Transition from Big 4 Consulting to PE - Advice needed

Nixfornit's picture
Rank: Chimp | 15

Hi,
I need an advise on starting a career in PE.

I want to make a career transition from Financial Risk Consulting (Ops Risk) to PE.

My background: Currently, I am an risk advisory senior consultant at Big 4, prior to that I spent 2 years in finance transformation practice in another IT consulting firm, and have overall about 4 years in various roles in banking and treasury.
I hold an MBA from Top 10 US business school.

PE Transition plan: I did some research on the typical PE profiles and with my current experience it is next to impossible to get into PE. From what I have found it is possible to get into PE with a strong Transaction advisory experience and CPA designation. Thus, my plan is to get CPA and move to transaction advisory consulting first, and then, start recruiting for PE. I believe the big 4 name and CPA might help me to get into transaction advisory even though I lack due diligence experience. Far reaching plan that might take me about 3 years to complete, but I still want to try.

I would appreciate any feedback on this plan and/or any recommendations. Thanks!

Comments (20)

Best Response
Sep 24, 2016

If you come from a top10 MBA I think you should spend your time trying to get into IB instead of big4 TS/TAS. Even a small boutique IB firm would give you more relevant experience than due diligence.

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Sep 26, 2016

Tt's going to be nearly impossible. Work on moving to IB first. You need transaction experience. From there, it'll be an uphill battle to transition to PE. Good luck - you're going to need it.

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Sep 26, 2016

Agree with above. Don't even waste your time w/ PE right now. Target IB hard.

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Sep 26, 2016

Thanks, ledger123, ResponsibleRinger, ProspectiveCD - I think the idea of first going to IB makes a lot of sense. Do you think moving to transaction/deal advisory will help or it worth trying even at this stage? Should I aim at associate level position?

Sep 27, 2016

Not sure what you are referring to when you say transaction/deal advisory, but I assume you mean the M&A arms of the big4s. Yes, that would be better than TS (due diligence) but, again, you should focus on getting into a boutique firm (as opposed to big4 M&A). Any department at a big4 firm should only be a "worst case scenario" or "back-up" plan if everything else fails.

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Sep 26, 2016

unfortunately i agree with above. will be extremely difficult. also agree IB should be your priority, not PE.

Sep 27, 2016

Aim for M&A / TS in your Big 4 since you are already there, but that should be an afterthought to IB. You might as well try, it will make the IB story easier to tell, but you shouldn't put the IB pursuit on hold to transfer - just try and transfer while you look outside.

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Sep 27, 2016

Few points:

The terminology you use to describe certain functions give away to me which Big 4 you are actually in. I moved from such a firm to PE quite recently without an MBA. Although, I am quite early on in my career.

Your location also matters quite heavily. By TS do you mean Transaction Support? or Transaction Advisory Services? Both are very different.

One is Financial Due Diligence (which is a very important skill, but quite incomplete without actual deal experience) and the other is corporate finance (TAS).

If you are in corporate finance, depending on your location you could make the move to lower MM or a MM shop.

But if you wish to target well known names globally, IB should be your target. Again, not BB IBD but MM IBD would be more realistic.

PM me if you have more questions.

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Sep 27, 2016

Transaction Services/Transaction Advisory Services are the same thing at the Big 4, I believe at PwC they call it TS and at EY they call it TAS, as an example.

The investment banking arm of Big 4 is typically referred to as "corporate finance". PwC also has a group called "Deals" or "Deal Strategy". I've seen a few people transition from the Deal group into Banking.

Also, know of someone who went from Big 4 TS/TAS (Financial DD) to Banking to PE.

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Sep 28, 2016

I respectfully disagree BankerC159.
TS all across the board is FDD, more so in EY. TAS is definitely not TS (FDD).
In PwC the Deal Strategy team is basically the same as corporate finance Strategy which does sell and buy side strategy work for PE and corporates.
For the OP I would advise to definitely not club TS and TAS together.

On his question below - the CPA will help for TS much less so for corporate finance.

I would advise to network/push/hustle to get into TAS and then network further for a MM PE gig.

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Sep 27, 2016

Thanks for your advice, BankerC159, Carve You Out!

Do you think getting a CPA will help to get into TAS?

Sep 27, 2016

It could if you plan on externally networking. I would think you should be able to network with in and be able to find a role in the FDD group.

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Oct 1, 2016

Dude any idiot can get into Big 4 TAS.

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Oct 1, 2016
realjackryan:

Dude any idiot can get into Big 4 TAS.

Well, that's encouraging...

Oct 1, 2016

Not sure how hard it is to get into PE from your position directly. But as an IBD associate, been trying to transition over for years now. Very uphill battle. So make sure you would want to do IBD for a while if you get stuck.

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Oct 2, 2016

Just as a quick clarification to above posters in terms of the names of the different departments within the big4.

EY:
TAS -->> Transaction Advisory Services and is EY's overall umbrella title for various subdepartments such as TS (Transaction Support/FDD), Valuation, Lead Advisory (M&A)

KPMG:
Deal Advisory (equivalent to EY's TAS, i.e. umrebella title for various subdepartment and was previously known as Transactions and Restructurings) -->> includes subgroups such as TS (Transaction Services, i.e. FDD), Valuation and M&A

Not too familiar with PwC and Deloitte but my point is that if someone says they work in TAS at EY, that could mean M&A, Valuation or Transaction Support. Same goes for KPMG where many people say they work in Deal Advisory because it sounds better than Transaction Services. Same goes for EY where many Transaction Support guys (FDD) put Transaction Advisory Services in their titles because it sounds better. In other words, TAS/Deal Advisory may not mean that the person is in M&A.

Obviously if you are in TAS/M&A or Deal Advisory/M&A, you are better positioned for PE than if you are in TAS/Transaction Services or Deal Advisory/Transaction Services.

Only TS values the CPA (possibly valuation to a lesser extent) whereas M&A does not care about CPA at all.

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Oct 2, 2016

Thank you, that is very helpful!

Oct 5, 2016
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