Associate, Commercial Diligence & Strategy

Who we are
Our Mission

Build winning companies to deliver superior returns to our investors.

Our strategy

Acquire good businesses and partner with management to drive fundamental improvement.

Our values
  • Partnership
  • Passion
  • Discipline
Our core competencies
  • Sourcing
  • People
  • Evaluation
  • Continuous Improvement
Our Firm
  • Lean, collaborative team, working directly with Partners and senior management
  • Successful track record resulting in exciting growth
  • 6 out of 7 current Partners started as associates or Vice Presidents at Sterling
  • Resources Group, comprised of subject matter experts in Human Capital, Operations, Commercial, Strategy, Technology, and M&A, are members of deal teams and help drive improvements at portfolio companies
  • Hands on investing model resulting in deep engagement with our portfolio companies
Our Culture
  • We believe in long term partnership and collaboration
  • Relentless, firm-wide commitment to continuous improvement
  • We say "we" more than "I"
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Passionate about building winning businesses

Company overview: The Sterling Group (TSG) is an operationally focused middle market private equity firm focused on investing within the industrial sector (e.g., manufacturers of ride-on lawnmowers, fencing material distributors, plastic bottle reclaimers). Founded in 1982, Sterling is one of the longest standing private equity firms in North America, with over $6.1 billion in assets under management today.

Over 75% of Sterling’s returns have been driven by organic EBITDA growth, a result of Sterling’s operational investing style, facilitated by the leveraging the firm’s Seven Levers™ functional expertise (e.g., strategy, commercial excellence, M&A).

The firm is currently investing out of two funds – a middle-market fund ($2B Fund) and a lower-middle-market fund ($630M). The firm targets transaction sizes between $100M – $1B (and equity investments between ~$50 – 350M) across both funds.

For more information, please visit:

Team overview: The Commercial Diligence & Strategy function is a team of problem-solvers that are exceptional at conducting commercial diligence for new TSG platforms, developing the long-term strategy for the PortCo, and designing and executing against value creation initiatives (e.g., product, service, or geographic expansion, salesforce effectiveness – including go-to-market, sales processes, and sales operations, pricing strategy, etc.). Additionally, the team provides support on theme development and exit planning and preparation.

Role overview: As part of the Portfolio Resources Group, the Associate in the Commercial Diligence & Strategy group will be given the unique opportunity to work with a fast-growing team, alongside the broader organization at The Sterling Group (including Investment Professionals, Seven Levers leaders, etc.) to support investment decisions and improve operational outcomes during the hold period.

This is a two-year program designed to offer a well-rounded apprenticeship at a successful middle market private equity firm. Specific examples of responsibilities are noted below.


Conduct commercial due diligence on new industrial platforms. Example topics to evaluate include: industry dynamics and outlook, competitive landscape, customer dynamics, supplier dynamics, operational/commercial opportunities, M&A strategy, etc.

Outline the merits and risks of an investment from a financial and strategic standpoint (incl. providing market forecast (and upside/downside scenarios), identifying post-acquisition strategic opportunities, etc.)

Build market models, engage industry experts, identify and analyze secondary research, conduct proprietary market surveys, coordinate with third-party vendors (as needed), pressure-test insights with management of the target company, analyze virtual data room data, etc.

Leverage insights to develop perspectives as it relates to investing in (or passing on) a deal – and, if a deal is closed, outline tactical levers to drive above-market organic growth

Prepare and present Investment Committee memos, prepare materials for lenders, co-investors, etc.

Work in close partnership with Investment Professionals throughout the entire process (e.g., daily, joint-problem-solving sessions)

Post-acquisition: Strategy and value creation planning

Lead and facilitate value creation planning process upon platform close

Collaborate with portfolio company executive management and the broader investment team to prepare materials for ‘Initial Strategy Session,’ which includes: aligning on the ambition (e.g., value proposition, revenue and EBITDA targets), outlining where to play (e.g., geographies, end markets) and how to win (e.g., innovation in products or processes, scale), etc.

Work with other Sterling leadership and portfolio company management to prepare for and facilitate value creation planning session (e.g., initiative brainstorming, evaluation, and prioritization)

Post-acquisition: Execution of value creation initiatives

Work with portfolio company management and/or other Seven Levers leaders to execute on value creation initiatives – non-exhaustive examples below:

New product expansion opportunities (e.g., leveraging lawnmower brand to expand into the UTV market)

Geographic expansion (e.g., identifying specific zip codes to prioritize addition of new mower dealerships)

Salesforce effectiveness (e.g., organization design and compensation modeling, market coverage analysis, share of wallet/cross-selling modeling, etc.)

Salesforce compensation modeling

Go-to-market design (e.g., identifying which channels to sell which SKUs within)

Pricing (e.g., analyzing what pricing and/or discounting policies should be by SKU and/or customer segment)


Technical capabilities

Experience in conducting commercial diligence and/or building market intelligence (e.g., market size and growth, customer key purchasing criteria, competitive landscape, etc.)

Strong intellectual curiosity and a desire to ‘solve some of the most challenging problems’

Ability to synthesize key takeaways in a structured fashion in both written and verbal form

Creative problem solving capabilities

Experience managing multiple workstreams at least semi-autonomously and in a timely fashion

Comfort interacting with senior executive leadership teams, investment professionals, third party consultants, etc.

Ability to be a team player and work in a collaborative environment

Excellent Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint capabilities

Familiarity with (and/or willingness to learn) advanced data analytics tools (e.g., Tableau, PowerBI)

Work experience and education

At least 2 years of experience in consulting, investment banking, equity research, in-house strategy, or equivalent roles

Undergraduate degree from a reputable university, ideally in a quantitative field (e.g., finance, engineering, economics)


Requirement to be based out of Houston, Texas with an ability to travel (mostly domestically), if needed

US work authorization

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