From Finance, Consulting, etc. to Lobbying?

For long-term careerists who built true expertise in a particular industry: I'm curious about this because a lifelong career focusing on both granular and high-level business issues (in your respective area) likely gives you visibility into the politics around issues you're trying to navigate as well as different regulatory mandates (between the UCC here in the states and maybe even international law), not to mention the network of key "influencers" in your area of expertise.

Sure, you wouldn't be as knowledgeable as an attorney or policy analyst, but you'd understand enough to stay afloat and to connect key decision-makers with policy-makers and elected officials. These skills/knowledge would make you an attractive body on the Hill, from my understanding of it (minus maybe lacking a JD and actual Hill work experience).

That being said, I'm wondering:

Anyone here ever transition to a lobbying firm or into industry-government relations from your initial start in finance/consulting? I ask this specifically because it seems folks in finance/consulting are very prestige/income-driven, and very few bachelor's level roles can offer that potential for a very high TC in a job where you're getting to directly impact the political wheel at the behest of whichever interest group you're affiliated with. Meetings with MOCs, COSs, and other folks whose work directly underlies the sanctity of our republic.

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Comments (8)

Jan 2, 2022 - 10:20pm
k1k10, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I live in the DC area and personally know some top lobbyists. A number of them started in MBB or had a stint there. It seems like getting to the top in the industry has a lot to do with chance, as elections play a big part in who matters and who doesn't, much less formulaic than banking/consulting. Make no mistake though, if you have it made in lobbying, you will be absolutely filthy rich.

Jan 3, 2022 - 4:14pm
ashemsu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks so much for the insight! I figured there had to be some correlation between the skills needed to succeed between jobs, which is why I was curious. Lobbying seems like a form of consulting, except that the client is a member of congress and the deliverable is an amendment to a proposed bill.

I've read a few books by top lobbyists (Raisin Bran and Other Cereal Wars being a favorite), plus a lot of the information is available via opensecrets.org, and it is absolutely wild. Not at all atypical for a top 10% lobbyist to make nearly $1mm TC (not to mention what may be off the books, the expensed trips, the dinners, etc.). It's funny though because people think lobbyists are inherently evil when the fact of the matter is the lobbyists fighting for "good" causes (basically anyone who advocates on behalf of a nonprofit, interest group, or association) simply don't have the capital or Hill influence to complete with the Legislative Representative for Ratheon or Facebook.

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Jan 3, 2022 - 4:17pm
ashemsu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's less that I'd like to do it and more a curiosity about whether the skills are transferrable, if that makes sense. I figured there had to be some correlation between the skills needed to succeed between roles. Lobbying seems like a form of consulting, except that the client is a member of congress and the deliverable is an amendment to a proposed bill. I think it would be an insanely exhausting job in this day and age though.

I will say, however, that if I really ended up staying at my firm long-term (heavy focus on life sciences), the biggest payday of my life could potentially come from moving over to the government relations side of biotech, pharmaceuticals, or medical technology. By then, maybe things won't be as volatile and ridiculously polarized. Probably wishful thinking though haha.

Jan 3, 2022 - 4:17pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There is only one thing I would be a lobbyist for and that is 420.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Jan 3, 2022 - 4:19pm
ashemsu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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