Posted on June 8, 2023

How to Get Into Private Equity in London


Private equity is an attractive industry for investment bankers looking to transition into a more entrepreneurial role. With London remaining as one of the primary hubs for private equity activity, it is no wonder that many bankers set their sights on breaking into this field. The industry offers exciting work and significant financial gains, but private equity firms are notoriously selective in their hiring process. So, what does it take to get into private equity in London, and how can investment bankers position themselves for success in this competitive field? In this guide, we'll explore the industry's key players, career paths, and actionable tips for breaking into private equity.

Steps to follow

The first step for investment bankers to understand is the structure of the private equity industry. Private equity firms usually have three main groups: deal teams, operational teams, and fundraising teams. Deal teams are responsible for originating, negotiating, and executing investment opportunities. Operational teams are responsible for overseeing the management of the portfolio companies, while fundraising teams raise capital from institutional investors for the firm to deploy. As an investment banker, the deal team is a natural fit for your skillset, but it is recommended to understand the other teams' responsibilities to have a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

Breaking into the field

Now that you understand the private equity industry's structure, let's talk about how to break into the field. Unlike investment banking, there is no clear-cut path to getting into private equity. However, there are specific steps you can take to increase your chances of success. One way to break into private equity is through networking. Target private equity firms that match your desired size, industry, and deal type. Attend industry events and get to know people in your target firms through LinkedIn or mutual contacts. Demonstrating your passion for the firm or industry can go a long way in getting noticed and opening doors.

Another way to increase your chances of breaking into private equity is through relevant work experience. Investment banking or corporate finance experience is an excellent starting point, given the similarities between the industries. However, private equity firms value operational experience, and you can gain this experience by working for companies' portfolio companies. Furthermore, it is essential to express an interest in private equity and network your way into the industry's operational teams to build your experience.

Once you have established a good network and relevant experience, it's time to apply for roles in private equity firms. Startups or small firms may have fewer formal hurdles in terms of the interview process. However, acquiring a role in a top-tier private equity firm will take a more structured approach. Internships and analyst positions are a great way to get your foot in the door and set yourself up for a long-term career in the field.

To Conclude

Breaking into private equity in London is a competitive process. But, by networking with the right people, gaining relevant experience, and positioning oneself optimally, investment bankers can significantly increase their chances of success. Private equity offers opportunities to invest in innovative businesses, and being part of such a dynamic industry can be fulfilling. Finally, remember that patience is necessary, and the road to private equity success may have twists and turns- requiring a relentless eagerness to learn and adapt. Invest in yourself, invest in your network, and stay focused on your long-term goals.

Succeed with Pearse Partners

We are London-based consultants, specialising in Private Equity searches. Our exceptional team has fostered enduring connections with clients and candidates worldwide. Leveraging our wide-reaching network and extensive expertise, we are uniquely positioned to help you secure your next Private Equity role in London.