Left Top IB Due To Burnout For Corp Dev Just To Pay Rent But VC Is The Ultimate Goal, Thoughts On My Situation?

Hi guys, so I did only 8 months at a Qatalyst / CVP / Evercore / Moelis (was mega sweaty was averaging 115 hour weeks for 2.5 months straight, would wake up and work every single Saturday and Sunday til 1 A.M  and I just had to get out). I know it is really bad that I only did 8 months, but ultimately left as soon as I got my first offer - a corp dev / m&a strategy role at an $8bn Unicorn / Private company that pays really well.


My goal is to get into VC. I took the corp dev job just to be able to pay bills to be honest in NYC. I did not want to recruit months for VC being unemployed. 


My question is - I know it is kind of scummy to be recruiting and being open to leaving this new job asap (I literally started a week ago), but how do I frame this? On my resume/interviews  do I even include I am working at a new corp dev gig? Or just tell them I left banking for burnout and am thinking of next steps in my career right now?


I feel like interviewers will say like you started this new job just now, why are you wanting to leave so quick?  It also probably makes me look bad, that I am so fresh and want to leave already and the VC fund will assume I will do the same to them. Thoughts appreciated. 

 

I'd definitely stay at least 1-2 years before looking for another opportunity to avoid raising questions on your resume. But will defer to someone more senior or who went through VC recruiting. VC is also in a drought so waiting it out for better opportunities in '25/'26 might make the most sense anyway.

 
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Obligatory I do not work FT in Venture, but I am on a Corp Dev team with a Venture Arm, so perhaps somewhat well positioned to provide a perspective. 

First and foremost, don't beat yourself up over leaving banking after 8 months, especially if it was as sweaty as you are letting on. More importantly, start to craft your story behind why the role wasnt the right fit. Also, craft your answer depending on who you interview with. If you are talking to an ex-banker now in VC, you cant say you left due to hours. You could say however, that while you didn't expect to leave IBD so quickly, you fell into a really exciting Corp Dev role that allowed you to build out your investor skillset as soon as possible. I know mature M&A and VC are not the same, I know that, but as someone who evaluates both types of opportunities, Corp Dev (M&A, not strategy, not FP&A), is much closer to VC than banking. I.E., say you thought this skillset would better prepare you to understand equity investing, and that it allowed you to face new challenges that you thought might make you better positioned for VC roles.

Second, whether or not you should network now is a very tough question. If you network now, the answer above goes out the window. I was once like you, and thought any moment in the role I didn't want was a waste, and felt a strong urge to get where I wanted to be ASAP. But if you are open to it, consider spending just one year in Corp Dev, while you build a strong network and pipeline with VC firms. While the market is shit, lay the foundation, and schedule as many coffee chats as you can. Then, one year from now, you may find that your network offers up an opportunity, or at the very least, youll be better positioned to take a VC role. I think if you started to try and recruit for VC now, you wouldn't make much traction and would come off as an untrustworthy job hopper. 

Lastly, as someone who does buyouts and VC, I found something I never expected, I prefer Corp Dev to VC investing. The skillsets are quite different, and as are the challenges faced, so I would encourage you to try and make the best of a bad situation, and give the Corp Dev role a shot. Corp Dev is as broad a term as PE, so some roles are captivating and enticing, while others are brutal. I don't know what your environment is like, but there is a decent chance you work with sharp folks and may be well positioned to learn a lot. Do not underestimate this opportunity. If six months from now you hate the role / team / experience, double down on building your VC pipeline. 

One last piece of advice, take a deep breath and try and remember that 1-2 years in Corp Dev will not kill (or likely even impact) your chances of landing a VC role. You are out of the brutal sweaty IBD environment, so spend a few months taking care of yourself, rebuilding your relationships, and critically thinking about why you want VC so bad. 

 

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