MF PE offer vs Startup BizOps/Strategy Role

Currently an analyst in a top group (PJT RSSG/GS TMT) who likes banking but does not want to stay in finance long term and has more of an interest in startups/entrepreneurship.

Received a off-cycle MF PE offer but also a BizOps/Strategy role at a rapidly growing Series A startup. 

Obviously, comp is no comparison but if I want to do entrepreneurship in the future which will set me up better in the long run. I cant help but feel that these startup opportunities will always come but I have 1 shot to do MF PE to get that stamp on my resume. Am I thinking about this wrong?

Comments (35)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 11, 2022 - 4:03pm

This is completely true, does not deserve a downvote. Will also give you more capital for initial bootstrap and lessen the career risk you'd take as a founder

  • Associate 1 in CorpFin
Jan 12, 2022 - 9:36pm

Definitely: 

-Extensive modeling (detailed rev modeling, OpEx forecasting, 3 statement projections)

-Deck building for investors, BoD, senior management

-Working on strategic initiatives (Driving go to mkt strategy, mkt sizing, pricing strategy)

-Ad Hoc projects w/ dept heads (ie: understanding drivers resulting in operational shortcomings and working cross functionally to put together strategies to alleviate these shortcomings)

-Not really a day to day but something I do is staying up to date with industry trends, finding available equity research to inform forecasting assumptions, public comp earnings calls

  • Associate 1 in CorpFin
Jan 12, 2022 - 9:36pm

Definitely: 

-Extensive modeling (detailed rev modeling, OpEx forecasting, 3 statement projections)

-Deck building for investors, BoD, senior management

-Working on strategic initiatives (Driving go to mkt strategy, mkt sizing, pricing strategy)

-Ad Hoc projects w/ dept heads (ie: understanding drivers resulting in operational shortcomings and working cross functionally to put together strategies to alleviate these shortcomings)

-Not really a day to day but something I do is staying up to date with industry trends, finding available equity research to inform forecasting assumptions, public comp earnings calls

Also, just lucked into strat fin right out of UG so never did banking. Base of 90k and no equity at this point - think we may be considered too big for juniors to get equity which really sucks for sure. 

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Jan 11, 2022 - 3:26pm

IMO, if you have the broad platform of the GS name and exposure to tech, I don't know how much another top finance role will help in your startup career. 
 

If this is a PJT RSSG -> KKR Tech, it might be beneficial (broader network and tech experience).

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 11, 2022 - 6:34pm

Thanks for the great advice, a couple questions that I have. Are the roles that you are getting mostly CorpDev/Strategy but more so financial analysis and finance related (internal M&A)? Are these roles operational or related to growth initiatives at all (BizOps)? Are you working under the CFO or COO?

Would love some color on this, would hate to be bucketed as the "finance guy" as I feel that strategy and operations experience is more transferrable to when I go down the route of entrepreneurship.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jan 11, 2022 - 8:48pm

I think it depends on a couple factors broadly bucketed into 1) experience 2) preference 3) company size 

1) Experience - While a lot of your experience during MFPE is underwriting I've seen a couple of my friends at different funds spend a lot of times (due to shit FP&A) functions with the portco and really gain good operational experience during their 2-3 years as an associate. Some have enjoyed it and are able to leverage their experience to go into more BizOps/Strategy role

2) Preference - To your question, after 2+2 (IB+PE) you'll generally have a lot of opportunities for corp dev/strategy roles (internal M&A) and many associates enjoy the work but want better WLB hence the move into corp dev/strat. However, tying to point #1 those who like the more operational/entrepreneurial side there is certainly roles available which ties to #3

3) Company Size - Smaller companies (Series A-C) are willing to offer 'higher' title roles and responsibilities to entice individuals to compete with larger corporates (i.e. F100) whereas F100 probably won't be giving a 2+2 individual Director/VP level roles so it really depends on the size you're targeting. If you're looking at Series A-C (though I'd probably focus on the absolute size of the company in-terms of revenue/employee count) you'll probably be reporting directly to the CFO (as a director/VP) whereas if you go to a F100 you'll probably go in as a manager/sr. manager which is 2-3 bands apart from CFO

Hope this is helpful

Tldr; Exit opps depends on your preference and experience but you aren't just pigeonholed into 'finance' type roles

Jan 11, 2022 - 11:50pm

I feel dirty saying this, but I'm leaning MF PE... and this is coming from someone who left PE for startup life and generally shits on PE. It's a 2-3 year role, your bank acct will thank you, and I do think the startup roles will probably always be there. You can always leave for a startup at the end of that stint and have a fat wallet instead of going to b school (or go to b school anyway and dick around for a few years). 

But just get comfortable with the fact that life probably will suck for a bit longer, and make peace with the fact that the startup may hit it out of the park (probably not though).

Realistically you're probably fine career-wise either way (if you're smart enough to get a MF PE offer, you're likely smart enough to figure it out regardless of path chosen). I do find it a bit curious that you recruited for 2 very different paths though.

  • 4
Jan 13, 2022 - 1:00am

1 - Do not ever put the likes of PJT with a low-tier IB like GS ever again. PJT/CVP/Rothschild >>> LAZ/Greenhill >>>>>>>> All else.

2 - The specific PE MF matters. Since some people apparently think TPG/Warburg/Carlyle are MFs, let me clarify. I would prefer death to working there. APO/KKR is a no brainer, BX and below is instant no. But all of these are leagues and bounds above working at a filthy startup. What are you, a tech bro?

Jan 13, 2022 - 1:14am

I work at a high growth VC backed startup (on the engineering side). It's super fun, great people, I like seeing the revenue growth and hiring growth, but there's plenty of companies that are similar out there. There will continue to be high growth startups and you really shouldn't count on equity always being the likes of Uber/ Airbnb/ etc no matter how successful the team is. There's always inherent risk (even at large firms).

Imo I think you could lateral more easily than you'd imagine into the startup world now and later, whereas I'm not so sure that's the case with the PE firm you're considering.

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
  • 3
Feb 4, 2022 - 3:06pm

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