Switching Verticals at the VP Level

Hi fellow monkeys - I am looking for some career advice / perspectives:

I’m an Associate 2 and was recently laid off from an EB. Luckily, I bounced back quickly and now have two offers to choose from - same coverage group but different verticals:

  • Offer 1: Mid to lower-tier BB (not CS) in my current location (CHI/SF/LA) in a vertical that I don’t mind for now but don’t see myself in the long run (post IB)
  • Offer 2: EB in NYC in my core vertical in which I have experience and genuine interest

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that both offers are for Industrials groups, but the BB group is heavy on, say, Paper & Packaging (meh), while my past experience and interest is in, say Automotive / Energy Transition (yay), which the EB offer is for.

On one hand, I’d prefer to stay in my current location and not move to NYC. On the other hand, while I think I can probably make it through a few years, I don’t see myself pursuing a long-term (i.e., post-IB) career in the BB’s vertical(s). Prestige isn’t my main concern at this point and BB vs. EB is a different topic. So it comes down to whether I‘d rather be in the “right” location or in the “right” vertical - which leads to two crucial questions:

  • How easy is it to move between (adjacent) verticals at the Senior Associate or VP level?
  • If I don’t move verticals and instead leave IB as a VP, what’s the impact on career opportunities outside of my core vertical?

I am worried about taking the short-term “easy” route (i.e., accept offer 1 and stay in my current location) and boxing myself into a industry / career path I don’t want to be in; but maybe this fear is overblown. That said, taking the EB offer and moving may be an unnecessary sacrifice that never pays off.

There’s no right or wrong, but I want to fully understand the implications of either option. Eager to hear people’s perspectives.

If it makes any difference, I plan on staying on as a VP for a few years and see if I like the sales-y aspect of the job required to become a good MD. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. If IB doesn’t work out, I’d mostly likely want to exit to a CFO-track corporate role in the short-term (for which my vertical is presumably very relevant) and gain some experience before, longer-term, pursuing the ETA route (for which my vertical is probably irrelevant).

Thank you!

Most Helpful

Looking at what my ex-colleagues have gone through, I'd say everything becomes super difficult after hitting VP, unless you find a bank that is just opening/expanding their office in a specific region. Not sure I understand the second question. You'll have career opportunities as any ex-investment banking professional, just that very few companies outside of finance would be able to match your comp. That said, I've seen a number of (again, not that many) fellow VP/Ds move to corp dev-type roles as directors, where total package came in close to 2nd/3rd year associates' all-in.  


Agree with above, this is likely your last opportunity to land the vertical you want without having to take a huge backwards step. I would take the vertical you want, move to NYC for a year or two, and then when the market improves you're an experienced VP in your chosen vertical and can be choosy about where to go next - on location, on firm, etc. 


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