As I prepare to send my last PE Thank You and Farewell email, prior to leaving for the corporate side, I thought I'd try to reflect on some of my key learnings over the last few years.

Things I wish I would've been told / general pieces of advice / other random thoughts

i) Attitude is everything. It's easy to become jaded as an IB/PE professional and to lose sight of what you're actually doing. Optimism is key -- try to find the silver lining in every task you do. It's okay to get frustrated, but don't dwell on it.

ii) Aswath Damodaran once told my IB Analyst class "If you wake up multiple days in a row miserable because you hate what you do, find something else to do".

Learn to love the process. If you can't find a way, find something else to do. No sense in being unhappy.

iii) Try to make time to get to know your coworkers, especially in the current WFH environment. It makes a typically difficult job immensely easier if you enjoy the people you work alongside. Also helps build mutual respect, which in turn can help limit wasted/painful work.

iv) Further to the above, value and maintain your reputation. Careers are long, and finance is a small world. My personal network has played a huge part in my career progression, and candidly I probably wouldn't be here without it.

v) Pay it forward. I would be remiss to acknowledge that I wouldn't have made it into PE (let alone IB, being a non-target) if it weren't for people sticking their necks out for me. Do the same for others. Everyone needs a little help sometimes.

vi) In every setting there will be people you like to work for, and those you don't. While sometimes it's unavoidable, use it as a learning experience for the type of manager you want to be once you progress. Again, find the silver lining (something I struggled w/).

vii) Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions. No such thing as a stupid question. The earlier you get comfortable with hearing your own voice and treating yourself as an "equal" to others in the room, the quicker you will learn.

viii) Always have a goal you're working towards. Whether it be B-school, starting your own company, moving to a HF, whatever; have something that gives your day-to-day purpose. The people who I saw "lose it" in IB/PE lost their purpose or end goal.

ix) There will be a handful of people who invest significant time in you over your career (we'll call them "mentors"). Invest heavily in these relationships and stay in touch with them. Having trusted sources to rely on when making big decisions is important.

x) Be respectfully opportunistic. It's tough to leave jobs, especially when it's unexpected, but if an opportunity arises that is too good to pass up, go for it. Just make sure to maintain relationships on the way out. Again, careers are long.


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More from @CarryDaInterest

27 May
Thoughts from heading into my fourth year in PE:

i) While the job can be interesting, and evaluating new companies is certainly stimulating, the job at the junior and mid-levels really can be a grind (not too dissimilar from banking) -- grass is not necessarily greener.
ii) Though I certainly have been exposed to operations at our companies, constantly am feeling like my efforts are just too far removed from where the impact is actually being made. Have been struggling finding a sense of purpose lately.
iii) There are so many companies we look at that are really NOT that differentiated. While I don't want to undersell the difficulty of running a business, I am confident that there are companies we've evaluated that I personally could run better if given the chance.
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