The Riverside Company has been one of my favorite firms ever since I interviewed a co-founder for a profile in The Private Equity Analyst newsletter over a decade ago. That the firm invites me to its annual media breakfast has further endeared them to me. We reporters appreciate free food.
I recently caught up with the director of global talent management at The Riverside Company, Adam Miller. We talked about the firm’s hiring plans, training opportunities, and what kind of employees tend to fit in there.
Below are highlights:
The Big Picture: Lower-middle-market buyout specialist The Riverside Company is one of the most prolific deal-makers in the industry, buying companies in business services, consumer products, education, healthcare, software/IT, and specialty manufacturing and distribution. It offers nine investment fund families, including four introduced just within the last four years. It employs some 200 people in 16 offices across four continents.
Hiring Plans: Every year the firm hires approximately 40 people, 15 of them investment professionals, primarily at the junior level. The Riverside Company hires analysts right out of college, as well as associates from investment bank analyst programs. Unlike other private equity firms, said Miller, The Riverside Company does not require associates to interrupt their careers to get an MBA. Someone who starts as an analyst can work their way up to partner, bypassing a scholarly detour.
Landing a Job: The Riverside Company participates in job fairs, recruits on campuses, and posts to job boards at universities such as Oberlin College (which its co-founders attended), Columbia University, Cornell University, Brown University, University of Michigan, Duke University, the Wharton School. The firm also works with a variety of executive recruitment firms to cull talent from investment bank analyst programs and from other organizations.
Training Offered: Analysts receive training, coaching and mentorship from senior associates. At the Riverside University, both senior investment professionals and outside instructors run boot camps and seminars for employees. The firm partners with the Center for Creative Leadership to offer training in management and communications. “We’re willing to invest in our people at all costs in order to keep them here,” said Miller.
Work-Life Balance: The Riverside Company gives its employees latitude depending on performance and on a case by case basis. Employees can work from home, said Miller, and parents can work flexible hours to spend more time with their children. Employees can move laterally among departments, rather than getting locked into immovable career tracks. Not everyone has to become a partner or leave. “If you’re a high-functioning performer the firm will move mountains for you,” said Miller. “Nothing’s off the table.”
Who Fits In: “If you peaked behind the curtain at Riverside you would instantly see it’s not an elitist firm,” said Miller. “There are no massive egos here. There are good people here doing good things. It’s kinder, more compassionate” than at other firms.
Compensation: Carried interest is “spread deeply” throughout the organization, including back-office professionals, said Miller.
Dress Code: No formal dress code. But folks generally dress business casual.
Diversity: The firm has a formal diversity and inclusion committee, comprised of executives across its fund families. The focus is recruitment, retention and development. The firm late last month hosted a breakfast designed to woo female banking analysts. “We know that different people from different walks of life make us a better firm,” said Miller.