McKinsey vs Morgan Stanley S&T internship offers -- which to choose?

I know I'm very lucky to be in this position and able to choose between two really great opportunities. I'm having trouble deciding and want to know what factors I should consider or weigh importantly. I'm a junior in undergrad and one of my offers is expiring soon. I've seen lots of posts comparing consulting to banking, but not many comparing S&T at a BB to consulting at MBB


McKinsey will always be there.  Hire way more people out of undergrad for FT (and ofc MBAs) vs S&T which fills >90% of their new grad classes from internships and hardly/doesn't recruit from MBAs (will need an MFE).

Would take S&T and you can decide if you want to pursue it later (should be a love/hate type of experience).  Especially so if this is MS Equities.  You should be able to lateral to MBB pretty easily if you'd like.  MS has brand name appeal so apart from PE, your 'exit opps' should be strong.. if you can't exit, that's your fault, not your job's.

Earning potential in S&T is greater, the job is more meritocratic and hours are probably around the same if not slightly less.  Ofc that depends if you're cut out for it.. if you'd rather make PowerPoints and travel, do consulting.

Would post in the MBB sub of this forum to gain their perspectives as well.

Good luck, two great options.


If you want your career to revolve around public markets do S&T at MS, if you want to do literally anything else take the McKinsey offer. 

Startup, PE, VC, RE, strategy, C-Suite at large company, McKinsey makes more sense. Only other point I would note, trading is a less stable career path and you can look at projected earnings and they aren’t what they used to be. I personally would choose McKinsey as a no-brainer, but I’m not a public markets guy. Being on the commodities desk doesn’t tickle my pickle like the thought of growing a software company or building and restructuring a business.


Startup, PE, VC, RE, strategy, C-Suite at large company, McKinsey makes more sense.

Barring PE, you can do all of those things with an S&T background as well.  I'd actually argue that S&T is more entrepreneurial and hence better for startup-related work than consulting.  And most PE firms won't take someone from McKinsey because you don't have the right skillset.

Being on the commodities desk doesn't tickle my pickle like the thought of growing a software company or building and restructuring a business.

Assuming you're speaking about management consulting and not exits, you do neither of the two latter things on the job, unless you ascribe more credit to yourself than you should (ie. you're neither a software engineer nor a banker).

you can look at projected earnings and they aren't what they used to be

I'd be interested in seeing these stats because S&T is a heavily bonus-dependent career, ie. the variance of returns is large.  If you think you're going to be average and want to look at what you're "projected to make", that's fine, go do consulting.

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Prospect please shut the f*ck up. Almost everything you said is incredibly ignorant and statements pulled out of your ass. You can do any job and take any job. But the simple truth is consulting is more relevant to the positions I listed. Dealing with companies and discussing strategy is more relevant than following markets. I’m consulting, you are making PowerPoint decks, having calls with experts, analyzing how to improve parts of different businesses or doing diligence on specific market questions—all very relevant to the positions I listed above. Sales and trading you are largely following markets. I don’t know who tf told you PE firms don’t hire consultants, but they do—they hire a ton of them. Especially from places like McKinsey. That comment alone is so incredibly ignorant it’s not worth addressing almost anything else you spewed out of your sophomore in college, VP of a business fraternity, mouth.

If you want a real mindscrew, IB is way more relevant to being an entrepreneur than PE or trading. How do I know these things? Because I’ve done most the things we are talking about or hired people with the backgrounds you are talking about.


if you want to be a trader id probably take the trading one. if you dont want to be a trader i would probably take the one that is not trading. the fact you need to ask a question like this makes me wonder how you got either offer. just do some reading about what the actual day to day is for each role and what skills are needed, envision your ideal position in life 5-10 years down the line, pick the role that matches up best with those. for what its worth if you wanna feel like youre actually using your brain and time for something challenging not something your average state school accountant could do id probably go with trading considering you dont spend your days churning out powerpoints being a banker without the banker pay.


I work in S&T and although there are many perks (better hours, lively environment, great pay) I would without a question of a doubt take the McKinsey role. Heres why:

1) Exit opps - One thing that many people correctly highlight on this site is the importance of developing skill sets that are valued by the market and give rise to lucrative exit opps. In S&T, you are stuck in global markets. You'll have one shot at a serious career reset via an MBA and you will not get financial support from a S&T desk for doing this as its just not required or even encouraged.

2) Job security - there are two problems here. Firstly, your job will be continually disrupted and replaced by Fintech in a way MBB consulting / IB / PE etc won't be so you don't know if you'll have a job in the industry in 10 years (and it's v unlikely you'll be in a position to retire). Take for example MiFID which forced clients to pay for research separately - whether you agree with the regulation or not is beside the point, it has done alot of damage to peoples careers, especially those in cash equity and equity research teams in banks who didn't have global research coverage. I know of entire S&T teams who were fired as a result (not immediately but over the next few years). There were fewer job openings and these people had to pivot to less lucrative careers as they were too old for an MBA reset and were forced to take jobs a small fraction of what they were on previously due to their lack of transferable skills.

3) Industry consolidation - 10-15 years ago many European banks were on par with US banks (think Deutsche). Thats gone now. There are a few European banks that hold their own in a few areas but generally if you want to get paid properly and do the biggest/most lucrative trades in public markets then you will need to be at the banks who don't necessarily have the 'best' sales/trading/structuring teams, but the ones who have clients on their Prime brokerage platform/have the biggest risk limits/provide global research and have MIFID contracts with clients already in place. The bank which have all these are pretty much the top US ones (think GS/JPM/MS etc). So you have a seat at MS, well done. However, and this is the KEY point, unlike IBD or MBB consulting where you do your 2-4 years stint and then have the option to move on or stay, in S&T you don't have the same types of exits. As a trader, you could lateral to a multi manager HF (eg Millenium) but these roles tend to be very unstable (one bad year and you're out), are few and far between and if it goes wrong don't lend themselves to good exits. This means, that if you fall out with your boss/get mistreated/want to leave there are only a few other places you can lateral to which will give you the same type of role (money/platform etc). The consequence - If you're at MS now in a great seat, and 4 years down the line you need to leave, and the few desks which are similar at GS/JPM/Citi aren't hiring, you're stuck or will need to take some form of hit/trade down (another bank might pay up for you but they are unlikely to have the same risk appetite or platform). 

The thing about S&T is that there was a period when it was IMO the best career choice - great hours/lively trading floor/big bonuses and exciting real time deals that could close same day. The market has changed, and top talent like you clearly are who can get roles at both McKinsey and MS S&T must be warned. Don't throw the dice on your career this early, if McK doesn't work out, so many great places will hire you. If S&T doesn't work out, you could be in for a rude awakening about how little your skills are valued outside global markets, even with the MS brand.


If you need to ask, go work for McKinsey.

Trading is a bet on yourself, and the folks out there talking about how s/t has no exit opps have very little imagination. You're dealing with very large pools of capital around the world. If you're good at your job, you will find opportunities thrown at you. Knowing where capital is and knowing how capital moves fascinate me and fascinate the folks I work with.

The median comp at McKinsey + McKinsey exit opps will be greater than S/T. The top 25% in S/T make far more than consultants. It's risky and it's not for everybody.
If you have to ask, it's not for you. Go for the safe route. 


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