Getting a job at a Top 50 private equity firm as a pre-MBA is VERY challenging.  They take very few undergrads out of college (see Can an Undergrad get a job in Private Equity or Venture Capital?). Below I have outlined the profile of the typical Associate (pre-MBA) at one of the Top 50 firms. I have added some rough percentages around each of the categories so that you can get a sense of the frequency of each credential. These are not scientific percentages, but I think they are fairly representative of the actual numbers. The best way to test it, if you don’t believe me, is to visit any of the Top 50 private equity fund websites and take a look at the backgrounds of their employees.


The percentages don’t add up to 100% because many pre-MBA private equity professionals have had multiple experiences prior to joining a PE firm.

90% Investment Banking Experience

-          2-3 years of experience at top tier firm (e.g. Goldman, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Deutsche, UBS)

-          Preferably experience in the M&A department

-          Strong financial analysis and modeling background

-          Significant buyside and sellside transaction experience

 20% Prior Private Equity Experience

-          1-2 years at smaller private equity firm 

20% Strategy Consulting Experiences

-          2-3 years at a top tier firm (e.g. McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Booz)

-          Exposure to engagements that involve extensive modeling; preferable financial modeling

10% Strategic Planning

-          Well-respected strategic planning departments of major companies (e.g. Disney, Pepsi, General Electric, Cisco etc.)

-          Typically, this experience alone is not enough but is a nice complement with consulting or investment banking experience


 Undergraduate  College

80% - Top 25 School

Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Williams, Oxford, Duke, Stanford etc.

20% - Non Top 25
See GPA requirement below if not from top 25 school


20% - High Distinction

Phi Beta Kappa, magna or summa cum laude. Particularly, if from non Top 25  school

 80% - 3.5+



65% Liberal Arts

Most of the Top 25 schools only offer liberal arts majors

 35% More Competitive / Analytical Majors

e.g. engineering, computer science, finance. Even more important if not from a top 25 school



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