MBB vs IB to MF/UMM PE in Europe

Hello everyone,
I'm wondering which career to choose: investment banking or management consulting?
On the one hand, I find consulting much more interesting and stimulating. However, on the other hand, in the future I would like to work in a European UMM/MF PE (like CVC, Permira, EQT, Cinven), and from what I heard IB gives better exit opportunities.

What would you choose? Maybe some of you were in a similar situation? I will add that I'm a student living in Europe.

Thanks in advance for your answer.


Based on the most helpful WSO content, here are some insights to help you decide between investment banking (IB) and management consulting (MBB) for a future career in European Upper Mid-Market (UMM) or Mega-Fund (MF) Private Equity (PE):

Investment Banking (IB)

  • Better Exit Opportunities for PE: Generally, IB sets you up better for a PE role, especially for banking-friendly PEs like KKR. This is because the skill set and experience gained in IB are highly valued in PE.
  • Recruitment Flexibility: In Europe, particularly in the UK and Continental Europe, the recruitment process for PE is more flexible compared to the US. This means you might have more chances of landing a PE job in London from an IB background.
  • Work Experience: Working in IB, especially in groups like Sponsors or M&A, can provide you with the necessary deal experience and financial modeling skills that are crucial for PE roles.

Management Consulting (MBB)

  • Consulting-Friendly PEs: Some PE firms, like Bain Capital, are more open to hiring from consulting backgrounds. This means you could be on equal footing with IB candidates for these roles.
  • Broader Skill Set: Consulting can offer a broader range of skills, including strategic thinking and problem-solving, which are also valuable in PE.
  • Work-Life Balance: While the work-life balance in consulting can be demanding, it is often perceived as slightly better than in IB, especially in regional offices.


  • Personal Interest: Since you find consulting more interesting and stimulating, this could be a significant factor in your decision. Enjoying your work can lead to better performance and career satisfaction.
  • Location: If you are targeting PE roles in Europe, the flexibility in recruitment might work in your favor regardless of whether you choose IB or MBB.


If your primary goal is to maximize your chances of landing a role in a European UMM/MF PE firm, IB might be the safer bet due to its stronger alignment with PE recruitment preferences. However, if you are more passionate about consulting and are targeting consulting-friendly PE firms, MBB could also be a viable path.

Feel free to ask for more details or specific advice on any of these points!

Sources: Investment Banking vs Management Consulting in Italy, Choose Between Two Offers (BB/MBB) - Looking for Advice, Q&A: Engineer > PE > MBA > BB IB (TMT / LevFin) > Entrepreneurship, Q&A: 2nd Year Analyst at McKinsey in Europe, Asset Management exit options vs Investment Banking

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