Q: What’s your role at Carlyle?
JP: I am a first-year associate in the industrial and transportation group [working with] the US buyout fund, Carlyle Partners VI. As an associate, you’re the most junior on the team. My daily work involves analysing new investment opportunities, co-ordinating due diligence efforts – which is around half my workload – and portfolio-company reporting (keeping in close contact with the CFO and other professionals at the portfolio companies).
Q: How did you find your way into private equity?
JP: I’m originally from Ghana, and I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and business owners. During college, I majored in economics. Once I started at Lazard [where he spent three years] in New York, I began to develop my investment skillset. Working in private equity has given me the opportunity to constantly learn, as well as to be exposed to new businesses on a consistent basis.
Working in private equity is really helpful preparation for my long-term career goals, which involve establishing a development finance enterprise back home. I’ve acquired some valuable skills including investment evaluation, the ability to thoroughly assess market opportunities, entrepreneurial best practices and refined analytical ability.
Q: Can you tell us about your mentoring work?
JP: I volunteer with a non-profit called SEO, which runs programs aimed at advancing professional and educational opportunities for people from traditionally under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds. I work with the Alternative Investment Fellowship. I interview and screen candidates for the fellowship and assist with the training program, which enhances participants’ skills and knowledge of alternative investments. I am also paired with students as a mentor working in private equity, to answer their questions about the industry.
The private equity recruitment cycle is quite rigorous, and it can take four to five months to secure a job. Most candidates are graduates who have investment banking jobs, so they typically already have strong financial analytical skills. But they also need to be able to demonstrate strong investment acumen. The program seeks to develop that at an early stage with its fellows.
Q: You were an AI program fellow; how did it help?
JP: My experience as a fellow in the program was very helpful to me. When I was at Lazard, my work was very life-sciences-industry focused, which is not a major private equity investment area. What was most valuable to me was bridging the gaps in my skills. I’d had virtually no exposure to private equity deals, so the program was great for helping me to fill in those gaps. ?