ADIA is thorough in its approach to recruitment, employing a combination of psychometric testing and face-to-face interviews in Abu Dhabi, where potential recruits are encouraged to explore the city and all that it has to offer. We also provide housing and school tours, as well as information on lifestyle and entertainment options.
Emirati culture places a high emphasis on the family, and we seek to ensure that the families of our new recruits have everything they need to ease their transition. This includes a programme to introduce newly arrived spouses to each other to support their integration into Abu Dhabi’s dynamic social life.
What is Infrastructure Private Equity?
At a high level, infrastructure private equity resembles any other type of private equity: firms raise capital from outside investors (Limited Partners) and then use that capital to invest in assets, operate them, and eventually sell them to earn a high return.
Profits are then distributed between the Limited Partners (LPs) and the General Partners (GPs) – with the GPs representing the private equity firm.
Just as in traditional PE, professionals spend their time on origination (finding new assets), execution (doing deals), managing existing assets, and fundraising.
The difference is that infrastructure PE firms invest in assets that provide essential utilities or services.
Real estate private equity is similar because both firm types invest in assets rather than companies.
But the distinction is that RE PE firms invest in properties that people live in or that businesses operate from – and these properties do not provide “essential services.”
Sectors within infrastructure include utilities (gas, electric, and water distribution), transportation (airports, roads, bridges, rail, etc.), social infrastructure (hospitals, schools, etc.), and energy (power plants, pipelines, and renewable assets like solar/wind farms).
Many of these assets are extremely stable and last for decades.
Some, like airports, also have natural monopolies that make them incredibly valuable (well, except for when there’s a pandemic…).
Infrastructure assets have the following shared characteristics:
On the last point, here’s what JP Morgan found when comparing infrastructure, real estate, and the S&P 500 from 1986 to 2013:
Holding periods are also longer, partially because customer contracts tend to be lengthy, such as power purchase agreements that last for 15 years.
Overall, infrastructure private equity sits above fixed income but below equities in terms of risk and potential returns; it might be comparable to mezzanine funds.
I was contacted by a recruitment agency (Nicoll Curtin) based in London for a Senior Analyst position based in Abu Dhabi. Recruiter wants my eagerness for Abu Dhabi location.VC Call—Recruiter sets up a Video conference call with the hiring managers for 1 hour to interview in New Delhi (TERI India Habitat Centre).
The Infrastructure Private Equity Interview Process
You’ll go through the usual set of in-person and phone or video-based interviews, and you should expect behavioral questions, technical questions, and a case study or modeling test.
The behavioral/fit questions are all standard: walk me through your resume, describe your past deals, tell me your strengths and weaknesses, and so on.
The technical questions tend to focus on the merits of different infrastructure assets, the KPIs and drivers, and how you evaluate deals and use the right amount of leverage.
And the case studies and modeling tests are much simpler than on-the-job models because you usually have only 1-3 hours to complete them.
If you’re already familiar with Excel, LBO modeling, and/or real estate financial modeling, these tests should not be that difficult.
You do need to learn some new terminology, but projecting the cash flows and debt service and calculating the IRR are the same as always.