switching from PE to management consulting

earthwalker7's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 7,949

Is it possible to move from PE to consulting?

i recognize that this is the opposite direction from normal.

Frankly, I'm finding PE quite boring, and I think the variety of work in consulting may be a bit more interesting.
Experienced consultants can feel free to shoot that concept down.
But I seriously can't imagine showing up to my same boring chair, to the same boring role, even one more day.
I've more than 15 years finance experience, and about 10 in PE.
I have a top 7 MBA.

Maybe one of the MBB might value this.

Is it even possible?

Out of undergrad I made final round at most of the MBB but couldn't clinch it.
During b-school, given most of my experience was finance, I was unable to get a single consulting interview, so really wasn't even in the running for a role.

Comments (15)

Sep 27, 2018

I don't have the experience to try to provide any insight on this question but I've seen your last few posts and see you're struggling.

Is it possible for you to lateral to another PE shop? It seems like your problems are stemming from the fact that your fund is very conservative and hesitant to pull the trigger on anything interesting.

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Sep 27, 2018
FinancelsWacc:

I don't have the experience to try to provide any insight on this question but I've seen your last few posts and see you're struggling.

Is it possible for you to lateral to another PE shop? It seems like your problems are stemming from the fact that your fund is very conservative and hesitant to pull the trigger on anything interesting.

You're definitely on to something there.
Personally I've found PE to be very frustrating - but partially it's because I went from being at a rockstar firm to firms of lesser quality, and because I've been doing more fundraising than deals in recent years.
Once they find out you're willing to go out and shill for LP capital, there's little incentive for the firm to send you out to do the more interesting deal-based stuff.
Deal guys are less rare.

Currently I'm not even truly at a PE fund.
I've joined a family owned conglomerate that has ambitions to launch PE funds.
But it seems there's a gap between what the old man (the founder) and his son want to do.
So I bring deals, and they get knocked down, because they are too conservative to write checks.
So whereas before I'd get to do several deals a year, now I'm nearly a year in, and no deal has even gotten close.

Why bother to hunt, underwrite, negotiate, etc. just to have the family decline the deals in 10 minutes and then break for lunch?

I like the family, nice people, but I'm really concerned about my career and diminishing skillset.

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Sep 28, 2018

Yeah that doesn't sound like a great environment to be in to develop a career in an already immensely competitive industry.

Can I ask what prompted the move from the rockstar firm to this family conglomerate? Was it a calculated career risk you chose to take or was it attributed to just PE being that way sometimes and you having to move on / not seeing upward mobility at the old firm?

Sep 28, 2018

Honestly, I think this move would be really tough for you, only because you have so much experience under your belt and have missed the general timeline when MBBs recruit (undergrad and MBA).

It looks like you're in your late 30s, which quite honestly is when most MBBs are promoting people to the junior partner role. I just don't think there's a natural entry point for you given your experience (too experienced for post-MBA role, but don't have the right experience for a manager).

Take this with a grain of salt, since I don't know how the other two firms recruit, but you're pursuing something that I haven't seen at Bain.

Sep 28, 2018
PE Hopeful:

Honestly, I think this move would be really tough for you, only because you have so much experience under your belt and have missed the general timeline when MBBs recruit (undergrad and MBA).

It looks like you're in your late 30s, which quite honestly is when most MBBs are promoting people to the junior partner role. I just don't think there's a natural entry point for you given your experience (too experienced for post-MBA role, but don't have the right experience for a manager).

Take this with a grain of salt, since I don't know how the other two firms recruit, but you're pursuing something that I haven't seen at Bain.

Wow, well that sucks.
I mean, I kind of knew that, but still, that sucks.

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Most Helpful
Oct 6, 2018

Let me try to articulate some difficult things. This is NOT a pity party, it's me actually trying to parse and solve the problem.

1) My problem with the current job is not merely that it is a conservative family that is not pulling triggers. Honestly, I don't care terribly if we do deals or not. I won't be around here much longer anyway. What I care about is having an interesting job, that can keep me intellectually interested and engaged in compelling work, with new and interesting people and businesses. I don't even necessarily like the investment process, tbh. I like learning about new companies - a lot. I don't however like the pressure of the gamble. I am lukewarm about pitching internally as to why we ought to invest in company X, and then lukewarm about living with that decision. I'm definitely not a deal junkie, and I don't care all that much about making money. I need just a $125-150k salary to keep paying my overhead. What I am is a problem-solving, variety-of-work junkie. I get bored VERY EASILY. And I don't like coming home angry every day that I'm in a boring, dead-end family office. It makes me a bad person to be around, it embitters me against my wife and infant son, has alienated me from most of my biological family, and it makes me suicidal. I am just grinding away to make dollars, not for any enjoyment of work, or feeling what I do makes a damn bit of difference to anyone anywhere.

2) I enjoy solving problems. I enjoy solving them based on synthesis of data and facts. I love hunting for the truth in the data, and trying to solve riddles. Hence the attraction of consulting was always there - a variety in terms of problems to solve, and in terms of the type of work being done. Coming out of undergrad in a non-business major, I still got final round at all the MBBs. But zero offers. I went from that, to working in tech, then in real estate after the 2001 economic collapse. In order to try to get into consulting I went early to b-school at the bottom end of the top 10. I tried to hustle but given my real estate finance background, I got only 1 consulting interview (Deloitte) and I did not clinche it. In hindsight it's obvious why - I spread myself too thin between banking and consulting recruiting, and given that banking was such a poor fit, it was a very unwise decision to do so.

3) Motivations My goal is #1 to have an interesting job with a lot of variety in terms of solving problems, My goal is NOT to make a lot of money. I have a few side investments that I think will take good care of me.

{will add more later]

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Oct 6, 2018

Entrepreneurship? Sounds like you're not a stranger to hustling, and entrepreneurs pretty much deal with new (at least to them) problems every day. Drilling down a little deeper, combining your hustle + fundraising abilities + problem solving = real estate development. Could sidestep a lot of the issues you're hitting, and if you bring a good deal and money together, the industry doesn't care who you are/how old you are.

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Oct 7, 2018

All I will say is that I have seen this movie before. I literally had lunch with another 10+ year experience banking/PE deal guy stuck in a family office that isn't doing any deals. His comp is also tied to executing deals so he can't capitalize on any upside potential in his comp ackage.

I also know another guy in a similar gig who is running in place due to lack of upward mobility at his PE/Family Office.

This is one of the myths about PE. You can make a great money sure, but there are a lot of deal guys at small PE shops and family offices busting their tails and making decent but not amazing money. And their days are spent grinding trying to find and small, boring deals that get killed by the managing partner/founder nine times out of 10.

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Oct 6, 2018

Spoke with my former classmates from b-school. Take-aways:
Challenges with consulting are:
1) they hire in cycles from MBA, and I'm way off cycle
2) they are agist and won't see how I can fit into their class
3) up or out structure, with low yield

Oct 7, 2018

I am trying to do some entrepreneurial ventures on the side.
I have a wife and baby so it's not so easy to just step out and do these things.
But while inside the corporate, I co-founded a Chinese hospital platform which has bought 2 hospitals so far, and is trying to REIT them.
I've also done some fundraising for a couple crypto exchanges, and maybe I can work there.

Oct 7, 2018

I can't see a jump into MBB, mainly because at what level would they place you at? You'd be too senior to be a post-MBB consultant... and they typically like seeing someone with prior formal consulting background to come in as a principal / manager type level. If you were a executive from industry, then maybe there could be an argument for that...

Have you thought about operating roles (in-house strategy) roles with larger PE shops that have them? I feel like you can talk to your operational experience and hustle to justify a role like that. But I'm just not familiar with how common those roles are in Asia (even with the mega funds).

The other thing is to consider entrepreneurship and joining a startup. That would address your desire to fix/build things. But it may not address your salary overhead requirements.

The last one is... is something like a Tencent hiring for their corporate development / strategy team? A few years ago a recruiter reached out to me for a role like that (but at the time I didn't have sufficient tech experience). You can see if something like that is available. And if so it would likely be in HK or China.

Oct 7, 2018

really great ideas

Oct 8, 2018

I second the PE oops route. I could maybe see a fit with consulting, but through the PE CDD route. Go find someone at Bain PEG, EYP, LEK, etc. and see what they have to say.

Oct 8, 2018
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