Paths Back to Buyside?
Going through a career/life rough patch and am looking for advice. Hoping to get some guidance to move forward and out of this rut.
· UVA/UMich undergrad, graduated near top of class
· 2.5 years experience in buyout private equity. Tried to break in via a non-traditional analyst program and ended up not being promoted. Shit the bed after unexpectedly being told I was not moving up to associate and had to take a compromised role
· 10 months IB M&A. Went back to square 1 to try to preserve access to recruiting and traditional HH channels. My story was seriously scrutinized by HHs (e.g., why'd you leave PE, if you want to be an investor why did you , etc.). Best offer I could get was corp dev and felt myself burning out fast in a horrible group so I accepted it
· 11 months and counting at a non F500, non-acquisitive corporate development / strategy role
Currently hate my career and am regretting every decision I’ve made post college. My target role post-PE was a slower paced investing role – I was looking at tech corporate development roles, early stage investing and other private market strategies like secondaries and co-invest. Unfortunately I lost traction with these associate processes once I disclosed that I was being managed out, so I took the banking offer to avoid a resume gap.
After a horrible experience in banking, I felt like corporate development could be a step in the right direction and a way to spin being kicked out of PE (e.g., wanted operating experience, wanted to join a high growth firm and have executive exposure, etc.), as well as a way to wait out the terrible hiring market for a year or two. Turns out my company has 0 appetite for M&A (despite being assured that the group would be searching for targets during the interview process) and the role feels like a bait and switch. No training, pay cut, and worse branding. I’m spending <10% of my time on M&A and the group has not submitted an IOI.
I realize I've massively complicated my career path with the choices I've made, and I'm trying to get out of this tailspin of taking compromised roles and moving further away from my career goals. At this point I wouldn't mind anything that’s remotely deal/investment related – even something like corporate VC or an actual corp dev role (where I'm getting deal exposure and not just sitting on my hands all day working on BS internal strategy projects). Would take anything where I can write an IC memo again, model a transaction, and get back to doing investment work.
With this complete mess of a career path in mind, how do I move forward? Are there any paths back to the investing world or am I stuck in this dead-end?
Possible routes friends have suggested:
1. HSW -> recruiting
2. Lateral to a real corp dev program at F500 -> M7 MBA -> stay in corp dev / try for buyside
3. Network my ass off for T2/T3 markets and hope someone gives me a chance
4. Network my ass off for T1 market and try to find a non-buyout seat (no-name shops, any corporate doing strategic investments, etc.) and then consider using MBA to move upstream if desired
Any thoughts or ideas from the forum as to the viability of any of these paths (or alternate paths) would be much appreciated.