Meet Caroline, a Private Equity Investor who built an impressive career already! She experienced companies such as J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Cinven, and FSN Capital. Before realising that Private Equity is the career that suits her best, she explored other avenues and opportunities. Let’s dive into how Caroline decided that she wants to land a job in Private Equity, and most importantly, how she did it successfully!
Exploring the different avenues of Finance
While Caroline was a university student, she decided to get experience in different sectors within Finance – she didn’t know exactly what her career will look like later, but exploring different things helped her reach that decision moment.
“At the time, it wasn’t a very conscious decision. The paths that I took before Private Equity are more a reflection of me trying different things within Finance — I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I built my experience through internships and part-time jobs in Finance while studying. I think that’s the cool thing about Finance, you can really do so many different roles depending on your personality, skills and interests.
It’s important to not start building experience aimlessly. Once you know you want to break into a certain Finance sector, some strategic thinking is required.
“With that being said, I always tried to think strategically about how I built my CV. For example, which opportunities will this next job bring and does it fit well with me? That’s why I ended up going for Private Equity. Finally, it’s probably worth mentioning, that if you already know you want to do Private Equity, then the most common ways to get into the industry are Investment Banking, Strategy Consulting or Private Equity internships.”
Private Equity: Not just another project
When asked why she decided to land a job in Private Equity, Caroline pointed out three essential things that make Private Equity differentiate itself from other sectors in Finance.
Firstly, the combination of soft and hard skills: “I love that it requires a combination of technical and people skills. You have to analyse companies based on financial, commercial and legal aspects, and at the same time build connections with the people working at the companies you are analysing. Because of this, two days are never the same (cliche, I know, but it’s true!), and you learn to think like a banker, a consultant, a lawyer etc. — rather than just one or the other.”
Secondly, the great involvement with companies: “I find it very motivating to know that we could end up owning the companies we are analysing and working with the people we build relationships with, for many years to come. We often also sit on the board of these companies. This means you really have to understand and connect with the companies and people on a different level than if it’s ‘just another project’ for you.”
And finally, Caroline mentioned that it’s a job you can do anywhere in the world, which brings a lot of new opportunities.
How can YOU pursue Private Equity?
Even if it’s been reiterated a lot of times, it’s important to emphasise how essential it is that you stay true to yourself and you realise that your uniqueness is your strength. Add a dose of courage to this, and you are already two steps closer to landing the job that you want!
Caroline pointed out the different things that she did at the beginning of her career – things that might help you too.
“Your personality, ideas and courage are what will set you apart. Also, there is nothing that makes this job better suited for men than women, and on top of this the industry is desperately demanding greater diversity. So just go for it!
Work really hard on building your technical skills, build relationships with people, and for an interview setting especially, become good at articulating your story, your choices along the way and what you have learnt — all our experiences teach us something (even the bad ones).”