There are many ways to explore a career in business development and private equity. In high school, join your school’s business or finance club. To learn more about private equity, check out the Private Equity Minute, a video series featuring Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business Professor Colin Blaydon. Chapters include Private Equity Basics, How Private Equity Funds are Organized, The General Partner/Limited Partner Relationship, Incentives, The Lifecycle of an Investment, and Creating Value. The videos are available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmeYlJJq9JM.
Participate in information interviews with business development directors. Ask your business teacher or a school counselor to help arrange interviews.
Business development directors (BDDs) have a challenging job. They must convince private investors (ranging from university endowments and pension funds to hedge funds, Wall Street investment banks, and high-net-worth individuals) to invest in their firm’s latest private equity fund—with the knowledge that they will have to wait three to five years (the typical lifespan of a major PE investment) to see a return on their investment. To be successful in their careers, BDDs must be experts in the inner working of PE funds, have enthusiasm and excellent communication skills in order to generate investor interest, and have the capacity to build long-term relationships that will be lucrative to both the firm and the investor.
Job duties for business development directors vary by the size of their employer. A BDD at a small PE firm is responsible for all business development duties while working closely with the firm’s senior management and investor relations and marketing specialists. At a large firm, there may be a small business development staff with distinct job duties (e.g., associates who spend a considerable time in-house preparing outreach materials, directors who are frequently on the road wooing potential investors, etc.). Major duties of business development professionals include: