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Private Equity Career Paths : Boutique Firms VS Larger Firms

Thinking of applying for a role in Private Equity? See our quick lowdown below of the differences between Small Shops VS Larger Shops.

Boutique Firms

PROS of working at a smaller shop:

  • The working hours tend to be more reasonable.

  • There is often less hierarchy, so juniors tend to have have more opportunities to make an impact on the organisation where senior management are more receptive to their ideas.

  • You will have a wider range of responsibilities that you may not have with a larger fund where the responsibilities are more siloed.

  • You are more exposed to different facets of the deal as investment teams tend to be smaller and juniors are not only responsible for crunching numbers/analysis but can sometimes have exposure to the deal negotiation and execution processes.

CONS of working at a smaller shop:

  • No large Analyst class. Less structured training for new employees. There will usually be 1 or 2 Analysts that join the firm directly supporting the senior management who will take a ‘learn as you go’ approach.

  • Opportunities with smaller shops are harder to come by and there are less opportunities to network, but you will usually have more exposure to senior management within a smaller platform.

Additional overview of working for a smaller shop:

  • Better opportunity for advancement –Juniors in smaller firms are often directly reporting into senior management and assisting them on a day-by-day basis. Naturally, the lean organization of a smaller shop means that you will have more visibility within the firm, where your work ethic, ideas and creativity are most likely to be recognized by the senior partners from your first day, so there may be a better opportunity for you to advance internally.

  • Learn different aspects of the business –There will be more opportunities for you to get involved in deals and strategic initiatives meaning that you can gain a 1st hand view of many aspects of a deal that you otherwise would not get at a larger shop. These experiences can eventually propel your resume to a more senior role with a larger shop.

  • Faster Processes – Smaller firms usually have less red tape meaning that processes can flow quicker with less approvals.

  • Company Culture - Larger corporations’ pride themselves on a solid workplace culture. But a small business culture can be a powerful draw for new employees as most of them aspire to align with the best corporate culture and place more emphasis on creativity, innovation and developing a supportive atmosphere.

Larger Firms

PROS of working with a larger firm:

  • The reputation, the brand and investment exposure to large investments.

  • You will often be joining the firm with several other Analysts where the firm deploys a rigid training and development program.

  • The role of juniors is often very transaction geared focusing on a small facet of the deal (preliminary analysis of potential investments). You will be working in a high pressure/volume environment meaning that you will develop modelling skills that may put you ahead of those at other firms.

CONS of working with a larger firm:

  • Roles for junior analysts within larger shops are often siloed and heavily focused on number crunching/analysis, whereas in smaller shops the analysts will be more hands on and potentially have more exposure to deal execution.

  • Larger firms are known to have a ‘one in, one out’ mentality. You may be working with managers who are not empathetic and don’t have intentions to nurture and train those in their teams.

  • Larger firms will often have a structured organization chart meaning that you will have less interaction with senior managers.

  • Lengthy queue for promotion.

Additional overview of working for a larger shop:

  • Work on largescale deals – Working at larger shops means that you are more likely to have exposure to largescale transactions working with seasoned leaders in the market.

  • High pressure/volume – Working for a larger global private equity firm usually comes with high pressure and larger volume of transactions. Future hiring managers in general well regard candidates coming from large platforms as they will usually have a pretty good sense of how you’ve been trained and what you are capable of.

  • Company Culture - Larger private equity firms are known to have a 'one in, one out' culture.

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