of the people you’re interviewing with. If multiple firms reach out, it can be easy to mix them up. Prepare separately for each opportunity to avoid any confusion.
Weigh Your Options
Hopefully your interview process was a success. However, you should consider all of your preferences and choices before you make a decision, and fast. Hiring firms will move quickly and efficiently, and you should be sure to accept or reject an offer as soon as possible before they find another candidate. If you have multiple offers or are still debating whether you should leave investment banking, think about what goals you’ve set for your career. Is there room for advancement at the company? Do you like the company culture? Do you see yourself staying there for at least five years? It’s easy to get carried away when companies are fighting over you, so before you make a decision, take a moment and determine which offer best aligns with your needs in an employer. Sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.