From Analyst to VP in less than 5 Years
Throwaway account -
Hey WSO, I wanted to make a comprehensive post of my current career path, and how I got there. The object of this post is to give clarity to comp and hope to undergrads that get stuck in "the path" rut. Also to humble-bragg like every other a$$hole on this site.
College: Semi-Target in the South, Degree: Finance. I partied my a$$ off in college and made a 2.9GPA. However, on my resume I but my Finance GPA which was a 3.55 rounded to a 3.6. After an internship at a prop shop, I applied to every Hedge Fund and Private Equity firm I could in the state (and sending them a DCF), eventually landing at a Growth Equity/Secondary's shop.
1st Job: Growth Equity/Secondary's Analyst - Salary: $72K, Bonus: $10K. Terrible management from the top, down. In a low COL city. Got fired.
8 Months: Unemployed. COVID.
2nd Job: Private Equity Associate at a Family Office - Salary $80K, Bonus $20K. Low COL city. Owner of the family office ended up firing me, after the CIO quit.
4 Months: Unemployed.
3rd Job: Associate M&A at a PE Portfolio Company - Salary $130K, Bonus $78K. $75K in equity that doubled in value. Not vested. Low COL city. Amazing boss, at one of the largest private companies in the US.
4th Job: Head of M&A at a PE Portfolio Company - Salary - $190K, Bonus $95K. Equity $370K/ 1/3 vested (they grew 3x last year so hoping for high growth). Low COL city, and Work From Home.
I am just under 5 years out of college.
This should highlight two things to all of the young monkeys reading this:
1 - Being fired sucks. You will be unemployed. You will eat into your savings.
2 - Its all about how you sell yourself. If you believe in yourself, and so does the interviewer, you will not have a problem failing up, and getting a great new job.
Happy to share my story and start a new adventure. Don't hesitate to DM me with any questions.
What do you think has been the most imp factor driving success then?
Being able to stand up after you've been knocked down. I know its cliché, but the ability to look forward with your head up will give you the drive to success.
I needed a feel-good story while looking for a new gig in this tough market, thanks bro. Keep killing it!
Of course man! I was unemployed a lot - it sucked. You can only get drunk so many times with your high school friends before it gets boring. Keep your head up, and tell a great story about yourself.
That's really impressive twice finding a better job after having to tell them you were fired at your previous role. You must be a smooth talker and interview very polished.
I think framing is important. I always told them why I was fired, humbly, but never admitted fault. I think being a slick talked has been, and always will be, the most important business skill one can have.
can you talk a little about this and how to put a spin on your story? i've been unemployed and coming up to almost a year. have been grinding trying to find a new gig but it's been tough with the industry slow down. going through processes but either the firms are just testing waters or some times decide to hire someone more junior. if i don't find employment soon, i think it's going to hurt me and i want to find ways to spin it. at the same time, i don't want to take any kind of job just to fill a gap on my CV.
Under 5 years out of school, ~4 years of experience, on your 4th job and it's a Head of M&A position. I can't understand it but I tremendously respect the hustle. Congrats brother.
Thanks bro. It took some serious spin...
Did you just put the 3.6 GPA on your resume as anyone normally does or did you disclose that it was your "finance GPA". I've never thought about this but it'd bump my 3.2 to a 3.5 which looks way better. Congrats on your successful career!!
I but it after my degree that said finance. Dubiously misleading, but effective. Thank you!
How you get up from being down - especially during a time like COVID says a lot about your perseverance and determination. Congratulations on the journey.
Thank you, I appreciate the compliment. I hope to be an entrepreneur in a few years, and Im glad Ive learned this trait. Albeit, through pain.
Wow hugely inspirational path. I've found myself trying to claw my way back into banking after getting laid off. The job market is pretty tough but damn if you made it back into finance twice that's impressive as hell.
I appreciate the compliment. Maybe one question, and I dont want to pry, is why banking? If its just the money dont do it, if you love brokering amd see a career forward then charge the hill.
Congrats and very inspirational, but you're path is more of an exception than the rule
Totally agree. Im currently trying to co-found a hedge-fund with an industry veteran as well. The reason I say that is Ive always been all over the place and a little eccentric. Hence the being fired twice…
What a great post. Just demonstrates how much attitude and consistency can benefit a career far more than metrics or numbers. Congratulations on your success, hope it continues well into the future.
Great post, not the typical target school --> BB --> PE story but that's what makes it worth your while. Great hustle, keep it going!
I appreciate it!
First and foremost, congrats on your success and insane perseverance. You have made some wild salary + title jumps, and it is extremely impressive.
Is it safe to assume that the Head of M&A at the PE Portfolio Company was at a much smaller company? I just cant really wrap my head around that transition. It sounds like you jumped both a Manager and a Director role to somehow end up as the M&A head? Super lean team where you sold yourself by saying "Im younger with less experience so I wont cost as much"?
I guess Im just confused because usually to become head of M&A on any really established Corp Dev team requires ~7-10 years of M&A experience. However, I know people who are like Directors of Corp Dev for smaller PE fund portcos that have only 2 YOE in IB and a couple in like TAS, so I guess it is possible.
The old company is a $20B company and the new one Im head of M&A at is a $1B company. Because I was at the company before this at such an explosive time, I saw an insane amount of deal flow. That, coupled with helping the head of strategy, allowed me to leverage that experience into a head of m&a role at the new firm. Age was a difficult hurdle, but one I was able to overcome with experience.
Overcame with… 4 years of experience, including two jobs you got fired from? Did you close 30 deals at job 3 or something?
Realistically though, how much of your job as "Head of M&A" is true pipeline development, transaction negotiation and execution, etc, versus just doing what the sponsor tells you to do. I'm not trying to knock you, but having worked in PE some of our PortCo "M&A Heads" were nothing more than pipeline CRM managers.
Sponsor is hands off until closing. I also lead all strategic efforts, so my daily call will be with the Co-founder CEO and Senior Partner at the Sponsor. In other words, Ill be on every project, and leading every project, from sourcing to negotiation, to closing. In the next 6 months Ill hire a team of 5 under me.
I do understand your hesitation though, I was careful not to accept a role where I was a puppet for the sponsor.
If true, wow. You must have insane people skills
It is true…I do have great people skills. Thank you so much for the compliment!
this dude is him.
Lol thanks man.
You all are bozos, you don't get fired twice in two years and then become head of M&A…. Unless he is completely lying about his experience and credentials to all these jobs
not to mention he's using a burner account. OP either drop the linkedin or BFFR bro
Dm me and I will.
Dm me then. Ill send you my linkedin.
Anyone that believes the story as written is just dumb. If we assume that this person is actually in these roles, which I doubt, anyone having worked with a PE backed portco will know that this person either (1) lied significantly on their resume and got at least one of the jobs under a false pretense and/or (2) has some direct connection at a company or fund and got his role(s) through nepotism. In either case, the information is not actually helpful or useful. It should be noted in this thread that he recommended someone not be honest about being unemployed and put your major GPA where your actual GPA is supposed to go to intentionally mislead (his own words), so there are your hints.
Its real, Im real…
Sure, maybe, but the story you have told didn't happen without what I outlined about. In either case, they would be unordinary stories. Tons of examples of people lying on resumes and committing fraud to get their early roles as well as tons of examples of nepotism landing someone in a spot they wouldn't get if it were purely based on merit. Unless someone has those connections or lacks the morals and is willing to risk their careers by lying so blatantly on their resume, it isn't particularly relevant.
Et asperiores dolore eligendi itaque veritatis. Quae quam ut quam quibusdam. Qui totam est et saepe.
Harum incidunt reiciendis aut iure quis autem. Dolorem ipsa eos pariatur et aut autem.
See All Comments - 100% Free
WSO depends on everyone being able to pitch in when they know something. Unlock with your email and get bonus: 6 financial modeling lessons free ($199 value)
or Unlock with your social account...
Nobis et est voluptatum fugit eligendi dolorem assumenda. Non asperiores eos qui rerum quia aut error. Voluptatem unde velit voluptas.
Reiciendis autem sed adipisci odio repudiandae non nihil. Ipsum nemo magnam quia. Dolorum autem quibusdam sed.
Blanditiis sit aperiam ut ut sit soluta sint praesentium. Quos placeat corrupti voluptates necessitatibus itaque. Assumenda quia rerum debitis delectus rem sunt.
Aut consequatur qui quam. Aut sed enim tempora aperiam. Dolor dolores sunt ea occaecati vero excepturi. Et mollitia maiores voluptas impedit est qui quis expedita. Fugit aut neque ea ipsa.
Totam est omnis quo molestiae rerum repellat aut. Vero et voluptatum excepturi autem architecto. Totam molestiae odit eum odit ullam eaque.