5/28/16

Phewwww, it's been a strange ride, fellas.

I would like to gloat about my recent career revelations, while hopefully providing some advice/insight to the people who read.

I have just finished up a GE-type Financial Management Program at an F100 firm with an offer for an analyst role within the company's Global M&A group.

Before coming to this company, I came out of a non-target to work at a very small HF (click on my prof to see my original post on that), but decided to leave after a year and a half. Long-story-put-very-shortly: fund was small, I was being paid shittily & wanted to grow fund, boss was happy with having fund that small, so I left. I am also on L2 of the CFA.

Although the HF didn't work out, it definitely helped me to sneak into the F100 rotational program. Side note: I highly recommend these programs; you get vast exposure in a relatively small amount of time. During my interview with the M&A team after my rotations, they were intrigued by the past experience & the CFA, which no question made me stand out amongst my peers. I will now start for the group in a couple months, working on the analysis, execution, & integration of strategic acquisitions for the company & also assisting in any divestitures of subsidiaries/businesses.

Always wanting to break into the buyside of M&A, this is a dream job for me. Although it is not PE, I actually find this to be a more appealing role. Now that I have developed ties to this company over the past couple years, I could not find anything more exciting than directly helping the firm create value like this.

But the reason I decided to post is this:
there are many avenues to get into this business, and more broadly, whatever you want to do. Sometimes, the cookie cutter path (Ivy>IBD>MBA>PE) may seem like the only one. Certainly felt that way to me at most times. But I'm here to tell you fk that st. I can also tell you that I have never had an IBD job, and have never had to work a 70-hour week, let alone those horror-story-esque 100-hour weeks you hear about.

This is very cliche, but I am going to say it anyways: work ethic, persistence, lots of patience, and a little bit of luck is really all you need to get in, and to reach any goal you're pursuing. You might need to take some "stepping-stone" jobs that you don't wanna do - trust me some of my rotations have been mind-numbing, or knuckle down on the CFA/MBA while working, but if you want it bad enough, make the most of your opportunities, and get a couple of good breaks, you can get there.

And to those people who read this and say "Yeah, that worked out for you, but it's still rare", I can happily point you to so so many similar stories on on the first page of this forum alone.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or anything. Always love giving back to the site I've utilized for so long!

Comments (25)

5/6/16

good job: I hear a lot of good things about the F100 FP&A/leadership rotation programs

Financial Modeling
5/7/16

What's the comp like if you don't mind me asking?

5/10/16

High 5 figures. The good thing about most F500s is that they provide very competitive salaries for all functions of the business, and the salary increases are consistent & are on a pretty well-defined path (increase in grade level + personal performance)

5/9/16

thanks for sharing your story

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5/9/16

In your opinion are there any FP&A/rotational programs that stand out above the rest (I know GE's is supposed to be pretty good)? Or is it generally pretty comparable across the say, top 100 or whatever? Thanks for sharing.

5/10/16

GE is definitely the standard-bearer for these programs. But virtually every F100 does one now and I've heard from friends at other companies who have been through these (including a friend in the GE one) and they all seem very comparable.

5/9/16

Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on the great landing role!

Can you share a bit about the rotations you had during the program. Did those come into play as you landed the M&A role, or was your HF/L2 background enough to get you in that interview?

5/10/16

The rotations are pretty wide ranging across anything related to finance. In my program, they try and get you into 3 different areas: a financial reporting / planning role, accounting-based role, and a "specialty" role. The specialty roles are more strategy-based (think something like competitive intelligence and market analysis for business segments). The accounting roles generally suck, but it does have its value in seeing the company's day-to-day financial operations work & how it manages its P&L & Balance Sheet.

I was able to hit all 3 of those areas and really enjoyed most of what they entail. The best part of the program in my opinion is that you get spread about the company from being in roles that give you experience looking at the company as a whole, to working in a particular business unit/segment and seeing how the company actually brings dollars in the door.

The rotations came somewhat into play for the M&A role, but not much as you only have so much influence into what rotation you get into. The CFA L2 was definitely the biggest differentiator, much more so than the HF background.

Financial Modeling
5/9/16

As someone going into a CF internship with a long-term goal of going into corp dev, this is very encouraging! Thank you for posting.

If you had the chance, would you have gone into a FLDP right out of undergrad?

5/10/16

This is a tough question for me because there's value in both. Starting right out of undergrad, it definitely gives you a great base when starting out your career. I can certainly say that every person coming out of the program is well-ahead of their comparable peers who have just been doing one job in the company.
But coming in after some work experience was great in the sense because I knew what I wanted to develop and, in my opinion, had much more refined goals going into the program than the other people in the program. Plus, I think it gave me a leg-up performance-wise since I had worked FT before and know what's expected from managers.

5/9/16

To what extent does the Corp Dev/M&A team work with Corp Strat

5/10/16

I have yet to start the role, but from what I gleaned from the managers during the interviews, I would say very closely. From what I learned in the interview, it seems to work like this:
Corp strategy basically identifies the key things different parts of the business are looking for in a possible acquisition.
M&A works with IBankers to source potential targets.
If Corp Strat / business segment execs likes one of the targets, M&A then begins to vet, do its due diligence, valuations, etc.
M&A and Corp Strat then puts deal together
Executives (CEO, CFO, Business segment exec, etc.) then make final decision
If the company is bought, M&A assists in the integration

Just note I could be wrong in this line of thinking because I haven't actually worked in the group yet. But this is what was told to me.

5/9/16

Do you mind sharing a bit about why and when did you get your level 1 and 2 of CFA? Thank you!

5/10/16

Originally started doing it when I was working at a HF. Just decided to continue when i moved into the F100 because I enjoyed the coursework and knew it can definitely come in handy down the road in my career. I can say it is somewhat applicable to anything in finance, especially the accounting stuff. But the constant problem-solving mindset that the CFA helps you to cultivate is highly valuable in anything you will do, in my opinion.

5/9/16

Well done. Sounds like you actually enjoy what you do and are probably compensated nicely for it to boot. I also had a nontraditional path (into PE), and I'm at a smaller firm where I get lots of exposure to senior-level decision-making while not being ground to a pulp like I would be at a megafund. The prestige definitely isn't always worth it!

5/10/16

Congratulations! I had an non-typical entry into Corp Dev (where I've been for almost 3 years now) and it has been great experience. Nice thing about corporate M&A is the exposure to many different stakeholders internally and externally. On an average day I may interact with mutliple departmental VPs (ex. operations, insurance, finance, accounting), C-suite execs, bankers, seller management, lawyers, etc. Lot's of exposure and if your efforts will be noticed. Good luck!

5/11/16

Thanks! That sounds like a great experience. I hope mine will be similar to that. Getting that exposure is invaluable.

5/10/16

Congrats! thanks for sharing!

5/20/16

That's great new and very inspirational to those of us looking to make similar transitions. Thanks for sharing! That said, any recommendations on which fldps are worth pursuing for someone with a few years out of school? It looks like GE wants undergrad students. Congrats again!

5/24/16

I can't necessarily speak to other FMPs, but for mine they were more than welcome to have people of all ages & backgrounds join. We had a couple guys in their late twenties and even a 30+ year old in the program. Recruiters just wanted people with the best potential to succeed. My advice would be to apply to any of the ones youre interested. You have a much more unique story to bring to the interview than any undergrad.

Also, many of the F100s have rotational programs for post-MBA students, which give unreal exposure to the company and basically put you in a management position once you're done with it.

5/20/16

Congrats on the gig! I have a similar background (not working at a HF though), considering a change, and am curious how you went about finding the F100 rotational? Recruiters, school, job sites? I've looked on some company sites and its hard to find tangible leads greater than generic brochures. I am now three years out of school and am just wondering if I would need to make a giant step and possibly relocate/start fresh for something like that..

5/24/16

I can give you my experience, but it might be unique: I was looking for a new job, had a couple of friends that worked for the F100 in various functions across the company. They were able to "refer" me through their internal job posting site. I was lucky in that while I was skimming the job board, the FMP role had just come out because someone had dropped out of the program and it needed to be filled ASAP. FYI - I did not have move at all. My gig at the F100 was closer than my HF job from my apt.

So those two things helped. But what also helped was that the F100 has a big relationship with my alma mater (in the same city, some big whigs in the company graduated from the school, thus they recruit a lot from there). Definitely look for any of those avenues and scour all of their job boards. Unlike a BB, your experience will at least get you a phone screen via an online job app most of the time.

5/31/16

Thanks man! You got some good info in here

5/28/16

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