Consulting vs. Startups: Which Career Path to Choose?
The finance industry is a diverse and complex field that offers a variety of opportunities for those seeking a career in finance. From working in internal finance roles to M&A due diligence and consulting, there are many different paths one can take in finance. In this article, we'll hear about the experiences of someone who has had a great trajectory in finance, from college to their current position.
The interviewee graduated from Michigan State with a major in business administration pre-law. Initially, they had aspirations of becoming an attorney, but they decided towards the end of their college career that they did not want to pursue further schooling. Instead, they found a job at Anderson Consulting, which later became Accenture, in an internal finance role. They managed the financials for large implementation projects, including profitability and revenue.
After working in internal finance for some time, the interviewee got a taste of client-facing work and pursued M&A roles. They worked in M&A due diligence on the buy-side, helping clients look into target companies they wanted to purchase. They picked apart the different companies and provided documentation required by banks to secure loans and funding for acquisitions. This work was done at a regional firm in the Midwest called Plant Moran.
However, in 2008, during the banking crisis, their book of business dried up, and they moved on to an internal finance role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. From there, they went to Deloitte, where they managed the FP&A group out of India. They eventually became a controller for the Global Consulting Group. The interviewee then moved to Maserati, where they had a dedicated finance role in the manufacturing realm, including automotive and IT. They currently work in education.
The interviewee had an incredible journey, and they learned a lot along the way. They say that Accenture and Deloitte were the two places where they learned the most. Accenture taught them how to be professional in meetings and how to ask the right questions. They also learned a lot about different processes and how executives work. At Deloitte, they were able to expand their breadth of knowledge and take ownership of their role. They learned to think on their feet and take ownership of their work.
When asked if they would recommend starting a career in a consulting firm like the Big Four or Accenture, the interviewee said yes. They said that working at a consulting firm allowed them to work for clients while also working for Deloitte. They had to shift gears constantly and think on their feet, which was a valuable skill early on in their career. While they acknowledged that working at a startup would also offer valuable experience, they recommended starting at a consulting firm because of the familiarity they gained from the experience.
In conclusion, the finance industry offers many opportunities for those seeking a career in finance. Whether one chooses to work in internal finance roles or pursue consulting, there are many paths to success. The interviewee's experience demonstrates that it's possible to move from one area of finance to another and still succeed. With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn, anyone can succeed in the finance industry.