Here are a few salient points you'll need to know before interviewing at Blackstone.
Bearing in mind that Blackstone apparently exceeds Goldman Sachs for overall satisfaction and compensation and that pay per head was $811k last year, versus $418k at Goldman, you may want to read this especially astutely.
1) You'll probably be interviewed by someone with an Ivy League education
Take, for example, David Blitzer, senior manager and co-chair in the private equity group, who graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, or Kenneth Caplan, a senior managing director in the real estate group, who received an AB in Economics from Harvard University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude and received the John Harvard Scholarship for highest academic achievement.
Ivy League alumni are likely to prefer other Ivy League graduates. If you're not part of the academic elite, you probably won't make it through the door.
2) Expect to be interviewed by HR first
One former Blackstone interviewee says he approached the firm himself and was grilled by three people with "opaque" titles who appeared to be from HR.
"It was a meeting rather than an interview and involved people with titles like, 'head of talent,'" he says. "They gave very, very little away about Blackstone and spent the time discussing what I wanted to do. I got a follow-up call saying they weren't interested."
3) If you make it through HR, expect numerous interviews with partners
One ex-senior Blackstone employee who's been both interviewer and interviewee at the firm says getting in is a lot like joining a large bank: "You'll meet a lot of people and you'll need to impress all of them. The process is very similar to getting into Goldman or Morgan Stanley - there are a lot of 'fit' questions and a lot of technical questions."
4) Prepare for questions on financial modelling
If you're applying for a junior role, expect questions testing your aptitude for financial modelling.
"More and more PE firms are using modelling tests which are usually based on a case study or a series of assumptions," says Gail McManus at Private Equity Recruitment. "The tests are usually timed and take place over 1-2 hours."
If you aren't obliged to take a full test, expect some verbal valuation queries during the interview, says one of Blackstone's previous interviewees.
5) Expect a case study
McManus says case studies are also popular. "Alongside the modelling tests, most PE funds now use case studies asking candidates to look at the strength and weaknesses of businesses at investment opportunities," she says.
"They want people who can articulate the strengths and weaknesses of a business and who have an opinion," she adds. "You need to think like a buyer and to have your own definite view on whether and why the proposition in the case study is viable and you need to be able to sum it up in no more than 10 critical points."