You’re toiling away as an analyst at an investment bank in Hong Kong, but you really want to be working in private equity. And you want to make your move soon.
The trouble is, thousands of other 20-something bankers have the same career ambition.
How do you stand out from the crowd of candidates? To get some answers, we searched through the public profiles of young private equity professionals in Hong Kong to find out about their work experience and academic credentials.
These are the type of people that private equity firms in Hong Kong like to hire:
Rong’s career path is the stuff of dreams for most bankers seeking an early move to the buy-side: 1) work as an investment banking analyst on Wall Street (two years at J.P. Morgan); 2) get promoted to an associate in Hong Kong (at the same firm, for 15 months); 3) get poached by a PE firm (HarbourVest Partners) for a direct investment job. Rong’s time at Wellesley College is equally impressive – she was campus ambassador for JPM, co-president of the Wellesley Women in Business group, and vice president of the Investment Society, according to her public profile on LinkedIn.
Do private equity players in Hong Kong hire young expats? Only those with exceptional resumes. Canadian Lyons joined XIO – a London-headquartered, Asia-focused firm – in August of last year with a BA from Cornell and an MA from Yale under his belt, according to his public profile. Like Rong, he’d also worked as an associate at J.P. Morgan on Wall Street (in M&A, for just over two years). Unusually for a Westerner, he also boasts an internship at Bank of China in Beijing and a “professional working proficiency” of Mandarin.
What does it take to get a job at KKR in Hong Kong? In Zhang’s case, a BA from the University of Cambridge and a host of campus leadership roles: senior advisor of the Investment Banking Society, secretary of the Chinese New Year Trust, and committee member of the Banking and Finance Society. Her graduate job was at Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong and she managed to shift to the buy-side after just two years and three months in investment banking. Zhang also has three bulge-bracket internships to her name, at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan.
Bill Xichen Li
Private equity firms don’t just recruit Gen-Y candidates with Ivy-League CVs. Li’s degree (a BSc in Economics and Finance) is from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. After graduating in 2011, he joined the natural resources group at Macquarie in Hong Kong and then moved to one of the prime feeder bankers for private equity, J.P. Morgan, as an associate. Since April 2015, he’s been at Warburg Pincus, the global PE firm with $40 billion in assets under management.
After a string of internships at J.P. Morgan, Zuo went not into investment banking (the traditional PE stepping stone) but rather into consultancy at Bain & Company. He worked partly in the private equity group, however, focusing on commercial due diligence, exit value maximisation, and portfolio company strategy. After just under two years there, Zuo moved to Bain Capital, the PE firm founded by former Bain & Co partners, which (although a separate entity) continues to hire candidates from the near-namesake consultancy.
Phillip Yuan Wang
Once they’ve broken into the industry, some young PE professionals like to make an early job move. Wang is a case in point. Like Li, his initial investment banking experience came at Macquarie in Hong Kong. For his first break into PE, he returned to his native China and joined CVC Capital Partners in Beijing as an investment executive. After only 19 months, Wang was able to come back to Hong Kong and join PAG, an Asian alternative investment management firm with $10bn in assets.
Image credit: imtmphoto, iStock, Thinkstock