What I Like Most About Private Equity

Reflecting on the last several years in PE , I’ve been contemplating what I genuinely like about the job. This is primarily for my personal reflection and to articulate my thoughts more clearly:

  • Impact on the Success of our LPs such as Retirement Funds and Education Endowment Funds: A key motivator in my PE work is the profound societal impact we have by supporting our LPs, vital for communities both in the US and globally. Our efforts benefit critical retirement funds for some of the heroes in our communities including firefighters, police officers, and teachers. Additionally, by aiding LPs like university endowments, we directly support scholarships for underprivileged students—a cause close to my heart, having relied on such support as an immigrant to the US. This work underscores what I believe to be genuine positive change we strive for in the PE industry.
  • Impact on Portfolio Companies’ Growth: In PE, my role involves significantly shaping the strategies of portfolio companies, driving their growth and operational improvements. This influence extends beyond business metrics, positively impacting employees and their families, and contributing to a broader success story that enriches people’s lives professionally and personally. Also, I have the opportunity to leverage my expertise on a broader scale, impacting multiple companies within our PE firm’s portfolio, rather than focusing on a single organization.
  • Impact on our Portfolio Execs & our PE Fund’s Investment Team Success: I think my efforts in PE contribute to the success of our investment team and achievements of our portfolio executives (these are all great people of whom I am a big dan). This involvement not only leads to collective satisfaction but also fosters a shared sense of accomplishment within our firm and the industry.
  • Intellectual Challenge, Analytical Work and Problem-Solving: My role is defined by engaging in complex problem-solving, strategic planning, and operational improvements, presenting the intellectual challenge I thrive on. For example, it encompasses working closely with our teams on due diligence, focusing on commercial and operational aspects, and conducting in-depth analysis of financial models. This includes operating and commercial modeling, ensuring revenue forecasts are precise and impactful for valuation. In this role, I also get to help in preparing Investment Committee memos, covering go-to-market strategies, commercial, and operational insights leveraging both my finance/analytical and operational backgrounds and I support our PE team in essential areas for strategic decisions, investment decisions, and supporting post-investment value maximization.
  • Diversification and Variety of Work Initiatives: My PE role offers a refreshing divergence from conventional corporate leadership, blending my finance/investing background and analytical prowess (with significant Excel use) with my commercial and operational experience as a former CRO & CEO. This allows me to work closely and fully understand and align with our Investment Team while also complementing them with my hands-on experience driving capital-efficient business growth. This unique mix enables me to tackle diverse business opportunities across our portfolio, keeping my work intellectually stimulating and highly engaging.
  • Diverse Industry and Business Model Exposure: My role offers exposure to a broad spectrum of industries, segments, and business models, enabling me to apply a well-suited mix of my analytical, financial, and operational expertise. This diversity allows for a rich application of my skills, representing an ideal blend of my experiences and interests.
  • Leveraging My Unique Network for Our PE Fund and Portfolio Success: I enjoy applying my distinctive and what I believe to be a unique network of tech CEOs, CROs, and other leading executives, cultivated over many years. This network is exceptionally valuable to my role, especially given my concentrated efforts in the tech/SaaS sectors, with a specific focus on “capital-efficient” revenue growth, GTM and commercial strategies. These connections are not just broad but deeply specialized, making them crucial in providing targeted support and insights that significantly benefit our PE fund and its portfolio companies.
  • Working at Buy-Side / Investment Fund & Blending My Personal Interests and Experiences: Importantly, I’m an Finance professional who was determined to enhance my experience with a senior executive/leadership role with the goal of being in Finance and on the Buy-Side. My career started as an Investment Banking Analyst (Merrill Lynch Investment Banking, Financial Institutions Group), providing a strong foundation in finance, analysis, financial modeling, valuation, and M&A deal experience. Subsequently, I contributed to an investing team at a growth-stage and later stage tech VC fund. Returning to finance and buy-side at a PE fund has been the goal right after my MBA from HBS, aligning my experiences with my long-term career aspirations.

Also, want to add that this is a very different job from a corporate C-Level leadership role and requires not only different skillsets but actually very different interests and approaches.  As the old saying goes, “What got you here won’t get you there” – this couldn’t be more true for someone like me returning to the world of finance and working in PE.