A day in the life of a senior associate at Blackstone
Adis Asfaw is a Senior Associate at Blackstone Private Equity in New York City. She joined the firm in August 2021 after completing an MBA at Harvard Business School. Prior to that, she was an investment associate at TPG Growth / Satya Capital and an associate on Credit Suisse’s M&A team in London. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Wharton School.
7.30am. My morning routine is to listen to podcasts like the Daily or FT as I make a latte and get ready for the day. I check my emails first thing in the morning and anything quick I try to respond to before heading into the office. We’re officially back in-person and one of my favorite times of day is my 15-minute walk to the office.
9am-9.30am. I typically get to the office around this time, but could be earlier depending on how meetings are scheduled for the day. As a Senior Associate, I’m a generalist and evaluate investments across many different sectors. We usually start specializing from Principal onwards, although we do have flexibility to focus on our particular areas of interest.
My work is very project based. We might be working on our existing portfolio companies, on early-stage analysis (where we assess public or private companies for potential investment), or on a later stage investment (where we are in execution mode and have retained advisors). Often, I’ll have several projects running at once.
9.30am. To get organized for the day I usually make a to-do list with the things that need to get done that day and more medium-term items. Throughout the day I will turn to this list to add new things and re-prioritize as needed.
10am. I begin reviewing materials on a company we are exploring for potential investment. Typically, we start by reviewing a management presentation, some operating metrics, and sell-side industry reports.
11am. I do an expert call in a niche space within technology we are trying to learn about. Expert calls are a great way to speak with senior professionals in the industry and get up to speed quickly. Following the call, I’ll typically share some quick highlights from the meeting with my principal and/or managing director.
12.15pm. We have lunch delivered to the office which is very convenient! If it is a slower day, I will typically join a few others for lunch at the dining booths we have on our floor.
1pm. I review a draft of the model and materials for ‘office hours’ from an associate on another project and share any comments. Office hours here are our early-stage committees where we have a more informal discussion on the merits and risks of moving forward with an investment. We are planning to submit our memo to committee in a few days, so we are aiming to send a draft to our managing director this evening.
2pm. I have quick sit-down with an analyst. One of our portfolio companies has updated their management plan and we need to ensure this is incorporated into our internal valuation workstreams.
3pm. I turn back to preparing the office hours memo. I am pulling together a draft of the cover text which has high level topics such as the company history, financials, why we are excited about the deal and where we would focus our diligence if we were to proceed.
4pm. I do a technical interview for a potential associate on our team. We recruit analysts from undergraduate programs, associates are typically lateral from investment banks and senior associates are from MBA programs.
Our interviews are usually split into behavioral, technical and business intuition interviews. Our culture at Blackstone is unique with an emphasis on being nice, intellectually curious and collaborative. I find that investment professionals here get very involved in recruiting because we all really care about maintaining the culture.
5pm. I hop on a Zoom call with another deal team to discuss a new case for one of our models. By now, meetings for the day are winding down so I can catch up on some work.
6pm. I pull together a high priority list of due diligence items for the company I was reviewing in the morning. I share the list with our team in case anyone wants to add anything else before we share with management.
7pm. I’ll take a look at the revised financial plan the analyst shared for our portfolio company, and we will hop on a call with the principal to make sure we are all aligned before sharing the case more broadly.
Sometimes I have dinner in the office or depending on deliverables for the night I will make other plans. I’ve found that these office dinners are a great way to build lifelong friendships early in your career.
7.30pm. I typically try to get a workout in. I’ll either use my peloton, a neighborhood yoga studio or now that the weather’s nicer go for a run outside.
9.00pm. Depending on the day, I sometimes log back in to wrap up any other deliverables remaining for the day.
Midnight. I try to read before bed. I started a challenge with a friend to read a book from every country over COVID as a way to “travel” and I have found it is a nice way to end the day.
Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: email@example.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)
Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)