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What job to take next?
Old 04-30-2006, 07:52 PM   #1
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What job to take next?

I'm 24, finishing my 2 year corporate finance training program with the mega-corp and looking for my next role with the company. I'm having trouble deciding what the best next step is for my career...salary and benefits are the same regardless of the job. All of these businesses are in different services segments. I'm really having a tough time deciding what is the best for my career...any thoughts?

1) finance analyst for a $500MM consolidated business
pro: focus on forecast/actual revenue, gross margin, and cash
pro: exposure to multiple product/service offerings
pro: I've worked for this business in the past so have some idea what to expect, the team is competent
con: they're reorganizing their already complicated financial model with many different sub-segments...could offer opportunities to improve or could get dragged into a quagmire
con: may be too high a level to really contribute to the operations of an individual segment in this group...less exposure to the details/fundamentals which I may need to get early on in my career

2) project analyst for a $100MM portfolio of projects
pro: good hands-on experience with the details of project accounting to build my technical skillset, which people say you should do early in your career
pro/con: haven't worked for this business or manager before, so chance to learn something new but more risk
con: financial processes are still very manual and systems are not well integrated/utilized, the business is trying to change but is not moving very quickly...could offer opportunities to improve or could get dragged into a quagmire

3) "mini" finance manager for a $20MM segment
pro/con: currently working for part of this business so I have pretty good idea what to expect, but not sure how much more learning I can get from model is very simple so I don't know how much growth I would get from it. Essentially, I'm already doing this job, so would like a change of pace.

I'm sure the other question is: what are my long term goals? Want to build up my skills in operational finance and work towards becoming a finance manager. What job is going to make me most attract to an external employer if I ever decide to leave the mega-corp?

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Re: What job to take next?
Old 05-01-2006, 12:31 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 927
Re: What job to take next?

Off the top of my head (and I'm in Marketing, so FWIW)...

You're 24 years old -- choice #3 is for old farts like me looking toward retirement. I'd take it off the list if I were your age.

Of the other two choices I'd pick the one where I had the greatest opportunity to make a VISIBLE difference. Be a hero. Get noticed.

Then I'd work my backside off, get noticed, get great reviews, and parlay that (in no more than two years) into the next job up the ladder.

If I expected to leave Megacorp I'd probably lean toward the job with hands-on experience -- smaller companies won't have the big staff Megacorp has and will want you to understand and handle more of the details.

One final note -- I wouldn't necessarily avoid the quagmires. In my experience I've learned a LOT more about how to do things right by trying to improve what wasn't working than in any other way. It's painful learning at times, but you get a lifelong understanding of what works and what doesn't.

Best of luck to you,


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Re: What job to take next?
Old 05-02-2006, 12:09 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 301
Re: What job to take next?

I'm just a lowly engineer, but I'd take whichever one makes you feel the most uneasy about the level of being 'over your head'. i.e. if you are afraid of #1 because it sounds like too high a level, but it's available to you, then that's the one to take.

My theory is that:
1. Most people in the world are dolts (a proven fact)
2. You don't sound like a dolt
3. Therefore, you can most likely handle any position they'd give you as well as anyone else would, so aim high and go for the highest, most visible position possible.

- John
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Re: What job to take next?
Old 05-02-2006, 01:06 PM   #4
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Posts: 2,803
Re: What job to take next?

At your age and with many years of wages in front of you the most lucrative path in Mega. Corp. is generally the one no one else wants or can do. Being unique makes you valuable which translates into more $$ and standing out as a "doer". However, this does not apply to every part of the company. Finance and marketing seem to be the best places to be to get up the corporate managment ladder. CFO, CEO, COO etc. seem to come from these ranks more often that other parts of the company at least in this day and time.

It all depends on what YOU want to do and how high you want to go. How much do you want the company to own of your life? The higher you go the more they own of you. The upside is more $$ the downside is that it creates a lousy homelife. There are middle positions that would allow you a bit more balance but even with them..your time belongs to them. Early in your career you have to do things that will make you stand out as a "company" person so the "suits" will see you as one of them and will help you get ahead. Only you can decide if this is what you really want to do. If so, then jump into it with both feet for as long as you need to. Just don't forget why you are there. Once you have enough $$..Get out and get your life back.

Good luck.

Work? I don't have time to work....I'm retired.
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