Leave well-known MM ER firm after 2-4 months for new VC firm?

Hi everyone, I am using a throwaway for this post for obvious reasons....

I am trying to figure out whether I should leave a brand-name MM firm where I just started doing ER for a role in a new VC firm. Here is a quick synopsis of my background & position:

My background:
- 2 yrs exp in consulting (Tier 2 firm, slight problem with name recognition)
- PhD from top-tier school
- 2 months into MM firm ER role (well-recognized name) - would be 3 by the time I was to switch roles
- Sr. Analyst recruited me into this position and I like working with him
- End game was always to get into VC, then either stay in VC or switch to Corp Dev/Strategy (if VC could not provide the work-life balance I needed when I had a family)

New VC Associate Position:
- Fairly new VC firm, small but pretty solid team w/ good track record
- >$400M in deployable funds
- Pay would probably be significantly higher (+25-35% along w/ higher base-to-bonus ratio)
- Located in lower cost-of-living city, also my dream city to settle down in

This new position is essentially a dream spot for me but two things are holding me back. 1) I don't want to dick over the Sr. Analyst and 2) coming from a lesser known consulting firm with solid exp, I was hoping to get a brand name on my resume that would bolster my career prospects. I am not sure how much damage I am doing to my future job prospects by not having a brand-name role for a lengthy period if I had to get another job after this specific VC role ended.

Would love some perspective on this. Thank you and apologies for the lengthy post!

TLDR: working at brand-name MM ER for 2-3 months, should I switch to dream role in VC?

Comments (7)

Aug 16, 2018

I think you've already answered this question in your head, and you're just nervous. Even outside of you saying how much you like the role, it sounds like an incredible opportunity. Frankly, when I hear somebody is at a 400M VC fund, I think more highly of them than MM ER 100% of the time. If your end goal was to work for a HF, maybe ER may make sense to stay in and hold off until you land something, but if you want to get into VC (which, from what I can tell, seems like a great field to be in), then just go for it.

Don't worry so much about brand. Take some risk. The worst outcome is the fund blows up and you just have to work really hard to recruit for a few months. But I would snatch somebody up with a VC fund that blew up (assuming they didn't cause the failure) pretty quickly for interesting early stage company jobs, fundraising jobs, maybe another VC fund, etc.

    • 2
Aug 16, 2018

I completely agree with you on this, its a good opportunity that aligns with well with his goals. Might as well take a shot if its going to be long term.

Most Helpful
Aug 16, 2018

I'm assuming you already have the offer from the VC firm? Honestly it looks like it checks all the boxes for where you want to take your career. Also, VC roles don't just come up everyday... smaller teams can often hire with a particular type of candidate in mind to round out their team's skill sets (e.g. "we're a bunch of ex-founders of startups, and we are looking at B2B, let's bring in someone that has some background in finance/corporates who knows financial services sector"). So there's no telling whether the next place that hires is interested in your profile (or that you'd beat out the other candidates), and many like to explore candidates with recommendations/ warm intros from friends/ex colleagues.

Starting at a new fund that's decently sized is a great opportunity to help grow the team. While leaving w/o at least a year into a role is not ideal, this is something that is well aligned with your goals (less a stepping stone and more a potential long term play). As for having a brand name or not... if the team with the new VC is solid, and you get great exposure to the startup ecosystem and VC process from start to finish, I wouldn't worry too much about your prospects at future VC firms. Having the prior experience (and good personal reputation in the startup & VC community) is what matters.

Just be very respectful when you tell your Sr analyst. No matter how you break this to him he's not going to be pleased. But offer to take on more workload or anything that could be helpful.

    • 4
Aug 16, 2018

@GolfClubSpot and @kanon - Thank you so much for your feedback! From my understanding, it is essentially a done deal. I have gone through many rounds of interviews & assessments (5 out of 6 completed). Since I have interviewed with everyone at the firm, taken multiple (1 to 3 hour long) psychometric evaluations, completed a large casing study, I assuming this last round is a final "meet & greet" to make sure everything is in check (which I could obviously blow up, but low chance).

From everything that you and @GolfClubSpot said, this opportunity seems like its too good to pass up even if it does mean burning a bridge. I want to be in VC but I didnt know that it was actually pretty rare to find new funds with >$400M to deploy, so its good to know that the firm is already performing above average for a new firm. And it also does help that you both think that my career prospects wouldn't necessarily be hindered by this, since it was a big worry of mine. Thank you guys again for the informative feedback!

Aug 28, 2018

Sure thing! Excited for you to take on this new opportunity. Best of luck!

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Aug 16, 2018

I wish I could offer advice, but I am curious as to what Tier 2 firm you were a consultant at. I am considering a move from Big4 audit to Tier 2 TS and I am worried about a potential resume hit. DM me if you are interested in sharing.

Aug 16, 2018