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Ask James – Guest Columnist – Issue 65

Written by Kimberley Startup | September 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

James Caan RecruitmentDear Member,

This week I’d like to introduce you all to the next of our guest columnists, Tristan Ramus.

Tristan, a private equity investor and managing director of my company, Hamilton Bradshaw, received a fantastic response from you all. Over the years he has held executive and non-executive board positions, acquired interests in a number of recruitment businesses and has often lent strategic and operational expertise. I was pleased to see just how popular he and his specialist subjects were with the group, so thank you to everyone for taking the time to pose your questions.

Back to the column, and Tristan has answered a question from Tamus, a senior consultant with an eye on private equity.


Q: ‘Dear Tristan,

‘I see myself in the PE industry, it would be a very good fit, but how can I show it to the PE firms?

‘I am a 6+ years senior M&A consultant who was leading mostly Post-merger-integration deals. In these years I saw how to acquire a company, how to merge them and restructure in order to make the best out of it. Now I want to change from the consulting “services” side to the investor side, as I do have strong entrepreneurial approach to certain issues.

‘My problem is that as I apply for PE firms, they generally look for Investment Bankers and leave out the opportunity to show that number-crunching (which is of course important) is only one side of a successful deal. (I am totally aware that I will have to catch up with finance issues in order to be successful in PE.’

A: Tamus, thank you for your question which I can see is a conundrum not only for you but for a number of interesting people I meet from the consulting sector or practice who wish to go into PE. Reading your note your strength seems to lie in the complicated process of post merger integration.

In this arena my view would be this has more interest to a commercial acquirer of an asset than a general PE deal, where portfolio management takes on a slightly different skill set. I know very little about you and your background but my suggestion might be to consider the top 250 FTSE companies as a good starting point as a number of these companies would benefit from ongoing acquisitions and the skills around the operating boards may well find themselves looking to bolster their experience once the deal is done.

I would then secondly look at large industrial firms who have pressure to grow and M&A is a likely route for achieving their shareholder goals, these companies may well not be listed and I would search them out through commercial investigation.

Going back to the PE firms my personal belief is to try, try and try again because if you have passion and believe that is ultimately where you want to end up at some point, with some investigation you will find that point of entry.

Best of luck and let me know how you progress,



Next week, I’m back in the hot seat, so if you have a question you’d like answered – whether it’s career, business or recruitment related – send it in for the chance to appear in next week’s column:



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