Switching to “worse” job for promotion?

I work in Corp Dev at a large tech company (associate level). I was recently offered a role on the FP&A team for one of our business units, at a manager/VP level. 

I did not directly apply for this role - it was the result of recommendations from former colleagues. And honestly, it is not a role that I ever would have gone after on my own. But it comes with a title and pay bump. 

That matters because I am not on pace to be promoted with my current team for another another year or so. 

Would it be stupid of me to take this job just for a short term title and salary bump?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Also - If the title/pay were the same for both roles, I would not even consider this offer.

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Comments (26)

  • Associate 3 in CorpDev
Oct 9, 2021 - 10:17pm

1. 25% off an already low base. 
2. No. As I said I never would have applied for this job on my own. But I would be reporting to the CFO of that business.

I enjoy what I do in Corp Dev. It is a small and highly respected team that reports into a trigger happy CEO. That's the main reason I would stay. I hate to say it, but it really is a matter of prestige.

  • Associate 3 in CorpDev
Oct 9, 2021 - 10:59pm

I'd probably get a similar bump next year with my current group. The prestige factor is also fairly tangible in this case too…Corp dev tends to carry more weight than FP&A, and will likely open more doors for me down the road (esp if I stay in this role for a couple more years)

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  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Oct 9, 2021 - 11:26pm

Stay in corp dev. Your long term prospects and long term salary are significantly better there.

In ~2-3 years when you are a manager in FP&A, and would have been a manager in corp dev by then, will you look back and be so thankful you got the title bump a bit early? I'd think unlikely. Especially if you are focused on prestige (nothing wrong with that, but I think you'll be bored to tears in FP&A)

  • Partner in PE - LBOs
Oct 10, 2021 - 5:27pm

I'd say it comes down to a couple of things.

- Do you want to do accounting or do you want to do finance?

- Are you a former CPA?

FP&A and Corporate Development are fundamentally two different careers.

FP&A is essentially accounting (I know accountants love to say it's finance, but let's be honest, your going to be implementing /using accounting software and while you may not be responsible for ME reconciliations I consider it finance light especially compared to corporate development (which work involves more strategic / finance in nature).

If you do not mind going into something less financey, you are going to get a pay bump, likely work less hours, so to me it seems like a no brainer to accept, assuming you don't mind the new career path.

Again, if you are a CPA, this is an easy move.

If you've never worked in accountant and not a CPA, how did you manage to land a VP FP&A role? It's going to be a change of pace, but given it's more cash and it's at a company you've worked for previously, you may still want to accept for the reasons stated above.

  • Associate 3 in CorpDev
Oct 10, 2021 - 10:31pm

Dude, no offense but that is not what FP&A is. At least at my company. I know the whole "strategic finance" description is overblown and usuallllly a stretch - but that is exactly what the FP&A teams do here. Corporate Strategy actually sits under the same umbrella and rolls up to the same head. Also can't think of a single CPA who works in FP&A. Controllers is absolutely accounting, and is filled with CPAs. FP&A is generally FLDP graduates or former bankers/research guys.

Never thought I'd be defending FP&A, but it is certainly not accounting lol.

I do not blame you for thinking this, as FP&A varies wildly depending on the company.

Oct 12, 2021 - 11:39pm

corporate development is back office. you dont earn revenue by helping your company buy another company. 

This is the most consultant fucking answer I've seen on this site.

corp dev grows revenue through acquisitions and typically has a hand in the revenue expansion of acquired targets (strategy)

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Oct 10, 2021 - 7:52pm

25% seems like a lot honestly but I would think about long term prospects. You haven't topped out your career trajectory and so you want to play that out I think. I've turned down a $500k role for a $400k role with more upside longer term. It stings but it may be worth it

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  • PM in HF - Other
Oct 10, 2021 - 10:53pm

Yah lots of people see FP&A and they think the division that does the financial statements and reporting. While in many cpg/tech/f100 firms it actually is "strategic finance" where the managers help the marketing/corpdev/sales etc teams to plan and execute strategy. Not just report on it. If the CFO is aggressive and and all about the bottom-line he/she takes these peoples opinions very seriously. 
So I would say the reason to consider this move is if you really like this firm and want to be there next 5 years or so, otherwise this career move does not make that much sense. But if you like the firm and can get a sense from the CFO they see big things from you down the line, clearly some people see this as they have pushed for you to do the role and get promoted now it is worth considering. Remember future CFOs dont always come from corpdev for 10 years…lots did some corpdev/some fp&a/etc…

Oct 11, 2021 - 8:15am

Fellow corp dev here. FP&A roles are super different from corp dev roles, as I'm sure you're aware. So it's not just a title / pay bump, it's an actually career shift and you need to be cognizant of that. Corp dev pay can be lackluster and promotion pathways very slow, so i6 understand the temptation, but please make sure you think about it for a sec. Where will you be 10 years from now if you switch vs. stay where you are? And it sounds like you didn't inquire about the role, so it wasn't like you were actively looking to lateral. Honestly, I'd just do another year of corp dev, get the promotion and then try to lateral to another corp dev group that is offering an even higher title (so you wait a year / year and a half to get 2 title bumps)

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Oct 11, 2021 - 11:02am

The FP&A function varies by company. The way to gauge it is to understand if it has a seat at the decision making table. Would you making recommendations for business decisions or more-so just sending out weekly, monthly, and quarterly reporting?  A strategic finance type of FP&A function should be spending at least 50-70% of its time on ad-hoc project based or decision making work. The other part of the job is definitely some level of reporting but the reporting should be value-ad and hold people accountable and influence decision making. 

Another question I would ask myself is whether you want to be a CFO. It's pretty hard to become one if you have not done a stint in FP&A. There are very few CFO's at sizable companies who have only worked in corporate development or whose only experience has been in investment banking. If you don't see yourself as CFO down the line, then stay in corporate development to leave optionality. 

Oct 11, 2021 - 3:31pm

Honestly FP&A is a better long term career than Corp Dev in many ways unless you just love doing deals. FP&A has a deeper operational angle, more predictable schedule due to lack of acquisition timelines, and much better career mobility given the high volume of roles out there. Corp Dev may pay slightly better but even at the biggest firms, the corp dev team is tiny so the only time you're getting promoted is if someone above quits, and there's not that many lateral opportunities. 

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Oct 12, 2021 - 1:00pm

Because of the better career prospects and interesting work, I'd stay in corp. dev. If you feel that your current base salary is too low, you can always network for a different corp dev or PE role. You can't really do that if you go to FP&A. Nothing against FP&A but I view it as more of an operations / financial reporting type function, which can be tedious and incredibly boring, but will probably have a better W/L balance.  

Oct 12, 2021 - 1:29pm

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