Private Equity Risk Managers
Private equity firms are located throughout the United States and the world. Many U.S.-based firms are headquartered in New York, Boston, and other cities on the East Coast; Houston and Dallas, Texas; Chicago; and San Francisco, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles, California. Many top U.S. firms have offices in foreign countries.
There are many opportunities for risk managers outside the private equity industry. They are employed by banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, government agencies, municipalities, hospitals, airlines, retailers, school districts, construction firms, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities.
It’s quite difficult to land a job as a risk management professional at a private equity firm. An alternative strategy is to seek out a risk management position at a bank, government agency, school district, insurance company, insurance brokerage firm, or even a portfolio company of a PE firm—gradually obtaining experience and building your network until you feel you’re qualified for a position at a PE firm. Some individuals obtain experience and education while working in accounting departments and later move into risk management positions.
Popular job-search strategies include using the resources of your college’s career services office; networking on LinkedIn, SumZero, and other job-search social media sites; or participating in an internship or co-op at a company that employs risk managers. One excellent job-search resource is the Career Center section of the RIMS Web site, https://www.rims.org/resources/career-center. It features articles on resume writing, networking, career success, and other topics.
Since most PE firms are small, there are few advancement opportunities for risk managers unless they move into other executive-level positions or launch their own funds. Opportunities are much better outside the PE industry. Risk managers can eventually become personnel supervisors, finance department managers, or human resources director; join the insurance industry; become independent consultants; or even ascend to CEO or CFO positions. Some leave the industry to become college professors.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Read Hedge Funds and Private Equity: Regulatory and Risk Management Update, The RMA Journal, Risk Management, and other publications to learn more about the field.
Join RIMS—The Risk Management Society and other professional associations as a student or professional member to network and learn more about the field.