12/31/12

mod note: this very informative q&a was originally posted on 2/12/12

UPDATE 2/22/12: Over 20 questions and 50 responses added so far, keep 'em coming! I also took the bold away from the questions by popular request

Alright guys, since we've started to see more and more questions pop up about F500s and rotational programs, I thought we'd get a thread going to try and share some knowledge on the subjects. Three of our members have volunteered to offer advice from what they've learned so far in their careers. I'll be updating THIS POST with all the answers to your questions. Each person has a different color, so you can see how people from different backgrounds, at different points in their careers, and in different industries see things. Hopefully we can make this a good resource!

Also, make sure to check out the list of F500 Rotational/Leadership Development programs

Questions / Answers
  1. What's the difference between Corporate Finance and Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development?
  2.  

  3. Is it possible to be successful and have mobility within the company without doing an Analyst role in IB or Big Four route? In essence, how likely is it to start at a F500 straight out of undergrad and work your way up without having Analyst experience.
  4.  

  5. I'm told that at larger F500 (if not, F100), FP&A is sometimes broken out between a Planning Group and an Analysis Group, where Analysis does most of the "special, ad-hoc, strategy-like" projects without doing any of the budgeting/forecasting/accounting. Can you comment at all on this structure?
  6.  

  7. For someone in a FLDP program that doesn't have rotations into Corp Dev or Corp Strat, how would you suggest getting into those areas?
  8.  

  9. What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?
  10.  

  11. Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?
  12.  

  13. Could one of you describe the hiring process at your firms? Nothing too detailed, just the abstract (recruitment, resume selection, type of interviews, who is involved with the interviews, follow-up, etc) just whatever you experienced.
  14.  

  15. If I want to eventually get into corporate strategy or corporate development, will I have a better shot at the position coming from a SA position in IB Risk or straight-up IB?
  16.  

  17. What steps should I take to distinguish myself during the summer period, if possible?
  18.  

  19. I feel like I am getting to a place where I am competent in terms of knowledge base for a corp fin job, but do most companies in your experience have some sort of training for new hires so they know how to do the work their way?
  20.  

  21. Is the work for the most part team-based? Or are projects more individual with meetings every so often to go over analysis/findings?
  22.  

  23. Are there any resources you would recommend (books, websites, etc) that I should read up on to best prepare for my internship?
  24.  

  25. So what are the areas that Sr. leadership "must" rotate through to get the job. Also, what about the people who come in from, say, MckBB or IB at the manager level? How are they getting the exposure to many different business areas, or is that different because of their consulting or IB background?
  26.  

  27. Could one of you guys maybe give an overview of the roles and income someone might see over a career in corporate finance assuming they were successful?
  28.  

  29. Do you guys have ambitions to make it to VP level (or higher)? What is the average age and years of experience of VP's at your place when they became VP? Is it realistic to expect to get there in good time if you're smart enough and put in the work?
  30.  

  31. I know that this is a very broad question, but I'd just like to get an idea of the type of experiences I should look for if I am interested in managing operations for a F500, in a COO-type capacity. I know a lot of it is due to luck/connections, but what can I do to make sure that I have the requisite experiences and skills, coming from a finance background? Do firms hire investment bankers or risk management bankers?
  32.  

  33. I understand that you can enter a F500 company either after working at the big 4 or through a FMP-type program. I was hoping to get your personal opinions on which is the better route to go (if you know that you want to end up in a F500 company) and any possible advantages/disadvantages of both routes. Thanks!
  34.  

  35. In the big 4 there is a very big stigma against jumping to industry too soon. The firms constantly preach the benefits of staying for the manager promotion. For a big 4 cpa coming up on 3 years of experience, spread across audit and valuation, do you think the manager title holds any water? Do you think it would be better to jump to industry/corp fin at the SFA level as compared to possibly making the move later and landing a manager level role when you leave the big 4?
  36.  

  37. How long did it take you to get to senior manager? And how long does it typically take someone to move up the corporate ladder to the different positions do you think?
  38.  

  39. Any thoughts on exit opps for someone like me who will already have an MBA once i begin corp fin (say after 5-10 years experience)?
  40.  

  41. I know the CFA is primarily most useful in asset management, but does it have any value whatsoever in CF? Also, how common is it for someone with just a bachelor's degree to work their way up the ladder?
  42.  

  43. Is it possible to transition to Corp Dev from Law School (UPenn/ UChicago/ NYU) with only IBD SA internships? If so, at what level would they be entering at, and what would their career trajectory be? I know McKBB recruits aggressively from Top Law Schools, so wondering if there's any love from F500s.
  44.  

  45. What is the "best"/most renowned F500 FLDP program?
  46.  

  47. What would you recommend doing in order to prepare for starting FT in a F500 FLDP?
  48.  

  49. Would you explain what the finance division subgroups do, which are hardest to get into, which deal with acquisitions, and which have the best opportunities for advancement? Specifically for: FP&A, Investor Relations, Treasury, Corporate Auditing, and Internal Audit?

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Backgrounds

accountingbyday

Brief background on me:
  • Total no name undergrad with very average grades
  • Macc from Kelley
  • 1 year at Big 4
  • 1.5 year in M&A and valuation consulting
  • SFA of Business Unit doing mostly FP&A until I got to lead an integration of an acquisition
  • Now - MGR of an Ops group
  • I work in healthcare (not a provider)

Also, I just want to point out that I'm not trying to be anal about being anonymous. That being said, I'm pretty open on the boards so I don't want to publicly criticize my employer on an open forum. I will definitely answer questions on the forum, but I won't list my company.

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STorIB

I came from a complete finance non-target. You go to my school for premed or nursing. Fought for a management consulting (very boutique) internship my senior year after I decided very late on finance instead of medical school. Had an overall GPA of about 3.4, business class GPA of 3.6 -- graduated with chemistry degree.

Interviewed at a MM IB position my senior spring and an ER gig right before graduation and didn't get either offer. I literally knew jack shit about finance. A friend was working at a software start up as a programmer and brought me on as a business analyst/sales guy, though I steered away from sales as much as I could and learned as much as I could about finance. Anyway, the company busted through its last round of funding and our lead developer quit so I knew it was time to get out. During this time, I passed level I of the CFA -- because I wanted to show that I understood basic finance for interviews. Also hit every networking event possible and made some connections through CFA events and others like it and slowly talked them into taking my resume for an interview. Got an interview and was hired afterward. I'm at a technology firm on the west coast.

Advice: If you're coming from a finance background, review your stuff as much as you can -- even for CF interviews. Also, talk to literally everyone you meet and never be too pushy about handing out your resume or asking for a job. If they like you, they will make it known when there is an opportunity.

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BJM85

  • 3.5 from a decent Non-Target
  • Started as an entry level FA at a global F500 company
  • After 2.5 years I took a Senior FA role at a mid-cap health care technology company

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djfiii

I used to do strategy consulting, now I'm in house at a F100 doing corporate strategy.
  • UG: UMich [3.5+]
  • Grad: UChicago [3.75+]
  • Started at small consulting shop, went in house to a F100 health care company.
  • Have done a mix of strategy and IT Consulting.

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Answers

1. What's the difference between Corporate Finance and Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development?

  • BJM85:
    Corp Finance, Dev and Strategy are all, in my experience, part of the finance organization. The main difference is the focus of the analysis team. FP&A is focused on monthly, quarterly and yearly results; how we performed and what led to the positive or negative variance vs. budget/forecast/prior year. FP&A also does a lot of work around providing different metrics to business leaders to help drive decisions. Strategy is pretty broad but usually focuses on bigger picture direction of the business. Think of strategy as an internal consulting group that works on a variety of projects based on management requests/needs. Corpdev generally focuses on acquisitions, capex etc.
  • accountingbyday:
    At my company the structure is slightly different than BJM explains. Strategy for us is really outside of the finance group. We do have Corporate Development and (obviously) Corporate Finance as part of the Finance organization, but strategy is it's own small group at my company.

    The thing to realize is that every organization is structured slightly differently, but that's not always relevant. A good example of this is Pricing - who is in charge or pricing? I've seen this as finance, marketing and operations at different companies. However, if you have a finance background and are interested in Pricing, you're probably a good candidate regardless of where that particular position fits in the organization.

  • djfiii:
    I used to do strategy consulting, now I'm in house at a F100 doing corporate strategy. Different companies organize themselves differently obviously, but in my experience the strategy team (if one exists) will be outside of finance,and often will be a direct report function to the CEO. As mentioned, corporate strategy is going to deal with big picture issues. Two big drivers of strategy projects are regulatory changes and acquisitions. There are others, but those two seem to suck up the most time. I guess it also depends a lot on industry - I've spent most of my time in the health care industry, so my perspective on the regulatory angle might be skewed because of that.

    For example, if you're a big health insurance company, how do you begin to understand what your obligations are under the new ACA legislation? How do you get your arms around what it does to your existing revenue and cost structure? If you're a bank, how do you deal with the loss of revenue as a result of limits on credit card fees? Etc. etc. If you're at a company that has a lot of idle cash, you might be looking to acquire a similar or complimentary company that isn't doing well, and can be scooped up on the cheap. How do you figure out what price to pay? What impact the acquisition will have on your revenue / cost structure? How easy or difficult will integration be? Are there regulatory concerns, post merger? Just a few examples.

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2. Is it possible to be successful and have mobility within the company without doing an Analyst role in IB or Big Four route? In essence, how likely is it to start at a F500 straight out of undergrad and work your way up without having Analyst experience?

  • BJM85:
    Absolutely. My first job out of school was at a F100 (U.S.) company in their entry-level analyst role. Companies like P&G, J&J, Kimberly-Clark, GE etc have these as do most other large corporations. From that point on, how fast you move up is based primarily on the work you do and the connections you make. Obviously, politics plays a role depending on the company but I've seen guys go from $60K to $100K in 4-5 years and I've also seen people fired in 6 months. If you bust your ass and make an impact, you will get noticed and you will be promoted. Also, if you do a really good job and can prove it, your exit opps into a more senior role in another company are really strong.
  • accountingbyday:
    Definitely. I recommed to most people to start somewhere other than F500 mostly because you will likely make more $ (although that depends upon the company to some extent) and you lose the risk of getting stuck at a level below Mgr.

    That being said an FLDP is an amazing way to start a career. You get a ton of different experiences and that's something that people on this board seem to discount, but is extremely important in many companies. It's very possible to graduate an FLDP program with experience in US FP&A, Chinese Manufacturing, European Audit and a Global Planning role. Not that those are all exciting roles, but it would take most people 10+ years to get near that breadth of experience outside of an FLDP program.

    Not that you guys are at the level where you worry about promotions yet, but my next big promotion is to Director. It is prob 5-10 years away and in that time I know I need to get at least 2-3 different diverse experiences. Unless you are going to go up in a straight line in one group like Corp Development (which is often VERY difficult because you'll likely need people to quit/die) Sr. Mgmt within a company needs to be able to oversee and understand a large variety of groups. You're not able to do that without experiencing those groups first. Also, if you're a Director ready to be promoted and all you've done is Corp Development, the chance of you getting an open VP of Finance supporting manufacturing is about zero.

    That was a little long, but I could go on forever about the important of different experiences if you're looking to get into Sr. Leadership at a F500.

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3. I'm told that at larger F500 (if not, F100), FP&A is sometimes broken out between a Planning Group and an Analysis Group, where Analysis does most of the "special, ad-hoc, strategy-like" projects without doing any of the budgeting/forecasting/accounting. Can you comment at all on this structure?

  • accountingbyday:
    My company has this structure on many teams (I'll again add the caveat that every company and even teams within one company are often structured different). I wouldn't say the analysis team does no forecasting in these roles, but what they do is often different. The best way to understand the difference is to look at the duties they'll do in their roles:

    Planning Analyst - closing the books, reporting on monthly #s, more accounting focused in their daily work. During budgeting these analysts are often loading and tying out systems, preparing P&Ls, filling out required templates, maybe managing SG&A.

    Analysis Analyst - determining key drivers, explaining key variances, works closer with marketing to drive decision making. During budget this analyst helps budget sales and SGP, explain key drivers, etc...

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4. For someone in a FLDP program that doesn't have rotations into Corp Dev or Corp Strat, how would you suggest getting into those areas?

  • accountingbyday:
    Networking - it is important to network internally as well. You want to meet those guys and you want your boss to know you're interested (as long as you're producing high quality work in your current role).

    One of the great things about lower level roles in F500 and especially FLDP is that you're not expected to be there for 5 years. If I have a really good FLDP who tells me he's interested in Corporate Development I'd set up a lunch with the Dir of Corp Development and have a chat. A good manager will make a good FLDP's life alot better. However, if you're not a top notch employee your manager probably won't help out near as much.

    Also, most FLDP programs have a coordinator who can help with these things. If you don't get a great manager you're not totally screwed, but it would help.

  • NOTE: harvardgrad08's thread is a fantastic resource on corporate development. Check out The Other Road: Corporate Development Associate Fielding Questions

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5. What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?

  • accountingbyday:
    I can only speak for my company when I say this, but being an FA (our entry level) is TOUGH. Unlike FLDP's FAs are expected to stay in the roles 2+ years. An FA also probably needs to do at least 2 roles to make SFA and the FA roles in my company kind of suck. There also aren't too many FA roles in my company (FLDPs get most roles that would likely be for an FA). It just seems like an uphill battle at my company, but it could totally be a cultural thing just at my company.

    I will say my old boss did this at a more well-known company. He went FA to Manager in a pretty reasonable amount of time (6-7 years) and got some really good experience along the way before coming over to our company. So it can be done, but my particular company seems like a pretty tough place for FAs.

  • BJM85:
    That will depend on the company but in my experience it's very good. I know right now a lot of companies are battling to retain their top talent and one way they do that is by giving them options and allowing them to create their own career path. At my old company they talked a lot about the career scaffold vs. career ladder. What they meant is that you might be an FP&A Manager then move laterally into a marketing manager role or into operations management at a production facility or procurement group etc. The ideal career path now into upper management generally involves stints in other areas to build a well-rounded knowledge of the business, not just one area of expertise.
  • djfiii:
    Definitely depends on what area of the organization, what exposure that area has to the decision makers, and how visible / good your work product is. For example, if you're an entry level Java programmer, there are probably 4 layers of computer nerds between you and the Director over your area. Typically, IT Directors and VP's will be working with the business, driving requirements, and trickling them down to you. Your contribution will be buried in thousands of lines of code, and your face will never be seen by the business, so your mobility is probably very limited.

    Contrast that with an entry level internal audit gig - while often boring and tedious, the IA function has relatively few people, and exposure across every aspect of the organization. You have the opportunity to build relationships with people in every area of the company, and you develop an understanding of how all of those areas tie together operationally. If you start cranking out A+ work product, demonstrate certain poise at meetings, show that you can contribute useful insights, etc. it's easy to lateral or step up to other roles in the company.

    (those were just examples: I'm not bagging on Java developers, and I'm certainly not championing internal audit as an awesome career path)

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6. Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?

  • accountingbyday:
    Overall yes, but it depends on what you do. For instance if you do FP&A for an insurance company that translates pretty well to FP&A anywhere else. However, if you do Insurance policy pricing for Geico that likely doesn't transfer too well to treasury at GE.

    If you get high quality roles at a good company you will be valuable elsewhere. If you have very industry-specific or niche roles it may be harder (but definitely not impossible) to transition.

  • STorIB:
    Yes, especially at the lower levels where business acumen isn't needed as much. Entry level roles are pretty transferable and if you are coming from a pretty recognized brand, you'll be able to go to a lot of other companies -- sometimes at a level higher -- but there are always trade offs. Obviously, every company is going to have different processes and software, but the work generally is about the same.
  • BJM85:
    In terms of the financial side, yes, they're pretty transferable for the most part. Variance analysis, reporting, modeling etc are all fairly standard so what you do at a tech vs. defense vs. cpg company will be pretty similar. The main difference is in learning the business and applying that knowledge to your analysis. The factors that go into analyzing a capital project for a CPG vs. Aerospace is different because the machines, industry etc are quite different.
  • djfiii:
    Yes, most skills are transferable. Some things are industry specific, but I'd say you don't really need to worry so much about industry focus until you're 7-10 years into your career, and then only if you're in an industry where industry experience matters (health care being the one I'm most familiar with).

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7. Could one of you describe the hiring process at your firms? Nothing too detailed, just the abstract (recruitment, resume selection, type of interviews, who is involved with the interviews, follow-up, etc) just whatever you experienced.

  • STorIB:
    We recruit from several schools in the state of our headquarters and main office and from select schools throughout the country. Have some sort of finance experience on your resume -- either through working somewhere for a bit or interning in CF, IB, etc. After talking with a recruiter to set up an initial screening, you will get two phone interviews that are 70% behavioral/30% technical. If you pass both of those, you'll be flown out for an onsite interview which will consist of 60% behavioral/40% technical from 4-6 different interviewers from mid management down to analysts. You'll know if you get the gig within two weeks.
  • djfiii:
    I can really only speak to strategy recruiting, and that's pretty limited. No entry level; pretty much everyone is 8-10 years or more, former MBB or other strategy shop, or previous F500 strategy. Strategy is small compared to the other areas being discussed - we have about 15 people. So, the hiring process doesn't happen often.

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8. If I want to eventually get into corporate strategy or corporate development, will I have a better shot at the position coming from a SA position in IB Risk or straight-up IB?

  • STorIB:
    In most cases, you aren't getting into corp development without IB experience (2-3 years) or internal experience (4-5 years) unless you are coming from a top MBA program. I haven't heard of anyone from my company coming in directly from school to work corp dev or corp strategy, even if they had experience as a summer analyst. I'm sure there is an exception somewhere, but you'd have much better luck just going IB for a few years.
  • BJM85:
    This is how it works at my current company and it was the same at my old one. We hire people into corpdev 3 ways:
    1. Out of a top MBA
    2. From a consulting/IB role (generally already have a top MBA)
    3. High performing Internal FP&A analysts (may or may not have the MBA)

  • djfiii:
    In my experience, corporate strategy shops really love MBB alums. IB might be good for corp dev.
  • NOTE: harvardgrad08's thread is a fantastic resource on corporate development. Check out The Other Road: Corporate Development Associate Fielding Questions

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9. What steps should I take to distinguish myself during the summer period, if possible?

  • accountingbyday:
    Distinguishing yourself is pretty simple - work hard, do a good job and be a decent guy.

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10. I feel like I am getting to a place where I am competent in terms of knowledge base for a corp fin job, but do most companies in your experience have some sort of training for new hires so they know how to do the work their way?

  • accountingbyday:
    One area my company really lacks is training new hires. You'll get a formal HR training but then you're given a laptop and a cube. This likely varies by company, but at my company you'll need to work with your Manager to see what he/she wants done and how. A very good way to acclimate yourself in the beginning (when you'll likely be slow) is to look at the previous work that was done. Depending on your role spend time looking at previous presentations or models.

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11. Is the work for the most part team based? Or are projects more individual with meetings every so often to go over analysis/findings?

  • accountingbyday:
    Team based or individual contributor will depend upon the role. Usually, I am doing work individually, but meeting to discuss the work or present it to Sr. Management.

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12. Are there any resources you would recommend (books, websites, etc) that I should read up on to best prepare for my internship?

  • accountingbyday:
    I can't think of any real resources before you start. Make sure you're above average at Excel, try to understand a little bit about the company and industry, but most importantly go in ready to help with anything.

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13. So what are the areas that Sr. leadership "must" rotate through to get the job. Also, what about the people who come in from, say, MBB or IB at the manager level? How are they getting the exposure to many different business areas, or is that different because of their consulting or IB background?

  • accountingbyday:
    I can't say that there is route filled with "musts", but overall the more experiences you have the more valuable you are. Unless you really have a passion for one specific thing, be as diverse as reasonably possible. Besides, no one wants to do FP&A roles for 30 years.

    One big example is Manufacturing. Few people (myself included) would consider Manufacturing Finance sexy. Yet most F500 companies are essentially Manufacturing companies. To be CFO it would definitely be beneficial to have some Manufacturing experience.

    I'm really close with 3 of our VPs. 2 of them tell me the best thing they did in their career was go to Puerto Rico to be a Plant Controller (they both coincidentally went there with other companies) because there are very few people that can say that they were the CFO of a Plant that produces $100M+ of product. Maybe coincidentally, the 3rd VP I'm close with, who may end up our CFO one day, recently took a new position as the head of Asia Manufacturing Finance.

    People who come in as a Mgr have their own set of experiences. MBB or IB are unique experiences as well. Realize that if you come in as a Mgr you still have a long time until you are Sr. Management (I consider VP senior management) and you can still get plenty of internal unique experiences.

    I will just throw out a small sample of types of roles I either have had or would like to have at some point:

    • Finance support of Marketing/Sales
    • Finance Support of Ops/Manufacturing
    • Corporate Planning
    • FP&A for a business
    • Treasury (mostly to experience cash management in case I go for CFO at a smaller company some day)
    • Possibly Strategy or Marketing (this happens a decent amount at the Mgr, Sr. Mgr and Director levels)
    • etc, etc, etc

  • djfiii:
    You've got two questions, so I'll address them both:
    1. I don't think every senior leader "must" rotate through any specific areas, although often they will have worked in various areas of the company. I'd say it's more common for a CEO / COO to have broader experiences than say, a CFO or CIO, where you might expect them to have spent their entire careers in Accounting/Finance or IT.
    2. The nature of management consulting is such that you're exposed to a full range of issues that C* suite execs have to deal with, and you see how those issues vary across industries and across companies within the same industries (you can be - sometimes you can get stuck on crap projects that don't give you much personal growth / value). In general though, someone that has been at MBB for 7-8+ years is well positioned to come into the F500 as a Director or Senior Director.

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14. Could one of you guys maybe give an overview of the roles and income someone might see over a career in corporate finance assuming they were successful.

  • accountingbyday:
    Typical structure would be:

    FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

    Some places have Sr. Director and different levels of VPs, but above is the general structure.

    I'm not exactly as sure on pay. I can definitely say that the past few years people at my company and other local F500s have been getting shafted (relatively) on compensation.

  • BJM85:
    FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

    $50K-$65K -> $60K - $85K -> $80K - $100K -> $90K - $125K -> $125K - $250K -> $200K - $500K -> $250K - 7 figures

    Pay varies quite a bit so I tried to provide the middle 80% or so (just an educated guess)

    accountingbyday:
    This is pretty close, but I think your low end is a little low. Your high end for Director and VP may be a little (but I'm not there yet, so I could be mistaken)

    BJM85:
    Yea, my original company started FAs at $60K and my current one is in that same ballpark but I've heard of people being at $45K on the low end. The director/VP roles are tough because they vary so much between companies. At my old company a director was in the $200K range but my new one, where there are more VPs, it's closer to $150K. We also have senior managers, directors and VPs so there's a pretty broad range between a regular director and SVP.

    STorIB:
    I agree with the pay described above being a little low. After you get to manager level, you also start getting a larger part of your pay from bonuses. I'd bump the bottom two figures of the first two levels up by 5k and, at least at my place, you're making six figures when you hit manager. Senior managers are making $150-250, depending on function and how many people under, Directors or GMs are making 250-350, VPs 400- a few MM.
    djfiii:
    This is consistent with my experience. I'm a Senior Manager, and my comp is right in the middle of that range. I'm friends with a lot of Directors / VP's and their comp is consistent with those numbers. I expect to make Director in another 1-2 years.

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15. Do you guys have ambitions to make it to VP level (or higher)? What is the average age and years of experience of VP's at your place when they became VP? Is it realistic to expect to get there in good time if you're smart enough and put in the work?

  • BJM85:
    Yes, I'd like to reach the VP level and I think it's attainable in the next 8-10 years (I'm 26). One thing you find in corporate America is that there's a lot of people who have the brains and a lot of people who have the personality; not many people have both. If you're smart and get along well with people, you'll advance pretty quickly.

    That really depends. Fast risers reach VP level in their early 30s usually. I'd say, on average they're more like 40-45. At the F500 company I worked at, there were fewer people who shot up to VP vs. the mid-cap tech company I work for now. I assume that's true of most large companies.

  • djfiii:
    Late 40's is typical of VP's in my experience. If you're smart and put in the work, then definitely. Also helps to be somewhat politically savvy, know the right people, establish a good reputation with the right people, etc. Sometimes people are brilliant, but unable to navigate the social complexities of a large organization and that will definitely hold you back.
  • accountingbyday:
    My ambition is to make VP at my company or maybe go somewhere a little smaller to be VP or even CFO.

    My company is a little slower with promotions. While it happened in the past, VP before 40 is going to be pretty difficult going forward.

    I think VP is realistic if I decide to stick around long enough. I actually think Director is extremely likely, so from there I hope to get VP with some hard work and a little luck. Director isn't a horrible place to be, but if I feel that I'm stalling out at Director I will definitely jump to VP at a smaller company.

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16. I know that this is a very broad question, but I'd just like to get an idea of the type of experiences I should look for if I am interested in managing operations for a F500, in a COO-type capacity. I know a lot of it is due to luck/connections, but what can I do to make sure that I have the requisite experiences and skills, coming from a finance background? Do firms hire investment bankers or risk management bankers?

  • accountingbyday:
    My company doesn't technically have a COO, but we have a CVP who realistically serves that purpose.

    His background is Manufacturing (I'm pretty sure he was an Engineer by schooling). In a highly manufacturing focused company it will likely be difficult to become COO without significant manufacturing experience. This would typically be people who have been a Plant Manager (usually an engineer) and then worked up through the corporate ranks.

    The other operations-focused route would be to be more Supply Chain focused. I doubt a VP of SC would ever become COO at my particular company, but I could see it happening elsewhere.

    The other option that's always on the table is get to a certain level in Finance and then lateral into another group (Operations in this case). I think it would be unlikely to be COO through this route, but I guess it is possible.

    Realistically, if you want to be a COO your finance background may not be extremely beneficial. You'll need to get as much operations experience as possible.

  • BJM85:
    As far as becoming COO, people were correct to say you need operations experience but most large companies will provide that opportunity if you want it. At my old company (F500 Manufacturing) it was fairly common for SFA level finance people to move into asset manager positions at a factory. They'd do that for 2-5 years and then come back to corporate. Be advised, most factories are located in the middle of nowhere

Return to Top

17. I understand that you can enter a F500 company either after working at the big 4 or through a FMP-type program. I was hoping to get your personal opinions on which is the better route to go (if you know that you want to end up in a F500 company) and any possible advantages/disadvantages of both routes. Thanks!

  • djfiii:
    Both get you there. FMP is going to be more competitive because of generally fewer spots for those opportunities. It's also going to position you better for top MBA programs (i.e. FMP rotation will usually be looked upon more favorably than Big4 experience, all other things being equal). Getting hired at the Big4 is easier, just on sheer volume.

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18. In the big 4 there is a very big stigma against jumping to industry too soon. The firms constantly preach the benefits of staying for the manager promotion. For a big 4 cpa coming up on 3 years of experience, spread across audit and valuation, do you think the manager title holds any water? Do you think it would be better to jump to industry/corp fin at the SFA level as compared to possibly making the move later and landing a manager level role when you leave the big 4?

  • accountingbyday:
    It's in their best interest to keep you longer, so of course they say that. That being said... I actually think the Manager title is pretty important. The main reason is you'll likely make Mgr in 1-2 years in the Big 4, correct? If you lateral into SFA it could take you 1-3 internal positions to get promoted and each job is likely to be 18-36 months. Also, you'll probably end up making more if you come in as a Manager from the outside.

    That being said, it could be possible to come into industry as a Mgr without obtaining the Mgr title in Big 4 (although not extremely likely). To me, Big 4 is now your fastest and most prosperous route to Mgr - I'd take it. That being said, I HATED Big 4 and made it exactly 52 weeks (no bonus payback).

  • djfiii:
    Yes, stick around for manager. I think something like 80% of people wash out before making it that far, and F500 hiring managers know that, so they know they are either getting someone that is very good, or someone that can tolerate a lot of pain (hours, travel, etc), or both.

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19. How long did it take you to get to senior manager? And how long does it typically take someone to move up the corporate ladder to the different positions do you think?

  • djfiii:
    Just shy of 9 years, which is pretty quick progression. I'd say as far as minimum years of experience, you're generally looking at 7-9 years for Manager, 10-12 years for Senior Manager, 12-15 years for Director / Senior Director, and 15-20 years for VP. These are minimums - I know plenty of Managers and Senior Managers that are late 40's / early 50's. Just by the numbers, not everyone is going to continue to climb the ladder.

    Ranges might be different at other F500 - I'm curious to see what the other guys have to say about these. I suspect they are pretty close across most of the F500.

    accountingbyday:
    I generally agree. I was ~6 years to Manager and there are a few lately at my company who have been in the 5-6 range, but typically 7-9 is a good estimate. I think 15 is a little quick for VP, but it's possible.

    health care. in the interest of some level of anonymity, I prefer not to be more specific than that.

    djfiii:
    Agree on 15 years being quick in all areas (Ops, IT, Finance, etc) other than strategy, if you're talking MBB alums. Then you're looking at guys that had 2-4 yrs pre MBA, 2 yrs MBA, then 8-10 years MBB, at which point they are most likely junior partners. Those guys are already making F500 VP money or better, so you probably can't get them in the door as Directors.

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20. Any thoughts on exit opps for someone like me who will already have an MBA once i begin corp fin (say after 5-10 years experience)?

  • accountingbyday:
    F500 isn't nearly as out or up as other places. There are people who don't have the skills, desire, etc... To move up and that's ok. We have some analysts and sr analysts well past 40. They're actually pretty valuable because even if they're only looking to work 40 hours a week they often stay in the roles 4+ years and are really good at them.

    Don't sell yourself short on Chicago area F500s. There are plenty of them and who knows, maybe there are people on this board at those companies.

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21. I know the CFA is primarily most useful in asset management, but does it have any value whatsoever in CF? Also, how common is it for someone with just a bachelor's degree to work their way up the ladder?

  • accountingbyday:
    I know the CFA is primarily most useful in asset management, but does it have any value whatsoever in CF? Also, how common is it for someone with just a bachelor's degree to work their way up the ladder? I'm some what anti-grad school.
  • STorIB:
    I got the CFA level I done because I needed a cheap way to show I understood finance, coming from a Chemistry background. The only CFA charterholders I know of are in our corp dev side, and they did it after they were relatively high up in the company.

22. Is it possible to transition to Corp Dev from Law School (UPenn/ UChicago/ NYU) with only IBD Summer Analyst internships? If so, at what level would they be entering at, and what would their career trajectory be? I know MBB recruits aggressively from Top Law Schools, so wondering if there's any love from F500s.

  • STorIB:
    That may be hard, especially with the legal background and no M&A experience (real). Other people may be better equipped to answer this, but my guess is to go into legal at one of the companies you're interested in and try to lateral into corp dev.
  • ADMIN NOTE:
    harvardgrad08's thread is a fantastic resource on corporate development. Check out The Other Road: Corporate Development Associate Fielding Questions

23. What is the "best"/most renowned F500 FLDP program?

  • ADMIN NOTE:
    That really depends who you ask, but most people would probably say GE. Of course, saying GE's program is better than Johnson and Johnson is like saying that Goldman Sachs is better than Morgan Stanley. First, it's not true, second, if you go around spewing that shit, people are going to think you're a fool.
    accountingbyday:
    I'll take DM's analogy a little further. GE may be the Goldman Sachs of FLDP programs, but is it better to be at Goldman for a year and not close any deals or to be at BofA or Jeffries and close 4-5 deals?

    As for renowned - probably GE. I've worked with a few ex-GE FMPers and they were good. However, they all mentioned the push to go into audit after the program and it seems that their FMP rotations varied quite a bit. I think it was a good experience for each of them, but not necessarily the "best" for each individual. One great things about these programs is that if you're good and willing to travel you can often determine the experiences your get.

  • djfiii:
    I agree that GE is the gold standard, but I think most Blue Chip F500 Finance rotation or LD programs are going to give you great experience. My old roommate got placed in a Ford Motor Company LD program, and he went from there to Stanford GSB for his MBA, then to McKinsey. Another friend went to Eaton Corp LD program -> Kellogg MBA -> McKinsey, and he's now a partner. Point is, don't write off your chances of success if you don't land at GE.
  • BJM85:
    My understanding is that GE practically requires a year of audit experience in order to move up in finance because they feel it allows you to get a deep understanding of the business. I'm sure there are exceptions but it's pretty common I believe.

24. What would you recommend doing in order to prepare for starting FT in a F500 FLDP?

  • accountingbyday:
    There's nothing specific other than learn Excel if you're not already proficient.

25. Would you explain what the finance division subgroups do, which are hardest to get into, which deal with acquisitions, and which have the best opportunities for advancement? Specifically for: FP&A, Investor Relations, Treasury, Corporate Auditing, and Internal Audit?

  • accountingbyday:
    • Financial Planning & Analysis (Corporate and/or Business Teams) - this is pretty standard finance work at a F500. You'll likely be doing budgeting, forecasting, variance analysis, etc... You would probably work with a specific product or SBU and do most of the financial analysis for that group.
    • Investor Relations - Fairly self explanatory. You're basically preparing information (financial and otherwise) for Quarterly earnings calls, Investor Conferences, etc... I've heard some people say that this is a good, differentiating experience while others say you're basically an admin at lower levels and the experience isn't that great.
    • Treasury - I'm not experienced with treasury, but this is largely (in my eyes) cash management and FX
    • Corporate Accounting - this is probably more technical accounting. I'd assume this group is closing the books, making the journal entries, probably setting accounting policies, etc...
    • Internal Audit - Auditing different areas of the company. These can be financial audits, SOX (controls) audits, Operational Audits, etc...

    Hardest and Easiest is all relative. Personally, I could easily transition into any of these roles as my next position if I wanted to. I guess the FP&A roles would be easiest at my company only because there are more of them, but that may not be true everywhere.

    They each could deal with acquisitions, but in a different way. We made a decently large acquisition about 2 years ago when I was in FP&A and I got to lead the integrations from a Finance standpoint. I loved working with the acquired company, marketing and our sales team. That being said, our audit team did the due diligence, a corporate accounting function accounted for the acquisition, IR obviously had to message it and treasury had to transfer funds and control the cash.

    Each company handles acquisitions differently, but I enjoyed my time in FP&A assisting an acquisition.

    Opportunities for advancement are relatively similar at my company. Really, it's easiest to advance with a broad skill set, not when you just focus on one. If you don't have a preference my personal recommendation would be to start in FP&A, it is usually the most broad and most transferable to other companies, and then experience other roles as your career advances.

Comments (137)

2/13/12

Great stuff. These Q&A series are really helpful.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

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2/14/12

What's the difference between Corporate Finance and Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development?

What is FLDP and how do you use it?

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/14/12
Flake:

What's the difference between Corporate Finance and Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development?

What is FLDP and how do you use it?

Corp Finance, Dev and Strategy are all, in my experience, part of the finance organization. The main difference is the focus of the analysis team. FP&A is focused on monthly, quarterly and yearly results; how we performed and what led to the positive or negative variance vs. budget/forecast/prior year. FP&A also does a lot of work around providing different metrics to business leaders to help drive decisions. Strategy is pretty broad but usually focuses on bigger picture direction of the business. Think of strategy as an internal consulting group that works on a variety of projects based on management requests/needs. Corpdev generally focuses on acquisitions, capex etc.

2/14/12
BJM85:
Flake:

What's the difference between Corporate Finance and Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development?

What is FLDP and how do you use it?

Corp Finance, Dev and Strategy are all, in my experience, part of the finance organization. The main difference is the focus of the analysis team. FP&A is focused on monthly, quarterly and yearly results; how we performed and what led to the positive or negative variance vs. budget/forecast/prior year. FP&A also does a lot of work around providing different metrics to business leaders to help drive decisions. Strategy is pretty broad but usually focuses on bigger picture direction of the business. Think of strategy as an internal consulting group that works on a variety of projects based on management requests/needs. Corpdev generally focuses on acquisitions, capex etc.

Thank you.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/14/12

FLDP = Financial Leadership Development Program
LDP = Leadership Development Program
FMP = Financial Management Program

etc

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/14/12

At my company the structure is slightly different than BJM explains. Strategy for us is really outside of the finance group. We do have Corporate Development and (obviously) Corporate Finance as part of the Finance organization, but strategy is it's own small group at my company.

The thing to realize is that every organization is structured slightly differently, but that's not always relevant. A good example of this is Pricing - who is in charge or pricing? I've seen this as finance, marketing and operations at different companies. However, if you have a finance background and are interested in Pricing, you're probably a good candidate regardless of where that particular position fits in the organization.

Also, I just want to point out that I'm not trying to be anal about being anonymous. That being said, I'm pretty open on the boards so I don't want to publicly criticize my employer on an open forum. I will definitely answer questions on the forum, but I won't list my company.

2/14/12

I'm told that at larger F500 (if not, F100), FP&A is sometimes broken out between a Planning Group and an Analysis Group, where Analysis does most of the "special, ad-hoc, strategy-like" projects without doing any of the budgeting/forecasting/accounting.

Can you comment at all on this structure?

2/14/12
Poff:

I'm told that at larger F500 (if not, F100), FP&A is sometimes broken out between a Planning Group and an Analysis Group, where Analysis does most of the "special, ad-hoc, strategy-like" projects without doing any of the budgeting/forecasting/accounting.

Can you comment at all on this structure?

My company has this structure on many teams (I'll again add the caveat that every company and even teams within one company are often structured different). I wouldn't say the analysis team does no forecasting in these roles, but what they do is often different. The best way to understand the difference is to look at the duties they'll do in their roles:

Planning Analyst - closing the books, reporting on monthly #s, more accounting focused in their daily work. During budgeting these analysts are often loading and tying out systems, preparing P&Ls, filling out required templates, maybe managing SG&A

Analysis Analyst - determining key drivers, explaining key variances, works closer with marketing to drive decision making. During budget this analyst helps budget sales and SGP, explain key drivers, etc...

2/14/12

For someone in a FLDP program that doesn't have rotations into Corp Dev or Corp Strat, how would you suggest getting into those areas?

2/14/12
bears1208:

For someone in a FLDP program that doesn't have rotations into Corp Dev or Corp Strat, how would you suggest getting into those areas?

Networking - it is important to network internally as well. You want to meet those guys and you want your boss to know you're interested (as long as you're producing high quality work in your current role).

One of the great things about lower level roles in F500 and especially FLDP is that you're not expected to be there for 5 years. If I have a really good FLDP who tells me he's interested in Corporate Development I'd set up a lunch with the Dir of Corp Development and have a chat. A good manager will make a good FLDP's life alot better. However, if you're not a top notch employee your manager probably won't help out near as much.

Also, most FLDP programs have a coordinator who can help with these things. If you don't get a great manager you're not totally screwed, but it would help.

2/14/12

First question added with answers, as more questions and answers are posted, I'll keep updating

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/14/12

Is it possible to be successful and have mobility within the company without doing an Analyst role in IB or Big Four route? In essence, how likely is it to start at a F500 straight out of undergrad and work your way up without having Analyst experience.

2/14/12
M Friedman:

Is it possible to be successful and have mobility within the company without doing an Analyst role in IB or Big Four route? In essence, how likely is it to start at a F500 straight out of undergrad and work your way up without having Analyst experience.

Absolutely. My first job out of school was at a F100 (U.S.) company in their entry-level analyst role. Companies like P&G, J&J, Kimberly-Clark, GE etc have these as do most other large corporations. From that point on, how fast you move up is based primarily on the work you do and the connections you make. Obviously, politics plays a role depending on the company but I've seen guys go from $60K to $100K in 4-5 years and I've also seen people fired in 6 months. If you bust your ass and make an impact, you will get noticed and you will be promoted. Also, if you do a really good job and can prove it, your exit opps into a more senior role in another company are really strong.

2/14/12
M Friedman:

Is it possible to be successful and have mobility within the company without doing an Analyst role in IB or Big Four route? In essence, how likely is it to start at a F500 straight out of undergrad and work your way up without having Analyst experience.

Definitely.

I recommed to most people to start somewhere other than F500 mostly because you will likely make more $ (although that depends upon the company to some extent) and you lose the risk of getting stuck at a level below Mgr.

That being said an FLDP is an amazing way to start a career. You get a ton of different experiences and that's something that people on this board seem to discount, but is extremely important in many companies. It's very possible to graduate an FLDP program with experience in US FP&A, Chinese Manufacturing, European Audit and a Global Planning role. Not that those are all exciting roles, but it would take most people 10+ years to get near that breadth of experience outside of an FLDP program.

Not that you guys are at the level where you worry about promotions yet, but my next big promotion is to Director. It is prob 5-10 years away and in that time I know I need to get at least 2-3 different diverse experiences. Unless you are going to go up in a straight line in one group like Corp Development (which is often VERY difficult because you'll likely need people to quit/die) Sr. Mgmt within a company needs to be able to oversee and understand a large variety of groups. You're not able to do that without experiencing those groups first. Also, if you're a Director ready to be promoted and all you've done is Corp Development, the chance of you getting an open VP of Finance supporting manufacturing is about zero.

That was a little long, but I could go on forever about the important of different experiences if you're looking to get into Sr. Leadership at a F500.

2/15/12
accountingbyday:

That was a little long, but I could go on forever about the important of different experiences if you're looking to get into Sr. Leadership at a F500.

So what are the areas that Sr. leadership "must" rotate through to get the job. Also, what about the people who come in from, say, MBB or IB at the manager level? How are they getting the exposure to many different business areas, or is that different because of their consulting or IB background?

Thanks!

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

2/15/12
OhYeah:
accountingbyday:

That was a little long, but I could go on forever about the important of different experiences if you're looking to get into Sr. Leadership at a F500.

So what are the areas that Sr. leadership "must" rotate through to get the job. Also, what about the people who come in from, say, MBB or IB at the manager level? How are they getting the exposure to many different business areas, or is that different because of their consulting or IB background?

Thanks!

I can't say that there is route filled with "musts", but overall the more experiences you have the more valuable you are. Unless you really have a passion for one specific thing, be as diverse as reasonably possible. Besides, no one wants to do FP&A roles for 30 years.

One big example is Manufacturing. Few people (myself included) would consider Manufacturing Finance sexy. Yet most F500 companies are essentially Manufacturing companies. To be CFO it would definitely be beneficial to have some Manufacturing experience.

I'm really close with 3 of our VPs. 2 of them tell me the best thing they did in their career was go to Puerto Rico to be a Plant Controller (they both coincidentally went there with other companies) because there are very few people that can say that they were the CFO of a Plant that produces $100M+ of product. Maybe coincidentally, the 3rd VP I'm close with, who may end up our CFO one day, recently took a new position as the head of Asia Manufacturing Finance.

People who come in as a Mgr have their own set of experiences. MBB or IB are unique experiences as well. Realize that if you come in as a Mgr you still have a long time until you are Sr. Management (I consider VP senior management) and you can still get plenty of internal unique experiences.

I will just throw out a small sample of types of roles I either have had or would like to have at some point:
- Finance support of Marketing/Sales
- Finance Support of Ops/Manufacturing
- Corporate Planning
- FP&A for a business
- Treasury (mostly to experience cash management in case I go for CFO at a smaller company some day)
- Possibly Strategy or Marketing (this happens a decent amount at the Mgr, Sr. Mgr and Director levels)
- etc, etc, etc

2/16/12
OhYeah:
accountingbyday:

That was a little long, but I could go on forever about the important of different experiences if you're looking to get into Sr. Leadership at a F500.

So what are the areas that Sr. leadership "must" rotate through to get the job. Also, what about the people who come in from, say, MBB or IB at the manager level? How are they getting the exposure to many different business areas, or is that different because of their consulting or IB background?

Thanks!

You've got two questions, so I'll address them both:

1) I don't think every senior leader "must" rotate through any specific areas, although often they will have worked in various areas of the company. I'd say it's more common for a CEO / COO to have broader experiences than say, a CFO or CIO, where you might expect them to have spent their entire careers in Accounting/Finance or IT.

2) The nature of management consulting is such that you're exposed to a full range of issues that C* suite execs have to deal with, and you see how those issues vary across industries and across companies within the same industries (you can be - sometimes you can get stuck on crap projects that don't give you much personal growth / value). In general though, someone that has been at MBB for 7-8+ years is well positioned to come into the F500 as a Director or Senior Director.

2/14/12

awwwwww no-one invited me???? after the bajillion PMs i answered about FP&A??

just kidding, these guys are legit and have answered many of my questions in the past.

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

2/14/12

Thank you for posting this thread! The company I'm looking into right now has 5 sub-divisions in finance:

* Financial Planning & Analysis (Corporate and/or Business Teams)
* Investor Relations
* Treasury
* Corporate Accounting
* Internal Audit

Would you care to explain what each sub division does?
Which one of the sub-divisions is the hardest and easiest to get into?
Which one of the sub-division that deals a lot with acquisitions?
Opportunities to advance for each sub-division?

Thanksss a lot!

2/28/12

Also, I know this is a long one, but if you guys could answer this, I know I'd appreciate it. I can also break it up into different questions if you just want to answer part(s) of it.

morgan90:

Thank you for posting this thread! The company I'm looking into right now has 5 sub-divisions in finance:

* Financial Planning & Analysis (Corporate and/or Business Teams)
* Investor Relations
* Treasury
* Corporate Accounting
* Internal Audit

Would you care to explain what each sub division does?
Which one of the sub-divisions is the hardest and easiest to get into?
Which one of the sub-division that deals a lot with acquisitions?
Opportunities to advance for each sub-division?

Thanksss a lot!

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/29/12
D M:

Also, I know this is a long one, but if you guys could answer this, I know I'd appreciate it. I can also break it up into different questions if you just want to answer part(s) of it.

morgan90:

Thank you for posting this thread! The company I'm looking into right now has 5 sub-divisions in finance:

* Financial Planning & Analysis (Corporate and/or Business Teams)
* Investor Relations
* Treasury
* Corporate Accounting
* Internal Audit

Would you care to explain what each sub division does?
Which one of the sub-divisions is the hardest and easiest to get into?
Which one of the sub-division that deals a lot with acquisitions?
Opportunities to advance for each sub-division?

Thanksss a lot!

* Financial Planning & Analysis (Corporate and/or Business Teams) - this is pretty standard finance work at a F500. You'll likely be doing budgeting, forecasting, variance analysis, etc... You would probably work with a specific product or SBU and do most of the financial analysis for that group.
* Investor Relations - Fairly self explanatory. You're basically preparing information (financial and otherwise) for Quarterly earnings calls, Investor Conferences, etc... I've heard some people say that this is a good, differentiating experience while others say you're basically an admin at lower levels and the experience isn't that great.
* Treasury - I'm not experienced with treasury, but this is largely (in my eyes) cash management and FX
* Corporate Accounting - this is probably more technical accounting. I'd assume this group is closing the books, making the journal entries, probably setting accounting policies, etc...
* Internal Audit - Auditing different areas of the company. These can be financial audits, SOX (controls) audits, Operational Audits, etc...

Hardest and Easiest is all relative. Personally, I could easily transition into any of these roles as my next position if I wanted to. I guess the FP&A roles would be easiest at my company only because there are more of them, but that may not be true everywhere.

They each could deal with acquisitions, but in a different way. We made a decently large acquisition about 2 years ago when I was in FP&A and I got to lead the integrations from a Finance standpoint. I loved working with the acquired company, marketing and our sales team. That being said, our audit team did the due diligence, a corporate accounting function accounted for the acquisition, IR obviously had to message it and treasury had to transfer funds and control the cash.

Each company handles acquisitions differently, but I enjoyed my time in FP&A assisting an acquisition.

Opportunities for advancement are relatively similar at my company. Really, it's easiest to advance with a broad skill set, not when you just focus on one. If you don't have a preference my personal recommendation would be to start in FP&A, it is usually the most broad and most transferable to other companies, and then experience other roles as your career advances.

2/14/12

What kind of exit opps available for people who go into corporate finance?

2/14/12

I used to do strategy consulting, now I'm in house at a F100 doing corporate strategy. Different companies organize themselves differently obviously, but in my experience the strategy team (if one exists) will be outside of finance,and often will be a direct report function to the CEO. As mentioned, corporate strategy is going to deal with big picture issues. Two big drivers of strategy projects are regulatory changes and acquisitions. There are others, but those two seem to suck up the most time. I guess it also depends a lot on industry - I've spent most of my time in the health care industry, so my perspective on the regulatory angle might be skewed because of that.

For example, if you're a big health insurance company, how do you begin to understand what your obligations are under the new ACA legislation? How do you get your arms around what it does to your existing revenue and cost structure? If you're a bank, how do you deal with the loss of revenue as a result of limits on credit card fees? Etc. etc. If you're at a company that has a lot of idle cash, you might be looking to acquire a similar or complimentary company that isn't doing well, and can be scooped up on the cheap. How do you figure out what price to pay? What impact the acquisition will have on your revenue / cost structure? How easy or difficult will integration be? Are there regulatory concerns, post merger? Just a few examples.

2/14/12

1) What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?

2) Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?

Thanks!

2/14/12
getatme:

1) What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?

2) Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?

Thanks!

#1 - I can only speak for my company when I say this, but being an FA (our entry level) is TOUGH. Unlike FLDP's FAs are expected to stay in the roles 2+ years. An FA also probably needs to do at least 2 roles to make SFA and the FA roles in my company kind of suck. There also aren't too many FA roles in my company (FLDPs get most roles that would likely be for an FA). It just seems like an uphill battle at my company, but it could totally be a cultural thing just at my company.

I will say my old boss did this at a more well-known company. He went FA to Manager in a pretty reasonable amount of time (6-7 years) and got some really good experience along the way before coming over to our company. So it can be done, but my particular company seems like a pretty tough place for FAs.

#2- Overall yes, but it depends on what you do. For instance if you do FP&A for an insurance company that translates pretty well to FP&A anywhere else. However, if you do Insurance policy pricing for Geico that likely doesn't transfer too well to treasury at GE.

If you get high quality roles at a good company you will be valuable elsewhere. If you have very industry-specific or niche roles it may be harder (but definitely not impossible) to transition.

Best Response
2/15/12
getatme:

1) What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?

2) Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?

Thanks!

Can't speak too much to #1 -- I've heard mixed stories. You should find a rotation program somewhere, even if it isn't accelerated or considered "FDLP."

2) Yes, especially at the lower levels where business acumen isn't needed as much. Entry level roles are pretty transferable and if you are coming from a pretty recognized brand, you'll be able to go to a lot of other companies -- sometimes at a level higher -- but there are always trade offs. Obviously, every company is going to have different processes and software, but the work generally is about the same.

2/15/12
getatme:

1) What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?

2) Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?

Thanks!

1) Definitely depends on what area of the organization, what exposure that area has to the decision makers, and how visible / good your work product is. For example, if you're an entry level Java programmer, there are probably 4 layers of computer nerds between you and the Director over your area. Typically, IT Directors and VP's will be working with the business, driving requirements, and trickling them down to you. Your contribution will be buried in thousands of lines of code, and your face will never be seen by the business, so your mobility is probably very limited.

Contrast that with an entry level internal audit gig - while often boring and tedious, the IA function has relatively few people, and exposure across every aspect of the organization. You have the opportunity to build relationships with people in every area of the company, and you develop an understanding of how all of those areas tie together operationally. If you start cranking out A+ work product, demonstrate certain poise at meetings, show that you can contribute useful insights, etc. it's easy to lateral or step up to other roles in the company.

[those were just examples: I'm not bagging on Java developers, and I'm certainly not championing internal audit as an awesome career path]

2) yes, most skills are transferable. some things are industry specific, but I'd say you don't really need to worry so much about industry focus until you're 7-10 years into your career, and then only if you're in an industry where industry experience matters (health care being the one I'm most familiar with).

2/15/12
getatme:

1) What is the mobility like for non-rotational entry level positions at F500s?

2) Are skills fairly transferable between industries say tech to defense? Or how would view an applicant who held a similar role yet in a different industry?

Thanks!

1. That will depend on the company but in my experience it's very good. I know right now a lot of companies are battling to retain their top talent and one way they do that is by giving them options and allowing them to create their own career path. At my old company they talked a lot about the career scaffold vs. career ladder. What they meant is that you might be an FP&A Manager then move laterally into a marketing manager role or into operations management at a production facility or procurement group etc. The ideal career path now into upper management generally involves stints in other areas to build a well-rounded knowledge of the business, not just one area of expertise.

2. In terms of the financial side, yes, they're pretty transferable for the most part. Variance analysis, reporting, modeling etc are all fairly standard so what you do at a tech vs. defense vs. cpg company will be pretty similar. The main difference is in learning the business and applying that knowledge to your analysis. The factors that go into analyzing a capital project for a CPG vs. Aerospace is different because the machines, industry etc are quite different.

2/14/12

Great start guys, I've gotten to award 4 SBs so far! If you know anyone (or you yourself are) interested in answering questions, point them this way.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/14/12

If I want to eventually get into corporate strategy or corporate development, will I have a better shot at the position coming from a SA position in IB Risk or straight-up IB?

Thank you.

2/15/12
tangyuanxd:

If I want to eventually get into corporate strategy or corporate development, will I have a better shot at the position coming from a SA position in IB Risk or straight-up IB?

Thank you.

In most cases, you aren't getting into corp development without IB experience (2-3 years) or internal experience (4-5 years) unless you are coming from a top MBA program. I haven't heard of anyone from my company coming in directly from school to work corp dev or corp strategy, even if they had experience as a summer analyst. I'm sure there is an exception somewhere, but you'd have much better luck just going IB for a few years.

2/15/12
STorIB:
tangyuanxd:

If I want to eventually get into corporate strategy or corporate development, will I have a better shot at the position coming from a SA position in IB Risk or straight-up IB?

Thank you.

In most cases, you aren't getting into corp development without IB experience (2-3 years) or internal experience (4-5 years) unless you are coming from a top MBA program. I haven't heard of anyone from my company coming in directly from school to work corp dev or corp strategy, even if they had experience as a summer analyst. I'm sure there is an exception somewhere, but you'd have much better luck just going IB for a few years.

This is how it works at my current company and it was the same at my old one. We hire people into corpdev 3 ways:
1. Out of a top MBA
2. From a consulting/IB role (generally already have a top MBA)
3. High performing Internal FP&A analysts (may or may not have the MBA)

2/15/12
tangyuanxd:

If I want to eventually get into corporate strategy or corporate development, will I have a better shot at the position coming from a SA position in IB Risk or straight-up IB?

Thank you.

In my experience, corporate strategy shops really love MBB alums. IB might be good for corp dev.

2/14/12

A bunch more updates and SBs, hopefully it's easier to read now

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/15/12

Awesome. Could one of you describe the hiring process at your firms? Nothing too detailed, just the abstract (recruitment, resume selection, type of interviews, who is involved with the interviews, follow-up, etc) just whatever you experienced.

2/15/12
getatme:

Awesome. Could one of you describe the hiring process at your firms? Nothing too detailed, just the abstract (recruitment, resume selection, type of interviews, who is involved with the interviews, follow-up, etc) just whatever you experienced.

We recruit from several schools in the state of our headquarters and main office and from select schools throughout the country. Have some sort of finance experience on your resume -- either through working somewhere for a bit or interning in CF, IB, etc. After talking with a recruiter to set up an initial screening, you will get two phone interviews that are 70% behavioral/30% technical. If you pass both of those, you'll be flown out for an onsite interview which will consist of 60% behavioral/40% technical from 4-6 different interviewers from mid management down to analysts. You'll know if you get the gig within two weeks.

2/15/12
getatme:

Awesome. Could one of you describe the hiring process at your firms? Nothing too detailed, just the abstract (recruitment, resume selection, type of interviews, who is involved with the interviews, follow-up, etc) just whatever you experienced.

I can really only speak to strategy recruiting, and that's pretty limited. No entry level; pretty much everyone is 8-10 years or more, former MBB or other strategy shop, or previous F500 strategy. Strategy is small compared to the other areas being discussed - we have about 15 people. So, the hiring process doesn't happen often.

2/15/12

Do you guys know of any companies/programs that combine the corporate strategy and corporate development roles? I can't decide which I am more interested in and would love the opportunity to do some of both.

2/15/12

I have a few questions..........

So I am a bit of a newb to the world of Corp Fin (pursuing an MBA, non finance background (3 years WE)) and will be interning at a f500 this summer. What steps should I take to distinguish myself during the summer period, if possible?

I feel like I am getting to a place where I am competent in terms of knowledge base for a corp fin job, but do most companies in your experience have some sort of training for new hires so they know how to do the work their way?

Is the work for the most part team based? or are projects more individual with meetings ever so often to go over analysis/findings?

Are there any resources you would recommend (books, websites, etc) that I should read up on to best prepare for my internship?

Sorry for so many questions, thanks for any insights.

2/15/12
ejam21:

I have a few questions..........

So I am a bit of a newb to the world of Corp Fin (pursuing an MBA, non finance background (3 years WE)) and will be interning at a f500 this summer. What steps should I take to distinguish myself during the summer period, if possible?

I feel like I am getting to a place where I am competent in terms of knowledge base for a corp fin job, but do most companies in your experience have some sort of training for new hires so they know how to do the work their way?

Is the work for the most part team based? or are projects more individual with meetings ever so often to go over analysis/findings?

Are there any resources you would recommend (books, websites, etc) that I should read up on to best prepare for my internship?

Sorry for so many questions, thanks for any insights.

Do you know what you'll be doing at your internship?

Distinguishing yourself is pretty simple - work hard, do a good job and be a decent guy.

One area my company really lacks is training new hires. You'll get a formal HR training but then you're given a laptop and a cube. This likely varies by company, but at my company you'll need to work with your Manager to see what he/she wants done and how. A very good way to acclimate yourself in the beginning (when you'll likely be slow) is to look at the previous work that was done. Depending on your role spend time looking at previous presentations or models.

Team based or individual contributor will depend upon the role. Usually, I am doing work individually, but meeting to discuss the work or present it to Sr. Management.

I can't think of any real resources before you start. Make sure you're above average at Excel, try to understand a little bit about the company and industry, but most importantly go in ready to help with anything.

If you give more details about your internship we may be able to help out a little more.

2/16/12
accountingbyday:
ejam21:

I have a few questions..........

So I am a bit of a newb to the world of Corp Fin (pursuing an MBA, non finance background (3 years WE)) and will be interning at a f500 this summer. What steps should I take to distinguish myself during the summer period, if possible?

I feel like I am getting to a place where I am competent in terms of knowledge base for a corp fin job, but do most companies in your experience have some sort of training for new hires so they know how to do the work their way?

Is the work for the most part team based? or are projects more individual with meetings ever so often to go over analysis/findings?

Are there any resources you would recommend (books, websites, etc) that I should read up on to best prepare for my internship?

Sorry for so many questions, thanks for any insights.

Do you know what you'll be doing at your internship?

Distinguishing yourself is pretty simple - work hard, do a good job and be a decent guy.

One area my company really lacks is training new hires. You'll get a formal HR training but then you're given a laptop and a cube. This likely varies by company, but at my company you'll need to work with your Manager to see what he/she wants done and how. A very good way to acclimate yourself in the beginning (when you'll likely be slow) is to look at the previous work that was done. Depending on your role spend time looking at previous presentations or models.

Team based or individual contributor will depend upon the role. Usually, I am doing work individually, but meeting to discuss the work or present it to Sr. Management.

I can't think of any real resources before you start. Make sure you're above average at Excel, try to understand a little bit about the company and industry, but most importantly go in ready to help with anything.

If you give more details about your internship we may be able to help out a little more.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.....

In terms of what i will be doing at my internship, it can be a number of things. in the past interns have done FP&A, cost analysis, valuation, among other things. It seems that I will have some say in the project i have (hoping for FP&A)..........

I was also wondering about career progression. It would seem that not everyone makes it to manager, vp and so on. Is there an "up or out" approach used in these cases or do people just stay in a role longer until they are ready for the next step up?

Can you (or anyone) give any insight on pay outside of the f500? I ask primarily because I would like to move back to Chicago after my MBA, and while there are some good F500 companies in the area, securing a job at one of these firms isnt exactly a slam dunk......

Any thoughts on exit opps for someone like me who will already have an MBA once i begin corp fin (say after 5-10 years experience)?

Thanks again guys, this thread has helped me immensely.

2/16/12
ejam21:
accountingbyday:
ejam21:

I have a few questions..........

So I am a bit of a newb to the world of Corp Fin (pursuing an MBA, non finance background (3 years WE)) and will be interning at a f500 this summer. What steps should I take to distinguish myself during the summer period, if possible?

I feel like I am getting to a place where I am competent in terms of knowledge base for a corp fin job, but do most companies in your experience have some sort of training for new hires so they know how to do the work their way?

Is the work for the most part team based? or are projects more individual with meetings ever so often to go over analysis/findings?

Are there any resources you would recommend (books, websites, etc) that I should read up on to best prepare for my internship?

Sorry for so many questions, thanks for any insights.

Do you know what you'll be doing at your internship?

Distinguishing yourself is pretty simple - work hard, do a good job and be a decent guy.

One area my company really lacks is training new hires. You'll get a formal HR training but then you're given a laptop and a cube. This likely varies by company, but at my company you'll need to work with your Manager to see what he/she wants done and how. A very good way to acclimate yourself in the beginning (when you'll likely be slow) is to look at the previous work that was done. Depending on your role spend time looking at previous presentations or models.

Team based or individual contributor will depend upon the role. Usually, I am doing work individually, but meeting to discuss the work or present it to Sr. Management.

I can't think of any real resources before you start. Make sure you're above average at Excel, try to understand a little bit about the company and industry, but most importantly go in ready to help with anything.

If you give more details about your internship we may be able to help out a little more.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.....

In terms of what i will be doing at my internship, it can be a number of things. in the past interns have done FP&A, cost analysis, valuation, among other things. It seems that I will have some say in the project i have (hoping for FP&A)..........

I was also wondering about career progression. It would seem that not everyone makes it to manager, vp and so on. Is there an "up or out" approach used in these cases or do people just stay in a role longer until they are ready for the next step up?

Can you (or anyone) give any insight on pay outside of the f500? I ask primarily because I would like to move back to Chicago after my MBA, and while there are some good F500 companies in the area, securing a job at one of these firms isnt exactly a slam dunk......

Any thoughts on exit opps for someone like me who will already have an MBA once i begin corp fin (say after 5-10 years experience)?

Thanks again guys, this thread has helped me immensely.

I'm going to keep it brief because I'm on the iPhone.

F500 isn't nearly as out or up as other places. There are people who don't have the skills, desire, etc... To move up and that's ok. We have some analysts and sr analysts well past 40. They're actually pretty valuable because even if they're only looking to work 40 hours a week they often stay in the roles 4+ years and are really good at them.

Don't sell yourself short on Chicago area F500s. There are plenty of them and who knows, maybe there are people on this board at those companies.

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2/15/12

Could one of you guys maybe give an overview of the roles and income someone might see over a career in corporate finance assuming they were successful.

Like FA-->SrFA-->Manager--> so on and so forth and what these people might see in terms of income in a normal industry

2/15/12

Typical structure would be:

FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

Some places have Sr. Director and different levels of VPs, but above is the general structure.

I'm not exactly as sure on pay. I can definitely say that the past few years people at my company and other local F500s have been getting shafted (relatively) on compensation.

2/15/12
accountingbyday:

Typical structure would be:

FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

Some places have Sr. Director and different levels of VPs, but above is the general structure.

I'm not exactly as sure on pay. I can definitely say that the past few years people at my company and other local F500s have been getting shafted (relatively) on compensation.

Ball park ranges? Or maybe someone else can chime in if you don't want to out yourself. I'm just trying to figure out what the income potential is. Obviously CFO at certain places will be a lot of money but are VP's looking at salaries like 150k or something substantially more than that? I keep hearing conflicting things about what it is possible to make a corporate setting.

2/15/12

Do you guys have ambitions to make it to VP level (or higher)? What is the average age and years of experience of VP's at your place when they became VP? Is it realistic to expect to get there in good time if you're smart enough and put in the work?

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

2/15/12
OhYeah:

Do you guys have ambitions to make it to VP level (or higher)? What is the average age and years of experience of VP's at your place when they became VP? Is it realistic to expect to get there in good time if you're smart enough and put in the work?

Yes, I'd like to reach the VP level and I think it's attainable in the next 8-10 years (I'm 26). One thing you find in corporate America is that there's a lot of people who have the brains and a lot of people who have the personality; not many people have both. If you're smart and get along well with people, you'll advance pretty quickly.

That really depends. Fast risers reach VP level in their early 30s usually. I'd say, on average they're more like 40-45. At the F500 company I worked at, there were fewer people who shot up to VP vs. the mid-cap tech company I work for now. I assume that's true of most large companies

2/16/12
OhYeah:

Do you guys have ambitions to make it to VP level (or higher)? What is the average age and years of experience of VP's at your place when they became VP? Is it realistic to expect to get there in good time if you're smart enough and put in the work?

Late 40's is typical of VP's in my experience. If you're smart and put in the work, then definitely. Also helps to be somewhat politically savvy, know the right people, establish a good reputation with the right people, etc. Sometimes people are brilliant, but unable to navigate the social complexities of a large organization and that will definitely hold you back.

2/15/12

My ambition is to make VP at my company or maybe go somewhere a little smaller to be VP or even CFO.

My company is a little slower with promotions. While it happened in the past, VP before 40 is going to be pretty difficult going forward.

I think VP is realistic if I decide to stick around long enough. I actually think Director is extremely likely, so from there I hope to get VP with some hard work and a little luck. Director isn't a horrible place to be, but if I feel that I'm stalling out at Director I will definitely jump to VP at a smaller company.

2/15/12

FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

$50K-$65K -> $60K - $85K -> $80K - $100K -> $90K - $125K -> $125K - $250K -> $200K - $500K -> $250K - 7 figures

Pay varies quite a bit so I tried to provide the middle 80% or so (just an educated guess)

2/15/12
BJM85:

FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

$50K-$65K -> $60K - $85K -> $80K - $100K -> $90K - $125K -> $125K - $250K -> $200K - $500K -> $250K - 7 figures

Pay varies quite a bit so I tried to provide the middle 80% or so (just an educated guess)

This is pretty close, but I think your low end is a little low.

Your high end for Director and VP may be a little (but I'm not there yet, so I could be mistaken)

2/15/12
accountingbyday:
BJM85:

FA -> SFA-> Mgr -> Sr. Mgr -> Director -> VP -> CVP/CFO

$50K-$65K -> $60K - $85K -> $80K - $100K -> $90K - $125K -> $125K - $250K -> $200K - $500K -> $250K - 7 figures

Pay varies quite a bit so I tried to provide the middle 80% or so (just an educated guess)

This is pretty close, but I think your low end is a little low.

Your high end for Director and VP may be a little (but I'm not there yet, so I could be mistaken)

Yea, my original company started FAs at $60K and my current one is in that same ballpark but I've heard of people being at $45K on the low end. The director/VP roles are tough because they vary so much between companies. At my old company a director was in the $200K range but my new one, where there are more VPs, it's closer to $150K. We also have senior managers, directors and VPs so there's a pretty broad range between a regular director and SVP.

2/15/12

Is the variation mostly by industry, firm, or both do you think?

btw, thanks for answering all the questions, SBs for all of you

2/15/12
bears1208:

Is the variation mostly by industry, firm, or both do you think?

btw, thanks for answering all the questions, SBs for all of you

Both. Tech pays the best to my knowledge but it also depends on location, size etc

2/15/12

I agree with the pay described above being a little low. After you get to manager level, you also start getting a larger part of your pay from bonuses. I'd bump the bottom two figures of the first two levels up by 5k and, at least at my place, you're making six figures when you hit manager. Senior managers are making $150-250, depending on function and how many people under, Directors or GMs are making 250-350, VPs 400- a few MM.

2/16/12
STorIB:

I agree with the pay described above being a little low. After you get to manager level, you also start getting a larger part of your pay from bonuses. I'd bump the bottom two figures of the first two levels up by 5k and, at least at my place, you're making six figures when you hit manager. Senior managers are making $150-250, depending on function and how many people under, Directors or GMs are making 250-350, VPs 400- a few MM.

This is consistent with my experience. I'm a Senior Manager, and my comp is right in the middle of that range. I'm friends with a lot of Directors / VP's and their comp is consistent with those numbers. I expect to make Director in another 1-2 years.

2/16/12
djfiii:
STorIB:

I agree with the pay described above being a little low. After you get to manager level, you also start getting a larger part of your pay from bonuses. I'd bump the bottom two figures of the first two levels up by 5k and, at least at my place, you're making six figures when you hit manager. Senior managers are making $150-250, depending on function and how many people under, Directors or GMs are making 250-350, VPs 400- a few MM.

This is consistent with my experience. I'm a Senior Manager, and my comp is right in the middle of that range. I'm friends with a lot of Directors / VP's and their comp is consistent with those numbers. I expect to make Director in another 1-2 years.

How long did it take you to get to senior manager? And how long does it typically take someone to move up the corporate ladder to the different positions do you think?

2/15/12

15 different questions, 31 responses, and ~20 SBs so far, can't wait to see what else we got!

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/16/12

I know that this is a very broad question, but I'd just like to get an idea of the type of experiences I should look for if I am interested in managing operations for a F500, in a COO-type capacity. I know a lot of it is due to luck/connections, but what can I do to make sure that I have the requisite experiences and skills, coming from a finance background? Do firms hire investment bankers or risk management bankers?

Thank you.

2/16/12

My company doesn't technically have a COO, but we have a CVP who realistically serves that purpose.

His background is Manufacturing (I'm pretty sure he was an Engineer by schooling). In a highly manufacturing focused company it will likely be difficult to become COO without significant manufacturing experience. This would typically be people who have been a Plant Manager (usually an engineer) and then worked up through the corporate ranks.

The other operations-focused route would be to be more Supply Chain focused. I doubt a VP of SC would ever become COO at my particular company, but I could see it happening elsewhere.

The other option that's always on the table is get to a certain level in Finance and then lateral into another group (Operations in this case). I think it would be unlikely to be COO through this route, but I guess it is possible.

Realistically, if you want to be a COO your finance background may not be extremely beneficial. You'll need to get as much operations experience as possible.

2/16/12

Just a note on what accountingbyday said, going through the F500 companies, there are a lot of Operations rotational programs. I think I linked a couple of them in the F500 Rotational thread, but if not, you can just go to those links and look for Operations rotations.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/16/12

I second the question about exit opps. For a lot of the people who had it together in their teens, went to good schools, and waltzed into IB, F500 is the exit opp from hellish hours. For those of us who didn't do so hot, F500 is one of limited options we have to hopefully break into finance down the road. Do you see people from your companies going into things like ER where people are seeking their industry knowledge? How about moving into VC if you work in tech? Are these feasible/likely?

Thanks for the thread by the way.

2/16/12
obscenity:

I second the question about exit opps. For a lot of the people who had it together in their teens, went to good schools, and waltzed into IB, F500 is the exit opp from hellish hours. For those of us who didn't do so hot, F500 is one of limited options we have to hopefully break into finance down the road. Do you see people from your companies going into things like ER where people are seeking their industry knowledge? How about moving into VC if you work in tech? Are these feasible/likely?

Thanks for the thread by the way.

+1

Is MM PE a possibility pre or post MBA?

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

2/16/12

in the big 4 there is a very big stigma against jumping to industry too soon. the firms constantly preach the benefits of staying for the manager promotion. for a big 4 cpa coming up on 3 years of experience, spread across audit and valuation, do you think the manager title holds any water? do you think it would be better to jump to industry/corp fin at the SFA level as compared to possibly making the move later and landing a manager level role when you leave the big 4?

2/16/12
_bird_:

in the big 4 there is a very big stigma against jumping to industry too soon. the firms constantly preach the benefits of staying for the manager promotion. for a big 4 cpa coming up on 3 years of experience, spread across audit and valuation, do you think the manager title holds any water? do you think it would be better to jump to industry/corp fin at the SFA level as compared to possibly making the move later and landing a manager level role when you leave the big 4?

Yes, stick around for manager. I think something like 80% of people wash out before making it that far, and F500 hiring managers know that, so they know they are either getting someone that is very good, or someone that can tolerate a lot of pain (hours, travel, etc), or both.

2/16/12

It's in their best interest to keep you longer, so of course they say that. That being said...

I actually think the Manager title is pretty important. The main reason is you'll likely make Mgr in 1-2 years in the Big 4, correct? If you lateral into SFA it could take you 1-3 internal positions to get promoted and each job is likely to be 18-36 months. Also, you'll probably end up making more if you come in as a Manager from the outside.

That being said, it could be possible to come into industry as a Mgr without obtaining the Mgr title in Big 4 (although not extremely likely).

To me, Big 4 is now your fastest and most prosperous route to Mgr - I'd take it. That being said, I HATED Big 4 and made it exactly 52 weeks (no bonus payback).

2/16/12

Hey guys,

I understand that you can enter a F500 company either after working at the big 4 or through a FMP-type program.

I was hoping to get ur personal opinions on which is the better route to go (if you know that you want to end up in a F500 company) and any possible advantages/disadvantages of both routes. Thanks!

2/16/12
watever:

Hey guys,

I understand that you can enter a F500 company either after working at the big 4 or through a FMP-type program.

I was hoping to get ur personal opinions on which is the better route to go (if you know that you want to end up in a F500 company) and any possible advantages/disadvantages of both routes. Thanks!

Both get you there. FMP is going to be more competitive because of generally fewer spots for those opportunities. It's also going to position you better for top MBA programs (i.e. FMP rotation will usually be looked upon more favorably than Big4 experience, all other things being equal). Getting hired at the Big4 is easier, just on sheer volume.

2/16/12

As far as becoming COO, people were correct to say you need operations experience but most large companies will provide that opportunity if you want it. At my old company (F500 Manufacturing) it was fairly common for SFA level finance people to move into asset manager positions at a factory. They'd do that for 2-5 years and then come back to corporate. Be advised, most factories are located in the middle of nowhere

2/16/12

Just so you guys know, there's a limit on how pretty I can make shit look apparently. For now the post cuts off at question 13, but I'm working on a solution

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/16/12

just shy of 9 years, which is pretty quick progression. I'd say as far as minimum years of experience, you're generally looking at 7-9 years for Manager, 10-12 years for Senior Manager, 12-15 years for Director / Senior Director, and 15-20 years for VP. These are minimums - I know plenty of Managers and Senior Managers that are late 40's / early 50's. Just by the numbers, not everyone is going to continue to climb the ladder.

Ranges might be different at other F500 - I'm curious to see what the other guys have to say about these. I suspect they are pretty close across most of the F500.

2/17/12
djfiii:

just shy of 9 years, which is pretty quick progression. I'd say as far as minimum years of experience, you're generally looking at 7-9 years for Manager, 10-12 years for Senior Manager, 12-15 years for Director / Senior Director, and 15-20 years for VP. These are minimums - I know plenty of Managers and Senior Managers that are late 40's / early 50's. Just by the numbers, not everyone is going to continue to climb the ladder.

Ranges might be different at other F500 - I'm curious to see what the other guys have to say about these. I suspect they are pretty close across most of the F500.

I generally agree.

I was ~6 years to Manager and there are a few lately at my company who have been in the 5-6 range, but typically 7-9 is a good estimate.

I think 15 is a little quick for VP, but it's possible.

Out of curiosity, what industry are you in dfjiii?

2/17/12

I'll ask a question....

I have a couple of flights coming up in the next month, is there any light reading that anyone here has found beneficial to their career? I'm not looking for self help books, but curious if there's anything else anyone in industry has found beneficial.

I realize this is a pretty broad question, but I'm pretty open to ideas.

2/17/12

health care. in the interest of some level of anonymity, I prefer not to be more specific than that.

agree on 15 years being quick in all areas (Ops, IT, Finance, etc) other than strategy, if you're talking MBB alums. Then you're looking at guys that had 2-4 yrs pre MBA, 2 yrs MBA, then 8-10 years MBB, at which point they are most likely junior partners. Those guys are already making F500 VP money or better, so you probably can't get them in the door as Directors.

2/17/12

Do you realize that both of you are in Health Care in Chicago, I believe, just from browsing your posts and profiles.

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

2/17/12

Awesome Thread!

Is it possible to transition to Corp Dev from Law School (UPenn/ UChicago/ NYU) with only IBD Summer Analyst internships? If so, at what level would they be entering at, and what would their career trajectory be?

I know MBB recruits aggressively from Top Law Schools, so wondering if there's any love from F500s.

Thanks again for the great thread.

Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

2/19/12
Leonidas:

Awesome Thread!

Is it possible to transition to Corp Dev from Law School (UPenn/ UChicago/ NYU) with only IBD Summer Analyst internships? If so, at what level would they be entering at, and what would their career trajectory be?

I know MBB recruits aggressively from Top Law Schools, so wondering if there's any love from F500s.

Thanks again for the great thread.

That may be hard, especially with the legal background and no M&A experience (real). Other people may be better equipped to answer this, but my guess is to go into legal at one of the companies you're interested in and try to lateral into corp dev.

2/19/12

I know the CFA is primarily most useful in asset management, but does it have any value whatsoever in CF? Also, how common is it for someone with just a bachelor's degree to work their way up the ladder? I'm some what anti-grad school.

Thanks.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

2/19/12
Hooked on LEAPS:

I know the CFA is primarily most useful in asset management, but does it have any value whatsoever in CF? Also, how common is it for someone with just a bachelor's degree to work their way up the ladder? I'm some what anti-grad school.

I'm not sure that a CFA is very useful. I'm not aware of anyone at my company with a CFA.

You can advance without an MBA. I know my old Director didn't have one, but Im not sure what % of VPs have them. The trend seems to be that many people get their MBA part time. I'm still considering going part time or even waiting to get an executive MBA later.

2/19/12

I'm going to tack on to accounting's first answer even though I'm not in industry. Please take it with a grain of salt:

The CFA will not get you a job. It's a boost in the HF, AM, ER, etc world, but I haven't ever seen a senior exec's profile that has CFA for an F500 (not that I've seen anywhere close to all of them).
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/faq-do-i-need-to-pa...

If the CFA is probably only going to help you a little in the industry it's MEANT for, it probably isn't going to help you all that much in a completely different setting

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/19/12

I got the CFA level I done because I needed a cheap way to show I understood finance, coming from a Chemistry background. The only CFA charterholders I know of are in our corp dev side, and they did it after they were relatively high up in the company.

2/20/12

What is the "best"/most renowned F500 FLDP program?

2/20/12

That really depends who you ask, but most people would probably say GE. Of course, saying GE's program is better than Johnson and Johnson is like saying that Goldman Sachs is better than Morgan Stanley. First, it's not true, second, if you go around spewing that shit, people are going to think you're a fool.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/20/12

I'll take DM's analogy a little further. GE may be the Goldman Sachs of FLDP programs, but is it better to be at Goldman for a year and not close any deals or to be at BofA or Jeffries and close 4-5 deals?

As for renowned - probably GE. I've worked with a few ex-GE FMPers and they were good. However, they all mentioned the push to go into audit after the program and it seems that their FMP rotations varied quite a bit. I think it was a good experience for each of them, but not necessarily the "best" for each individual. One great things about these programs is that if you're good and willing to travel you can often determine the experiences your get.

2/20/12

I agree that GE is the gold standard, but I think most Blue Chip F500 Finance rotation or LD programs are going to give you great experience. My old roommate got placed in a Ford Motor Company LD program, and he went from there to Stanford GSB for his MBA, then to McKinsey. Another friend went to Eaton Corp LD program -> Kellogg MBA -> McKinsey, and he's now a partner. Point is, don't write off your chances of success if you don't land at GE.

2/21/12

My understanding is that GE practically requires a year of audit experience in order to move up in finance because they feel it allows you to get a deep understanding of the business. I'm sure there are exceptions but it's pretty common I believe.

2/22/12

What would you recommend doing in order to prepare for starting FT in a F500 FLDP?

Impossible is nothing

2/22/12
EPS:

What would you recommend doing in order to prepare for starting FT in a F500 FLDP?

There's nothing specific other than learn Excel if you're not already proficient.

2/22/12

Found the problem and fixed it. You can now see questions 1-18. Will be adding some more soon!

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/25/12

Any views on how the MSF degree is viewed by F500's? This is assuming no full time work experience in between undergrad and the MSF.

2/28/12

Huge shout-out to the guys answering questions, I've just updated this again and we're up to 23 QUESTIONS AND OVER 50 RESPONSES! Thanks again guys, we really appreciate it!

And I've got around to coming up with one, finally haha:

What will I want to use to prepare for an F500 rotational interview, or an F500 interview in general? Specifically, are there case study guides or fit interview guides that you would recommend? If you've tried them out, would WSO's products (namely Make Your Case: Master Consulting Case Interviews for case studies or WSO's Behavioral Interview Guide for fit) be helpful? Or would you want to look for something else?

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

2/29/12

Great stuff guys!

3/1/12

Hey guys,

I recently interviewed with a F100 company for one of their finance groups. I learned that they do some financial analysis as well as stuff classified under operations - exponential smoothing, regression, etc and do a lot of data mining working with Sequel and Access. They also do some accounting related tasks in closing the books. Seems like a great opportunity in terms of the exposure, what do you guys think?

I was wondering for F500 roles how the finance groups are segregated in terms of the tasks that you do. It seems some of the finance groups do a lot of accounting and in this case operations. I am trying to learn more about each group and was wondering which groups focus more on high finance. For instance what group be doing DCF to get NPV of potential projects a group is considering in order to pick the best paying project. Also how about dividends, cash management, credit, receivables, etc- I am assuming this one falls under treasury. Is treasury harder to break into than say FP&A out of undergrad and is banking experience required. I really love my corporate finance class and was wondering what groups focus on the type of stuff that your basic CF class covers.

3/1/12

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss more details.

I actually support operations right now, but the actual operations work is left to the operations team - I mostly handle the P&L and other finance related issues for them.

Most of what you're describing would be treasury. At my company there really is no barrier to entering Treasury after doing FP&A. So far I've done FP&A and Ops support and I could definitely see myself giving Treasury a shot at some point soon. This may differ by Company though.

3/1/12

Any views on how the MSF degree is viewed by F500's? This is assuming no full time work experience in between undergrad and the MSF.

3/8/12
The Riddler:

Any views on how the MSF degree is viewed by F500's? This is assuming no full time work experience in between undergrad and the MSF.

For most (general) Finance positions I'm not sure that the MSF really adds anything. There may be specialized roles where it's helpful, but overall if your goal is Corporate Finance I dont think the MSF is the best use of your time/$.

4/18/12
accountingbyday:
The Riddler:

Any views on how the MSF degree is viewed by F500's? This is assuming no full time work experience in between undergrad and the MSF.

For most (general) Finance positions I'm not sure that the MSF really adds anything. There may be specialized roles where it's helpful, but overall if your goal is Corporate Finance I dont think the MSF is the best use of your time/$.

I agree with this. Unless you come from a completely noncompetitive school and have to move back in with your parents in South Dakota, I think there are much better ways of getting into CF without dropping $50K. I don't know anyone in Finance at my company with an MSF. A few came from an MBA program with no work experience but they are extremely rare and have a lot of work to do to catch up to their peers.

3/8/12

Just curious- its been a week since I interviewed with a finance group for an internship at a F100 for this summer. So far I have not heard anything. I have sent thank you e-mails to the director and managers who interviewed me that day as well as to HR.

How long should I wait before following up with HR? Should I e-mail or call. No one has responded to my thank you e-mails (As a matter of fact, no one ever responds to my post-interview thank you e-mails).

3/8/12
n1cktm:

Just curious- its been a week since I interviewed with a finance group for an internship at a F100 for this summer. So far I have not heard anything. I have sent thank you e-mails to the director and managers who interviewed me that day as well as to HR.

How long should I wait before following up with HR? Should I e-mail or call. No one has responded to my thank you e-mails (As a matter of fact, no one ever responds to my post-interview thank you e-mails).

I'd wait at least until after the weekend. It sucks, but often times there are interviews scheduled over a week or so. If you're the first of those interviews a 2 week turnaround is very reasonable.

As for thank you e-mails, I rarely respond either. It's not because I'm a jerk, but more because I don't want to send any signals before we've made a decision. Even if we have made a decision, I'm not the one who should be relaying the information. I'm not saying it's right, but if you interviewed with me I likely wouldn't respond either.

3/9/12

Hey guys i had anohter question on comp. I saw that one of you listed the salary ranges for FAs, SFAs, etc.........could one of you give us a rough estimate of bonuses at each level? Thanks

3/9/12
ejam21:

Hey guys i had anohter question on comp. I saw that one of you listed the salary ranges for FAs, SFAs, etc.........could one of you give us a rough estimate of bonuses at each level? Thanks

Where I'm at:

Manager / Senior Manager = 20%
Director / Senior Director = 30%
Executive Director = 40%
VP = 50%
SVP / EVP = through the roof (these are the C suite folks, probably with very detailed comp structure, not straight bonus %).

3/9/12

Bonuses are going to be either small or non existent at the analyst level (FA and SFA). They'll be fairly small at the Mgr - Sr. Mgr level as well (my guess would be the typical range is somewhere in the 10-30% range depending on rank, industry and company).

In Corporate Finance bonuses don't really start to be a significant impact until the Director level.

3/9/12

.

3/16/12

Hey guys I was wondering what non-tech F500 companies usually pay their summer interns and if it is indicative of what they pay for FT.

I was offered $15/h to work for a F100 this summer in their finance department and I was thinking this is a bit on the low end.

I definitely want to be in CF for a long-term career but not sure how much they would pay me out of undergrad in a FT position. Is the 15/h indicative of what they pay finance undergrads?

I am looking to make around 50-55k once I'm out of school.

Also is there any wiggle room for negotiation? HR asked me how much I would like to make once I got the offer but I was half asleep and told them I would be open to hearing offers. So got the $15/h. I was offered $24/h for public accounting last semester but I don't really want to be in accounting. However, if I can't make the salary I am interested in out of undergrad in corporate finance then I need to consider working somewhere else first and then lateraling.

I would really appreciate any advice on this situation. THis is a company where I could see myself working long-term and interning at a company I wanted to work at when FT recruiting comes around is a goal I had for the summer. However, if the $15/h is indicative of what FT FA's are paid then I need to explore other options.

Thank you

4/18/12
n1cktm:

Hey guys I was wondering what non-tech F500 companies usually pay their summer interns and if it is indicative of what they pay for FT.

I was offered $15/h to work for a F100 this summer in their finance department and I was thinking this is a bit on the low end.

I definitely want to be in CF for a long-term career but not sure how much they would pay me out of undergrad in a FT position. Is the 15/h indicative of what they pay finance undergrads?

I am looking to make around 50-55k once I'm out of school.

Also is there any wiggle room for negotiation? HR asked me how much I would like to make once I got the offer but I was half asleep and told them I would be open to hearing offers. So got the $15/h. I was offered $24/h for public accounting last semester but I don't really want to be in accounting. However, if I can't make the salary I am interested in out of undergrad in corporate finance then I need to consider working somewhere else first and then lateraling.

I would really appreciate any advice on this situation. THis is a company where I could see myself working long-term and interning at a company I wanted to work at when FT recruiting comes around is a goal I had for the summer. However, if the $15/h is indicative of what FT FA's are paid then I need to explore other options.

Thank you

Depends on where you live. I know that most of our interns get paid about $25 an hour with a relocation allowance. Are you coming up on your summer before senior year?

4/3/12

bumping this for start of Corporate Corral

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

4/3/12
D M:

bumping this for start of Corporate Corral

What is the Corporate Corral?

4/3/12

CorpDev/CorpStrat/CorpFin

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

5/18/12

After reading some answers, I am aware that the best way to prepare for these corporate finance roles is to be familiar with Excel. But my question is what exactly in Excel? What are some important common functions that people in corporate finance mainly use? What should I master? VLOOKUP? Pivot Tables? And do you know of any sources that can help me study those functions?

Thanks

5/18/12

In general, be able to build models (not necessary M&A or LBO models, but more forecasting/reporting models and manage data.

I'd say the keys would be:
- General linking and math
- Vlookups
- Pivot Tables
- Charts/Graphs (basics)
- If Statements
- Sumifs

You don't need to be an excel master on Day 1, but a general understanding these would be very beneficial. I don't have anything that isn't confidential to send you, but if you're decent in the items I listed above you'll be fine.

5/28/12
accountingbyday:

In general, be able to build models (not necessary M&A or LBO models, but more forecasting/reporting models and manage data.

I'd say the keys would be:
- General linking and math
- Vlookups
- Pivot Tables
- Charts/Graphs (basics)
- If Statements
- Sumifs

You don't need to be an excel master on Day 1, but a general understanding these would be very beneficial. I don't have anything that isn't confidential to send you, but if you're decent in the items I listed above you'll be fine.

Accounting is right on here. I'd also throw in DSUM and SumIF. Very helpful if you're making dynamic financial statements or summing items with certain criteria from a general ledger. Also, a huge plus if you can create regressions from large quantities of data.

corymartin2012:

What does an average day in the life of you guys look like?

Kinda like a "schedule" of sorts, how does your day normally stack up?

Average day (not the end of the month or end of the quarter) looks like this - Walk in between 7:45 - 8:30 and read overnight emails. Answer emails for about 30 min and walk down to the cafe for some coffee, and breakfast if I'm feeling like it. Come back between 5 and 20 min later and answer more emails. These emails usually relate to spending, projected forecasts or opinions on future projects/spending or strategic initiatives and come from the directors or their minus ones (next-in-charge) of the business unit.

Around 10am, meetings usually come up to discuss questions from emails in further detail, iron out projects, wrap up projects or start new ones.

Around noon I'll eat lunch. If i'm not super slammed, I'll stay in the cafe and chat with people.

Between 12:30 - 1:30, come back to my desk to answer more emails and have more meetings. Around this time, I'll also look at what business groups are spending and approve/reject their project spending which crosses my desk.

Around 3:30-5:00, I have time set aside to work on my own projects that usually include improving processes, taking on additional responsibilities or doing some higher level analysis for business groups.

I'm out of the office between 4 - 6 pm if it isn't the end of the month or the end of the quarter.

At the end of the month/quarter, it becomes a much more "process oriented role" in the entry level grade. This means you're refreshing reports and going through the details of the spending your business groups performed and reporting out how they are doing relative to their budget targets. These days are usually longer since you have the emails/meetings still occurring and also have the additional processes to perform.

5/24/12

What does an average day in the life of you guys look like?

Kinda like a "schedule" of sorts, how does your day normally stack up?

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

5/30/12

Hey guys.......I was wondering (and i hope this hasnt been answered bc i mustve missed it if it was ), but year to year in a certain role, what do the raises, if any, look like? Do they do a set % system or is it an arbitrary, we gave you a 1k pay bump this year, in your experience? thanks............excited to start my internship this monday.

5/31/12

My firm runs on a meritocracy, which seems to work reasonably well for the first few grades. Promotion occurs every 12-18 months, with rotation, for the first three to four rotations. This amount varies, but usually is a 10-13% increase. Every year, regardless if you rotate or not, expect between 0%-5% increase in pay, based on how you performed against your peers. My company also gives out stock every year, depending on merit as well. It vests after 4 years and at the lower grades, it's between $1k-6k.

Good luck with your internship!

6/6/12

As a follow up question STorIB,how is performance measured? It would seem like it would be kind of subjective?

6/12/12
ejam21:

As a follow up question STorIB,how is performance measured? It would seem like it would be kind of subjective?

It can be -- you're judged on how you perform relative to others within your division. The system relies on feedback from your managers and business partners, who will analyze your quality of work, deliverable, reliability and business knowledge. Once you start working in a group for a while, you'll start to notice the people working for the next paycheck and those who are consistently accurate in their reporting and deliverables, and your collective reviews will reflect this.

6/9/12

Im starting at corporate soon.. any advice on how to move up the career ladder as quickly as possible? How do I go about getting to know those above me? Any tips that you wish you knew before you started? Thanks!

6/10/12
rozen:

Im starting at corporate soon.. any advice on how to move up the career ladder as quickly as possible? How do I go about getting to know those above me? Any tips that you wish you knew before you started? Thanks!

What position are you starting in?

It's not rocket science, just do whatever you can to help your boss and always do high quality work.

6/19/12

I have a question regarding industry-specific background knowledge for getting a F500 position. I'll be attending a school next year that has a very strong presence in O&G and was wondering how much I should know about the industry if I want to be competitive for entry-level positions (don't think I'm competitive for FLDP-type stuff). I've been reading a couple of the documents from the dearly departed industry primer thread but the articles on OGJ, for example, are beyond my ability to deeply understand. Would superficial knowledge like this help in getting an interview, would it help in the interview, do I need to go deeper, or am I wasting my time altogether?

7/8/12
obscenity:

I have a question regarding industry-specific background knowledge for getting a F500 position. I'll be attending a school next year that has a very strong presence in O&G and was wondering how much I should know about the industry if I want to be competitive for entry-level positions (don't think I'm competitive for FLDP-type stuff). I've been reading a couple of the documents from the dearly departed industry primer thread but the articles on OGJ, for example, are beyond my ability to deeply understand. Would superficial knowledge like this help in getting an interview, would it help in the interview, do I need to go deeper, or am I wasting my time altogether?

For interviews, you should know the company pretty well. No one expects you to be an expert on fracking or deep well drilling but you should know the highest generators of revenue, margins, etc.

MrReagan8:

I am currently in a Finance Leadership Development Program for a top A&D company. I am nearing the rotation's end and was just wondering how hard it would be to transfer to a different company/industry after my rotations are over? I have a definite interest in staying, however with the current forecast with the DoD budget, I am not against looking at other options. I have a definite interest in J&J, GE, General Mills, etc etc and have friends/contacts that are currently in or graduated from their FLDP/FMP programs. I would just like to know the steps/feasibility in leveraging my skills I gained in my current FLDP to jump industry/company?

If you've been at the A&D company for longer than a year, you shouldn't have too much of a problem getting interviews. However, I know some companies are focusing more on new college/mba grads and very experienced people, so you may have trouble getting offers at the largest non A&D companies.

6/21/12

I am currently in a Finance Leadership Development Program for a top A&D company. I am nearing the rotation's end and was just wondering how hard it would be to transfer to a different company/industry after my rotations are over? I have a definite interest in staying, however with the current forecast with the DoD budget, I am not against looking at other options. I have a definite interest in J&J, GE, General Mills, etc etc and have friends/contacts that are currently in or graduated from their FLDP/FMP programs. I would just like to know the steps/feasibility in leveraging my skills I gained in my current FLDP to jump industry/company?

Thank you!

7/15/12

I was wondering if most f500s give MBAs sign on bonuses for joining full time, and if so, what is a range that one would expect? Also, not srue if this has been covered, but at the post MBA level (manager i believe?), what type of year end bonus, if any, would one expect?

Thanks.......great thread for reference

8/1/12

Hi guys,

Thanks for all your posts on WSO. They've been extremely helpful. A few questions here.

I am applying for corporate finance positions (FLDPs) starting in summer/fall 2013. However, almost all of them do not have OCR at my college (they usually recruit for tech & science positions). I have tried reaching out to recruiters and some senior employees in these companies. Would this be the right way to proceed? Also, should I still talk to the recruiters who visit my college about corp fin?

Also, how important is networking for corp fin in comparison to IB? Are online applications sufficient? Also, which are the people I should through Linkedin and other networking media?

Thanks

8/13/12

Guys:

Just finished my MBA finance internship and am expecting an offer. For Finance MBAs searching for jobs or who have been thhrough the process, should I even bother applying to positions that require a certain number of years of finance experience (I am a career changer, 4 years exp but not finance)? It seems that all postings i'm seeing are asking for finance experience. Thoughts?

8/13/12

ejam,

What was your previous experience?

I'd definitely try to stick on with your current company if they give you a ft offer. I haven't seen mbas come in here with no experience getting Finance Manager roles. Obviously, this doesn't mean it doesn't happen, I just haven't seen it at my company. I would think your career services may be able to give you a better outlook, but overall that sounds like a challenging proposition to me.

This is why a large majority of F500 Finance people get part time mbas, unless they're trying to change careers. Getting your mba paid for and continuing to get work experience is the ideal scenario. It just doesn't make sense to pay all that money, forgo salary, and lose 2 years of experience to go full time.

8/13/12

Thanks for your reply, my previous experience was in Corporate sales..Do you think I would see any success applying to senior analyst roles? It would be less money im sure but if thats what I need to do, so be. Do you think that (assuming I got an offer) I could use the offer at the other company as a selling point as I write cover letters and in the interview, with my rationale being that "after xyz f500 evaluated me for 10 weeks, they deemed me fit for this role, so I believe I have what it takes."........hah its going to be an interesting recruiting season no doubt for this guy...

8/16/12

can any one comment on the MBA chances coming out of F100 FP&A (non-FLDP)? im coming from an audit background (2 years Big4) and am now considering taking an SFA role within F100 FP&A, but would like to attend a top 10-15 MBA program in 2-3 years. will it hurt my chances being that im not coming from the FLDP program?

8/16/12
i hate audit:

can any one comment on the MBA chances coming out of F100 FP&A (non-FLDP)? im coming from an audit background (2 years Big4) and am now considering taking an SFA role within F100 FP&A, but would like to attend a top 10-15 MBA program in 2-3 years. will it hurt my chances being that im not coming from the FLDP program?

FLDP is one way to get good experience, but not the only way. I'd figure out how you make yourself a top candidate. Audit -> FP&A -> Business Development, Strategy, Treasury, Global FP&A, etc... could all make a decent story. Research to see who from F500 is getting into the schools you want to go to.

In the past 2 years we've had 2 people come into our company from a top school, neither started above FP&A Mgr. So, I'd think if you could make FP&A Mgr before mba it's look good.

Are you looking to go fulltime or part time? Basically everyone I work with goes pt and based on what I see, a top school won't be an issue part time. I honestly don't have too much insight into fulltime because people don't really leave my company to go fulltime.

10/28/12

This may be a stupid question, but I was wondering about a few things:

1. What does FP&A at a company typically lead to in terms of higher up positions? I read through the corp dev page and it seems that it's rare for people to move from FP&A into the corp dev/strategy side of things unless one gets lucky/is a networking wiz (most common is MBB/IB => Corp Dev/Strat/Biz Dev). Therefore, what does FP&A eventually lead to in a firm in terms of roles/titles?

2. Does FP&A eventually become more strategic (i.e. when does it stop being so much "FP" and more "A")? What do more senior FP&A managers do (if any of you all know)?

3. I've heard of "strategic planning" departments within firms and I was wondering if anyone knows what this group typically does (i.e. is it separate from Corp Dev/Strategy) and can FP&A lead to that?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'd really appreciate any feedback!

10/31/12
westcoaster12:

This may be a stupid question, but I was wondering about a few things:

1. What does FP&A at a company typically lead to in terms of higher up positions? I read through the corp dev page and it seems that it's rare for people to move from FP&A into the corp dev/strategy side of things unless one gets lucky/is a networking wiz (most common is MBB/IB => Corp Dev/Strat/Biz Dev). Therefore, what does FP&A eventually lead to in a firm in terms of roles/titles?

2. Does FP&A eventually become more strategic (i.e. when does it stop being so much "FP" and more "A")? What do more senior FP&A managers do (if any of you all know)?

3. I've heard of "strategic planning" departments within firms and I was wondering if anyone knows what this group typically does (i.e. is it separate from Corp Dev/Strategy) and can FP&A lead to that?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'd really appreciate any feedback!

1) In my company, at least, people tend to move around the difference finance functions quite a bit. So you may go FP&A Senior Analyst to Budgets and overheads manager to a Director in financial systems. The goal in my company, if you want to continue moving up, is to see as much of the business as possible. I'm not sure exactly how much of that is true at other companies.

That said, FP&A roles themselves tend to max out at Director of FP&A for a Sector. We have corporate>sectors>businesses. So after the director of FP&A for each sector essentially reports their findings to the head of finance for the sector who reports to the CFO. Most of the time, if you want to move up farther, you'll look at getting out of that FP&A role to becoming a head of finance for a business unit and then moving up the bigger business units and eventually becoming the head of finance for a sector. That's because FP&A, while it sees the whole sector, is a more specialized role. And to be the head of a business unit or sector you have to have in depth understanding of all finance aspects.

2) It's harder for me to know this, as i'm in an FLDP right now. I will say, for analysts and senior analysts you aren't doing much but crunching numbers. As a manager or director it can become more "analysis" as you put it, but it depends on what your business is doing and what your responsibility is for that business.

3)We have Corp strategy that is split into departments, so maybe that's what you are referring to. For instance, there is a corp strategy department at corporate and at our business units but then the M&A team has a finance department and a strategy department. It's a little complicated. That's really all I know about that.

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