Comments (27)

May 12, 2016

Hi Lawson, I am currently grappling with this very same question. The path you take will vary greatly depending on your preferred industry. Some industries would require an MBA and some would not. But I recon you can

  1. Start with an entry level position with a management consulting firm ( start from Business Analyst or Associate consultant to Senior Bus. Analyst or Snr Associate consultant - about 2-3 years). Then get an MBA and then transition into corporate strategy.
  2. Join a development program that will typically train you for a corporate strategy role. BlackRock, Capital One, American Express, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, etc all have 2-year entry-level programs to help you transition into corporate strategy within their respective frims.

I graduated in December 2015 and currently looking at all the above entry paths - with preference for joining a management consulting firm because their training programs prepare you start off as a generalist (exposing you to several industries) before you specialize based on industry preference. I plan to work for about 2-4 years, get an MBA, then transition into corporate strategy. Hope this helps

May 25, 2016

My limited view -- and not necessarily limited to post-consulting, but more generally:

1) Not a hard and fast rule, but incredibly helpful. You might also find domain experts here (i.e. a physician in a healthcare group, engineer in O&G etc.) But...if you're not one of those with deep technical training in your field, get the MBA...and from a top 20 or so school. I know one...ONE...person who successfully made this jump with an MBA from UPhoenix. But they are rare.

2) The few folks that I have met who have moved on from corporate strategy have taken two roads: running a business unit of key strategic value to their respective organizations or becoming a CFO/right-hand (wo)man to the CFO.

May 26, 2016

Have some good perspective on your questions, as I went from Deloitte S&O into Corp. Strategy. Not sure what your definition of "top corp. strat gigs" is, but my company is somewhere between 200-300 on the F500 and is consistently one of the top 2-3 performers in it's industry. That said, it is not in quite the same "prestige tier" as a Facebook, Google or Disney.

1) Not necessary to get an MBA to get in the door, many (maybe most?) Corp. Strategy groups hire pre-MBA analysts, with consulting firms being the biggest feeders. Companies will differ on whether you need an MBA to advance beyond a certain level, but many will let you stay without an MBA. At my company, I certainly have the option to stay and progress without an MBA, but that said, nearly everyone above the manager level has an MBA. I personally am leaving this fall to get my MBA.

2) The most common career paths after transitioning to Corp. Strategy are probably:

a) stay long term in Corp. Strategy. Depends on the company and the individual, but for many people Corp. Strategy hits the sweet spot when it comes to work/life balance, pay and attractiveness of the work. You can have a long career in Corp. Strategy and progress up the ladder to the point where you working directly with the CEO on a nearly daily basis.

b) transition into another function of the business. Have seen several people in my group work on long term projects that led to them transitioning into different functions (Finance, Marketing, even HR). Have seen less transition a P&L line management role, but that is probably particular to industry I am in.

c) Lots of more junior people also leave for MBAs or even to transition back into consulting.

May 26, 2016

I've heard the Corporate Strategy, Business Development, and Technology department at Disney does really interesting work. Essentially, they call themselves in-house strategy consultants and investment bankers. From what I've seen, ex BB ib and MBB -types have elected to work there after a top mba program. Perhaps this is something that might interest you?

I don't know too much offhand. Perhaps other people could shed some more light.


May 26, 2016

I interviewed at a top corporate strategy group out of undergrad. The group was headed up by an EVP that reported directly (and often advised) the CEO but really managed by the SVP under him. They were both former MBB partners and the group itself (I think somewhere between 30-35 people) were either MBB defects or undergrad hires.

The company had very limited recruiting and was only looking to fill 5-6 slots in the position called Strategy Analysts. The comp was maybe a hair below what MBB pays for analysts but competitive (although there is a sharp divergence as you continue along the respective career paths) and has similar placement stats to MBB for top MBA placement.

The career path looks like (2 years for analyst, 2-4 for each other stop):
Analyst->(Sponsored B-School if You Want, Not Required)->Consultant->Director->VP+

May 26, 2016
Man at Work:

The comp was maybe a hair below what MBB pays for analysts but competitive (although there is a sharp divergence as you continue along the respective career paths) and has similar placement stats to MBB for top MBA placement.

This is probably a dumb question, but which way did compensation diverge? I only ask because, from my very limited sample, it looks to me like compensation for a F500 SVP isn't wildly different from what an MBB partner makes.

May 26, 2016

Saw your post on Reddit. .

Yes you can.

May 26, 2016

Hey elpa, what a lonely thread. I'm here since nobody responded maybe one of these discussions will help:

  • Corporate Strategy Career Path Hey guys, My goal is to eventually get into a corporate strategy role. Everyone I've talked ... didn't work out for someone who wants to work in strategy one day? Thanks, I appreciate it. Financial ... Leadership Development Programs and Corporate Strategy On the matter of Financial Leadership Development ...
  • AMA- Alternative Path to F100 Corporate Strategy w/ Exit Details Took a different path to Corporate Strategy and have since exited (see below). AMA. * Grew up in ... plateau on career front for a bit, but FEELING BALANCED Corporate Strategy AMA to Friday, March 31, 2017- ... with terminal illness two weeks after starting new job. Want to move home, but can't w/o ...
  • Corporate Strategy for Financial Institutions may not fully understand what the Corporate Strategy function of a financial institution actually ... and understand the bigger picture as to how financial institutions are managed. Especially since, in ... Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe WSO is lacking a solid thread on Corporate Strategy for ...
  • AMA: S&O Consulting to Corporate Strategy to Analytics Consulting I'd like to share a bit about my path in the event anyone is interested. As a bit of background prior ... to business school I worked for a financial services data and analytics company as a product manager. ... corporate competitive strategy, and worked as part of the corporate strategy group with a focus on ...
  • AMA: Corporate Strategy Manager at F100 Entertainment Company (came from Non-MBB Management Consulting) about corporate strategy paths from non- MBB people, so I thought I'd throw my chex into the mix ... next (looking to lateral into a similar role in tech) Corporate Strategy entertainment to Friday, March ... I've been a Corporate Strategy manager at a large F100 studio (not Disney) for about a year ...
  • BIG4-----> FP&A-----> Corporate Strategy / Financial Modeling into BizDev, Corporate Strategy. Afew Questions: 1.WIthout having an MBA, would this be the best path ... to take to add to my skill set and transition to BizDev, Corporate Strategy assuming I would do very ... on strategy / analysis of business units / revenue streams. Ultimately I would want to transition .
  • Corporate Strategy vs Corporate Development described as an internal M&A team. Pay and lifestyle in corp dev are similar to corporate strategy, so ... since those financial institutions much prefer to recruit from bankers and MBA grads. It's ... towards strat, but would love to hear opinions and comments. Corporate Strategy ...
  • More suggestions...

If we're lucky, maybe these professional users will respond: @notgs @Kimble44 @Sullivank1

Hope that helps.

    • 1
May 26, 2016

CorpStrat usually hires from MBB, then IB. Anything else is rare and will depend on the company/industry.

CorpDev is mainly IB then MBB. Anything else is rare, but you might be able sneak in from an FLDP. It'll be based on having top performance reviews and being able to network your way in.

May 26, 2016

Bump- also interested.

May 26, 2016

Try to use Linkedin for this purpose. Big companies like Facebook, Airbnb always post vacancies there. Also, if you make your account attractive for such recruters, they probably will find you independently.
May 26, 2016

Do you mean adding a background to your profile?

May 26, 2016

Are you a MBA student now?

All we need is just a little patience

May 26, 2016

Worked in Pharma CorpStrat over the summer, a strong understanding of science and the current landscape is really key

Straight from the mouth of HR senior management: when all else is equal, we prefer someone with a science background

May 26, 2016

For someone working in pharma/biotech FT200 company FLDP, is it hard to transition to CorpStrat to a different firm in same industry?

May 26, 2016

Fyi: The company has been on an acquisition spree, and have got numerous acquisitions in the pipeline. Learning opportunities are plentiful, but will an interesting job scope alone be a good signal to Big 3 consulting?

May 26, 2016

you're gonna need to network

May 26, 2016

seems like a solid first job to me. that having been said, it depends on what you would consider solid. are you trying to get into banking or ER or something later? a M7 bschool? F500 bus dev or strat?

to me, it seems like a good first job if you're going to corp fin / dev route in the future. less so for IBD.

May 26, 2016
May 26, 2016