Megafund PE -> Impact Investing (IFC World Bank)? Am I Crazy?
I wanted to get a second opinion on my next potential career move.
Personal background: Graduated from top target 2 years ago, went to a megafund (BX / KKR / Carlyle) out of college, been here since. Right now I work with top tier talent on smart deals, and make decent bank...but I just don't think what I do is purposeful or helpful to the world at all. Sometimes borderline harmful. My hours are also pretty tough (although at 80-90 probably not the worst you've heard of - still painful though).
In another life, I like to think I would've done the Peace Corps or something but then Wharton happened to me. For some time now, I've been eyeing a transition to impact PE at a international institution like IFC (World Bank) / EIB / ADB / CDC. I'm very late in the interview process at several of these places and expecting an offer very soon. It seems exactly what I want on paper - using PE to deliver economic development to places that need it.
But a few things are making me quite wary:
My peers (other PE/IB analysts) are telling me I'm literally insane to take a 30%+ paycut and "brand dilution" to do a less exciting and more bureaucratic 9-5, when the alternative is to keep my resume "pure" by recruiting for a tiger cub hedge fund and making mid/high six-digits. Quite frankly I think the pay/WLB trade-off is great at the junior level.
When I speak to people working at these places, they do seem a little surprised to have someone like me so enthusiastic about joining
When I look at people who have come through these places, a ton of them seem like they go to a top B-School and re-recruit for the private sector (PE / Tech / Consulting) instead of staying in impact investing. Not sure if this means everyone just uses this role to craft a cool MBA admissions story, or if people are genuinely enthusiastic about the mission at first and then become disillusioned.
My questions are:
Am I actually crazy for considering this? Is it crazy to be contrarian about this whole "Harvard -> GS -> KKR -> HBS" prestige-whore track my friends are all attempting? My thesis is: there has to be a point where we have to get sick and tired of proving ourselves for cash and recognition, and I'd rather reach that point in my mid-20s than my late-30s when I'm cuffed to deferred comp and have lost all my personality and dreams. But at the same time I'm very scared that I'll be sad and wrong when it's all said and done.
If it turns out to be the wrong decision and I head to B-School to path-correct, would a place like IFC on my resume hurt or help my chances at a top MBA (H/S/W)? If I want to return to traditional PE post-MBA, would this stint hurt me, notwithstanding the fact I have 2 years at a top megafund already?
Do you think these places actually help the world, and if you know people who do this kind of work, do they seem to find it meaningful?
Thanks a ton.