Promoted to global head of private equity at the Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) in 2012, Joseph Barratta holds one of the biggest jobs in PE today.

After graduating from Georgetown University, Baratta joined Morgan Stanley in the firm's mergers and acquisitions department almost by chance. "I had an offer from Solomon [Smith Barney] already so I wasn't going to go to the Morgan Stanley interview, but my friend had told them about me and they called to meet with me. It was really fate, because I was surprised to even get the job," says Baratta, who had never even been to New York prior to taking the job.

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