Healthcare Boutique vs. F500 Corp Strategy Group
The WSO forums have been great and I am a first time poster so thanks in advance for responses. I currently am working in the Corp development dept of a F500 healthcare services company. I was with the company in one of their smaller offices doing business development/sales, worked on a transaction while I was there, and networked my way up to the HQ Development Group. I work primarily on M&A and other strategic relationships. Have been there about 6 months and with the company as a whole going on 2 years.
Issue: I am bored as hell. Painfully I get to work on a project here and there, most of them with high visibility, but frankly I would say that I am 20% utilized. I have panhandled around our dept for more work and am always at the ready, but like any corporate environment there are a lot of more senior hands in the cookie jar. I end up kind of "project manager" which is fine for a young guy like me, but I want to really get my hands dirty and "own" some things.
I have an offer from a well regarded boutique healthcare consulting firm. Not Big 4, but probably in the Top !0 by revenue and growing. Multiple offices, not any publicly listed clients but for healthcare, good names to be working with. Thing is I have very strong relationships with the very senior management where I am at. People I have told about this think I am crazy to blow these relationships just to move down to Senior Consultant "grunt" at a firm. I hear them, but again I am bordering on miserable bored.
As far as exits or future goes, a colleague of mine told me I should ride this out for a few years even if it does suck because if I want to do consulting later it is always there and if I want to continue in operations and ultimately do some PE operating partner type work, they would rather have someone who is in the trenches than a wonky consultant.
Ultimately my gut says the boutique firm will just offer a work environment I would excel in. Younger, competitive, consistent work - work hard plan hard stuff. I am about 20 years younger than my colleagues in the corp development group and again its just very old school/bored environment.
Would love to hear your insights and again thanks.
Why don't you reach out to the very senior management there and let them know you are getting stir crazy? That way they may either give you more interesting work or let you know the honest truth: "it may be X amount of years before you can get to this type of role." By this route you minimize any bridge burning and maintain transparency. Heck, they may even tell you to take the consulting gig as they could think its a great career move.
That's good advice and I have in many ways told our SVP. I work for him directly actually. I get ho-hum answers and frankly the pace is just slow so I am beggining to lose the faith. On some good high visibility projects, but one big project, no matter how much visibility, can only keep you so busy.
If you're looking for action and intensity, take the consulting offer.
Some considerations: Is this a "grass is greener" issue? How's the money? Is it healthcare provider/payer or life sciences? Do you like to work in teams (and largely speaking become the grunt)? You'll own your own workstreams, to a degree, but your work will be closely managed and iterated on by superiors on your team. Are you OK with becoming a slide jockey, doing research, or working data/building models? Climbing the corporate ladder is different than serving clients. You're used to hanging around SVPs... coming into consulting you may not even see a lot of client interaction for a while.
Also, be ready to go from 20% utilization to 120+% utilization.
"As far as exits or future goes, a colleague of mine told me I should ride this out for a few years even if it does suck because if I want to do consulting later it is always there and if I want to continue in operations and ultimately do some PE operating partner type work, they would rather have someone who is in the trenches than a wonky consultant." If you ultimately want to do operations or PE stuff, staying will probably serve you better than boutique HC consulting.
chron3k - all good thoughts and thanks. To your questions . . . .
A bit of grass is greener. Just hard to swallow being underutilized at this point in my career. Personally high levels of boredom are corrosive for me and I do get concerned about skill development. Yes the boutique is all provider side. And to the work question, it is actually very grunt based already in my currrent role. Managing diligence processes, slide jockey for SVPs, etc. I think the difference is the small amount of work/boredom, but with the benefit that I am doing this for very senior people. For example I am making a deck now that will be used for the BOD meeting on an acquisition. In many ways I feel like I am doing consulting type work, at a much slower rate, but for senior execs.
Ultimately I think i am attracted by the meritocracy type environment that you can get in consulting and having a little more clear career path. I know politics are everywhere, but moreso in consulting if you create quality work and build relationships with clients you can move up. I fee like where I am at now I will toddling around on little projects for 3 years or more more before I change my role or get paid more.
To that end the pay is about the same. $110+10k bonus at the corp development and pretty much the same at the boutique for consultant level. But the difference is upside. Yes if I stay on track with the company with the relationships I have, 10 years or so from now I could slide into very senior position no doubt, but if I was to work hard at a firm, Senior Manager type roles probably would be comparable on pay so pay is not an issue really. . . . sounds cliche, but I just want to somewhat enjoy my work. I realize a job is a job so not trying to be a gen y a%^hole, but just have issue spinning my wheels in a cube.
Also slightly disagree with you on the lack of exposure at a boutique. It's not a big four so chances are I will be working closely with partners on some projects due to small engagement teams.
I don't mean exposure from an internal perspective. No doubt you'll get plenty of facetime and development-time with seniors within the organization (which is great). External, client facing exposure can be highly dependent firm to firm. Did you explore this facet in your interviews if you're interested in it?
Yeah I think it falls somewhere in the middle. It's not one of those boutique's where entry consultants are complete data monkeys and never see the light of day. They travel 2-3 days a week and their career path document said the travel increases as you progress. So I actually think if you are not immature or just not personal, you will get decent client interaction. I would like to think I will catch on to this quickly since I am very executive facing now. Frankly the thing that rubs me wrong when I have done interviews at consulting firms is how impersonal some of the Senior Consultants are. The would get killed on the industry side development when you are trying to convince someone to sell a business, partner, etc.
I'm curious---would you share PM me the name of this boutique firm you are considering joining? The market is great for consultants working in healthcare strategy these days and there are only a few reputable firms that compete in this space. There are even fewer that go toe-to-toe against the MBBs. And only one has a very unique culture that makes all their employees feel wonderful and happy about working there.
Joining any one of them at this stage of your career will be a shot of adrenalin---do it. Leave on good terms with your existing firm, maintain relationships... it'll come in handy. How gratifying/satisfying the work becomes depends on the culture.
Parthenon got bought, so I don't think there any left that everyone is satisfied with. I hope op isn't thinking of taking Huron.
I disagree. There are a lot of Provider firms out there that are growing rapidly and a few that I know just received capital infusions to grow based on the high demand for these services right now. Kurt Salmon, ECG, Chartis Group, etc. If you are focused o provider/payor work these firms get work from a lot of the same clients that the big 4 do. I think the major difference is that you won't be working with publicly listed companies. Overall though, great relationships with big name providers.
Why settle for a boutique? Have you tried interviewing with MBB healthcare practices?
Non- target MBA. To be honest I thought I wouldn't have a chance at MBB.
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