Apollo Global: From Grueling Grind to “Super Nice, Low-Ego” Workplace?

Apollo Global

Apollo Global Management, the alternative investment giant, has shed its reputation for intense work culture and demanding bosses, aiming to attract talent with a more “super nice, low-ego” environment. This shift comes after significant hiring in 2023 and a conscious effort to change the firm’s image.


Growth Spurt and Cultural Shift

CFO Martin Kelly revealed during an investor call that Apollo hired 350 people last year, a nearly 9% increase. Half of these new hires landed in North America and Europe, while the other half joined the Mumbai office. The firm plans for “very targeted” hiring in 2024, prioritizing Mumbai, origination teams, high net worth coverage, and new product development.

CEO Marc Rowan highlighted the company’s impressive growth since 2008, boasting a 14x expansion, surpassing even Apple and Microsoft’s revenue growth. However, alongside this growth came a reputation for long hours, micromanagement, and an aggressive work environment.

Shedding the Past

Just three years ago, junior employees complained of 20-hour days, demanding dealmakers, and a culture where “acting like jerks” seemed acceptable. In 2021, associates reportedly threatened to leave, leading to a $100,000 pay raise to $550,000 annually.

Much of this aggressive culture was attributed to co-founder Josh Harris, known for sending emails on Saturday mornings with “?” if unanswered within 10 minutes. He famously “hammered young analysts about their financial models” and declared, “Some people play golf. Some people play tennis. I work.”

New Leadership, New Culture

Marc Rowan took over as CEO in early 2021, coinciding with the complaints about overwork. Under his leadership, the culture transformed. Bloomberg described the new environment as “more cerebral,” with less micromanagement and increased diversity. A private equity headhunter confirms this shift, stating, “Apollo is no longer a challenging or super-aggressive place to work. It attracts super-nice, low ego people now.”

Is the Transformation Complete?

While the overall picture seems positive, not everyone agrees. A young female associate claiming to work at Apollo posted on Wall Street Oasis last year, stating that the hours are still “insane” with 80-hour weeks and on-call nights the norm.

Mixed Reviews and the Ideal Employer Ranking

Despite the mixed reviews, Apollo ranked fourth in our Ideal Employer report among the best private capital employers to work for. This indicates a positive perception overall, but also suggests room for improvement.

Looking Ahead

Apollo’s transformation seems genuine, with new leadership and a conscious effort to create a more pleasant work environment. However, some concerns regarding workload persist. As the firm continues to grow and hire, maintaining a positive and inclusive culture will be crucial for attracting and retaining top talent.