For several years I taught an afternoon crash course in Modeling For the Private Equity Interview to second year investment banking analysts looking to interview for jobs in private equity. My former employer, Harris Williams, brought me in to help prepare these wet-behind-the ears (but very tired) analysts for life beyond Harris Williams. Why does a top-tier investment bank care so much about finding their employees new jobs when so many firms out there are doing their best to retain talent?
There are several reasons. The first is that Harris Williams over the years has focused on developing a culture of excellence. Call me biased, but I worked with some damn impressive analysts, associates, VPs, and directors while at HW&Co. I learned a lot about what makes a successful mergers and acquisitions process. Many of these former co-workers went on to achieve C-level positions at companies like Sageworks. Some founded their own firms like Scout RFP, Dickinson Williams & Co, and CarLotz. Others became principals at private equity firms. This happened by cultivating a culture that promoted the pursuit of excellence.
This leads us to the second reason why Harris Williams invests in training those that are leaving. HW & Co. realized that their alumni reflected on their brand. In an industry where burn out is high it can be easy to cast talent away after use and leave the fortunes of fate to determine the message former employees bring to the world through their words and actions. By maximizing the firm’s effectiveness in 1) helping their analysts find their next role 2) providing them with the skills to excel in that role, the firm secured positive branding from the bulk of its impressive alumni.
Training not only produces better performers for your firm but also acts as walking advertisement for the quality of work done by your current and past employees.
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 When being hired by a private equity firm, it is common practice to require a time bound financial modeling test to establish the competency of the candidates. The training I provided focused on how to build an effective and accurate model in as short of period of time. Like all training at Private Equity Primer, this course relied on transference of base level concepts and vernacular, repetition to mastery, case studies, and simulation.