Can someone please explain this to me?

I was recently offered a position to join the valuations desk of a MF PE Shop.

I am from a nontarget and my ultimate goal is to eventually go to a M7 program for my MBA. Would taking this BO job hinder my ability to make that transition? Also, does anyone have any numbers into how compensation is paid out in non-junior level roles? (How much associates, and Directors make).

Debating if I should take this role for the prestige or go work in a CF role for a Fortune 10 Company.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Most Helpful

MBA admissions is a lot about brands and buckets.

A lot of times, the brand of the company matters more than the role, unless there is a clear distinction in job selectivity (eg. FO is better than BO). So, working for an MF, you get the prestige of the brand, but you won't get the FO stamp. The thing is, you can get the same prestige in the eyes of Adcom if you work for a big, household name, company. Even better if it's a well known tech firm.

The next point is the bucket. At a MF, your bucket will likely be PE/IB, so a lot of FO people. Without a strong unique angle to your application, you may struggle to stand out. In CF for a Fortune 5, your bucket will probably be finance at Fortune 500, we're you'll be much more competitive and where Adcom can't really differentiate between FP&A, Controlling, Finance Operations etc.

If you're aiming for a top MBA, my suggestion would be go for the CF role (assuming this is not admin, accounting, limited exposure etc.).

I appreciate the detailed response. In comparison the F5 role is a rotational grad program that puts you through various parts of the business. As far as the functionality of the roles it could vary, but I do not really have a say in where i get placed. Also, there is a possibility of doing an international assignment as one of the rotations with leadership opportunities.

The MF role is at the valuations desk. I know it is considered more BO work, but I feel like valuations is still a skill worth developing, no? Would this just be a waste of time? I see it like a 2 year opportunity and then shoot for an MBA. My internships were in PE (FO side)/VC/and ER and have held many leadership positions and was involved in many different social/service organizations.

Once again, thanks for the response, very helpful.

Valuation is a good skill to develop indeed, but depends what you want to do after. For FO roles, it will be useful, but they may look down on your BO experience, so you need to network well to make a switch. As I mentioned above, for an MBA, it could make it more challenging.

I was in Big4 Advisory and some of my colleague went to PE valuation roles, as it was paying more and was offering a better lifestyle. After 6-12 months, they weren't too happy with their jobs, as they felt the learning curve was flat (they already had valuation skills when they joined), and it offered them limited mobility to go into an FO role.

Obviously, you should do your own research as well and see how well the F5 finance and PE valuation roles place at top MBAs. Search LinkedIn profiles for that.

First, congrats on having those two options. I think you should consider how the current decision may play into your experience beyond business school and ultimate career path (B-school is really another stepping stone in your career path, so I feel the word "ultimate" is a bit of a paradox with respect to B-school). For context, I worked two years in a back office role before a transition to PE on the deal side.

There are certainly some merits with taking the valuation role such as getting a foot in the door and establishing contacts at that PE firm, adding a prestigious name on your resume, and potentially better comp. I would counter that with saying that compensation is less important than building intellectual capital at this juncture. I'll also add, as another poster alluded to, that valuation work is boring and I find it to be the least enjoyable aspect of my job (we are a small shop so I still am involved to a degree). I also believe that the F5 experience may ultimately translate better to PE (if that is your goal). Having been inside an organization in an operational role will translate better to assessing a portfolio company's operations and can be useful insight for a young associate to have. It could also position you for a CFO / Operational style role in the future. While my path ultimately worked out, I would personally trade my two years of BO experience for the experience of a rotational / leadership programs with a major corporation.

You literally put my thoughts into words. I guess I am just caught up in the "prestige" of the PE firm more so than the F10 role.

Also, I am scared that If i take the F10 role, I might get placed into more accounting (BO) type roles than anything tangible in value. After doing some research, it seems that at the F10 role - some graduates rotated through awesome M&A roles, and others were stuck in roles like audit. Granted, this is a rotational stint, but would a position like that hinder an application?

Here is my analysis:

PE Pros - Prestige, Slightly better Pay (but probably the same Cost of living adjusted), Understanding valuations a bit better, Possible Networking (better city)

PE Cons - BO, Boring

F5 CF Pros - Prestige, International Leadership Opportunity (not guaranteed), Possibility of getting MBA paid for, more structured progression for advancement

F5 CF Cons - Specialized Industry (this is a big one for me), less pay, Rotational program that could land me in a bad role

Seems to me that the F5 role seems to be better if everything was to go as planned. Any additional details?

As a backgroundGPA: 3.75 - Very non target but well connected alumni GMAT: Practice tests have been landing me in the 740 range (Taking this summer) EC: Fraternity in School, Service Orgs, Professional Networks, Sports, Inner City Tutoring Experience: VC/PortMgt/PE

I feel like switching to this F10 role would be a weird story to tell as it doesn't really correlate to my past. Thoughts? Thanks again for yall's help in getting this answered - really cleared things up.

Pretty good job summarizing the pros/cons. Having been through an F5 rotational program, you're absolutely right that some roles are really rough while others are great. I was fortunate enough to have two good roles that setup me up for great transition/promotion out of the program. I'd emphasize that at some organizations you may have input into your rotation based on interest.

In order to remain flexible and make sure I moved through the M&A group I asked if I could stay in my first accounting rotation longer to let a spot open up. This was an easy way to placate all stakeholders and only hold me back a few months. I've since stayed in corporate development.

Funny thing is, my favorite time at the company was actually that first two year accounting type role. The people weren't corp dev douches, had no prestige concerns, and the business itself was super interesting. Also, the role afforded me alot of time for ad hoc projects which really impressed my seniors. After ~2 years of more "prestigious" work I would not rule out FP&A at a manager or director level.

I know you want to take the PE Val role in your heart, but you probably should seriously consider the Fortune job.

The Fortune 10 are currently: Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, UnitedHealth, McKesson, CVS, Amazon, AT&T, GM

I am not sure it really matters which firm of the above it is. I don't think specialized industry is a "con" the farther I get into my career. If you're an O&G person at Exxon you are set for life whether moving up in the company, doing banking or PE, etc. Same goes for healthcare, tech, telecom, consumer, auto. Specialists stand out eventually.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.

What would the F5 experience be like? I'm in a F10 CF rotational program and this will give me the opportunity to have 4 roles within 4 years in highly visible and strategic areas of the company and the industry. I took it over IB because I preferred (most importantly) the lifestyle and the work was more interesting and (less importantly) it didn't really hurt me for MBA business schools">M7 chances. Working at a MF PE in BO vs. working in CF in F10 will be vastly different experiences in terms of lifestyle and what you'll be working on. You should think about that instead of just focusing on MBA business schools">M7 chances. 4-5 years is a long time to miserable if you end up not liking one of the roles.

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