Best entry into Restructuring and Turnaround Consulting

I am a master's student at a regular non-target state school with over a 3.6 undergrad gpa and a 3.75 master's gpa both in accounting. I am about to have all 4 of my cpa exams passed before I start full time. I have an offer to do Private Client Services Tax Consulting with one of the top restructuring and turnaround firms (FTI, Alix, A&M). I really want to get into restructuring, is there a possibility of fighting my way into that group or am I doomed to tax? (joking of course tax is still good). I plan on obtaining my CRIA or CTP after my CPA exams. Thanks in advance. 

 

Based on the most helpful WSO content, it seems like you're on a promising path! Having a strong academic background in accounting and being on the verge of passing all your CPA exams is a great start.

Working in Private Client Services Tax Consulting at a top restructuring and turnaround firm like FTI, Alix, or A&M could provide you with valuable experience and networking opportunities. It's not uncommon for professionals to transition between different departments within a firm, especially if they show dedication, competence, and a clear interest in the new area.

As for your plan to obtain your CRIA or CTP after your CPA exams, that's a fantastic idea! These certifications could make you more attractive to the restructuring group and demonstrate your commitment to this field.

Remember, it's not just about your qualifications, but also about your passion, your ability to learn and adapt, and your interpersonal skills. Make sure to express your interest in restructuring to your superiors and colleagues, seek out opportunities to learn more about it, and network with people in that group.

And remember, even a monkey like me had to start somewhere! Keep climbing, my friend!

Sources: Q&A: Restructuring Consulting, Top 5 Restructuring Consulting Firms 2020 (my opinion), Thoughts on Restructuring Groups?, Can I transition from restructuring to regular private equity?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.
 
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Hey there, first off disregard the title on my profile. I won’t give too much on specifics but I am a senior that has interned in RX Consulting and received a FT offer (T2 shop). No, I’m not a restructuring veteran with years of experience but thought I’d still give my two cents. I think you may not meet the graduation requirements for an internship at a RX shop but I think a FT option is plausible for you (internships in RX consulting are few and far between anyway).

Certifications are huge in RX consulting, like the CFA or CPA. These certifications aren’t necessarily 100% applicable to the work but they give clients confidence in who is advising them.

You should absolutely learn the basics; WSP has a great 3 statement modeling course and a 13 week cash flow course (which are important models in restructuring). Additionally, a lot of the work we do starts by sorting through messy data. If you are good at organizing messy things in Excel that is a huge plus. Additionally, Restructuring Interviews is a super comprehensive guide, it’s $25, which is a very fair price (too cheap in my view). It’s focused more on the RX banking side but is still incredibly applicable. It’s a niche field, no one expects you to know much and showing any bit of knowledge is a plus. Also, I have found that networking with people in the industry is a lot easier compared to other finance jobs. People respond more often and are happy to teach others about the work they do. Admittedly, it’s a niche field, and a lot of people don’t even know what RX consulting is. Restructuring professionals rarely even get networking requests so sending a note is a step above in my view.

I can’t comment on transferring internally, but I would assume it would be possible after a couple years. If this is the route you decide, ask to be on restructuring projects where tax work may be needed. My views are probably not all encompassing but I hope this helps.

 

Chicago....epicenter of restructuring??? 

Yes Kirkland and Ellis top brass sit here and some other big people, but New York, big money is in Wall Street,  New York, Lasalle street is a lot more middle market. Don't get me wrong a lot of talent is here that work all over the country and world, but epicenter, i think not. Coming from a Chicago resident. Dallas also also developed a hell of a scene too, but a lot of oil and gas still goes thorugh New York. Detriot has auto, few other major markets as well, Chicago being one. 

 

I worked at a boutique turnaround shop for 1.5 years. Later got offers from a top restructuring shop as well as a couple of the tier 2 players but went into banking. Now back in consulting (disregard title, haven't updated). 

My advice would be to start networking early, but you may need to put 1-2 years into your current seat depending on various situations (hiring timelines, availability to talk to managers/seniors if you're not in a formal hiring cycle, etc).

By far and large the most important thing these shops are looking for is the ability to comfortably model a 3-statement (honestly a pretty basic one) and do some very basic cash flow modeling (ex. how does AR/AP detail with customer and vendor terms translate into cash over a number of weeks/months). If you get on a phone call and can articulate that you have these skills, they will be much more willing to take a chance on you. But still be casual and comfortable in your calls/interviews, people can sense desperation. 

 

Personally (as someone who has received offers from both FTI and A&M) I think that what type of work you do is tremendously more important than where you work. Moreover, I wouldn't take a tax role at one of these firms, in the hopes of lateralling, over good work experience at a worse firm. If I were you, I would go take a commercial banking, corporate banking, direct lending, or literally any type of consulting job (strategy, advisory, corporate finance, etc) over working in tax (given A&M and FTI hire from these backgrounds all the time). Then re-apply to these firms later on. But up to you!

 

Audit, transaction advisory, corporate banking and investment banking are all great as a launching pad to Rx. Even better is if you can go straight in (maybe at a boutique). Once you have Rx WE, you’re in for life. Haven’t been in the industry in a few years and still have recruiters looking to see if I’ll come back b/c demand is high and it’s niche space.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers
 

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