F500 Internal Pension Fund vs. Pharma Corp Dev Role - What Would You Pick?

Original post was really long so just making a summary of various discussions I've had. Wasn't really able to find much relevant info but it is what it is. Pension funds have better WLB in return for lower pay. Corp dev roles pay more, will probably teach you more, and generally have better exit ops. Hours will be dependent on the team but likely on the higher end (for a corporate role, relatively speaking, not in comparison to crazy IB/PE hours - talking 50-60 range here with occasional weekends).


Based on the most helpful WSO content, here's a breakdown of the two roles you're considering, which should help you make an informed decision:

1. Internal Pension Fund (Asset Allocator Role): - Work-Life Balance (WLB): Typically, pension fund roles are known for offering excellent work-life balance. This could be particularly beneficial given your health considerations. The hours are generally more predictable and less demanding compared to high-intensity finance roles. - Role Responsibilities: As an asset allocator, you would be involved in managing the investments of the pension fund, deciding on asset allocation strategies, and selecting external managers. - Compensation: As you noted, the compensation is lower (110-120k) compared to the corporate development role. However, the trade-off is the better work-life balance. - Career Progression and Exits: Progression can be steady but may not be as rapid as in more aggressive finance roles. Exit opportunities are generally more limited, often leading to similar roles in other funds or financial institutions.

2. Corporate Development/Internal M&A + BD at a Pharmaceutical Firm: - Compensation: Significantly higher (160-180k), which reflects the additional responsibilities and demands of the role. - Role Responsibilities: Involves more dynamic tasks such as scouting for acquisition targets, strategic planning, and managing post-merger integrations. This role would utilize your background in private markets extensively. - Work-Life Balance: More demanding than the pension fund role, with expectations of 50-60 hours per week and some weekend work. This might be a concern considering your health issues. - Career Progression and Exits: Typically offers robust opportunities for advancement within the company and can also lead to high-level positions in other firms or industries. The skills acquired are highly transferable, especially in strategic and financial planning.

Personal Considerations: Given your health situation and the need for a manageable workload, the pension fund role might be more suitable. It offers a stable environment with less pressure, which could be crucial for managing your health effectively. However, if the financial aspect and career progression are critical, and you feel you can manage the demands, the corporate development role could offer more in terms of compensation and career opportunities.

Ultimately, the decision should align with your long-term health and career goals. Consider which aspects—compensation, progression, work-life balance—are most important to you and how each role aligns with these priorities.

Sources: Which F500 Entry Level Job to Take?, The logic behind going into a Corp Dev/Strat for work-life balance?, 40% paycut, Corporate Finance Q&A with accountingbyday, BJM85, STorIB, and djfiii, Q&A: Corporate Development at a Mid-Cap Pharma Company

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

Thanks, appreciate the input. That's one of the aspects that's making me a bit torn about the decision, since it's exactly as you say. 

Just that with my health as such a major factor I have reservations about taking on a role that'll make me travel so much (forgot to mention this, but the corp dev role will probably involve a fairly significant amount of traveling, which is really hard on my body in my current state). 

I suppose in the end I'll just have to think really hard about what kind of long-term WLB I'm looking for and what I'm willing to sacrifice for it, due to the unique personal situation. But thanks again for the input, good to have at least another opinion.


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