LDN PE Exits MBB vs. IB

Hey guys,

I am interested in a career in PE - albeit not dead set on it. I have made some research and for now do find the work stimulating, as well as the responsibilities and pay down the line to be great motivators.

I have a FT offer from an MBB but am still debating whether I should gun for a FT offer at top IBs. Should I be successful in my applications, I wanted to understand what would be the ‘banking cut-off’ from which exit-opps to MF/UMM PE become marginally worst/equivalent to MBB, and therefore not worth the worst WLB.

My current framework is the following, please feel free to chime in and use examples for me to properly understand!

Top exits (worth the grind and long hours over any MBB)
———————— McKinsey Cut-off

Very good exits (still worth the grind, but arguably worth going MBB for better WLB and option for MBA)


———————— BCG / Bain Cut-off

Side question - what about doing an off-cycle at a top PE fund, then MBB in their PIPE team then come back for FT roles?

Thanks all for the input!


I was always under the impression that PE exits from GS / MS was a lot better than from McKinsey. Some PE firms seem to barely take any consultants at all. Could this be because consultants generally don't want to exit to PE or is it really more difficult to recruit from consulting to PE?

Most Helpful

Even though I appreciate the question, it seems that your classification is mainly based on "prestige", since it's virtually identical to many such rankings found all over the internet.

That doesn't make it inherently flawed; however, other factors must be considered as well. For example, would you take an offer from JPM if it concerned being in a team whose industry or vertical you don't really like, just for the name of the bank on your CV, over doing what you prefer within PEPI/PIPE/PEG in MBB?

But you say that you would not care, and would pull through regardless. I respect that. But what if we examine the quality of the experience instead, how can you be certain that the holy trinity of banks will most likely provide you with a superior experience on what you would like to do (which seem quite vague, aside from maybe wanting to go into PE in the future), rather than consultancies that offer much more rounded experience and more differentiated exits?

Of course, this is not a rant against your dreams or the banks mentioned above. I'm just saying that, unless you have a clear target in mind for what you'd like to gain or learn by going down the IB route, maybe prestige rankings will not offer you the most optionality or the best chance to "succeed", whether that is joining an MF or achieving long-term satisfaction from your career (which two are obviously not necessarily mutually exclusive).

tldr; maybe consider first which criteria exist and can affect your decision, how important each of them are to you and your specific goals, and how can they be best maximized in practice, and then come up with a list curated to address them.

Just my two cents.


I am in a smaller European market than London so don't take my word for this.

My impression is that larger buyout PE firms tend to prefer bankers, as the deal sizes you work on usually warrants onboarding CDD consultants as part of your buyside team.

For smaller PE firms however, that work on private-only deals, and do lots of the DD and execution work in-house; then someone who can conduct market analysis, do the CDD work themselves, come up with strategic improvements (I.e consultants) can bring more value are more common than on the big firms. (Bankers are ofc also needed but talking about the % split here)

TLDR; If you want to to VC, GE and not big buyouts, consulting might be the way to go.


Generally top 5 BBs + roths are better for PE than MBB, even for consulting friendly firms. MBB will also dead on exclude you from certain firms. For firms who take consultants all three can offer the same opportunities but generally Bain is seen as above the rest, then McK then BCG. After that it’s second tier BBs etc. Tier 2 consultants don’t really stand a chance at large firms (rightly or wrongly)


Which funds are completely closer to consultants? What about MBB exits to top IBs, do you stand a chance to make Snr Ana, or Jnr Asso in Europe at a US IB post MBB, and then sweat for a couple of months while you search for strong PE opportunities?


It would probably be difficult given how different the required skillset is. You will probably have the required skillset in creating slide decks, but you won't have much knowledge regarding modelling or transaction processes. 


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