Equity Research buyside vs Consulting

I'm working in ER Buyside for a small/medium size shop (50-70) Billion in AUM. I'm not sure if I want to continue this route due to having a extremely toxic team with no one willing to give you the time to teach you anything. I am considering making the shift to consulting however, I am not sure if I know enough about the field. Can someone tell me more about the field?

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FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm about to combine a few of my former posts into an Ultimate Guide. So... let's strap in. 

What Do Consultants Do?

Management Consulting Firms and Practices

The thing with "management consulting" is that firms will call themselves management consulting firms despite their niche focus. When most people refer to management consulting, they reference strategy consulting, but there are a lot of niches in that. 

Most times, when people refer refer to "management consulting", they imply strategy consulting, but many, many firms call themselves management consulting firms regardless of their area of focus. 

Some management consulting firms: 

Moving from Finance to Consulting

Finance to consulting is actually a lot easier than some people may think. The reason being a lot of the technical skills, mindset aside, is almost directly transferrable, on top of that, experience in IB 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). I'll dive into the resource list specifically next. 

The Interview Process in Consulting

The Interview process in consulting often follows this format for the top shops: 

  • HR/Behavioural Screen for 15-30 minutes
  • Round 1 - 1-2 interviews with some combination of behavioural and case interview (often market sizing or small profitability case) with mid-level management (manager/senior associate)
  • Round 2 - 1-2 interviews with some combination of behavioural and case interview (often a more robust traditional consulting case like market entry, break-even analysis, etc.) with senior-level management (Director/Partner)

The Resources I ALWAYS Recommend Folks Look Into

Resources list: 

  • CraftingCases (free) - has articles + free 7 day crash course - personal favourite of mine since it dives into case components, has self-study drills and walkthrough examples
  • PrepLounge (free) - has a market for matching individuals case prepping with one another - it's a hit or miss where you sometimes find some incredible people globally and many students casing for the first time
  • RocketBlocks (free trial) - offers 7 day free trial and has (in my opinion) the most helpful consulting drills to practice mental math, case structuring, data extrapolation and some other stuff 
  • Victor Cheng's Looking Over My Shoulder (paid) - a paid case interview walkthrough where you hear an interviewee deliver a case and the narrator highlights why the execution was good, this is *invaluable* after you've done ~5-10 cases and become conscious of the case cues to hit 
  • Case in Point (free) - offers a *foundational* understanding of the case interview process along with some basic/rudimentary frameworks - this gives you a bit of insight into the high-level areas to brainstorm around and some common questions, but keep in mind that frameworks need to be customized for the case
  • Case Interview Secrets (free) - offers a more in-depth look into the consulting mindset and how to structure frameworks from scratch - I'd argue this is more applicable to on-the-job thinking, but I've seen it work really well (and I've referenced it myself)  
  • University Case Books (free) offers more cases than anyone could possibly cover in a lifetime; you can find them by simply googling a university + Case Book and a year. "Darden 2013 Case Book" for instance.

Here is my proposed breakdown: 

  • Begin by reading Case in Point, of the 300 pages, about 100 relate to the foundational frameworks/understanding of the case and 200 pages give examples of cases and solutions. Reading the first 100 pages doesn't take too long since it's not too content dense
  • Once you have an overview understanding of the case interview process, begin by spending 7 days in the following order:
    • CraftingCases Module x 1 - can take anywhere for ~3-4 hours
    • RocketBlocks Drill - can take 30 mins to 1 hour
    • Mock Cases - depends on stamina, but each mock case takes about 30-45 mins [either through friends, PrepLounge or another service]
  • After about 5-10 cases, I'd recommend listening to LOMS for a few hours and reflecting on where you need to improve on the case component. 

There's no one size fits all for casing and the breakdown above is assuming (1) you have an abundance of time and (2) you have no prior consulting exposure. Over time, candidates move on from reading frameworks/concepts to simply doing x number of cases a week. Those that pass MBB do anywhere from 10-50 cases, of course, there are exceptions with some people that are naturally skilled in casing, not me of course - I did 40-50 myself. 

financeCHINYC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My bad maybe, I should have given more detail. The culture is one of the reasons. I do enjoy the financial analysis part but I am not big fan of working independently 100% of the time. I think I would enjoy a role that has more team work and client facing

DrApeman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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