exit finance & do meaningful work in tech?

My wife held positions at different tech companies (from early-stage to ipo) and is currently a senior recruiter at google. While on maternity leave, she helped 3 former colleagues of mine transition from IB into tech. One as cfo at a series a funded e-mobility startup, another as director m&a at a unicorn fintech (pivate) and the third took on a strategy role at netflix.

Her process was:

  1. defining the search scope based on a personality assessment & individual goals (she holds a phd in org psychology)

  2. intros to decision makers, help with applications, navigating the selection process & interview prep

  3. supporting compensation negotiation (salary & stock)

A few months in the job and the guys are loving it. Say it was the best career decision so far (meaningful work, wlb, paycut but equity upside).
 

My wife's now thinking about offering this as a service to other finance folks who want out. Anyone here who would be interested in something like that? 

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Comments (33)

Dec 16, 2021 - 10:49pm
CHItizen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Are you trying to gauge whether there is a market for this service? Or offering this service to WSO?

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Dec 17, 2021 - 1:09am
TMBach, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes - trying to understand whether this could be feasible as a freelance consulting business. She's considering leaving her well paid corporate job to do this.


I kinda see the opportunity as I personally know enough people who always talk about quitting finance and then don't.

I'm just not sure whether it's worth it.

Most Helpful
Dec 18, 2021 - 4:21pm
CHItizen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There is definitely a market for this (people wanting to leave finance for tech), but the main question for me would be the business model (I realize you outlined a couple options below). 

If you're getting paid by candidates, generally you are going to focus more on the more senior ranks - junior/mid level folks generally don't have that much difficulty exiting to industry/tech, so it feels better suited for the senior folks (maybe Director+?) who are more entrenched and "stuck" in their roles to a further extent. Issue is that a lot of these folks will have more developed networks too. Is it possible to do this as a side hustle to see what kind of traction she can get before actually quitting?

If you're getting paid by the companies, that's not a bad gig but the recruiting world is competitive and independent firms are not really differentiated (maybe she can blend the life coaching with the general recruiting work somehow). I do think that the bulk of $ would come from the corporates regardless - if placement fees are 25%, a senior hire might make $200k base (maybe more) so that's a $50k fee. Depending on how much you charge per client for coaching, that could be 5-20 clients. Just some things to consider.

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Dec 17, 2021 - 1:42am
InvestmentSpanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How would your wife make money doing this? Are the candidates going to pay her? Working as a recruiter is great because the company will pay you 1/3 of the starting salary as a commission. Where is she going to make money like that?

Dec 17, 2021 - 2:18am
TMBach, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I see three options:

1) Candidates pay her. Kind of like a coaching service for helping them find out what they really want to do and what their good at. Based on that she would be doing the match making with relevant jobs / companies. This could be done on a success basis to begin with (you only pay when you get qualified job offers / start a new position).

2) Companies pay her. Closer to the traditional recruiting / head hunting model.

3) Some combination of the two. Candidates pay for some sort of life coaching (I'm miserable in my job and want out, but don't know how to do this / what I want). Companies pay her for placing a candiate.

Wdyt?

Dec 17, 2021 - 2:34am
liquidiot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This sounds like Corp Dev. recruiting consulting (focus on tech firms since they're desirable now) which there's already a shit ton of for breaking into IB and PE. If she were to make a business out of it she could go the same route as many consulting "influencers". Create an online course -> make intro level YouTube videos / other social media to get exposure -> viewers buy the course -> testimonies establish credibility and business grows.

There's an audience for literally everything on the internet so really it's about managing her social media presence and building her following based on this: insider info on how to transition to the best corp dev. gigs after banking. I'd start working on that online personality / course while working, and after you see some people actually buying the course, maybe she can consider quitting

Dec 17, 2021 - 2:45am
TMBach, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks - valuable input! Like the comparison with IB / PE focused recruting consulting.

I guess I'd like to gauge basic interest from the finance community before spending my weekends shooting youtube videos lol. Hence the original post.

But so far nobody seems too interested.

Dec 17, 2021 - 4:04am
famejranc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

bro most of the people browsing the off topic section are not senior IB professionals - some are, but your target market for gauging general interest may not be the off topic section of WSO

Dec 17, 2021 - 11:34am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What are her typical hours? This seems like something she should start as a side venture, and if she gains enough traction quit her job.  

But even if she gains enough traction, I think the big question is what is the business model? What would be her sources of revenue? What is the expected revenue per client? And from that how many clients would she need to beat or match her current salary? You're the finance guy lol guide her through this due diligence process first before gauging market interest. Also try to approximate total market (# of potential clients) and run some scenario analysis for market share.

Array

  • 1
Dec 17, 2021 - 12:11pm
Friedmaneconomics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I disagree with making this a "course" of the similar YouTube advertisements with a landing page, type in email, get spammed into service.

This is for a very niche and professional market. It'd do better as word of mouth advertising. It'd also allow her to keep her current position at google until revenue is there to quit.

I do think there's a market for this. I'd open it up to all high finance / high positions in general, not just IB. There are people already doing this that run their entire business on word of mouth so I'd start small and just make it a side project of the sort, see what comes of it.

Dec 17, 2021 - 3:14pm
trippycannon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If she has the will and desire to do this independently, then I 100% believe that she should do it and have a strong conviction based on your post that she will be successful if properly executed.

Personally, I think that there is absolutely a market for her services. Recruiting is a relationship business and hers are invaluable. I've seen people make successful careers as recruiters leveraging their industry contacts built over a successful career.

Dec 18, 2021 - 12:37am
TMBach, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interesting! Have any experience with them or know someone who has?

Dec 18, 2021 - 3:45pm
CHItizen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

IDK them as Omna but back in the day Opus was one of the many recruiters that reached out to my analyst class regarding PE opps. I didn't see any difference between them and the other recruiters at the time but maybe they have made moves to differentiate.

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Dec 18, 2021 - 6:20pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Litquidity has something like this built into his site though. Very competitive to do professionally 

Dec 19, 2021 - 12:25pm
BillyJoe1357, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would be extremely, extremely interested! 

Dec 30, 2021 - 3:48am
bgroslslsl, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I reject your premise that tech is more meaningful work. What are you doing in tech, engineering social media to become more addicting? Creating some kind of BNPL loan shark credit scheme? Delivery so people can order junk food to their house without leaving? In finance you are helping to make markets more efficient

Dec 30, 2021 - 4:47am
TMBach, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That was not my premise, rather that it might be easier to do meaningful work in tech as it is in finance. Why?

1) "Tech" offers a broader variety of business models, missions, cultures, and so on. What do I mean by this? Two of the same roles in "tech", let's say Product Manager, will be and feel very  different depending on the company you're in. Although external factors like work hours, pay, direct reports, etc. might be the exact same. I don't thinkt this is the case in finance.

2) The meaningfulness of work is a rather subjective criteria. So while for you "making markets more efficient" (I wonder how you personally measure your contribution to this goal) seems to be an important criteria, someone else might be more interested in "engineering social media to become more addicting" or, as Elon, "reducing carbon emission by driving the adoption of electric transport". 

Now, let's combine 1 and 2: 

The broader variety of factors that define any given role in tech combined with the diverse criteria that make work meaningful for any given individual makes it more probable for any given individual to find their most meaningful work in tech than in finance.

So I'm not saying that it's not possible to find meaningful work in finance nor impossible to find meaningful work outside of tech. My very subjective impression though, knowing both industries well, is that there are more people complaining about the lack of meaningful work in finance then there are in tech. This was the basic premise of my post and I'd be interested to hear whether other WOS folks would agree or disagree with that.
I'm aware that the precise definition of "tech" and "finance" and especially a clear distinction between the two is a tricky thing in itself (as an earlier poster pointed out, you can work in a finance role at a tech company and vice versa) but I guess if you know, you know.

Thoughts?

Dec 31, 2021 - 10:46am
efficientmkthypo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Feb 9, 2022 - 5:48pm
throwaway909101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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