Consulting or Corporate Finance: When to make the switch?

pad10sfanatic's picture
Rank: Chimp | 12

I graduated from a non-target with a strong GPA and have been working for a private dairy manufacturer for the past two years as a financial analyst. The company is a great company for people who are looking to settle down and retire, but is not that innovative and is not that well known by the "general public", b-schools, etc.

Right now I have two offers on the table:

My question is: Which one do I take for better exit opportunities and better recognition by business schools, if I eventually want to end up in corporate finance or run my own business?

Choosing Between FLDP And Management Consulting

The consensus among users seems to be that any opportunity you have to work at a F500 FLDP program, is a good move if you're interested in progressing your career and getting into a major business school, as they are more recognized. They are regarded as just a step below investment banking, corporate strategy or true management consulting
...i've never heard of Baker Tilly, IT implementaion work doens't get a lot of respect, and F500 FLDP programs are generally very well regarded by Business Schools (just a notch below IB, corporate strategy, or a "true"management consulting role).

Certified user @djfiii shares his insight:

Baker Tilly is an accounting firm, and they are only going to get the bullshit implementation work that the Big4 either didn't want, or didn't bother competing for (i.e. not enough money). So basically you'll be underpaid, overworked, get zero "consulting" experience, and have not even have exit ops that are as good as what you'd get coming out of Big4 (which are themselves, only middle of the pack in terms of prestige / exit ops).
The obvious choice is the GM FLPD. It's not even a question. With a strong GPA, you can leverage that into a top MBA program, and then to MBB where you can actually be a consultant.

Read More About Choosing The Right Offer On WSO

Comments (22)

Mar 12, 2012

Implementing NetSuite is not what you want. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with MBB type consulting work. It's an IT job.

Take the GM FLDP all the way. It is better than Baker Tilly by any metric, B-school, pay, exit opps etc..

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman

Mar 12, 2012

Agree with the above poster, take the option 1.

Mar 12, 2012

Baker Tilly is an accounting firm, and they are only going to get the bullshit implementation work that the Big4 either didn't want, or didn't bother competing for (i.e. not enough money). So basically you'll be underpaid, overworked, get zero "consulting" experience, and have not even have exit ops that are as good as what you'd get coming out of Big4 (which are themselves, only middle of the pack in terms of prestige / exit ops).

I'm confused though - you acknowledge that Baker Tilly isn't true consulting, a la MBB, and then go on to talk about how 2-3 years of consulting provides you with the same exposure that 6-7 years of FA work does. You seem to be thinking that there is some hit in the prestige department, but ultimately, you'd be performing similar enough work that you'd get that same experience in 2-3 years at Baker Tilly. Let's be clear - that will never happen, even after 25 years at Baker Tilly. They don't even play in the same park as MBB.

Unless you enjoy stabbing yourself in the face, the obvious choice is the GM FLPD. It's not even a question. With a strong GPA, you can leverage that into a top MBA program, and then to MBB where you can actually be a consultant.

Mar 12, 2012

i've never heard of Baker Tilly, IT implementaion work doens't get a lot of respect, and F500 FLDP programs are generally very well regarded by Business Schools (just a notch below IB, corporate strategy, or a "true" management consulting role).

go for General Mills. congratulations, and best of luck.

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

Mar 12, 2012

Whatever fits your interests. Big 4 corporate finance is closer to IB, not actual corporate finance.

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Mar 12, 2012

If this is an internship, you can always go from Lazard summer to a non-top 10 consulting firm, but it would be a lot harder to go from the consulting firm to go to Lazard FT. I say Lazard.

Mar 12, 2012

This is for full time - as a lateral - would that change anything?

Mar 12, 2012

Look. If you think you like consulting, do what feels right. Prestige will mean nothing if you will not enjoy your work. Also, consider if you will be actually doing any work. In my book, it's what you do, not where you work that counts. Stop worrying about the prestige factor.

Mar 12, 2012

I think I will enjoy the work at both, but ultimately want to be involved in strategy or management. Thought if I do Lazard first, I could more easily transfer into MBB down the line?

Mar 12, 2012

If you like Lazard, go with it. It should open more doors: PE, VC or consulting. Lazard has an excellent track record of sending people to HBS. This for NY, if it's a regional office, things would change.

Disclaimer: This is just what I think, I don't have a lot of experience, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Mar 12, 2012

Lazard. Besides it being an easier move from Lazard to MBB, vs. the non-top 10 consulting firm to Lazard or a similar bank... and that Lazard could open more doors in the short and possibly long-term, it gives you a chance to try finance out. Even if you're fully convinced you want to do consulting in the future, it definitely helps to have a well-rounded resume (both a finance background and later consulting) for your MBA. I'm assuming this position is SA so you're doing it for 8-10 weeks...

Mar 12, 2012

The position is for full time - I've been doing finance somewhere else and transferring in. Just feel consulting might have better experience in this current environment, but Lazard banking still might open more doors despite the reduction in deal flow...

Mar 12, 2012

Oh sorry stk1234, I should have caught that in the above posts... I'd still go with Lazard for the same reasons, but that does change things around a bit in terms of how much of a life you want to keep for the next year or so before getting into b-school.

Congrats on getting those offers!

Mar 12, 2012

If you like consulting more than banking, then you really should do consulting, even if it's Lazard versus a normal consulting firm.

Mar 12, 2012

My 2 cents -- I was in a similar position with slightly less experience than you. I took the jump to consulting after 5 years, and got great experience and built my network over the next 2 years.

The experience being a revenue driver alone is worth it -- depending on your consulting firm -- you'll get lots of training in different cities, conventions, opportunity for work in other cities, expensed meals, etc. My experience was dampened by projects that didn't really align to my goals, but I feel it was a great stepping stone overall.

I left my corporate finance role as a Senior Financial Analyst, and came back as a Finance Manager. A year later, I was promoted to Director. Experience totally varies, but broadening your experience and giving you a view of "the other side" is worthwhile in my opinion. Especially if you're not yet married / with kids.

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Mar 12, 2012

have you decided? I am facing similar problem. and i'd like to hear ur decisions