Q&A: MBB, BB S&T+IB, Top MBA, US/Global

Been on WSO for ages (10+ years) and asked Andy to let me do this Q&A with a fresh username so I can focus on giving the most helpful answers without any baggage. I've benefited a lot from WSO, and I want to give back in the form of a parting Q&A. Main act: Ask Me Anything, because I've done a bit of everything (typical WSO campus opportunity discussion fodder). I've (in no particular order) worked at, attended, lived in the following (one category is an offer I didn't take): - starting soon at MBB - BB S&T - Top MBA (a top target, not tiering it over here) - BB IB "lite" (one of the financing groups) - F500 Leadership Development program - Niche consulting firm (think FTI, Eurasia Group, etc) - Developed markets (NYC, London, Western Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc - more than one) - Emerging markets (Brazil, Mexico, Dubai/UAE, India, etc - more than one) - Top public university (Note: tasted rejection in every category too!) Suggested guidelines: - don't ask questions that require me to divulge my background to satisfactorily answer - don't get worked up if I'm critical of your function/firm/pet goldfish - basic courtesy/EQ (ie. no highly tactical career advice like drafting an email for a coffee chat with an Associate, etc) Ask away!

Comments (81)

Feb 6, 2018 - 6:49pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

B-school student, haha.

Probably not the answer you AllStateRap had in mind but it was the most fulfilling experience. Don't get me wrong, undergrad was an absolute riot, but at that stage in life you just don't realize how fleeting carefree youth is. When you've gone back to get your MBA, you try to make the most out of every hour you have, because you know how much of a grind the institutional working world can be.

As for jobs, not sure this counts as fulfilling but I definitely got the biggest rush out of the trading floor.

Can't speak to the actual job at MBB because I haven't started yet, but walking out of an interview round thinking "don't know if they liked it but I can look at myself in the mirror and say I gave it my best shot" felt pretty serenely satisfying. (Getting the good news felt pretty damn good too).

  • 7
  • 1
Feb 6, 2018 - 1:22am
Rondo12, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did you work in political risk consulting? (You listed FTI and Eurasia group, which are two of the top firms for that, so that's why I ask.) If so, what was that like? I currently work in strategy consulting, but have heard incredible things about political risk consulting (especially at Eurasia Group), and want to know if it is all that it's cracked up to be

Feb 6, 2018 - 7:09pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FTI and Eurasia are actually very different, though I grouped them together because as you pointed out, they're both part of the political risk consulting world. Can't answer whether it's all it's cracked up to be because people have such different definitions of cool, but what I can tell you is:

FTI is clustered with Kroll and Control Risks (they all do kind of the same thing), while Eurasia goes about its business in a fundamentally different way. Kroll is where the industry started and retains some mystique, Control Risks has its really nifty World Risk Map that clients love, and FTI is the most similar to regular consulting firms and probably the strongest in the US.

What do you want to know about these places? At the industry level, I'll say that...

1) Pay-wise, same kind of bracket as the non-consulting sides of the Big 4. 2) London is the epicenter (NY and DC folks would take issue with that but London is the only heavyweight for both M&A and emerging markets relationships, which are the key drivers in this industry). 3) Unstructured from a recruiting POV (driven by network and connections); faces a challenge in harmoniously putting people of messily different backgrounds one consulting service (lawyers, journalists, ex-spooks, ex-military, etc).

FTI, Kroll and Control Risks all tend to work discreetly, say little in public about their work, and embed their political analyses into professional services that are much more typical of the business world than the political world. Example: due diligence on a company's management team and shareholders. The twist is that no one is supposed to know they're carrying out the DD (unlike legal, financial or strategic DD), and in emerging markets, they will uncover whether the business and/or its owners benefit from cozy political access. These things are essentially outlawed in places like the US and Germany so the work is duller there.

Conversely, Eurasia Group is regularly speaking to the press, putting their Analysts on Bloomberg TV, etc. An exit for an Analyst might be Parliament in their country of origin, for example. Very different businesses.

I should say that very rarely will a sophisticated and well-heeled client engage these firms to give them an exhaustive political analysis on Iran, if that's what you have in mind. This answer probably longer than you had in mind so will keep it at that, pending more specific questions.

  • 5
Feb 6, 2018 - 12:18pm
fine-nance, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did you get into the LDP after your MBA or undergrad?

Life is too short to be on WSO. But here I am.
  • 1
Feb 6, 2018 - 6:59pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@fine-nance" See first point on suggested guidelines - please don't ask questions that require me to divulge my background to satisfactorily answer. Amused by the name, by the way.

That said, indeed some LDP are more focused on undergrads and others on MBAs. I personally admire companies that are willing to commit the resources into developing undergraduate talent by giving them cross-divisional exposure, much to the annoyance of middle managers, in the hope that it pays off in the form of a better leadership pipeline. It's actually really hard to do.

However, my thoughts are that these programs make more sense when focused on MBAs, as they only really pay off in the long-term and 22 year-old Millennials are just way too unlikely to commit their careers to their first employer in meaningful numbers. MBAs are increasingly dicey for these purposes too, but an employer is more likely to find someone on the older end who has the temperament and maturity to take the longer road to success.

If you're considering a LDP, the key factor to screen for you in your Due Diligence is the level of patronage and seniority sponsoring the program. It really needs to be as senior as possible: C-suite level, preferably CEO or CFO, and the leadership needs to be emotionally vested in the program's success.

The banner program in this case is Chevron's Finance MBA program, but 1. of course there are others and 2. you still need to be a fit for a long-term, asset-intensive industry (urban legend is a highly entrepreneurial guy was hired and he quit within a week due to cultural mismatch). The more introspective question to ask is whether you see yourself as someone who can commit to a single employer for your whole career (which is less and less common). If so, a good LDP is very possibly the best job you can get.

  • 6
Feb 6, 2018 - 7:00pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow. I'm not even sure my parents or girlfriend want to know about the entire journey (though the coolest parts of the journey are always non-work anyway).

But to answer your questions DeltaDecay: I honestly craved the variety. I had detailed reasons for each individual transition, but assessing the story as a whole, if there was an overarching trend, it would be that I went from Macro perspective with specialized skills to Micro with increasingly generalist skills, which culminates in consulting.

There was a geographic element to consulting too: I decided to go back to my hometown, which has a big enough business scene for all major banks and consultancies to have offices... but is in that segment where the actual bank headcount is small-ish while the consulting presence is pretty solid.

  • 3
Feb 6, 2018 - 5:06pm
FinancelsWacc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not sure if you didn't specify the order of your experiences for the sake of anonymity or just because your list happened to be out of order. If it is the latter would you be willing to take the time to lay it our chronologically? It helps us identify with where we might be and compare it with our own career tracks / see what is possible

(For example, if your experiences are over a 10 year span and you did your LDP towards the front of your tenure then it might offer comfort for students that fell short in IB but have been accepted into a LDP program).

Other than that thanks so much for your time. My biggest question would be do you feel that doing S&T, IB and LDP all offered a diversified set of experiences or do you feel that you might have invested some time "shopping around" trying to figure out what you wanted to do moving forwards? For context, I've been accepted into an FLDP program, am quite interested in S&T and consulting and ultimately fell short of IB offers. I suppose I'm at a point where I am trying to figure out what I want to do with my professional career but am concerned about investing far too much time "figuring it out".

Feb 6, 2018 - 7:01pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi there, looks like you had fun with that screen name @financeiswacc". To your first question, the former.

Since indeed you wanted IB, didn't get it and are considering LDP...

No reason to lose hope. You may discover you really like your company, and if your LDP has the right visibility and support at the very top (see previous answer), it can be an amazing platform to develop a career. When they're done right, they turn into a bit of a 'club' whose members continually get promoted over time. And if you don't like the business or company culture, these programs get plenty of respect come b-school time. And as long as investment banks haven't completely thrown the towel in terms of being attractive employers for MBAs, you WILL get an IB job coming out of b-school.

I understand your decision conundrum. Can't make the decision for you but can offer you the following thought: the only door that will close forever if you don't take it now is S&T (whether the industry will even exist in 5-10 years is another question entirely). FLDP and IBD are still there in significant numbers for MBAs at top 15 and even top 20 schools. At that level, it is almost entirely a "fit" game.

  • 5
Feb 6, 2018 - 5:28pm
imthelord, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for doing this AMA. What is your take on BB vs EB IB in terms of being a career banker? Did you see your counterparts struggle to bring in deals at EBs?

Feb 6, 2018 - 7:06pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're welcome.

I'd lean EB as the focus on advisory will be better from a skills POV, and the $ is better these days.

Not sure what you meant by seeing my counterparts struggle to bring in deals. That responsibility is/was way above my paygrade. Happy to give it a shot if you clarify...

That said, overall the IB market is increasingly involving balance sheet, which results in way more fees for banks that are able to get in as advisors, underwrite the bridge loans, and get the capital markets mandates to fund acquisitions. This favors BB.

  • 2
Best Response
Feb 6, 2018 - 7:04pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're welcome Buckhead1 . I get your reasons for trying S&T over M&A. Virtually no one is an equal fit for both. One will attract you more than the other.

To be clear, is this a summer internship you're doing and you've been asked to select desk preferences, or is it the same process but for a full-time position?

You'll have seen a ton of previous threads on how basically each desk is its own world, as is each bank. So let that serve as a caveat to what follows.

You're asking about S&T for Corporate vs Institutional clients.

Personally, I prefer Institutional. Institutional clients can want almost anything under the sun, but they usually want to make money. Corporate clients by and large want to hedge their exposure to some kind of financial risk. Just the way my personality works, I enjoy the mindset with Institutional investors way more.

Take the case of Rates, which you said you're interested in. Rates Sales, two desks: one for Corporates and one for Hedge funds, at the same bank. Completely different.

As for groups with job security, asset classes come and go in terms of what's hot and what's not. Apart from the obvious (don't go into something that's getting automated and/or about to move from OTC to exchange-traded), the key point is: try to be on a desk where your bank has a top 3 market position! Life gets exponentially shittier the less market share you have in S&T.

However, ceteris paribus, in the case of Rates Sales, I'd see more job security in Corporates vs Institutional. Corporates often enter these trades because there is some kind of underlying need stemming from an episodic transaction, so there can always be a bit more of a bespoke angle to it (which gives humans a role).

  • 9
Feb 7, 2018 - 5:42pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Brainpower: S&T, on a derivatives desk - the inherent abstraction and logic set a threshold that most common garden banking/business/consulting types have a really hard time meeting. Very narrow application of said brainpower, though.

Critical thinking skills: MBB (from what I've seen of the selection process). Very simple concepts all things considered, but the interviews are designed to test your agility in them. Without practice, lots of scary-smart people can make asses out of themselves in a case.

  • 3
Feb 6, 2018 - 10:04pm
badgerMC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi Discobolus:

I am currently 1L law student who does not want to be a lawyer. I am interested in management consulting and due diligence job on the buyside, plus special situation / distressed investment. I have a not bad UG grade (3.7+ with Econ, International Studies, and East Asian Studies from a semi-target public university), but I got a terrible grade in my first semester in law school (3.0 from a t30 law school). I don't really want to quit law school because: 1. I am an international student, so I will have to leave the U.S. in the very moment I quit; and 2. I like the intensive training and skills about writing and research which I acquired from law school and I think my grade will be definitely better since I am done with Constitutional law and Civil procedure.

For the consulting career: My ultimate goal is MBB because they consider JD as advanced degrees. I have applied many consulting summer programs (including MBB, boutique, and all types of consulting) and none of them responded yet. I did spend hours polishing my resume and cover letter, but I haven't had any consulting experience on my resume, which I think is my number one disadvantage. What should I do at this point? Keep cold emailing small/boutique consulting firms and asking unpaid summer job? If I decide to spend my summer back in China, my parents or friends could probably hook me up with a summer intern in a non-MBB firm (like big 4 consulting, or other non-management consulting firms like Mercer). It this option kinda favorable or it should be my last option? Because the job they could get for me will not be the summer associate, and it is in China (assuming I would like to work in the U.S. after graduate).

For the finance career: As a 1L I haven't learned any course which is actually useful yet. I will take cooperate finance and other finance-related courses in my 2L and 3L. When I try to find a summer job now by cold emailing local boutique firms, what do you consider the best strategy to sell myself? What I have been doing so far are: 1. my communication/writing/research skills from law school; 2. my international background; 3. leadership/competition and other things from college. Also, due diligence is an important work for buyside, right? Please correct me if I am wrong: as an Chinese-native-speaking law student, I might be valuable for international investors who are interested in investing China, because just like other emerging markets, China has its own business culture and it is quite different from the American one. Is there really a need for such role and if there is, how do I prove my advantage in this?

In general: How do people consider a law student without law firm intern but finance intern? If I have little intention of working as an attorney at all and I don't mind earning less money than my classmate in the beginning years of my career. Could I go directly to finance without any attorney experience? What do you think are my advantages as a law student? I know there are tons of disadvantages.

This is a long post including many questions. I would like to thank you in advance for your time and help.

best wishes

Feb 7, 2018 - 6:15pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, this question doesn't belong here - not that I don't want to help, but I struggle to see how my experience can be of relevance to you.

Your reason for having MBB as your ultimate goal ("because they consider JD as advanced degrees") is non sequitur. The real reason you probably aren't getting interviews is because T30 Law School is not considered a target for them. I don't know much about law, but from what I understand, T14 are the targets. I have a very good friend who interviewed with McKinsey and BCG while at Harvard Law, but that's Harvard Law, and he was that rare breed of lawyer who had a quant undergrad (think Astrophysics or Applied Math major). Of course there are cases, but I don't think I know anyone at MBB who was hired as a fresh JD - and I know a lot of people there.

Similarly, buyside due diligence, special situations / distressed investments, coming from law school... makes you sound like you don't really know what you want and are just seeking lucrative careers that aren't law.

However, your interest in positioning yourself as an advisor to international investors looking at China and helping them navigate China's business culture sounds like a good fit for Big 4. They have groups that do this. Which exactly, I don't know - as I mentioned from the start, my experience is unfortunately not very relevant to you. It might make more sense for you to do this in China, though no harm in trying the US offices too.

Good luck.

  • 5
Feb 7, 2018 - 6:20pm
badgerMC, what's your opinion? Comment below:


Thank you for your comments. I admit that I am not sure what I really want to do at this point. I came to law school directly after under graduate without work experience. I am going to figure it out in this coming summer. I said MBB are my goal because: 1. I like mentally challenging and not boring work, 2. I enjoy traveling, 3. Management consulting gives me more exit options than legal career. I would also like to work for a lower tier management consulting firm, which I assume could have lower requirement of school ranking. Anyway, I really appreciate your help and I will take a look on the big 4. Do you mind to give me a little more info about the groups you mentioned? Do you mean big 4 consulting or advisory? I thought the later one are mainly for accountant.


Feb 10, 2018 - 7:27am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi silverace, thanks for asking. I should preface the answer by recalling that I was in a financing group - what I would call "IB lite", not IBD. Which isn't a bad thing for the purposes of answering your question - DCM, Project Finance, etc also fall into that category.

I found Banking to be highly process-driven, and much more about completing a large number of pre-defined steps (some stressful, mostly tedious, and all requiring attention to detail) as opposed to forming a view or developing an investment thesis, which to me, made it ultimately unsatisfying.

As for what you say about not finding much info on these groups, I'm surprised you're saying that about DCM - there's tons of info on WSO about DCM/ECM. Overall, these "IB lite" groups usually work you about 60-70% of the hours in IB, give you 50%-60% of the skills, and 70%-80% of the pay. So if you purely seek to optimize money with some semblance of a work-life balance, they are good groups to be in. They make sense if you want to pursue a long-ish career at a bank. And to anyone who isn't IBD or ex-IBD, you're considered to be in investment banking (they won't see you as one, though).

However, in my view, the real value in an IBD skillset comes in the last 20%, so these financing groups are going to feel lacking in that department. Out of all of them, Project Finance might be the best one in terms of skills while still paying okay and allow you something of a life, though it's a challenging sub-industry within finance overall (tough returns environment, lots of competition from tier 2 banks who don't mind using balance sheet).

That said, to sum up my time in Banking, it was not the right fit for me and I definitely had to get out, but I am glad I did it. For one, the experience earns you respect in the job market, and I was overpaid. Perhaps more importantly, a strong sense of camaraderie is formed at the junior ranks, so I walked out with good friendships at that level - more than in any other job I've had. Although work-wise the fit wasn't there, I ended up having a solid relationship of mutual respect/appreciation with my MD, and I developed a few other senior relationships too. So I've chosen to keep the good parts and let go of the bad.

  • 6
Feb 7, 2018 - 2:55am
gryphus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When you made the decision to transfer from developed to Emerging markets, what were some of the driving factors in evaluating which market to transfer to; and what skillsets you could grow/develop in an EM as opposed to a developed market?

Some of my colleagues have gone to EM countries and end up "handcuffed" (UAE for example) where they can't return or are seen as permanent expats. I'd like to make this step in my career, but am nervous/ambivalent about the potential consequences on my career.

Feb 7, 2018 - 6:08pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Excellent question gryphus. There is absolutely a "golden handcuffs"/impossible to repatriate risk with heading off to EM.

My reasons were basically: I wanted adventure; I saw high growth rates and a chance to accelerate my career; EMs tend to have lower tax rates; and depending on the market, the babes, the chicks.

The UAE, as you mention, is particularly pernicious. Sunny lifestyle, pampered service, hedonistic spending, tax-free salaries with cushy expat benefits... Most folks down there come from London. After a few years of that, the idea of losing half your take-home income to cram yourself and possibly your family into a house a third the size, with no domestic help, competing harder at work, and in dreadful weather... just becomes too much to bear. So people become career expats.

So yes, that risk is real. The key considerations that come to mind are:

1) Time your move well. If it's a pre-MBA move, you've got an easy ticket out. You'll come off twice as interesting as the version of you who stayed in whatever vanilla job you had. 2) Build expertise around execution and/or management, as opposed to clients. If you go to to some EM and the clients love you there, it just no longer makes any sense to have you anywhere but there. But if your skillset isn't directly tied to local revenue-generating opportunities, you can move around more easily. (Of course, you'll probably make less money at the EM if you don't milk the local opportunities). 3) You'll develop an insight from the experience that you currently don't have, which may or may not allow you to pursue something entrepreneurial. EMs are a high beta proposition. When an economy has been growing for 7-8% compounded for a number of years' straight, the irrational exuberance becomes deafening. And when the crash comes (it always does), everyone thinks the country is about to become a failed state - the next (sorry) Pakistan or Venezuela. You get tons of perspective from living through these kind of mass episodes of mania.

  • 6
Feb 8, 2018 - 2:04pm
Sergio55, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks so much for your perspective. Do you have any particular thoughts on latam? Where do you see growth with limited political risk? From sometime working there, it seems as though most companies are irrelevant unless they have a presence and or based out of brazil or mexico. I have, however, heard that Argentina is a breeding ground for tech startups and the rich valuations that typically proceed them

Feb 8, 2018 - 6:25pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thpeaking with a lithp has been the most preftigious.

Feb 8, 2018 - 6:36pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Started out getting exposure to two of three defining asset classes that constitute FICC Sales via short rotations, and did well, but for a number of reasons ended up in Equity Derivatives. I would say we spent 2/3rds of the time with vanilla European options and 1/3rd with exotics (most of which were on the lighter end).

Did not pick up programming beyond some very elementary code in Visual Basic, and while it was not at all the main reason for my departure, it absolutely would have been beneficial to a future in Trading/Structuring, and I didn't see myself building a career around those skills.

  • 2
Feb 8, 2018 - 10:53pm
FeedMeDeals, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for doing this.

In your opinion, when do you think is the minimum amount of time you should spend with your first employer out of undergrad? I am currently in S&T FICC Sales, looking to move to a different product group and/or location.

Feb 9, 2018 - 2:57am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Conventional wisdom is 2 years in general, and even more so for your first job. I definitely cleared this bar in my first job.

If you are staying within the same bank and just moving product and/or location, I think you have some margin.

Feb 9, 2018 - 1:18am
garglemesh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Have you found job hopping to be detrimental in any way? I just imagine an interviewer questioning your "focus" and what made you take on so many disparate jobs and locations. How did you break through that barrier?

I'm also rather fond of LatAm (as well as HK). If you have more perspective, please do share.

Would you saw it was the most fun of all the places you've lived?

Feb 9, 2018 - 3:37am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey there @warmpi", good question. Overall it has not been detrimental. I'm no spring chicken anymore so these employers span quite a long time, and S&T and Banking were at the same BB; plus, I had a summer internship where I didn't take the return offer. So, while an interviewer has to read my resume a bit more closely than they like, it doesn't set off job hopper alarm bells.

That said I did encounter a couple of issues. A minor one was that a certain profile of interviewer would react poorly: a career (insert product group/asset class) banker/trader within my own BB during internal interviews. In contrast, external interviewers would express benign envy: "[wow or sigh] I wish I could have done that."

The second and more important issue is that my experience was not additive, as the job functions were so different from each other. That's one of the reasons I decided that consulting would cast a generalist sheen on my professional profile and allow all my past functions to serve as extra color.

As for locations, in general almost all of them have been a ton of fun, as long as you have the mentality to take advantage of the opportunities. I've been a lucky guy in that sense. I had a blast in college and b-school for example, and they weren't in exotic/far-flung locations at all. I went wild during the training period at the BB at one of the major hubs. My hometown (to which I'm returning) was also ridiculously fun (think of it as a lifestyle city that is big enough for most banks and all MBB to have offices, but not big enough to be a major hub - ie. LA, Miami, or if you want to picture it in a European version, a major continental cities like Paris, Madrid or Munich).

Hard to compare Latam and HK - gigantic region vs a tiny quasi city-state. While a lot of things remain the same (hustle and bustle, money out of control, amazing food), my perspective on HK is outdated - mainland Chinese were not at all a significant demographic in the HK that I was exposed to, so according to my friends there now, that's a big change. Latam and HK are also just so different in mentality that I'd need to know a little more what you're trying to ask. But if it's just straight up personal preference - Latam over HK, no doubt.

  • 6
Feb 9, 2018 - 2:10pm
garglemesh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey thanks for that. And congrats on the MBB move.

Wasn't looking for a direct comparison of Latam vs HK. I just happen to have some familiarity with both areas and enjoyed reading your perspectives on Latam above. I was just looking for more, hah. I'm personally looking to position myself as a Latam-Asia specialist, post-MBA... and I would agree that Latam is wayyyyy more fun.

Feb 11, 2018 - 11:42am
maybeimtypingtoomuch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for doing this. I'm joining a BB S&T desk in one of the developed markets you mentioned in your intro and I would like to hear your thoughts on how you think the business will develop in the short and long term. Volatility has been pretty muted for the past few years leading to declines in revenues, but seems to have picked up quite a bit in the recent weeks. Would appreciate any thoughts or experiences you would like to share about the field (disruption, exits, things to be aware of etc..).

Feb 11, 2018 - 5:41pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi @inhopesofshorterhours": the short of it is that my main reason for leaving was that I didn't think the industry had much of a future from a headcount perspective. Unfriendly/burdensome regulation and technological substitution are a pretty nasty double whammy facing hitting folks on the trading floor. With this outlook, I'd rather be a salesman - if you can sell, there's always an outlet for you, whether it be headhunting, houses, used cars, or opening a strip club. Being an obsolete trader strikes me as way more terrifying.

You mention volatility and revenues... If you've been on a derivatives desk during a volatility spike, you'll see that there's going to be a trader or two with a 8/9-digit P&L thanks to that one day. Remember that while volatility, mathematically, can mean an asset is making big moves up or down, in practice, based on social realities (takes Michelangelo years to build the skills necessary to sculpt the statue of David, but any moron with a sledgehammer can demolish it within an hour), high volatility usually means falling asset prices. So yes, volatility can be good for intermediaries (which is what investment banks are), but it depends very much on the function and the way risk is managed.

What desk are you joining?

  • 5
Feb 11, 2018 - 10:34pm
maybeimtypingtoomuch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm joining an Equity Sales desk and I understand that it is one of the higher risk (if not the highest risk) desks right now. From what I have heard, job stability shouldn't be of immediate concern, partly because our team is already so lean and I heard that there was quite some overcutting last year. Do you have know where I can find numbers on market share?

Feb 11, 2018 - 6:50pm
Lead Left, what's your opinion? Comment below:

+1 SB

A lot of quality insight offered here, especially on comparisons between industries and geographies - thanks for doing this.

  1. Is MBB another stepping stone for you or do you hope to be there for the long-run?
  2. It doesn't seem like you're the kind of person swayed by marginal differences in pay, but how did you think about your long-term earning potential in consulting vs. finance?
  3. Are there things you are going to sorely miss about living/working in the US vs. the hometown you're returning to?
Ugh the FBI still quotes the Dow... -Matt Levine
  • 3
Feb 12, 2018 - 5:11am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks man @Lead Left", smart questions and of course the SB to the original post is always welcome (gives the thread visibility which results in more questions).

Happy to do intra-industry/geography discussion too though folks are probably right to ask inter-industry/geography q's.

  1. Open-minded about it. All the odds suggest it's a stepping stone but I could see myself staying in the long run too (which I couldn't actually see when at the BB).

  2. Nice observation regarding marginal pay differences; my answer here is a continuation of the first answer. Any discussion of long-term earning potential must involve the probability of making it to the top (MD/Partner level). In banking the industry growth rates have been so stagnant that I simply did not see enough net new senior position creation for a career path up top to be feasible, nor the grind remotely desirable. In consulting a lot of campus jobs (which is the lion's share of the hiring) are replacements, but there is still some net headcount growth. Compensation-wise, finance pays better in every step of the way until Partner/MD (though the delta successively decreases), so consulting only beats finance in compensation when you consider the really long view.

  3. Who said I'm not American? I don't recall doing so, hah. In general, I always miss something about each place I've left (usually friendships, work and non-work related). But to your point, since (American or not) regardless I'm not from any of the US cities I got degrees from or worked in, yes, there is a lot I will miss from these places (already do). They treated me really, really well.

To the general matter of what I miss about the US when I'm outside it: the general spirit of constant reinvention. I've, on rare occasion, seen this spirit elsewhere, but never as broadly and constantly as the US. The common denominators are: being a young country, lots of exposure to people different from you (usually via immigration), and viable growth prospects.

Conversely, I've noticed a correlation between nativist attitudes and sclerotic labor markets. Thinking that everyone has their place based on predetermined qualities usually means you're also hostile to reinvention. That spirit of constant reinvention, which I love about America, is more fragile than most people realize. I wouldn't take it for granted.

  • 7
Feb 22, 2018 - 12:59pm
Dances With Newfoundland, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is an amazing AMA thread, easily one of the best I have seen.

  1. For MBB consulting, if you are a lateral hire as opposed to MBA campus hire, will you be a first-year associate regardless of level and type of experience? Any advice for those who are a few years out of b-school on how to go about breaking in?

  2. From talking to friends at MBB, one of their complaints (aside from the traveling) is that the work is less about strategy and more about pleasing clients and operational "grunt" work. Have you heard this to be the case as well?


Feb 22, 2018 - 2:05pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the kind words, dude.

To answer your first question: from what I've seen ... Lateral hires from other consulting firms should usually preserve most of their seniority. Lateral hires from other industries will usually come in at the corresponding entry-level depending on whether they are pre-MBA or post-MBA (ie. someone who is 2 yrs out of undergrad will come in at the undergrad hire level; 2 yrs out of b-school at the b-school hire level). Sometimes, an "accelerated track" can be negotiated, but not always.

The exceptions I have seen are when laterals are senior and established enough that they are hired into a specific practice, in which they are sometimes temporarily placed at the post-MBA level for 6 months so they can learn how to be a consultant, and then assume their 'proper' seniority at the Manager / Principal / Partner level.

All told I am certainly not an expert on this topic and imagine it varies quite a lot not just firm by firm, but also, office to office.

To answer your second question, in your place I would choose to apply to a specific office and/or specialization (if you have one), and network with MBA classmates who are in that office. I think it would be enough to ask them for a quick intro to the recruiting manager, whom you would follow up with on the phone, for example. There, you both can figure out what the right 'spot' for you is and what the corresponding selection process will be. If you can get that started, then well done and the rest will be the usual: prepare your story and above all case prep.

  • 6
Feb 21, 2018 - 6:12pm
Midtownbanker1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not sure how well you can answer this but...

I'm fresh out of undergrad from a non-target in the northeast. Currently interning at a boutique IB and just accepted an offer for a first-year analyst position at a MM IB in NYC. I'm extremely excited to have landed this because I worked my ass off to get here, but I want to know what I should be expecting. Haven't had any experience modeling at the internship but have had a lot of experience putting together pitchbooks, due diligence, and comps. I know the learning curve will be steep. Any and all experiences from MM IB firms is appreciated. Also, any tips to try to get off to a good start is greatly appreciated as well.

Feb 22, 2018 - 4:26pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Damn. I had replied to this but it got lost.

Congrats on getting that IB offer, especially from a non-target!

You're right in thinking I may not be best-positioned to give you advice, since I didn't work at a MM and I was in financing rather than advisory.

There's tons of material on the internet on how to succeed as a fresh IBD analyst, so I'm sure you can find it and I won't reinvent the wheel.

To the extent that most 1st year Analyst jobs are also supposed to be your first full-time job ever, a big part of the learning curve is simply about learning how to work, period. As a result, a lot of the focus is on not fucking up.

In that vein, two common fuck-ups that have come up often in discussions my buddies and I had when evaluating summer analysts and 1st years, and what to do instead:

1) analyzing some material and discovering a problem. This will just annoy people. On the other hand, discovering a problem AND solving it will impress, and people will start imagining you being useful on their team.

2) eagerly taking on work, returning it quickly, only for your 3rd year analyst or 1st year associate to find it has numerous mistakes. Then, when having the mistakes explained to you, you say you've understood and don't ask questions. Then it turns out that you haven't understood and the mistakes are still there. This will really annoy people and you'll develop a reputation for being motivated but unreliable. Most tasks are not complicated, so be very focused, methodical, check your work. And don't pretend you've understood; ask until you've understood. Then prove it with the work.

Good luck!

  • 5
Feb 21, 2018 - 8:51pm
faceslappingcompilation, what's your opinion? Comment below:

did you make money trading? about how much?

just google it...you're welcome
Feb 22, 2018 - 2:04pm
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

9-digit PnL. The powers that be said I took on too much risk and to please the man upstairs and in DC, they had to make a point of giving me a lower bonus to show that incentives were in the right place. I quit in a rage and splurged that underwhelming bonus on hookers, blow, and an MBA.

No, for real, I wasn't in Trading (except one super short rotation) - I was in Sales/Structuring.

  • 1
Feb 25, 2018 - 2:29pm
UP1209, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi, thanks for this! I am offered admission in Simon as well as Wisconsin for a FT MBA program. Both of them have offered me very good scholarship, so not much of a difference cost wise. I am not sure which school will fit me best to get in a BB bank. Any guidance will be appreciated.

Mar 12, 2018 - 9:40am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi there,

To be brutally honest, I did not encounter any Simon or Wisconsin MBAs in my recruiting experiences with investment banks. This is exclusively for FO; might be different for some Risk, Ops or Finance positions.

In general, I have heard of Simon discussed more often than Wisconsin. I recall it has a very good faculty and some prominent alumni.

Good luck!

  • 1
Mar 10, 2018 - 1:39pm
targetmonekyhihih, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. I'm currently a junior at a Canadian university. I've done internships in investment banking and asset management but I will be doing a corporate strategy internship at a tech company this summer. Do you think I should focus on recruiting for consulting (MBB) for full time or IB/PE ? After working in finance, I realized I don't really like finance that much and I think I'm a better fit for consulting than finance. But, I only started preparing for consulting like a week ago and I've never done any networking or other stuff prior to this. I've been solely focused on IB. Would it be harder to go from IB full time to MBB or should I focus on recruiting for consulting now ? Thanks.

Mar 12, 2018 - 11:09am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi Michael-Cohen,

Crap - I thought I had written a response here.

If I've understood you correctly, you are about to head into your last UG summer internship in Corporate Strategy; you didn't seem to like IBD that much; and you have one full-time recruiting season left.

The rational choice seems to be either get a return offer from your summer or do consulting recruiting.

I recommend against the MBB-or-Bust mentality. MBB is the most established/prestigious as a general rule, but you can still get the toolkit and plenty of career options from the "Tier 2" firms (I don't like that moniker) or the Big 4 strategy arms.

  • 3
Mar 12, 2018 - 1:17pm
targetmonekyhihih, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Distinctio veritatis veritatis enim ea sed reprehenderit. Expedita et iusto voluptatem libero esse in earum. Omnis non voluptate voluptatibus eveniet omnis aut labore.

Mar 10, 2018 - 9:00pm
dorapaddle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Architecto laudantium ratione vel. Voluptas praesentium non qui voluptatem adipisci illo qui. Tempora qui dolor culpa necessitatibus ullam nesciunt. Quis hic omnis cumque quae doloribus nam. Ratione modi magnam consequatur modi.

Explicabo suscipit consequatur aut saepe aut. Accusamus laudantium libero et repellat ex in. Earum voluptas porro est sed non ab sed.

Non et molestiae minus ut. Est quos voluptatem debitis adipisci animi quasi animi. Nesciunt praesentium exercitationem qui.

Mar 14, 2018 - 10:16am
Discobolus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Non exercitationem aut quos aliquid. Sint modi magnam cum officia et. Laudantium expedita eum voluptatem quis.

Eaque dolor qui ea delectus qui. Eum velit ullam id facilis. Reiciendis architecto accusamus tempore odit maiores quod. Et quo numquam hic eos ut illum.

Commodi aliquam qui harum. Qui velit voluptatum ab libero nostrum quis voluptatem. Et assumenda molestiae quod enim incidunt. Qui voluptatem tempore quis pariatur aspernatur totam.

Mar 14, 2018 - 2:14pm
dorapaddle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hic magni qui rerum nostrum molestiae occaecati qui. Voluptatibus officia voluptatem velit. Aut reprehenderit quas laudantium labore. Quo earum adipisci ut eos deleniti. Aut ipsam omnis distinctio quis sed. Et nulla ut vel provident.

Quas et possimus quia vel dolor maiores. Iusto quas consequuntur magnam rerum. Enim sequi quia reprehenderit recusandae nisi quia. Hic reiciendis et dolor ea. Nobis culpa itaque neque aperiam. Qui architecto quidem sunt est suscipit eum doloribus. Aut qui atque consequatur quod est.

Nesciunt quia placeat dolores. Placeat eum sunt laboriosam nobis harum nam reiciendis repellendus. Autem eos nostrum et voluptatem. Aspernatur libero reiciendis id consequatur necessitatibus nisi dicta.

Reprehenderit sint soluta vitae adipisci. Quaerat explicabo modi quia dolore. Inventore autem eveniet laborum.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

September 2022 Consulting

  • Bain & Company 99.4%
  • McKinsey and Co 98.8%
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 98.3%
  • Oliver Wyman 97.7%
  • LEK Consulting 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

September 2022 Consulting

  • Cornerstone Research 99.4%
  • Bain & Company 98.8%
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 98.3%
  • McKinsey and Co 97.7%
  • Oliver Wyman 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

September 2022 Consulting

  • Bain & Company 99.4%
  • McKinsey and Co 98.8%
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 98.3%
  • Oliver Wyman 97.7%
  • LEK Consulting 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

September 2022 Consulting

  • Partner (4) $368
  • Director/MD (51) $269
  • Principal (24) $267
  • Vice President (43) $246
  • Engagement Manager (88) $221
  • Manager (141) $168
  • 2nd Year Associate (141) $139
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (103) $130
  • Senior Consultant (305) $129
  • 1st Year Associate (497) $117
  • Consultant (548) $116
  • Engineer (4) $110
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (129) $110
  • NA (12) $109
  • 2nd Year Analyst (289) $98
  • Associate Consultant (154) $96
  • 1st Year Analyst (956) $85
  • Intern/Summer Associate (162) $81
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (455) $67