Private Equity Research Analysts and Associates
Education and Training Requirements
In high school, take accounting, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and other finance classes, as well as statistics and mathematics. Database management classes will help you learn how to collect and manage information. Any class that teaches you how to conduct research and assess information will be a good building block for a career in private equity. Strong communication skills are necessary to write reports and effectively debate the merits of potential investments, so be sure to take as many speech and English classes as possible. Participation in mathematics, finance, and debate clubs and contests also provide good hands-on experience.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, statistics, economics, accounting, mathematics, computational finance, or a related field is needed to work in the research department, but many research professionals (especially managers) have graduate degrees (typically MBAs or degrees in consulting).The London School of Economics and Political Science offers a master’s degree in private equity.
Other Education or Training
Another way to improve your skills is to participate in continuing education classes, webinars, workshops, seminars, and other educational opportunities that are offered by professional associations such as the Alternative Investment Management Association, CFA Institute, Financial Management Association International, International Association for Quantitative Finance, and RIMS—The Risk Management Society.
The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association offers the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program, which covers topics such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate, risk management, due diligence, and portfolio construction. Visit https://caia.org/programs/fundamentals for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Certification is not required, but completing a certification program can help you improve your skills and chances of getting hired. Here are some of the most popular certifications:
- Chartered Financial Analyst (administered by the CFA Institute, https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfa)
- CAIA Charter (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, https://caia.org/programs/the-caia-charter)
- Certified Investment Management Analyst (Investments & Wealth Institute, https://investmentsandwealth.org/cima)
Some analysts and associates are licensed as certified public accountants (CPAs) The Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, is used by all states.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Some analysts and associates are able to enter the field after completing a bachelor’s degree and an internship, co-op, or part-time position at an alternative investment firm, consulting firm, or investment bank. Higher-level positions require an MBA and several years of experience at an alternative investments firm.
Key traits for analysts and associates include strong critical thinking, quantitative, and research skills; good judgment; the ability to multitask; excellent communication skills; a talent for working well with others; and a strong work ethic. Proficiency in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, as well as financial modeling software, is also required. Analysts and associates who work outside of the United States may be required to be fluent in a foreign language.