Journeying from Consulting to Private Equity

My Journey to Consulting

With a broad horizon of professional possibilities to choose from, selecting a career path can often be a daunting and challenging process. To approach this decision, I opted to explore various fields that piqued my interest, intending to refine my career choice through experiential elimination, which led me to the consulting sector. Having carried out a Bachelor of Business Administration, I had repeatedly been exposed to the consulting field through consulting-like class projects and discussions with professionals within the field. The prospect of working with talented professionals on a variety of projects in different industries, solving complex business problems, understanding the ins and outs of client centricity, and developing both my soft and technical skills propelled me to undertake an end-of-studies internship in consulting. During my internship, I was also in the process of writing my thesis on “Company Valuation and the Acquisition Methodology,”  as the topic of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) had long fascinated me. Needless to say, M&A often appears in the latest news, sparking my interest as well as questions concerning M&A. Why do companies spend substantial amounts of money on acquisitions? What are the motivations behind these deals? How is the final price agreed upon? The answers to these questions can often be a mystery, which led to my desire to uncover the rationale hidden in plain sight by conducting theoretical and academic research alongside interviewing professionals within the industry. Not only did my thesis allow me to discover the topic of M&A, but it also allowed me to apply theory to my work in the financial services sector.

My experience in financial services consulting during my internship provided me with a plethora of skills and served as a unique learning experience, enriching both my professional and personal development.

Choosing London Business School

My professional experience also led me to the realisation that there was so much more to learn, and although I already had a business background, the Master in Management (MiM) programme at LBS particularly sparked my interest due to the diversified core courses, which would allow me to delve even deeper into the subjects I had studied in my undergraduate degree, but also tailor the many available electives to my interest, learn from distinguished faculty members across numerous disciplines, and develop a strong network (among many other aspects!). Prior to my arrival in London, my goal was to pursue a career in financial services consulting.

From the get-go, LBS provided significant support in assisting me with selecting a career direction and preparing for applications. From the Curriculum Vitae (CV) reviews in the summer leading into the start of the course to the one-to-one meetings with the career centre faculty, LBS truly demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring the success of students post-MiM.

Upon my arrival at LBS in August, I leveraged the Career Centre to help guide me through the recruiting process and get general advice concerning my chosen career path. After many discussions with various sector experts, faculty, and MBA students, I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in M&A. Although recruitment had already started for investment banking and private equity, I jumped right on the bandwagon with the help of the career centre and MBA mentors, who supported me through curriculum vitae and cover letter reviews and fit and technical practice interviews. I sent out countless job applications, some more successful than others, and prepared for technical interviews whenever I had some down time in order to make sure that I was always prepared for a potential interview. It was not an easy process; it required significant time, effort, and energy over a long period of time. But, with the support of the career centre, family, and friends, I found that my most valuable skills were optimism and perseverance. After months of searching, I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel: I successfully secured an internship in the private equity sector. 

With that being said, despite the intimidating nature of the recruitment process, I gained considerable insights throughout, and I would like to share a few key insights I wish I’d had before jumping into the recruitment process.

Key Lessons and Advice

  • It’s perfectly normal to feel uncertain about your future career direction. You don’t have to have all the answers about your post-MiM career aspirations. LBS offers support in navigating this decision-making process and finding the path that aligns best with your interests.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Devote significant effort to honing your skills for both fit and technical interviews to increase your odds of success. Leverage the comprehensive assistance provided by the career centre to guide you through this preparation phase.
  • Leverage your network both inside and outside of LBS. Make the most of your connections, both inside and outside of LBS, by utilising the valuable network offered by LBS. Connect with current students and alumni to receive assistance throughout the recruitment process.
  • Draw upon the skills honed in prior positions: Transferable soft skills can be employed across different sectors, allowing you to excel even without specific industry experience. Focus on showcasing your ability to adapt and apply your existing competencies effectively.
  • View every rejection as a learning opportunity. Although it is sometimes difficult, aim to see the glass half full. Each interview you undergo brings you one step closer to success and, importantly, enhances your interview skills, providing valuable practice regardless of the outcome.
  • Patience is a virtue. The recruitment journey can be challenging, but it’s essential to remember that the right job will come along in due time.
  • And remember, it’s okay to change your mind!

Written by Smilla Høgh MiM2024

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