Experienced Advice Requested on Work Gap after 10 years and Next Steps

Wanted to get some experienced advice on what I do here… for background, I left my VP role at an investment shop last year in May since I didn't like the direction the firm was heading. It was a big shift in what I signed up for and I was frankly a little burnt out and had experienced health issues not too long before. I took a couple months off doing jack all then started looking around the market in the fall of 2022.

I have been in a couple processes but no luck securing an offer yet – it's as you know, either a) very competitive processes, b) or the firm is just testing the waters and had no intention to hire, c) or they are taking their time and dragging processes out, d) or have a hiring freeze. I'm coming up to my 1-year mark soon with nothing to show and I'm worried that it's starting to impact my candidacy.

What would you say I should be doing here for the time I left the role until now? I've seen many people in the past that either left their old shop or got laid off have gaps in their work history, and they typically put some kind of 'consulting' or 'self-employed' to fill in the gap.

My questions are – would I be able to do this as well if I'm not truly consulting or advising others? Is this verifiable? How deep would the interviewers go if they probe on the 'consulting' or 'self-employed' route and would they dig deeper during a background check?

And most importantly, do you think this should be the route I should be taking in trying to fill in my work history gap? Traveling around the world is not a viable option for me so I cannot use that as a talking point. Business school/MBA is something that's crossed my mind during this tough economy backdrop but I feel like I'm quite old for it compared to others since I've been in finance since UG. Looked into EMBA but it seems like you have to be employed…

Any advice on next steps are also appreciated.

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