What is a career in private equity like?
Beyond job security and attractive financial rewards, perhaps the most appealing feature of working in private equity is its fast-paced, ever-changing dynamism. Through managing a portfolio of different companies across a range of subsectors, the role continuously offers new opportunities and challenges. In other words, in the world of private equity careers, no two days are ever the same.
That variety keeps the job exciting. The ECI team might spend one day visiting an insurtech firm to discuss application of AI, and the next day help an IT Managed Services business round out its North American strategy.
In both cases, the central objective of working in private equity is the same. It is to build fantastic relationships with management teams and put every effort into helping them achieve their goals and deliver exceptional results.
Working in private equity is quite different from corporate finance or management consultancies. There, advisers may spend no more than a few weeks with a particular management team. Private equity investment, by contrast, typically moves through four separate stages:
- Identifying potential investment opportunities and initiating an open conversation with the management team to understand their ambitions and appetite for investment, preferably as early as possible. At ECI, the relevant leads from our Origination, Investment, and Commercial teams who would work with the management team if an investment happens are all involved from early on in this process.
- Building a fantastic relationship with the management team, and working through a deal, either outside of a formal process or in an auction process in competition with other would-be investors.
- Once the deal is complete, our three teams (Origination, Investment and Commercial) all work together to ensure that the company has access to all the relevant support and tools that will help it to drive value.
- Typically an investment period is around 4-5 years. During that time, the ECI team works with the leadership team to remove pre-existing “value drags” that may have existed at investment, unlock further top-line growth and finally work through an exit process to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders. These are the investors, management team and employees.
So, how many hours do you work in private equity?
There’s no straightforward answer. However, those different stages mean there can be times when it is incredibly busy, such as in the run up to an exit, balanced with a gentler schedule in quieter periods. People contemplating working in private equity should understand there may be those peaks and troughs.
While there’s no doubt that those working in private equity work hard, work-life balance is often better than the likes of law firms or investment banks. Similarly, while a career in private equity provides some travel opportunities, it’s highly unlikely to be excessive and keep people away from home for extended periods.