A Private Equity Career Change
Private equity (PE) careers are some of the most highly sought after at Booth.
Michael Sullivan successfully landed one of these coveted jobs through leveraging his past experiences, his Booth degree, and one of the hardest working personalities I’ve ever seen. (He started school and navigated a big career change with two kids and another one on the way – talk about impressive.)
- March 28, 2018
- Private Equity
“Having completed the CFA charter program, I wanted to take more aggressive classes upfront. I started with Financial Statement Analysis, Cases in Financial Management, Competitive Strategy, and Taxes and Business Strategy. Those classes helped me apply what I had learned in the CFA program to more tangible examples,” Michael explains.
In addition to the coursework, Michael dove into the Private Equity Club and Private Equity Lab, the latter of which allows students to intern with a Chicago-based private equity firm to get experience.
Michael also engaged with the Polsky Center and volunteered at the 2017 Booth PE Conference as a sponsorship volunteer, which helped him build relationships with full-time students and with the team at Polsky. So, when Michael applied for a role in the PE Lab, the Polsky Center was able to advocate for Michael when Kinzie Capital Partners was interested in hiring Michael and checking on his references.
Michael’s skills and aptitude, in addition to being an active member in the CFA society, being named the co-chair of the Evening/Weekend PE Club, actively contributing to the full-time PE Club, and continuing to work as an independent consultant for a client Michael had found on his own, culminated in Michael landing an internship offer in private equity with Kinzie.
To make the offer work, Michael agreed to quit his consulting job to pursue his PE internship dream. This way, he could work full-time over the summer and develop invaluable experience with a top PE firm. (As Michael says, this was a “unicorn” of an opportunity.)
While Booth was instrumental in paving the way for Michael to achieve his goals, his wife, Shea, was another critical element. When Michael debated quitting his consulting job to be a full-time intern, Michael asked his wife (pregnant with their third child) if that would be all right. She looked over and said, “Yes.”
Michael adds, “I love that Chicago’s community is so welcoming to me and my family. How simple and obvious is it to include my spouse on everything? But the school does it without fail and with style.”
Michael is already giving back to the community. With Michael’s help, Kinzie continues to take on interns quarterly and actively supports the PE Lab. In real life, Michael landed the dream job and is already paying it forward to the next generation of Boothies.