Breaking into consulting from a finance background


I was previously determined to pursue a career in finance and that is still an option, but I feel that the tasks are not challenging, you are not required to think by yourself, and it requires little communication/presentation skills. Meanwhile, I've understood that consulting gives you more responsibility, more variety in tasks, and more exposure to clients. Hence, I'm becoming very interested in consulting, especially after having spoken to several friends doing internships at both BBs and MBB who have determined to start full-time in MBB. However, I am unsure whether my finance-oriented background will be a problem if I recruit for consulting. My background:
- Bachelor's in finance - GPA 3.7/4.0
- Exchange semester at top 5 European university - maxed GPA
- Will begin master's in finance at top 5 European university this fall
- 1.5 years experience in advisory role within insurance
- 1 year experience in a leadership position at insurance company, leading project of c.10 people
- Investment banking internship
- Venture capital internship
- Upcoming private equity internship this fall

Will it be very difficult for me to recruit for MBB internships given my background? I'm asking specifically for Northern Europe. Thankful for any input.

Comments (3)

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Jul 8, 2022 - 2:24pm
FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This conversation was brought up a little while back, so I thought I'd retool my former content. 

Finance to consulting is actually a lot easier than you may think. The reason being a lot of the technical skills, mindset aside, is almost directly transferrable, on top of that, experience in IB/PE is considered the gold standard as you're already familiar with the work demands, and variable nature of the work environment. 

From a technical skill set: 

  • Boast your market research and deconstruction of companies you've analyzed within IB 
  • Your presentation decks, communications (whether word docs, memos, CIMs, Pitch Decks, Equity Reports, etc.) are all great evidence of your ability to communicate and synthesize relevant information for the target audience. 
  • Speak on your financial modelling, research, analytical tasks all as evidence of your work ethic and competence to perform in a high-pressure situation
  • All of the technical software you've used will be relevant: Advanced MS Excel, PPT, Database software  use CapIQ, Bloomberg Terminal, etc.
    • Although you won't be using CapIQ or Bloomberg Terminal, you will be using database technology

Once you've polished your resume after checking a few positions to highlight your experiences, then you can begin reaching out to ~30-50 consultants to understand the firm-specific lateral hiring demand. This will help assess whether you'd be a good fit (technically and culturally) at the firms and help assess what practices, teams or offices you'd like to work at. By the end of this, you should ideally have some people vouching for you within the firm, either in the immediate short term, or just to notify you the next time an opportunity becomes available. 

The differences exist in the scope and mindset of consulting: IB analyst ask how much is this company worth in a year, Consulting analysts ask what problems are they facing from reaching that value today? 

To have a better understanding of that, I'd advise the usual circuit of Consulting Interview Prep: reading Case Interview Secrets and Case In Point, going through Crafting Cases, PrepLounge, RocketBlocks, Mock Interviews via University Consulting Books. 

I would like to highlight that the consulting mindset is best captured by Case Interview Secrets (more useful for on-the-job in my personal opinion) and the consulting interview components are best captured by Crafting Cases (legendary free 7-day crash course).

Jul 8, 2022 - 3:18pm
nm761, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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