How to get out of corporate finance

Hi everyone, 

I have been with an F10 company for about a year now as an "analyst". The problem lies in the fact that the accounting component of this role was vastly understated during interviewing. I am trying to get out of CF and go into consulting or even another CF role that has more opportunities to break into CS/BD.  I feel as my wheels are turning here and would hope some of you with some pertinent insight could PM me or reply.

Thanks you all !

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Comments (17)

Sep 2, 2020 - 7:56pm

I'm not as experienced as some other members on WSO, but if you have a good brand name, possibly consider MBA route in a year? The economy isn't too great right now, so switching would be difficult. MBA allows for you to re-recruit for consulting at the associate level.

Sep 2, 2020 - 8:40pm

Of course. I am in the O&G Industry so the outlook is even bleaker now than it was even 3 months ago. I am a financial analyst at one of the majors and would rather not transfer internally since it is an extremely difficult process and moreover I would like to leave the industry as a whole. Just wondering what the best steps are to not only get out of this position but to land on a track that leads to some more interesting work with likely better exit opportunities attached.  

Sep 3, 2020 - 4:24am

The other majors may have more opportunity/flexibility then your current F10. If you are in HTX you could have your pick. Try and lateral now, or after your first promotion. 

Consulting is probably a non-starter, really need an MBA to get that reset. How hard have you networked internally to move? Probably the fastest way to change your circumstances without downgrading your brand name.

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Sep 4, 2020 - 6:42am

Corporate finance is the area of finance that deals with sources of funding, the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize or increase shareholder value.

Correspondingly, corporate finance comprises two main sub-disciplines.Capital budgeting is concerned with the setting of criteria about which value-adding projects should receive investment funding, and whether to finance that investment with equity or debt capital. Working capital management is the management of the company's monetary funds that deal with the short-term operating balance of current assets and current liabilities; the focus here is on managing cash, inventories, and short-term borrowing and lending.

Sep 4, 2020 - 9:57pm

FP&A is not bad for ~2 years, however, it eventually gets old. Also, as a result of reforecasting and monthly close processes, there are several days a month where you will be working late. I recently transitioned from a Strategy & FPA role at a start-up to a CS/BD role in a completely diff industry. Happy to answer any questions you have via private messaging. I do have previous IB experience. 

Sep 4, 2020 - 1:44pm

With only a year of experience under your belt in a more accounting-focused corp finance role, I don't think the transition to IB would be feasible, especially in the current job market. I understand you likely want to leave the company and industry all together, so I would recommend you look to transition to an FP&A or Strategic Finance role in a desirable company in an industry that you like.

Sep 4, 2020 - 4:54pm

As of now I only really see three options:

  • If there's opportunity, keep working at your current role especially if there's a good brand name until you get promoted and then use your experience / track record to get into a solid MBA program and rebrand for consulting, IB, etc.
  • Since you'd prefer to not transfer internally switch externally to a different corporate finance role that has a more strategic side to it
  • Transfer to a role at a company that has fluid internally movement (i.e., there are opportunities for you to transfer to more corporate strategy, etc. roles)

Apart from that, transitioning out of corporate finance to one of the roles you described is going to be pretty tough. 

If you want to get into IB / consulting specifically though, you'll probably need to get an MBA to rebrand yourself. To me it's the path of least resistance. Going to IB is tough / near impossible if you're not coming from a more traditional background (e.g., corp dev, IB internships, PE, transaction advisory, etc.). Even breaking into a small boutique from corporate finance probably won't happen. 

That being said I'd recommend sitting down and honing in your goals a little bit. Consulting, IB, corp strategy, and business development are pretty different in terms of how to break in and it might be better to really focus on 1-2 that interest you. I think that'll help direct your focus on a couple of paths, which will lead to better results versus shotgunning yourself out there as a candidate. Just my opinion though. 

Most Helpful
Sep 7, 2020 - 12:14am

I think the largest issue you have is the focus in industry in O&G. That being said, being early in your career it won't be impossible breaking-in elsewhere.

As it stands, I would do the following:

1) Continue working at your firm, try and reach out to managers to get more financial/strategy related work and build as many skills as possible early on.

2) Use your university network and see which firms are still actively hiring and try and build some rapport with them. For most BD/CF roles it's not hugely dependent on prestige rather grind/understanding the industry (mostly tech related)

*CS/CD roles are a bit tougher here because these typically look for exits from banking or consulting

If this pathway doesn't work, don't beat yourself up. It's Covid season and still quite a crunched market. Continue doing step 1 and keep up the networking externally. If things don't shape up your worst out is going for an MBA. Given most people's costs in Covid, it shouldn't be too hard to save something up for an MBA in the future should that be the reality.

Hope it helps.

Sep 14, 2020 - 3:22pm

As other posters have stated don't beat yourself up over this, you are in a better situation then you might think. The F10 brand name will gives you a lot of options in terms of recruiting and you now know what questions to ask before taking your next role. Good news is you've already completed a year at the firm so nobody will look down on you for "jumping ship" and working in the O&G sector most will understand why you would be looking for a change.

If i were you, I would hit the networking hard. Reach out to friends at companies you are interested and ask if they will refer you. If you are working in the same region as your undergrad there should be plenty of alumni in the area, don't be afraid to hit them up. Use this time to really try and hammer down what interests you from an industry perspective and actual work perspective. 

Reach out to the local recruiters in your city and see if they have any roles that interest you. Smaller firms that don't have dedicated HR departments will often times use staffing agencies to fill CF roles.   

Also, you are to early in your career to be thinking MBA. Just continue to work hard at your current firm and do some networking you will land something.

Sep 22, 2020 - 9:49pm

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