PE firms get ready to host summer internships remotely

Most programs have adopted a virtual format and intend to host their incoming summer hires remotely over Zoom meetings and calls.

Vista Equity, Carlyle Group and General Atlantic are among PE firms preparing to host their summer internships remotely amidst the global pandemic, sources familiar with the arrangements told PE Hub.

MBA students with accepted offers will still get their summer program experience; however, due to social distancing guidelines, they won’t be required to relocate or meet their mentors in person, multiple sources familiar with the firms’ plans said.

Most programs have adopted a virtual format and intend to host their incoming summer hires remotely over Zoom meetings and calls. Others are still finalizing plans, with an expectation to have the structure set by the end of April, sources said.

“Everybody is kind of stepping back and scratching their heads as far as how you do this remotely – so it doesn’t change the experience, it doesn’t take away from institutional knowledge and best practices,” one of the sources told PE Hub.

Vista Equity, for instance, expects to move forward with all full-time hires, including associates, analysts and interns, one of the people said. All new hires are expected to officially start in June, remotely.

Moreover, some expressed optimism that the economic uncertainty could make for a fruitful internship experience.

“I can imagine why Vista would be moving forward with full-time associates and analysts, as well as with interns. The firm is well positioned, particularly given the volatility in the public markets,” the source said.

TPG also expects to honor all offers and onboard full-time associates that come through the Associate Orientation Program, as well as its interns, the firm told PE Hub.

TPG hosts its internship in partnership with organizations such as Girls Who Invest and Seizing Every Opportunity. It is working with the organizations to assess the format, a TPG spokesperson said. The internship is expected to launch in July.

TPG’s Associate Orientation Program is set to begin in late summer and the firm plans to onboard its incoming hires in person, the firm’s spokesperson said.

“We are planning for a live orientation program, however are working to develop contingency plans for offering a virtual program if necessary, based on health, safety, and travel guidance from local governments and health authorities at the time,” the TPG spokesperson said.

Carlyle Group is also evaluating a potential virtual format. The firm plans to virtually onboard interns in mid-June via Zoom and welcome its associates in the end of July when Carlyle’s Associate Program usually begins, sources said. If the situation permits, Carlyle will host its interns in the office, if the office is back up and running and the interns are comfortable commuting in, the sources explained.

Some PE firms decided to shorten the time that interns will spend with them this summer.

General Atlantic plans to launch its summer analyst program, equivalent to an internship, July 6, instead of its original June 1 start date, the sources said. The length of the program will be compressed to five weeks, they said.

Similarly, Riverside Company is planning to push back its internship program for a month or so and start in early July, versus early June, according to sources.

The firm is still refining the format of the internship and plans to communicate final terms with nearly 25 incoming interns by end of April, the people said.

The decision to compress the duration of internships is driven by the underlying pressure that PE firms are already experiencing in their internal processes, sources said. Portfolio support takes more time than usual and is more sensitive due to the crisis, which becomes a priority for firms over external programs, they said.

Some firms, however, remain hopeful about the potential to run parts of their programs in-person.

Alpine Investors, which hired 10 interns across its sourcing and investing teams from seven schools, is looking to start its internship remotely, but hopes to do as many weeks in-person as possible, Matt Moore, a partner at the firm told PE Hub.

The firm also plans to host its annual CEOs in Training program, which is scheduled to start in August. The onboarding may pivot to an online format, depending on the situation, the investor said.

Overall, most firms have a similar mindset on how to handle summer programs in the unprecedented circumstances.

“It’s a pretty close-knit community within private equity so people tend to try and follow consistency on how everybody else is approaching it, so there [are] a lot of pre-conversations on how you’re thinking about it, how you’re going to approach it,” one of the sources said. “I think people, just by talking, flush a lot of the details out.”

Vista Equity, General Atlantic and Riverside Company declined to comment on the record.

Action Item: Read more on how covid-19 affects PE industry here.

Update: The story was updated to reflect that Carlyle Group is still evaluating its internship format.