One of the hottest jobs for B-School graduates is Private Equity and this article in the WSJ is a good reflection of the trend. (If we count the resumes flooding our office, I would agree.)
I suspect many of these recently minted MBAs think that the private equity asset class is where the big salaries lurk and may be disappointed. Private equity is about far more than the money, the best PE people are fighters for the businesses they bring into their portfolios. They have to know the full range of business - in particular, cash flow. You can not get that from an MBA. Anyway, here's the WSJ article in brief:
"The percentage of graduates from the world's top business schools taking private-equity jobs has more than doubled in the past six years, according to the business schools' numbers.
"Financial News analyzed figures from five of the most popular M.B.A. schools:
- Harvard Business School,
- Stanford Graduate School of Business and
- the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.;
- the U.K.'s London Business School; and
- Insead, based in France and Singapore.
The percentage of Harvard M.B.A. graduates moving into private equity and venture capital has more than doubled, from 8% in 2003 to 21% among last year's graduates. In that time, the proportion moving into investment banking rose far less, from 7% in 2003 to 9% last year.
Data from Stanford showed a similar trend, with 9% of graduates choosing private equity in 2003 rising to 19% last year, compared with 4% and 5% for investment banking. Harvard supplied the highest number of M.B.A. graduates moving to private equity last year, with 191. Stanford was second with 72, ahead of Wharton's 45, Insead's 25 and London's 22.
Private equity's rise in popularity reflects the perception that graduates could make more money working in the asset class than in investment banking, but also follows substantial growth in the size of the private-equity market. However, an M.B.A. isn't a prerequisite for joining many private-equity firms. A sample of 10 large European and U.S. firms showed that 52% of the executives at partner level or above had obtained M.B.A.s.
Firms' Web sites showed French group PAI Partners had the lowest proportion, with 21%, or four of its 19 partner-level executives.The private-equity units of U.S. firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Blackstone Group also had high proportions of MBAs among their senior staff, 61% and 63%, respectively.
Patrick Dunne, group communications director at 3i Group PLC, where 48% of partner-level staff had M.B.A.s, said: "For some people, [an M.B.A.] can be fantastically helpful -- for those without a finance background, for example, it can be a useful way of picking up necessary skills and knowledge."