From Sales to Finance: An Unconventional Career Path
In this blog post, we will be discussing the story of Luis, who started his career in sales and eventually found his way to the finance industry, where he currently works in the Finance Department at Harvar. Alex interviews Luis and inquires about his unconventional career path, his experiences in private equity, and his current role at Harver.
Starting in Sales
Luis began his career in sales, which he thought would provide him with an opportunity to understand how business is conducted in the US. He started as an entry-level salesperson but eventually landed in a more strategic sales role in a high-growth startup lead generator. This company was data-driven, and Luis started experimenting with their databases and taught himself SQL queries and Excel. He created models to optimize his book of business, developed pricing strategies, and worked with product and BI teams to develop better product strategies. Luis found this work rewarding and achieved positive results, which motivated him to pivot his career.
Pivoting to Finance
To change his career, Luis started an advisory company where he helped his previous clients manage their lead generation campaigns and optimized their go-to-market strategies. He also educated himself on private equity, venture capital, and corporate finance to help his clients raise capital or sell their companies. This phase was a turning point for Luis, as he decided to go into finance, and he worked as a middleman between startups and private equity firms, helping them source investments, vet them, and create models.
Luis was fortunate enough to get into Wharton, which was ranked number one at the time, and he accepted the offer. He learned a lot during his time at Wharton and was ready to get into finance. After completing his MBA, he got a private equity role, which gave him a different perspective on the finance industry. However, Luis missed working on the operating side of the company, so he took a role with a SaaS business where he drove their M&A and corporate development strategy. This company is Harver, which is part of the group and is owned by private equity.
Experience in Private Equity and Corporate Development
Alex asks Luis to share his experiences in private equity and his current role at Harver. Luis explains that his experience in private equity gave him a different perspective on the finance industry. As an investor, he had to analyze deals from a different lens and think about how to create value for investors. However, Luis missed being on the operating side of the company, which is why he transitioned to a role in corporate development.
At Harver, Luis drives their M&A strategy and works on expanding their business through acquisitions. He also oversees the finance department, which includes the financial planning and analysis group. Luis wears many hats at Harver, but he enjoys the challenge and the opportunity to work with a great team.
Differences between Private Equity and Traditional Companies
Alex asks Luis about the differences between working for a company owned by private equity and a traditional company. Luis explains that working for a company owned by private equity requires a different mindset because they are looking to create value for investors. They are always thinking about how to grow the business and make it more efficient. Luis also notes that working for a company owned by private equity requires more financial discipline and a focus on hitting targets.
Advice for Breaking into the Finance Industry
Luis also shares some advice for people who want to break into the finance industry. He suggests that people should learn as much as they can about finance and the industry they want to work in. He recommends reading industry publications and staying up-to-date on current events. He also suggests building a solid network and getting experience through internships or working in related fields.
In conclusion, Luis’ career journey from sales to private equity to his current role at Harver demonstrates the importance of taking risks, pivoting when necessary, and being open to new opportunities. His story also highlights the value of education, self-education, and building.