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URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund

 
#1 URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
07/05/2010 12:13

Radiant

Hi all,

I have around 4 years of management consulting and 1.5 years in industry before that. Since 2.5 years I worked in the MC department of a Big4, but it is not a fit for me beacuse of its large size and conflicts of interest.

I have the chance to go into more specialized consulting (ATK, RBSC) plus I have the opportunity to enter private equity.

What would you do?

Thanks!

PS: Everything happes somewhere in Central & Eastern Europe.

What would you do?

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#2 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
07/05/2010 18:47

Radiant to Radiant (#1)

Guys, any idea? Nobody've been in such situation and willing to give a hand?!

What about ATK vs RBSC? They tend to be similar in terms of offered services.

RBSC seemed to me a bit more academic & demanding - testing intellectual power, while ATK was more practical - checking prior experience.

Private equity appeals a lot to me, but is that a good moment to get in? isn't it to early? are there chances to grow from inside, like in consulting?

What would be a better route to an MBA - PE or strategy consulting?

Thanks a lot!

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#3 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
07/05/2010 20:34

anon to Radiant (#2)

what do you mean 'conflict of interest'?

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#4 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
08/05/2010 10:19

Radiant to anon (#3)

I mean that you cannot do consulting where audit is being done. Additionaly, big4s are slower going to market than a specialized consultancy, as it usually takes much more to find a common understanding on leads.

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#5 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
09/05/2010 13:31

C3P0 to Radiant (#2)

What type of role in PE would it be for?

What sort of work have to undertaken in MC so far?

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#6 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
09/05/2010 19:11

Radiant to C3P0 (#5)

Investment analyst / associate - it's the lower, but with good exposure (it's a small-medium regional PE fund)

Diverse: performance improvement, strategic planning, org design

Any thoughts / suggestions?

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#7 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
10/05/2010 11:11

recruiter too to Radiant (#1)

Too many variables here: the most important ones are around where you want to get to in your career, what you enjoy etc etc.

For me ATK would be the choice: you will get good experience, work with good people (much better that you are used to in Big 4), have a good name on your CV, still keep your feet on the ground (the other big strat firms can be frustrating places to work if you don’t like just being an advisor) and keep your options open for the future. The other routes don’t

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#8 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
10/05/2010 19:07

Radiant to recruiter too (#7)

Thanks! That's a valid point of view.

I do like consulting, I have no problem in staying in. However, PE seems highly attractive. To be honest, I have the feeling that it will be a good pay off - at least for the long term. How many hours can you work & how high fee/hour can you charge to get wealthy in consulting ?!? :-)

The dilemma can be better asked like this then: is now (having the described experience) a good moment to go into PE or shall I gather experience in a more strategic & practical consultancy ?

Looking forward to other opinions as well!

Thanks!

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#9 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 07:43

Radiant to Radiant (#8)

Hei, guys! I am really under a big dilemma and could use some of the experience in here :-)

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#10 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 09:45

James to Radiant (#9)

Radiant,

I struggle to believe that anyone as indecisive as you found a job in consulting, never mind PE!

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#11 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 10:01

Radiant to James (#10)

James, I've made my mind, but I cannot find anyone (on this forum or anywhere else) to challenge that... :-)

I thought that this forum is full of people arguing against each other's opinions, but probably I have to write in a more more catchy manner

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#12 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 10:04

Another Anon to James (#10)

James,

I struggle to believe that someone can reply with such a useless post - you must be really bitter because you did not manage to get into consulting right?

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#13 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 10:46

The true Anon to Another Anon (#12)

Sadly, this forum is the favourite haunt of a lot of bitter and twisted people.

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#14 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 15:54

James to The true Anon (#13)

Actually, I currently work at a very well regarded boutique firm and prior to that worked at one of the MBB firms.

I was just saying what a lot of us were thinking. I am sorry if you have issues with my forthright manner.

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#15 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 16:38

Mars A Day to Radiant (#8)

I'm not convinced the PE role is as attractive as it seems... it's a regional role, so it's not like you would be joining KKR. Also even the talk about the massive hike in capital gains will likely starve PE for years to come, if not the duration of the coalition government. I think people get blinded by the (fading) glamour of PE... ATK looks to be the best option - good brand, solid business grounding, and enough recognition in the circles you will think matter to ensure you have adequate exit options in a few years time.

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#16 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 17:19

Radiant to Mars A Day (#15)

Mars, thanks! Finally something related to my dilemma :-)

This is in fact my concern, that PE looks sexy, but won't be what I imagine it to be at this moment. However, as I said - "everything happens somewhere in Central&Eastern Europe"... meaning that ATK, RBSC and the PE fund are all there (or should I say here). All of them should be close to what you guys are expecting from these kind of brands, but sometimes, it's not...

The PE is not KKR, but the people that manage and own the fund are coming from one of the KKR's peers.

The questions is: what could be the reasons for consultants not to be happy with a PE fund?

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#17 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
12/05/2010 18:19

Another Anon to Radiant (#16)

A good answer would only come from someone that has worked in at least two of the firms that have given you an offer.

For me the key factors that determine which one you should select depend on a lot more than simply how the industry is placed at the moment - albeit also a strong factor of consideration.

Some of the things that I would ask myself are:

How interesting would I find the work?

What kind of hours would I be doing?

How sacred is my weekend?

How will the job affect my relationship with my wife (and children?)

Firm culture - how cutthroat is it?

Career prospects - what kind of reputation does the firm have?

What doors does will it open when I decide to leave? Will it close some?

Will it provide me with industry expertise in a sector where I would like to move into in the future?

So my question is: what drives you? What are you after in the long term?

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#18 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
13/05/2010 10:25

Mars A Day to Radiant (#16)

Ok let's zero in on the PE role as I think this is where you are leaning.

As a junior in a PE fund you won't be doing much in the way of interesting work, but it will get in the door with an exclusive club. How will you be remunerated? Will you get a share of the carry or be on a discretionary bonus related to you or the fund's performance? Carry will lock you in until maturity, so you could be looking at 7 years in handcuffs. But your life balance will be much better than consulting, the culture will be more relaxed, and you will probably learn a lot. If I was a betting man (which I'm not) I would say that many PE houses will be looking to the 'entrepreneurial exceptions' promised in the capital gains taxes which are coming (and let face it they are designed to hit hedgies rather than PE) - plenty of opportunity there, especially if they can show either some element of turnaround, or social enterprise.

ATk still wins on 'exit options' - you would get an excellent and broad business grounding which will open up the widest possible spectrum of roles to move into after a few years, whereas moving into PE will limit you effectively to PE and corp dev in industry. So much less in the way of exit options. If PE gets crucified by the wall of regulation coming then you won't have many options to get out of the way.

BUT ...

Let's ignore 'exit options' - why spend your career always thinking about the step after. Life is short after all. Potentially even more so for anyone working more than 10 hours a day according to The Times (even though, ironically, it takes 10 hours to wade through the Sunday edition). If PE attracts you go with it - you neevr really know where any job will lead you. Could be an adventure.

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#19 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
13/05/2010 14:03

Another Anon to Mars A Day (#18)

Mars A Day knocks another one out of the ballpark!

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#20 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
13/05/2010 14:20

Radiant to Another Anon (#19)

Right, the exclusive club is attractive (especially in a small country where relationships mean a lot). There will be no carry, at least for the beginning - only guaranteed bonus.

I also agree on the PE work being less attractive – however, in my case, it might be compensated by the fact that I’ll be the only team member speaking the language of the second targeted country (it’s a regional fund), thus offering me a fair bit of medium term opportunities to grow & be responsible for this area.

Macro elements play a big role in PE area - you’re right, but they might be different and depend on the performance of the local government here (which is close to a disaster in this case – quite a risk I would say btw)

Why do you think there is no / low possibility to return to consulting from PE (I got this opinion from other people as well)? Because I also consider this option (yes, I really enjoy consulting work). I would see experience with a PE a great differentiator and I assume firms such as Bain or BCG would value that (especially when working for their PE clients). And what are the exit options from ATK – isn’t PE a one of best exit options from strategy consulting (at least this is what I read about on this forum)?

There was the question from Another Anon: “what drives you? What are you after in the long term?”. This is a good one – but, is it strange that I cannot be very precise on this for the time being? Things split like this:

PE seems a premium circle, giving access to higher levels, source of money, etc. Here, in CE, the PE market is quite small and closed, thus I cannot have a solid understanding on what it can offer. I’d expect a bit more relaxed atmosphere, higher gains (at least on the medium-long term), work with entrepreneurs in developing their businesses, etc; still learning from good quality people (that worked in MBB and top PE funds).

Nevertheless, I enjoy the consulting work, the people you meet in projects from own or other offices, the clients that put trust in you (sometimes), the projects closing and new ones starting, the pressure when presenting to client executives, the learning of new industries, etc.

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#21 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
13/05/2010 15:20

Mars A Day to Radiant (#20)

It's not that you cannot return to consulting from PE, more that you would be unlikely to do so after any significant period of time in it. The hours in PE are less, the culture more relaxed (although you might find IB-esque spikes of high demand these are balanced by far more down time unlike consulting which is always focused on the next deliverable). The rewards, if you look long term, will generally outpace consulting (at least below equity sharing levels in consulting). The very nature of conducting financial transactions makes the work vertical in focus rather than lateral (which predominates in consulting). Not in itself a negative, but is poses different challenges.

As to what drives you, I question the relevance of asking this question but if you musy ask yourself then you need to ask what drives you to make THIS decision, and that's it. Your motivations can and will change, and faster than you think once you begin to assimilate a new working culture and adjust your aspirations to resemble those of your colleagues. Also bear in mind that while MBB may be aspirational in consulting (right or wrong) they are seen as parallel within IB at the top tier - and most in the top tier in IB (who will have chosen say JPM over Bain as a graduate) will be aspiring to either PE or a hedgie if they cannot get into FO where they are. So that discounts the attraction back into consulting even at MBB.

PE would be an exit option from ATK which you would take; ATK would be an exit option from PE you could take but by the time you reach it you won't want it. By that time all the white shirts will be gone from your wardrobe and replaced with blue ones.

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#22 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
16/05/2010 08:39

Radiant to Mars A Day (#21)

It can be that going back to consulting is something I would choose now as I’m still under the spell of it – and think about moving to an MBB firm as a progress from a Big4’s consulting arm. But at the moment of exiting the PE it’s highly probable I would be aiming for something else. In fact, if I look at the PE professionals they are mostly moving to other PEs, while a small part goes into SME as top-managers. Not so much of IB down here, only small local houses and I don’t think there will top IB entering the market in the near future.

Coming back to my dilemma – it’s more or less balanced at the moment and makes my decision even harder now. Maybe because it took me 4 months to get to these options and now I’m afraid not to choose the best one :-). Although, any of them is a choice I’ll be envied for considering the market conditions.

I’ll try to be more to the point - will it make a difference if I decide to stick with consulting for 2-3 years and then move into PE at a higher level? What is the best use of the next 2-3 years?

(1) ATK

- doing more interesting work than before in the Big4 and maybe working more with PEs as clients

- doing consulting work I like

- gain good experience and move into PE at a higher level (or somewhere else)

- remain there and work my way up to Principal / VP (low probability because of small size of the market)

- go to an MBA

But,

- I would get good salary only after 1-2 years (local policy)

- hard & demanding work / long hours, VP here is very tough (not that I dislike that)

(2) PE

- taking the chance to get into PE and build my way up (from the lowest level though)

- learn a new kind of work, get a bigger picture

- be on the side of the capital

- if good at I might be responsible for a new office in my home country (next 3-4 years)

But,

- taking the risk I might not like the job

- change country for some time might be difficult because of the family

- worsening macro conditions in my country might switch investment focus

- not the highest pay (but good bonus)

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#23 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
16/05/2010 12:15

anon to Radiant (#22)

What is PE? Where is your home country?

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#24 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
16/05/2010 16:32

Radiant to anon (#23)

Somewhere in Central & Eastern Europe. I prefer not be precise. I don't think is that important.

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#25 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
16/05/2010 17:37

anon to Radiant (#24)

What is PE?

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#26 RE: URGENT help needed: dilemma ATK, RBSC or PE fund
16/05/2010 17:55

Anon to anon (#25)

PE = Private Equity

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