Jeremy Peterson


Jeremy Peterson ‘18

Title: Private Equity Associate 

Employer: Sagewind Capital  

Major: BS Economics/BS Finance


What do you enjoy the most about your position?

I am an entrepreneurial person by nature. My current position allows me to partner with high-growth, typically founder-owned businesses to accelerate their growth trajectory and help them reach their strategic objectives. I love learning about different businesses and working with great management teams! 

What is a typical day like in your position?

My typical day is broken up into two primary areas: (1) evaluating and conducting due diligence on potential new investments, and (2) monitoring existing investments. 

There's no set hours for the job. Some weeks are ~40 hours and other weeks are 80+. We have long-term and short-term deadlines that dictate the hours in a given week. As deadlines approach, the hours get longer to finalize deliverables. Other weeks are shorter and give me time to catch up on other tasks I've put on the backburner. 

Private Equity lends itself to being "a mile wide and an inch deep" meaning that we get exposure to a wide-array of functional areas spanning legal, business, tax, marketing, operations, among others, but have not mastered any of them. To me, this makes the job very interesting as each day I am exposed to different topics and learning new things across varying functional areas. Each new topic expands my knowledge base that can then be applied to my next project. 

As with most private equity firms, Sagewind splits staff into into "deal teams", which are siloed into specific investments. Deal teams work collaboratively where Associates work with Vice Presidents and Managing Partners to brainstorms ideas and strategies on various topics. Generally, the Associate will create financial models, presentations, and other analyses to brief the more senior deal team members, who will use that information to make decisions.

How did you find your current position?

I started my career in investment banking with KippsDeSanto & Co. (Capital One subsidiary) primarily focusing on sell-side advisory for mergers and acquisitions in the Aerospace & Defense, Government Services, and Technology industries. I landed this job through an immense amount of networking (i.e., cold calling and cold emailing) to many D.C.-based investment banks. After first contact, I leveraged my experiences at UMD (including internships, coursework, and extracurricular activities) to position myself for the job. 

My experience in investment banking provided me with the requisite skill-set and knowledge base to transition into private equity. To break into private equity, I reverted to what worked for me in the past - networking. I connected with many UMD alumni, KippsDeSanto & Co. firm alumni, and other relevant industry professionals to gain insight into private equity and position me for an opportunity within their respective firms when an opening becomes available. My networking culminated with an opportunity at Sagewind, which had an UMD alumni base, a strong relationship with KippsDeSanto, and similar industry focus areas. 

Which undergraduate experiences did you find most helpful in preparing you for your current position?

UMD prepared me for success. Across BSOS and the Smith School of Business, I was involved in many internships and extracurricular activities that complemented my coursework and accentuated my UMD experience. Specifically, the Kauklin-Ginsberg internship program (promoted through BSOS) gave me hands-on experience in the areas of SWOT analysis, financial analysis, communication, and research. Receiving feedback from industry professionals was exceptionally helpful and gave me a leg-up when I first started at KippsDeSanto as I had a deeper understanding of the deliverables and expectations within Investment Banking. 

How has your coursework helped you in your current position (i.e. quantitative skills, research techniques, communication skills)?

In my current role, the high-level economic classes (i.e., advanced microeconomics, advanced macroeconomics, industrial economics, econometrics) all played a role in developing my analytical skills and thought processes allowing me to think strategically to solve problems. Economics is all about how and why people spend money - this could not be any more relevant to Private Equity! 

What advice do you have for students trying to find jobs or internships in your field?

Be the best at your current job, rather than being concerned with the next job. I've seen many people spread themselves too thin with being focused on many supplemental projects that they allow the primary focus to slip through the cracks. Mastering your current job is the quickest path to getting the next one. 

Separately, as you consider internships / first job out of college, I'd really recommend taking part in "informational interviews". These interviews will help you learn about different career paths and associated responsibilities. Many college students make important decisions with incomplete information. They believe they job entails x, when it really entails y. It's very helpful to hear first-hand information from multiple people about the pros/cons of different paths to inform and validate your career decisions. Half of figuring out what you want to do, is eliminating what you don't want to do! Reach out to people on LinkedIn to set up these conversations. People (and especially UMD alum) are generally receptive to spending 10-15 min to provide an overview of their job, this will be time well spent as you consider your options! 

Any other advice?

While Mark Twain may have said it first, in my eyes my Dad coined the adage "the harder you work, the luckier you get". This quote (and a life philosophy) transcends time. In whatever task you are doing in life (personally and professionally), give it 100% maximum effort and you'll have no regrets and end up where you are supposed to be. Things don't always work out as planned, but they work out as they should.