Meet Billy, Associate, Private Equity

"The structure of our Private Equity team allows for more responsibility, a collaborative, efficient environment and a stronger professional experience at a junior level."

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In the beginning…

When did you start working at Mesirow?
June, 2015.

What drew you to Mesirow?
During my interview process, I appreciated that everyone in our group was involved in the recruiting process – it wasn’t restricted to the investment team. To me, that said a lot about the culture of the group and the value placed on each individual’s opinion.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in Private Equity?
After I watched Ryan Fedronich’s succinct yet deeply informative overview of the private equity market and fund selection process on our Private Equity page

How he spends his time…

Tell us about your role:
Our team invests institutional capital in private equity partnerships as well as individual assets. My role on the investment team consists of conducting due diligence on new investments and monitoring our existing portfolio, across each of our products (partnerships, secondaries and co-investments) and each private equity sub-asset class.

What inspires you to come to work each day?
For one, the people I work with – our group has a great culture and we enjoy working together. In addition, I feel good about the work that we do for our clients, who are largely public and private pension plans. Ultimately, the returns that we generate help fund plans that provide pension benefits to retirees from a wide variety of industries across the country.

Let’s talk finance…

What excites you about the Private Equity space?
What I find interesting about this role is that it requires you to develop an understanding of the Private Equity market as a whole. We offer a diversified Private Equity product, so we need to understand the individual dynamics of a broad array of industries (tech, consumer, healthcare, etc.) and investment styles (venture, growth, buyout, etc.) to make our investment decisions.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in this area? 
This really applies to any career path, but if you understand what your interests are and what type of work you are looking to do, you can  determine if this is the right career path for you. I think a lot of people who struggle to articulate why they want a particular job haven’t spent enough time reflecting on why they are applying in the first place.

What skills are important for someone in your role within Private Equity?
Generally, clear communication, organization, time management skills as well as attention to detail are important. Additionally, as with any investment role, you need to be able to view things through a critical lens. We have a very high bar for new investments, which is a manifestation of the idea that we would rather skip a good opportunity than commit to a bad one.

What’s uniquely Mesirow…

Tell us about something that is unique to Mesirow:
I really enjoy our firm’s commitment to philanthropy, particularly the work that is done supporting the Brighton Park community. Our Community Relations Manager, Ellie Forman has done a great job of providing a variety of ways for employees to participate – for example, there are about 20 of us that serve as Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors to students from Shields Middle School.

What would you tell a new hire?
The structure of the Private Equity group here is fairly lean, so we don’t operate with the strict hierarchy that is common in our industry. That allows for more responsibility and a stronger professional experience at a junior level, and a more collaborative and efficient environment overall.

Billy after five o’clock…

Tell us a bit about yourself outside of work:
I really like to travel internationally: I enjoy exploring new places, learning about different cultures, hearing other perspectives, trying local dishes (I should probably rank this one higher), etc. While you’re always looking for a uniquely [insert country] experience, one overarching takeaway is that ultimately, people have the same human needs, wants and desires everywhere you go. I think that builds a sense of empathy and a desire to give back, at home and abroad.

On a lighter note, I try and seek out new experiences here in Chicago as well, including exploring the neighborhoods. I like to run, which is one way to accomplish that, but more often than not I’m starting with a restaurant I want to visit and wandering from there.

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