Oil&Gas controller vs. restructuring consulting

zhang128's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 91

Hi guys, I am a first year MBA student seeking internship this summer. I am deciding between a controller position at Exxon and the restructuring practice at FTI Consulting.

I feel like the work might be more interesting at FTI but would like to hear your opinions on this. Thanks.

Comments (12)

Jan 31, 2019

Hi zhang128, any of these threads helpful:

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You're welcome.

Most Helpful
Feb 4, 2019

Hi I worked at FTI RX for almost three years and also have a significant amount of F1000 FP&A experience. FTI is a top notch-RX consulting shop and I had a good experience there.

Below are some pros and cons for both:

1) FTI, if RX is your thing than no better place to be for RX consulting besides FTI. Great place to build your brand and a very good culture in the RX practice. Best pros in the business. Exits include distressed buy side ops (HF/PE/Credit), RX banking and a hodgepodge of industry opps. Lots of folks there who never leave though or just jump between FTI/Alix/A&M as pay is very solid at Partner/SMD level at those places. I'm sure there are many partners who outearn Ibankers.

That said, lots of travel, very challenging hours even at SMD level and a skill set that really is somewhat narrow unless your are specialized in interim management roles. (e.g. if you are creditor rights focused not a lot of industry exits) . Also, experience can be somewhat office specific, so would recommend Chicago, Denver or NYC for best career growth.

2) At Exxon there are lots of opps as well and will probably be a much better career for w/l balance. However, it's a lifer company and i've heard the golden handcuffs are real. So be prepared to spend the rest of your life working in that company/industry. Also multi-million $ paychecks will likely be very late in your career if at all.

Good luck, both are great opportunities.

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Feb 4, 2019

Thanks for your inputs! How easy is it to transfer office within FTI? I was told they have a national staffing model but it felt like your assignment would be mostly driven by office/relationship with SMD.

Feb 4, 2019

Relatively easy to transfer offices if you are a good performer. I know several people who transferred to NYC from other offices.

I would say their staffing model is "national light", since the business is separated by regions. For example, if you are west coast your staffer will be west coast and you will generally be staffed based on west coast needs first. Then there is a bit of a snowball effect because your work will be best known by people in your office/region and you will be staffed accordingly.

That said I did some work for offices in other parts of the US from where I was based. For example I worked with folks out of NYC, Chicago and LA when I was there. Once I did good work for an MD out of NYC he was calling me all the time to see if I was available for staffing on new projects.

But you will need to push to get exposure to other offices/SMDs. My suggestion would be to try to get as much exposure to different SMDs and types of work in your first two years as possible. That way you will have more choice in terms of staffing down the line and you will also be more aware of the types of work the firm does. Unless you come from RX you can't prejudge the type of work you will click with.

For example, I ended up really liking creditor side work which i didn't anticipate.

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Feb 4, 2019

Exxon in a heartbeat. They're going through massive cultural changes now for the better with a near complete revamp of the "old guard" in upper management.

Feb 4, 2019

Can you elaborate more about the cultural change? From what I can gather from alumni, the culture is still mostly top-down driven as you have no say in your next assignment. My biggest concern is to get stuck at the same level doing similar jobs for the rest of my life.

Feb 4, 2019

You'll never be stuck doing the same job at Exxon. They rotate people every 2-3 years. If you have a good rapport with your manager and be very clear about your long term career path they will help you along that career path since at Exxon they want you to be at their company for life.

Feb 4, 2019

Just to throw my two cents in here. If I were in the same position I would actually probably take Exxon as well unless I was dead set on being in RX. Exxon is a unique opportunity and I don't want to oversell FTI even though I had a good experience there.

I think if you manage your career well Exxon could provide unparalleled career opportunities along with seeing a broad slice of the international business world and not killing your w/l balance.

The last one is important, even if you aren't thinking about it now. Everyone at a senior level with a family at FTI pretty much struggles with this, and i'm guessing Exxon would be much better if you want to raise a family and not be traveling and working 60-70 hour weeks in your fifties.

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Feb 5, 2019

Exxon treats their people extremely (yes, extremely) well in a holistic way. The pay may not be banking/consulting level, but it's very good for the amount of effort you put in. This doesn't mean it's a slack company. Quite the contrary. Exxon is extremely efficient for the behemoth that it is. It's indeed a "for life" company and the culture there is fitting - they value their people and don't overwork them while challenging them just a tad with every new assignment. Management is extremely conscious of employee well-being and development, even though on a surface level it might not seem that way. It's one of if not the last great old-style (in a very positive sense) companies on which this country and its business culture / etiquette was built. Things started to go downhill with Mike Milken and Barbarians at the Gates, but I digress.

Just curious, which team is the job offer with? Feel free to PM me if you'd like to be discreet about this.


You'll never be stuck doing the same job at Exxon. They rotate people every 2-3 years. If you have a good rapport with your manager and be very clear about your long term career path they will help you along that career path since at Exxon they want you to be at their company for life.

This is very well put, especially the bold part. People tend to think that things would magically fall on their lap or that management can read minds. Unless you TELL THEM what you want (by the way, they value speaking up a lot, in spite of what it might seem on the surface), you won't get what you want. If you're a top bucket performer, you'll eventually get what you want and more. You have to outperform in whichever "intermezzo" assignment you are given leading to the one you want, because they value long-term thinking and commitment above all else. I am speaking from personal experience.

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Feb 5, 2019

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."