A Tale of 3 Offers: What should I consider?

Looking for Life Advice - Dear WSO Fountain of Wisdom, I need your help to tell me what it is that I might not be thinking about when considering three main job options that I am likely to be faced with soon. Given that I'm in Australia, and the market is smaller and consolidated, you'll see that the options are quite varied.


Former U.S. Army Captain (5 yrs), knocked out an MBA from a top 5 European Business School, and have been working at MBB Consulting (anonymity) for nearly 2 years as a post-MBA Consultant. 30 Y.O.

Current Situation:

I've been getting good traction from recruiters in the direct investment space and have been interviewing across Australia for a couple months. I'm ready to pull the rip cord on consulting and am now faced with some interesting options as I wrap up interviews.

Option 1: Mid-Cap PE firm w/ portfolio improvement focus (Associate)

Primarily hire ex-tier 1 Consultants because they have a strong focus on not only being part of the 'deal team' but also playing a very active role--in a consulting sense-- with the operational improvements of the company. It's a ground-level Associate role, but get exposure to carried interest with opportunities (given its mid-cap) to play a role on boards very early in career. Probably similar pay as Consulting with bigger upside down the track 5-6 years. Feels relatively corporate and can forsee it as being a hard grind. Definitely a pure 'office job'.

Option 2: Venture Capital firm with Crowd-funding investment platform (Ambiguous Role Title)

This company has grown fairly rapidly. To be honest, this is more relationship/sales role. I'd basically be managing the two-sided market: 1) Spreading awareness to ventures seeking funding, screen them, and then post on the platform to get exposure to crowd funding; and 2) Manage relationships and exposure with HNWI where I can present to them a selection of companies that they can buy into. There would be some DD, but mostly relationships. Kicker Similar comp to Consulting but will also receive ~$500k of interest free loan to invest in the ventures as a way of 'getting skin in the game'. Super chill working environment, international travel, and exposure to cool new companies, ideas, and trends.

Option 3: Young VC fund focusing on investments with social/environmental impact (Associate)

Associate role where I'd due DD and assessments on potential VC investments. The objective is to achieve strong financial returns with deep social/environmental impact (think a lot of 'share economy'-type investments). The working environment is fairly close to ideal (very laid-back community, fairly casual attire, no 'work face' for the office, near the beach). However, because they are sub-scale (but growing) at the moment, I'd be taking a significant haircut on salary initially with the expectation that I'd get exposure to carried interest (but off a low base).

This leads to the natural question, "what do I want" out of a job if I could make a unicorn role

What do I want (personally):

  • Income that in time could get to $600k/p.a.
  • Prefer to be relationship-driven rather than purely an Excel Monkey
  • Lead people/projects rather than pontificate
  • Work towards something I believe in, which for me, is addressing climate change through responsible investment
  • Feel content at work--and no, not fairies and pixie dust-- but rather makes the day feel like "that was a decent day at work" versus "check phone at 5:30AM for emails, groan "I hate my life" and then take the train in where you stare into the abyss of your screen until Midnight."

Each of these three options have their own pluses and minuses and none of them are bad.

However, what am I not considering, over-playing, under-weighting, etc.?

Comments (12)

Sep 4, 2016 - 8:40am

I have a final round from Option 1; Verbal and/or written offers from Options 2 & 3.

Sep 5, 2016 - 3:42pm

You answered your question yourself. You wrote the most about number 2 because you're the most excited for it. Run with it. Enjoy it, seems to fit what you want to a T.

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95
Best Response
Sep 6, 2016 - 10:16am

3 is out for me. There's a lot of VC firms out there and the social impact investing isn't something that sounds lucrative down the line. Also, big returns usually come from the big name funds so working at a scrappy startup fund in a bad space is going to make it tough for you to hit big returns anytime soon. The only fit would be that it aligns with your personal interests and what you want to do, but overall this is a pass for me.

2 sounds unique and pretty sick overall. It blends a mix of decent comp, intriguing work, and some travel. With the ability to put money into the startups which is even better because that essentially makes you an angel investor into these companies. This one is slightly less conventional, but I think it makes sense to blaze your own trail and you might get some great opportunities from the travel and investing and working with a variety of startups.

1 doesn't sound bad either. It will definitely be the safer option and it will also give you good opportunities to move around within PE if you do well. PE is much tougher to get into than VC so even just establishing yourself for a few years would be useful if you want to stay in the PE world for the long run. This will also put you on the surest path to your 600k comp goal, even though I don't think that should be a deciding factor.

Overall I'd go with 1/2 depending on what you want. 2 probably aligns better with your investing goals and lifestyle choices whereas 1 will align better with your $$ goals and for getting great leadership/operating experience.

I guess if I were you, I'd give the slight nod to 2 but it really depends on your risk tolerance and your gut feeling on each opportunity.

Sep 7, 2016 - 12:16am

Option #1:
1. "play a role on boards very early in career" – Sounds like an interesting opportunity if this is actually true.
2. Senior Associate or Associate? Partner track this late in your career (being a 30 YO associate verse senior associate is a big sticking point).

Option #2:
1. Does the platform compete with Angellist and/or Kickstarter? What is the differentiation? The only crowd funding VC platform I know of that is doing well is Angellist (equity stakes).

Option #3:
1. I'm in the Bay Area and "Impact/Social Investing" is becoming very very crowded. Tier1 VC's are now in the social/impact space for top deals.

Social Capital: http://venturebeat.com/2016/09/05/saildrone-raises-14-million-to-captur…

DBL Investors: Tesla, SolarCity, etc

  1. Very hard to place money depending on the required IRR.
  2. The big issue with social investing is that lateralling to another "quality" opportunity is nearly impossible if things don't work out (partner).

I'd take option #1 all day long. You could do two years as a PE associate and lateral into option #2 or #3 at a higher role closer to partner. If you take #2 or #3, you're going to have a hard time finding quality opportunities if things don't work out. Making $600k/year at option #2 or #3 is not going to be very easy if possible at all.

Sep 7, 2016 - 2:12pm
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