3/19/17

AMA

Took a different path to Corp Strat and have since exited (see below).

  • Grew up in suburb of tier 2 US city
  • Underachieved in HS - B student (generous), ~1200 SAT, lazy
  • Pretty good at basketball, helped me get into top 20 college - WHEW
  • OMG COLLEGE - GIRLS, DRINKING, etc
  • SHIT - almost failed out... <2.0 GPA after 3 semesters, no one to blame but myself
  • Cleaned up last 5 semesters - 3.7 GPA during that period, started a small company ($10k in revenue), got two okay IT internships
  • Graduated during recession. (Luckily) landed econ consulting gig at a small firm in a crappy city - WHEW. Only pays $35k, but whatever, it's a job
  • SHIT - Dad diagnosed with terminal illness two weeks after starting new job. Want to move home, but can't w/o a paycheck (student loans)
  • YIPEE - got a new job at a niche consulting firm in my hometown a few weeks later; lived at home during last few months of Dad's life - important time
  • Promoted twice, on partner track, but consulting sucks and I'm only making $65k right now - F that - leave for Product Management role at F100 company
  • Got engaged to college sweetheart; won all expenses paid wedding via website contest - LET'S GOOOOOO
  • Not in consulting = lots of free time: took the GMAT, CRUSHED (mid 700s)
  • Lots of free time (part 2): volunteered for org that fights against terminal illness my Dad had, led event that raised $500k - FEELING GOOD
  • Got promoted after a year - now making $90k all-in
  • Applied to 3 MBA programs in R1 - 1 of H/S/W - ding; 1 of B/K/S - ding; 1 outside top 30 (one year program) - FULL RIDE; scholarship feels great, but getting denied by 2 of the m7 STINGS (still does)
  • Excited about b-school, focused on academics/career not social. Got offer from corp strat group from the same F100 I had been working for - BIG TIME LEVEL UP - $150k salary+bonus and $20k signing
  • Promoted after 18 months - $175k salary+bonus - only ~45-50 hrs/wk - feels good
  • OOPS - accidentally got my wife pregnant; ECSTATIC, but some PANIC - need to leave our city apt., find house, get daycare, etc.
  • Month 8 of pregnancy - get Director level job offer at F500 in small city (pop<500k) very close to wife's family - $140k salary+bonus - lower cost of living, but EGO hit - take it anyway - push start date 6 months out
  • BABY'S BORN - WOW - INCREDIBLE - TRULY THE BEST THING EVER
  • Baby's four months old - moved to new city, bought a house, full kitchen reno + cosmetic fixes - INSANE, SO STUPID, SO TIRED, NEVER AGAIN
  • Today: I'm 30, baby's 1, Grandma daycare saves $$, settled in new city & job, 9-5 schedule allows for lots of time with baby - probably plateau on career front for a bit, but FEELING BALANCED

Comments (10)

3/16/17

Sounds like the American Dream!

Financial Modeling

3/17/17

I'm extremely grateful for the way things turned out, but I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Hopefully I can help my children avoid them when they're navigating their 20s...

3/16/17

Firstly, congrats - sounds like you are in a good spot and handled the curve balls pretty well.

Secondly - how did you transition from Consulting to Product Management? Is it possible for someone with an IB skill set to make that transition?

3/17/17

Thanks very much. Feeling good about where I'm at now. Pretty proud of how I handled the curve balls, but, at the same time, a lot of them were self-inflicted problems. Can't change the past.

That particular Product Management group was did a lot of quantitative work, so I emphasized my Math undergrad degree and some models I built as part of my start-up company. That message resonated well.

No doubt in my mind that someone in IB can transition into Product Management. It's all about how you spin your experience.

Honestly, being able to spin/sell my story as a candidate has been the most valuable skill I've acquired over my career...when you graduate in 2009 from a non-target with $100k in debt and have a <3.0 GPA, it becomes a necessary one...

For every interview, I answer these four questions:

  1. Why do you want to work in this industry? (3 reasons)
  2. Why do you want to work for this company? (3 reasons)
  3. Why do you want to work for this department? (3 reasons)
  4. Why are you the perfect candidate for this role? (5 reasons, taken directly from the job description with examples to back each of them up)

If you answer those four in a compelling way (and adequately prep for behavioral interviews), you will do just fine.

Best Response
3/16/17

Hey- Thanks for doing this AMA.
My background: Good GPA at a no-name Liberal Arts school. Landed a FLDP at a F100 Company. First rotation (current) is in Program Finance. It's not my favorite, but I'm learning a lot.

My company offers a rotation through Corporate Strategy. This seems like an amazing opportunity since most people can only get into Corp Strat post-MBA. Ideally, I'd like to stay in Corp Strat after my FLDP is over. Mine is a 3 year, 3 rotation program.

Currently, no one in my program is going to apply for the Corp Strat role for this coming rotation (stating this summer). If I apply, it's mine for the taking as my 2nd role. BUT, I'd have to do something else for my 3rd rotation and I'd have to leave Corp Strat and then try to come back off-program.

OR, I can do a different role for this coming rotation (probably FP&A), get more experience, do Corp Strat for my 3rd and final rotation, and then try to stay after the FLDP ends. The advantage to this is that I'll have more experience prior to starting Corp Strat, so I'll be able to do better in the role and increase my chances of staying. Also, I will not have to move once the program is over- I can continue in the role. The disadvantage is that unlike this year, there might be competition for the role in the future, so I might miss out on it. The other disadvantage is that there is no guarantee that they'll offer a Corp Strat role when its time to pick my 3rd rotation.

Do you have any guidance? Should I take the role for this year because it's mine for the taking? or wait for my 3rd rotation because that fits the ideal "plan" better?

3/17/17

Congrats on the F100 FLDP - that's a great place to start out.

I would wait for the 3rd rotation. As you mentioned above, you'll likely perform better, and it is a much easier transition to just stay on board.

Yes, there could be more competition, but if you can't beat out your FLDP counterparts for a rotation spot, there's little chance you would have been able to land a full-time role in the group anyhow....

If it were me, I would reach out to the corp strat person assigned to managing this upcoming rotation and discuss your plan candidly. Good networking opportunity, and I'm sure they'd be open to it given the lack of interest in the rotation. Also, they will have more context (e.g., are you sure they will be offering a rotation next cycle?) and can give better guidance than a stranger on the internet.

Good luck!

3/17/17

Thanks for doing the AMA and congrats on your success!

If you don't mind sharing, what industries were the F100/F500? Was your consulting gig covering the same industry? If not how did you pivot to the PM role aside from your quantitative skills?

3/17/17

Thanks very much!

F100 & F500 are both insurance companies. My consulting role never did any work in the insurance space - we did marketing analytics for F500 CPG and Retail clients.

Aside from the quant skills, I played up presentation, stakeholder communication, and project management skills.

3/17/17

wow interesting story thanks for sharing

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

3/20/17
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