How to Find Private Equity Internships the Right Way?

The best way to start a career in any field is by joining a firm as an intern.

You can concentrate on learning during internships without thinking of money as a reason to work.

You should start your internship as a student and get properly trained by the time you are ready for a real job.

In this article, I will tell you all that you need to know for getting a private equity internship.

What Is Private equity?

Private equity comprises of investors (institutional, individual and corporate) that invest in a company for realizing long term returns. It is just like buying a part of ownership of that company.

The reasons why companies look for private equity can be maintaining working capital, technology adoption and up-gradation, transfer of ownership or improving the company’s balance sheet.

What Do Private Equity Firms Do?

Following are four basic functional areas of a private equity firm where you would get an opportunity to work:

1. Raising funds for investments

Private equity firms usually create a fund for investment.

This fund is created by accumulating money from various investors to invest in a company.

Managers in a private equity firm have to actually sell their investment strategy to HNIs and other investment companies to attract more money to increase the value of that fund.

It is very difficult to get internship in this profile since mostly senior managers with tons of experience only are a part of this team.

But there are internships available for back end jobs in this profile.

2. Sourcing investments

Once the private equity firm has the money, they need more investment options to invest their money in.

Usually a firm works on multiple investment options so as to diversify their portfolio and scatter risks.

The job in this profile requires an individual or a team to look out for potential companies to invest in.

This is not an easy task and requires a lot of financial analysis.

There are many opportunities available in this profile since there is a lot of back end data collection and analysis involved.

3. Managing investments

Although private equity firms are not directly involved in the day to day functioning and operations of the bought out company, they still need to have a regular check and close grip on it.

There are managers who are in touch with the company for timely reporting of company’s financial health and performance.

Jobs in this profile are quite routine in nature and require maintaining high level of communication between stakeholders.

4. Selling investments

Private equity firms will make money only if they sell off the bought out company at a profit.

This is usually done by issuing an IPO or selling it to some other company under merger and acquisition.

There is a lot of ground work required to arrive at an ideal time and valuation to sell off the investment.

This job profile is mostly available for internship as there are teams here to collect data and run analysis under the supervision of a senior member.

Now that you know what private equity firms do, let me tell you what all you should do to get an internship:

1. Know all about private equity

The first step is to know what exactly you are getting into.

Do your preparation in terms of what kind of work you will be doing if you choose a career in private equity.

Go to the next step only if you are very confident of your career choice and are comfortable with the requirements of being private equity professional.

It would involve knowing everything what these firms do, what kind of work is done by the employees, their remunerations and working hours etc.

2. Create a list of targeted companies

There are thousands of private equity firms around the globe looking for professionals like you to join their brigade.

Create a list of targeted companies that you want to apply to.

Bigger firms usually prefer candidates, even for internships, with some finance background.

My suggestion to you here would be, that if you are a fresher please look for an internship in a small or a medium sized company.

The learning in smaller companies is much more when compared to bigger ones. Also, interviews in smaller companies are easier to crack.

3. Prepare a resume

Depending on your target company, and the profile, prepare a resume that enables you to get an internship with ease.

In many of my articles I have emphasized on the fact that you should be very honest and precise in your resumes.

Highlight your strengths and focus on what you know rather than glorifying it by writing anything that you are not comfortable with.

Many of the companies these days use resumes as a shortlisting criterion, therefore make sure that there are no mistakes in it, since attention to detail is one of the key requirements in any of the finance profiles.

4. Follow up on interviews

Once you have sent your resume to the targeted company, don’t just sit back and relax.

Always follow up with the HR teams in those companies.

Since hiring interns is not their core requirement, many times HR puts resumes on hold and do not act on it for many days.

Please do not sit back and wait for them to call you for an interview.

Be active and chase them till you get a clear reply.

This would have two advantages – one--they will come to know that you are genuinely interested in their company which makes your job a little easier in cracking the interview.

And two--depending on the response that you get you will know if you need to apply to more companies in the future.

5. Prepare for the interview

Last, but not the least, you need to prepare yourself for the interview in a systematic manner.

Get hold of your text books and revise all your concepts of finance. Also, anticipate questions in advance and prepare for the right answer.

Usually, large companies will give more weightage to your technical knowledge, while smaller companies will give more weightage to your soft skills and your reasons behind joining.

In any case, you need to prepare well and be confident in the interview.

Hope this article gave you clarity on finding a private equity internship.

In case you have any queries, please do not hesitate to write back.

Now You Try It

I hope you can see the potential of Private Equity Internships for your career.

Yes, it takes hard work to do something great.

But with this strategy you already know ahead of time that your hard work is going to pay off (unlike randomly applying to job sites).

I want you to give the strategy a try and let me know how it works for you.

If you have a question or thought, leave a comment below and I’ll get right to it.

How to Find Private Equity Internships the Right Way? 1
How to Find Private Equity Internships the Right Way? 2

4 thoughts on “How to Find Private Equity Internships the Right Way?”

  1. Hi

    I am CA article doing my articleship in audit and assurance. Can i enter into private equity?
    Do they hire CA articles

    • Hi Akhil,

      I suggest you complete CA and then focus on this:

      Private equity valuation roles basically are evaluating private companies and making investment recommendations. So, I generally recommend the Excel & Fundamentals courses since it covers the key accounting and valuation knowledge you’ll need in these roles.

      We cover private company data gathering, financial statement projections, valuation, and related analyses, such as how M&A deals differ, in this module of the Financial Modeling Fundamentals course.


  2. Hi Avadhut,

    I’m a oil & gas professional with cfa level 1 looking to start an MBA at a top international school next year.
    I am interested in the PE industry, and looking to secure internship work prior to starting my MBA.
    What would you suggest in terms of intern opportunities as an analyst ?


    • Dear Deepraj,

      Start applying for internships in PE funds.


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