Reverse Career Switch

Most or all career switch topics here involve a move from XX into sellside or buyside research. What about buyside to corporate? After a long time on the buyside, not sure if being a PM is right for me at the current firm, so I am thining about other options. Top tier college, CFA, but no MBA. Buyside analysts talk to and evaluate management teams, business models, corporate development/M&A strategies, financial statements, etc., and make judgement on whether there is future valuation creation, right? So a transition from doing it on the buyside to doing it for a company seems to make sense. Maybe a start in corporate development, and then eventually become a COO or CFO, etc. Not sure that starting in IR has that kind of path. Anyone have anecdotes, advice, experience, thoughts?

One thing worth noting is that half of CFO’s have substantial Big 3 accounting experience and a CPA given their role in the reporting process so that will probably put a pretty significant ceiling on your career. I started in corp fin at a Fortune 50 company and really the role to the top was Big 3 then internal audit at that firm, then moving up through corp fin to controller and CFO roles. That said you may find exceptions to this and you may still find great joy in the corp fin work life balance and atmosphere. I still look back on that fondly although I think your first few jobs out of college will always have a more fun aura in some ways given the stage in life. I think investor relations is an easier move but to your point you’re kind of stuck in this weird PR ancillary role not associated with the core business and I could see that quickly feeling limited.

Thanks for the comment. I agree with you. There are CFO’s that have more of a president/operating role, but that’s more rare. I’ve seen some IR people move to CFO, but that is also the exception. Ideal corporate job might be M&A, strategy, business development at a smaller company, and then evolve from there. I’d definitely be more interested in the operations than the audit/reporting.