Why did you leave the private equity profession?

I often respond to questions from readers on the private equity interview process. Here is a question I recently responded to: 


Q: Why did you leave the private equity profession?

A: I left private equity because, in the end, I had more of an itch to be on the operating side and, longer-term, to do something entrepreneurial in the tech startup world. That being said, I definitely learned hugely valuable skills in private equity, particularly around how to break down key business drivers, how to model the financials and economics of a company, and how to discern where the biggest sources of value creation might be in a potential portfolio company. I also strengthened my project and process management skills and learned how to manage due diligence and many different stakeholders under tremendous pressure and deadlines. In the end, though, I realized I wanted to broaden my experience beyond finance (for now) and gain operating experience and start a company. It’s pretty hard to get that in private equity, which is why I left. Maybe I’ll return to finance someday (I’ve already got PE experience and have finished all the CFA exams), but for now I’m really enjoying learning different aspects of company building and wearing a lot of different hats in my own startup!

Be sure to check out our PDF guide “How to Nail Your Private Equity Interview (whether you have finance training or not)” for in-depth tips and strategies on how to successfully interview for jobs at top private equity firms!

Also be sure to check out our step-by-step Private Equity LBO Modeling Training Videos for walk-through tutorials on how to build an LBO model, navigate Excel with ruthless efficiency, and rapidly create an LBO PowerPoint deck to present to your PE interviewers.

Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen received an associate offer, without any formal LBO experience, on his first attempt at applying for private equity investing positions in the competitive San Francisco Bay Area. He worked for Huntsman Gay Global Capital, the Bain Capital spin-out founded by the industrialist Jon Huntsman, former Bain Capital Chairman Bob Gay, former San Francisco 49ers Superbowl quarterback Steve Young, and including former CFO of Citigroup and American Express Gary Crittenden. Andrew was previously a member of the Corporate Finance & Strategy Practice at McKinsey & Company and holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School. You can follow him on Twitter and .

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