Career Crossroad Ahead

Currently, I'm working at a T2 in a tech consulting role. I'm also pursuing CFA designation on the side and following Financial News. I'm in a unique position where I can pursue finance, strategy consulting or even exit to tech industry in 1-2 years. I don't like half-assing anything and I don't want to split my focus by preparing for more than one of these career paths at the same time. I think regardless of where I go, I'll continue my reading/interest in corporate finance & financial markets. With that said, here are the career paths I COULD consider 1-2 years down the line. 

Finance Career Path - "Finance" is pretty broad, so I'll narrow the focus to two roles: Financial Advisory positions at Big 4 consulting shops and PE Consulting Positions (Strategy Side OR Restructuring Side) at PE Consulting shops/arms. 

Strategy Consulting Career Path - There are few firms that deal in strategy consulting now a days since the trend (and money) is moving to execution and implementation, but I'd still argue that Non-Big 4 Consulting Firms have pure strategy roles. The roles in consideration would be lateral positions at the generalist Analyst or Consultant level. 

Technology Career Path - Technology is consider the gold standard for exit ops from consulting, and most consulting shops have in-house training/resources to upskill in tech, whether that's systematic thinking, picking up coding languages, or concepts/certifications like Cloud Ops and Architecture. The roles in consideration would range from "Business & Strategy Operations Analyst" roles and "(Associate) Product Management" Roles at Non-FAANG companies.

Now, I understand all three of these pathways are both vastly different in lifestyle, skills, work and similar in that they all pull from the same core skillset. So I'd like to open the discussion to people in or around the roles I mentioned to gain perspective. Am I way off or am I missing something?

What I'm looking for in work: 

  • Opportunity to grow/learn and progress, I don't want to find myself in a firm in which I'm doing the bare minimum or don't see myself learning/improving

  • Medium hours at 60-70 on average (as a ceiling), I've closed off IB path because the lifestyle is not for me

  • Now I'll get some flak for this, but I'd like to work as close to finance without working crazy hours (80-100 hour work weeks) [Not a Deal Breaker]

Tl;dr - Tech, Strategy, or Finance: where should I exit in 1-2 years? What am I missing/not considering?

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Comments (2)

Most Helpful
Oct 9, 2021 - 5:39pm

Financial advisory and PE consulting will not run you over 60 hours a week ever so that's a big plus for these roles (as opposed to IB)

You mention you like keeping up with the markets but these "finance" roles you're interested in don't really have any aspect of engaging with the public markets at all. It's much more due diligence and transaction based (similar to IB but more of a second-opinion based service rather than being the one to pull in the deals and pitch M&A work).

That said, most people use financial advisory (at Big 4 for example) or PE consulting as a stepping stone. Very few stay in the industry long-term since the work is not very cerebral or interesting and you don't get the glamor or high compensation as an investment banker. As you'd think, many financial advisory consultants exit to IB or Corp Dev and very few break into PE (still doable though).

If you're interested in public markets, I'd recommend looking into Equity Research, Capital Markets, or Sales & Trading, which are much more in tune with public markets. The hours also tend to be less than IB with still great pay at the senior and junior levels.

In terms of the other 2 paths, I don't have much input but the WLB will be better than finance all else equal

  • Associate 3 in Consulting
Oct 11, 2021 - 9:53pm

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