Private Equity Chief Dealmakers
More than 8,400 firms actively manage private equity and private debt funds worldwide, according to Preqin's 2020 report. This is an increase from 6,170 in 2015. About 45 percent of PE firms are headquartered in the United States—typically in big cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago. In addition to employment in the PE sector, chief dealmakers can work in the hedge fund and venture capital sectors, in investment banking, and for corporations in a diverse array of industries.
It takes many years to obtain the skills and deal experience to be qualified to work as a chief dealmaker. Many aspiring dealmakers work their way up from lower-level positions (e.g., analyst, associate, due diligence or risk management professional, etc.) in the deal-making department. Others develop their deal-making skills by working at investment banks or in corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Landing a job in the private equity industry is a lot about “who you know.” The money involved in PE transactions is mind-boggling, and managing partners want people whom they know and trust involved in these deals. Strategies that will help get you noticed include building your network by using social media and attending industry conferences, developing relationships with respected industry recruiters, and landing internships or cooperative education opportunities at PE firms.
Finally, it never hurts to use the job-search resources of your college’s career services office, ask your professors for introductions to PE dealmakers, and search out job leads at employment sites such as https://www.efinancialcareers.com and https://www.jobsearchdigest.com/private-equity-jobs/.
Chief dealmakers are the “top dogs” at private equity firms, and those who are also owners of the firm have few advancement opportunities. Chief dealmakers without ownership stakes can advance by launching their own funds, transitioning to a more prestigious PE firm with more assets under management, or by receiving a higher management fee or more carried interest.
Tips for Entry
Be willing to relocate to New York and other employment hubs for PE professionals. It may open more opportunities.
Build your skills and experience by working in entry-level positions in the private equity industry.
Check out The Deal (https://www.thedeal.com) and PE HUB (https://www.pehub.com) to learn about the PE industry and major business deals.