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By: Courtesy of Vault

Private equity (PE) research analysts and associates conduct research on potential investment targets (i.e., companies to purchase outright or invest in) for PE funds. These investment targets are provided by their employer, and analysts and associates are also expected to generate their own ideas about potential acquisition targets. They also conduct due diligence on primary funds and other investments, monitor the performance of portfolio companies and make suggestions for improvement, and perform other tasks as assigned by managing partners. At some firms, the terms “analyst” and “associate” are used interchangeably. At other employers, these titles entail specific job duties or levels of experience. 

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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) does not provide an employment outlook for private equity research analysts and associates, but it does report that job opportunities for financial analysts who work for securities, commodities, and other financial investment and related firms. Jobs are expected to grow by more than 25 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, or much faster than the average for all careers.

There will always be a need for skilled analysts and associates—especially as the industry continues to bounce back after the recession. In June 2014, private equity firms worldwide managed $3.8 trillion in assets, according to The 2015 Preqin Global Private Equity & Venture Capital Report, up from “only” $716 billion in managed assets in December 2000.

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Research potential private equity investments and generate ideas about potential acquisition targets; conduct due diligence on primary funds and other investments; monitor the performance of portfolio companies and make suggestions for improvement
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other cities with large financial sectors
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor’s Degree
School Subjects
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
Experience An internship, co-op, or part-time job at a private equity firm (entry-level positions); several years of experience at an alternative investments firm (high-level positions)
Personality Traits
  • Enterprising
  • Problem-Solving
  • Realistic
  • Business Management
  • Financial
  • Math
  • Research
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Managing Partner
  • Junior Partner/General Partner
  • Principal/Vice President
  • Senior Associate
  • Analyst/Associate
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