Private equity roles for consultants: Deal side vs. Portfolio side

by Caroline Wilson
Vice President at Charles Aris Inc.

There are two types of opportunities in private equity which you may be recruited for as a management consultant: deal-side roles and portfolio-side roles.

Deal-side roles are exactly what the descriptor suggests. You would serve as an investment professional in the firm, participating in due diligence and executing transactions. Sourcing may or may not be a part of the role – it depends on the firm’s deal sourcing strategy as well as the seniority of the position.

Many deal-side roles still include a moderate amount of exposure to work with portfolio companies as well. At middle-market consultant-friendly firms, I’ve found that is almost always the case. And if the firm is specifically seeking management consultants, it’s likely that the role is a good mix of deal and portfolio work.

Portfolio-side teams (also referred to as “operating groups” or “value creation teams”) in private equity firms are most often dedicated to working closely with portfolio companies on strategic projects which will help improve the performance and value of these companies.

Some teams are structured like in-house consulting teams for the private equity firm: Members of the team are deployed to one specific portfolio company for a period of time. Others require that the team work across portfolio companies on multiple projects simultaneously, with a focus of adding value where it is needed the most at the time. Some of these teams partner closely with the deal team on due diligence for portfolio companies, while others only get involved once a transaction is complete.

As you can see, private equity firms seek consulting expertise for a variety of roles across their organizations. As consultants continue to prove their value in those roles, P.E. firms are increasingly turning to them to address their wide-ranging needs.

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