MBB Consulting -> Top Tier IBD

Hi all,

Jerry is currently a non-MBA 3rd year consultant at MBB Europe and wants to switch to a top-tier M&A investment bank (think JPM/GS/MS).

Academic background: Non-business, but technical (think BSc+MSc engineering/computer science/maths). Non-target school GPA 4.0 and GMAT 770.
Consulting background: Non-finance, mostly technology.

How would he do that? Can he do it without having to quit his MBB job first (= avoid internship ...)?

Location: English-speaking, whatever is most realistic.
Entry-level: Analyst/Associate, whatever is more realistic.

Cheers,
Jerry

Comments (119)

Jul 5, 2015

Are you talking management consulting or software consulting? from what I take of it - you're talking about software consulting. If you want to break in most probably you'll need an MBA, and don't talk in 3rd person it's annoying.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Jul 5, 2015

Management Consulting with technology focus (think: digital product portfolio strategy formulation, commercial due diligence in high tech industry, organizational restructuring for telco company, etc ...)

I don't think MBB does traditional software consulting/system implementation

Jul 5, 2015

What are some of the places you'd advise I look at?

Leerink Swann, Torreya Partners..

Jul 5, 2015

You should go the boutique route. There are tons of great boutiques in almost every major city, so I highly recommend you start applying to as many of them as possible. You are looking for fit and some firm / boss that will see your potential and hire you because they believe in you. Good luck **)

#

#

#

The time is now, seize the day ...

Jul 5, 2015

Don't worry about it, and don't feel like you have to go to some no-name boutique. That's not a great career move.

I know someone who did M&A consulting pre b-school and is now at one of the top boutiques.

Jul 5, 2015

The OP recently graduated from b-school ...

Jul 5, 2015

Is boutiques the only route I can take now? Sounds like I'll have no chance with any BBs?

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

anyone have any insight?

Jul 5, 2015

if you're already there why does it matter? if the answer's no are you going to quit your internship or not apply for future bb internships? if the answer's yes are you going to have an orgasm all over yourself?

the short answer is i doubt it'll hurt anyways, and if this isn't your junior summer it'll probably help a good deal. orgasm away...

Jul 5, 2015

it does make a difference, because it gives me a sense of direction and selfawareness of my position in the industry at the moment

Jul 5, 2015

two were interns who got jobs at investment banks
one was an analyst who got a corporate development job
one was an associate who went to go do something entirely different

in these economic times i would think it to be one of the better "wait and see" type jobs out there

consulting is generally pretty highly thought of by ibanks and the like, also by b-schools

despite the two people i know who went to ibanks, i would still think it better preparation and more related to investment management jobs

Jul 5, 2015

I'm glad to hear that!

My internship starts soon..can't wait!

Jul 5, 2015

Assuming that by investment consulting you mean wealth management advisory work, the answer is no.

Jul 5, 2015

wth is a performance monitoring area? Does "top 25" consulting firm mean that your firm is number 25?

Jul 5, 2015

It'll be tough for an IB position, but you can try through getting your MBA first.

Jul 5, 2015

i know of a few McK analysts who made to BB I-banking prior to MBA.. I would also like to know if it is possible from a 2nd tier strat consulting firm..

Jul 5, 2015

What are you consulting?

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

You'll be fine.

Jul 5, 2015

Don't work at Starbucks, Howard Schultz is a douche. Go with the position at the consulting firm, if the firm is decent you should have little trouble transferring to i-banking. The two fields are similar in prestige and reputation and there are lots of people switching in both directions. (lately more people going to consulting because of the job market).

Jul 5, 2015

The firm also has a NY Office, so that could mean I could transfer internally over a certain period.

Jul 5, 2015

I would say no unless you are at MBB; but if you are at MBB -- why leave?

Consulting is for the most part a completely different skill set than investment banking and to be frank a lot of bankers look down on it.

I would still take MBB over a top bank at an entry level position because while the lifestyle is rough with travel, the hours are still more reasonable than banking.

Jul 5, 2015

If you want to do IB, go for IB...

Jul 5, 2015

Depends. What kind of consulting? Which consulting firm?

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Jul 5, 2015

no hope at all.

how can you have looked on the site and not find an answer? are people now inept at using basic search?

Jul 5, 2015

^^^Agree, there are hundred of things on this site about this subject. Mentioning something would be a waste of time. But it's a Sunday so here we go....

When you go to bschool you have plenty o f opportunities to get into IB associate position. Healthcare can help you get into IB healthcare group. Nothing to worry about.

Please search before you ask because on a regular day this would be a no answer...:)

Do what you want not what you can!

Jul 5, 2015

ok, yea i knew id get flamed for that but i wasnt really sure the likelihood of non-target science backgrounds who do life sciences consulting getting into ibanking. i have no finance nor economics background, so even with an MBA...i wasnt sure what a ibank would necessarily think...especially a BB

Jul 5, 2015

with good consulting experience and with top MBA you will be able to get some interviews with IB firms and then it's how you sell yourself on the interviews.

Do what you want not what you can!

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

You really want to focus on the similarities - the analytical points, the attention to detail, the tearing into a company (especially the financials), the demanding schedule, etc. These are all things that both fields have in common, and, experience in these area, should absolutely help steer you in the right direction. I don't think that you should have a terribly difficult time breaking into banking (especially on a boutique level), assuming you can eloquently capture your consulting experiences (those that would be marketable to banking), your genuine interest in the position (and why you feel that you will fit better in and generally enjoy banking more), and any additional skills/knowledge that you can bring to the table (examples, strong GPA, finance/accounting coursework, etc). It's a tough market out there, but you definitely have a leg up over much of your competition.

IBanker
www.BankonBanking.com
Articles, News, Advice and More
Break Into Investment Banking

Jul 5, 2015

"Why do you think you would prefer IB to consulting?"

Jul 5, 2015

Sure, you have a shot. But if you "hate" your consulting job, are you sure that IBD is the right track for you? Or are you doing it because you view working in an IBD as more prestigious? I recommend taking a step back and really asking yourself this is what you want to do (at least for now).

If you started working in November, I would make sure you at least hit the 1-year marker at your consulting firm, otherwise that's going to raise some flags when people review your resume. Just a thought.

Cheers.

Capitalist

Jul 5, 2015

which consulting firm? and yes it is possible, usually to the equivalent position

Jul 5, 2015

which consulting firm? and yes it is possible, usually to the equivalent position

Jul 5, 2015

I wouldn't say easily. I made the switch, with a bit of effort. The best way is to have current colleagues / connections recommend you. If you work with well-connected people (whom you trust), reach out to them seeking their mentor-ship and see if they'd be willing to help you "learn more about the industry to see if it's a career path you would like to pursue" (a.k.a. put you in touch with their buddies at top banks).
Then it's a matter of tailoring your resume to an IB skill-set and telling a convincing story in interviews. This is especially important if you're aiming to come in as a 2nd year Analyst. They'll ask questions about why you went into consulting rather than banking out of undergrad, and the like. PM me if you'd like to discuss.

best of luck

--
sm

Jul 5, 2015

Hey speedmerchant - can we discuss how you answer why switching from consulting to banking and what skills are transferable? I'm in consulting right now but really want to transfer to banking. Thanks!!

Jul 5, 2015

got a couple questions here:
did you come in as a 2nd year analyst after completing 2 years of BA/AC from your consulting firm?

also, suppose that you're not keen on doing b-school and got a direct promote to post-mba level, eg. consultant, would you be able to lateral as an associate in banking? which would be easier: lateraling after 2 years of BA/AC to a 2nd year analyst position or after making consultant to an associate role in IB? payoff is obviously better in the 2nd scenario but I suspect it might be harder

Jul 5, 2015

Interested as well

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

Doesn't really make a difference probably. Having anything finance-related for your sophomore summer will help you for junior recruiting.

Jul 5, 2015

Okay, for anyone else that might be wondering, here's my experience. Investment consulting is boring, and it isn't something that I (interested in banking/consulting) would want to do for the long run. I chose PWM, but there are ups and downs between both internships. PWM to bankers is codeword that you would like to get a job on wall street, and there is no getting around this. Several times through, I was asked by co workers whether I wanted to be a banker/trader lol, and I was told by the hiring manager that he understood that the internship would be a great start for other things. I was also told in an investment banking interview that the PWM did indicate that I did want to do banking. Investment consulting is totally different and not as many people are as familiar with it. Respect wise, no one is really going to care or differentiate between the two internships. Investment consulting is a lot more "legit" work then paper pushing at pwm (at least my offer was), but might have been better for trading. Bankers/guys in private equity don't really care about it and view every non banking/consulting/pe internships in the same regard and so it really doesn't matter what you choose in the end. Hope this helps!

Jul 5, 2015

sounds very feasable. congrats on getting into a top 100 undergrad program you should be proud of yourself, i'm sure your mom and dad are too.

Jul 5, 2015

Actually, its listed as 112 in the nation, but since last year it has moved up 3 places in the rankings. So I imagine, by time I graduate, it will be that much nearer to 100.

Jul 5, 2015
nitefam:

Actually, its listed as 112 in the nation, but since last year it has moved up 3 places in the rankings. So I imagine, by time I graduate, it will be that much nearer to 100.

is there anything that you can possibly do to make it really in the top 100 rather than 109? if you can single handedly move your program into the top 100 i think you could get in at a place like Merrill lynch.

Jul 5, 2015

I'm pretty content where I'm at. I only mentioned the school's ranking because status is the only thing that seems holds weight around here and left the weighing up to you guys. But I believe the individual, not the school, can make the difference at times. I'm already in a very good program that will give me exposure to the business world and will look at the bigger companies after I receive my Masters and CFA.

Jul 5, 2015

hhahah "top 100 undergrad program"

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

I think its good enough. I busted my ass to get the internship alongside students from Stanford, UC Berkely and UC Davis. I got into this school out of a JC in Virginia. I was told by my highschool counselor that I wasn't college material and handed a flier from Job Corp. I didn't have as many resources as some and still plan on doing alright. I'm actually looking for advice and not criticism. Thanks again

Jul 5, 2015

Definitely take it. No one really cares, if anything your resume will be more impressive. Definitely get some IB experience in there, especially since it's M&A at a good bank.

Jul 5, 2015

I would also take it. With both strong MBB and IB you should be a very strong PE candidate.

Out of curiosity, how useful did you find MBB? Did you learn a lot that could be applied to PE?

Jul 5, 2015

The stats are very clear. The best path by a long shot into PE pre-MBA is from an IB analyst position. About 20% of people who go into PE have consulting experience, but closer to 90% have IB experience.

Typical profile of a candidate for a Top 50 Private Equity Firm (Pre - MBA) - http://bit.ly/4zKZUE

Gotta Mentor
Connect to the Advice & People
You Need to Achieve Your Career Goals

Jul 5, 2015
formerMD:

The stats are very clear. The best path by a long shot into PE pre-MBA is from an IB analyst position. About 20% of people who go into PE have consulting experience, but closer to 90% have IB experience.

Typical profile of a candidate for a Top 50 Private Equity Firm (Pre - MBA) - http://bit.ly/4zKZUE

What about the rest of the 150%?

Jul 5, 2015

Think about if you are a recruiter at a PE shop. You see tons of people with great IBD experience, who have modeling skills but no experience relevant to the asset management side of things. Consultants are great at analyzing business operations but have little relevant skill for acquisitions/valuation (compared to bankers).

By doing both, you will make yourself a standout candidate...

Jul 5, 2015

Top 16 BSchool to BB/MM/Elite boutique?

Jul 5, 2015
futurectdoc:

Top 16 BSchool to BB/MM/Elite boutique?

What, could you elaborate? I've never been to BSchool.. I said top 20 liberal arts college in Maine for a Bachelor's degree.

Jul 5, 2015
comidahindu:
futurectdoc:

Top 16 BSchool to BB/MM/Elite boutique?

What, could you elaborate? I've never been to BSchool.. I said top 20 liberal arts college in Maine for a Bachelor's degree.

He's recommending you apply to a Top 16 b-school, where you will then (try to) get a job at a top IB firm.

Jul 5, 2015
gibbons_:
comidahindu:
futurectdoc:

Top 16 BSchool to BB/MM/Elite boutique?

What, could you elaborate? I've never been to BSchool.. I said top 20 liberal arts college in Maine for a Bachelor's degree.

He's recommending you apply to a Top 16 b-school, where you will then (try to) get a job at a top IB firm.

Oh okay, yeah I agree with him, but honestly, I cannot afford a business school. They're too expensive. That's why I am asking if there is a chance I can get in directly and, if so, how does my resume look..?

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

Your activity disclosed that you went to Bates.

Other than that, I think you are good. If you are not doing on campus recruiting then I think it'll be fine to remove the GPA.

Beef up.

Jul 5, 2015

entry-level for you would probably be associate.
I would assume you would either need an MBA or a cheaper alternative, such as MiF at London Business School or Cambridge (both post-experience programs)

Jul 5, 2015

(A)
Can anyone confirm the MBA/MiF requirement?

If MBA/MiF indeed required:
- Would entering at the Analyst level be an alternative option (w/o MBA/MiF)? If yes, would I be required to do an internship first?
- Would an INSEAD MBA qualify for ASC positions (INSEAD seems to be better known for its consulting placement)?

(B)
Any insights regarding point (2)? E.g., I've seen some promotional "we recruit non-traditional backgrounds" YouTube video by Morgan Stanley.

Jul 5, 2015

I don't think the MBA / MiF is a requirement, but without it, it'll be a harder sell because you'll have to mostly rely on networking to get a job rather than having access to OCR in addition to the school network. INSEAD places well into BBs so it would be a great choice, although I would strongly recommend the Jan. entry so you can do and benefit from a summer internship. Networking is quite important (you have to do a million coffee chats to show your "commitment") so keep that in mind when comparing INSEAD and LBS.

Without going back to school, you'd also likely start as a first year analyst vs. associate out of MBA/MiF (my BB hired someone with a very similar profile as you right before I left and he started as a first year analyst). I don't think you'd be consider really as being from a non-traditional background though. They are many similarities between the 2 jobs as an analyst (client driven, fast pace, analytically driven, attention to detail, presentation, etc) so I think your experience will be very valuable. Regardless of your background, you are expected to know your stuff and to nail the technical part though, especially if you want to make a case that part of your consulting experience should be recognized.

As to how to make the transition happen, I would start by arranging coffee chats with your school and MBB alums working in the city. Introduce yourself and get their input on your goals, build relationships and put yourself in a position where they'll think of you if a position opens up at their bank. If you have done a lot of tech work, your experience could be very valuable to a TMT team so you might want to target that as well.

Jul 5, 2015

i really don't think this has ever happened in the history of mankind. there's no way it can be done.

Jul 5, 2015

Go to b-school and transition at that time.

Jul 5, 2015

Start studying...it won't give you an edge over your more experienced counterparts, but if you don't have a background in banking, it will get you ahead. (level one and two can take a year to a year and a half)

If that's too arduous of a process for you, take the GMAT and blow it out of the water...you can then either shop around with that and see what happens or just go back to school...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Jul 5, 2015

Steve, do you work for Cambridge Associates?

Jul 5, 2015

I'm afraid to mention the name specifically here, since ou never know who might be on these forums (my boss doesnt know I'm searching), but it is one of the top three (don't know if they have such a ranking system).

Jul 5, 2015

Would be to transition to an investment manager, such as Fidelity, T Rowe, etc. or perhaps the asset management arm of a BB. Frankly, IB and investment consoluting are many worlds apart.

If you're really dead-set on IB, I'd second the MBA -> IB associate route.

As far as the CFA goes, I'd advise against it. Most bankers don't have it, partially because the time commitment is too large (banker hours are insane as it is), and partially because the curriculum is focused on Asset Management / equity research, rather than IB.

I'd also have to recommend against backoffice work in IB. If you're truly interested in BO work by any chance, it's much better to be in S&T or at a hedge fund.

Jul 5, 2015

Thanks for the advice. I had a feeling the GMAT might be a better path.

Jul 5, 2015

Rickets,

But don't you think most firms won't even look at him without some sort of proven solid financial foundation (CFA certification is highly regarded)

I mean we can assume that if he's in IConsulting now, he is certainly not working 70+ hour weeks, so he would have time to prepare.

I do agree with you about the IB back office entry. Although that could take just as much time to move to the front office than passing your CFA in two years. Your call...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Jul 5, 2015

Does anyone think an internship at a I bank (if possibly attained) would increase my chances of at least passing the initial screen and landing an interview?

Jul 5, 2015

i'm pretty sure most of the major BB internships require you to return to school in sept.

Jul 5, 2015
jkh:

Out of college, I went through a commercial banking Management Development Program and did credit analysis for a little over a year. I understand that commercial is crap and not at all respected by i-bankers - I felt the same and jumped to consulting.

I've been at a Big 4 consulting firm for three years and moved up the ranks pretty quickly (3 promotions in 27 months, where it normally takes about 6-7 years). I feel I am at a bit of a crossroads right now and am exploring options. Basically, I'm looking for thoughts on a transition into i-banking - feasibility, potential approaches, and realistic timeframes.

The major caveat is that I don't want to be a bottom-feeder. Pushing reset on my career is not an option. Not to be brash but I've fought my way up in consulting and to be shoulder-to-shoulder with fresh college grads would be mildly insulting. I understand that I would have much to learn about the business but I've led engagement teams of 6-8 people on high-profile projects and I've interfaced with and provided guidance to CFOs on a daily basis.

I don't want to go in through an infrastructure post because at least in consulting, I have seen little success in parlaying that into a client-facing role. The discussion about using an MBA as a springboard is a valid point but one I am already considering. I'm applying to b-schools right now as another potential option.

With this kind of an attitute you're going to have a difficult time getting into banking. The "Bottom-feeders" you speak of still make more than you. At this point, your only option is B-school unless you can talk a smaller shop into taking you on board.

Jul 5, 2015

I apologize if my original post rubbed you the wrong way. My point more or less is that I have built career equity in consulting and that I want to protect against its erosion with a jump into i-banking. I'm sure you would feel the same if you came into consulting - you would want your experience to be considered, not only in your pay but also in your title.

It's true that the lower level employees probably make more than me at a cursory glance. But, if we add some context to this discussion - location, per diems, and hours - I probably have the edge.

Jul 5, 2015
jkh:

I apologize if my original post rubbed you the wrong way. My point more or less is that I have built career equity in consulting and that I want to protect against its erosion with a jump into i-banking. I'm sure you would feel the same if you came into consulting - you would want your experience to be considered, not only in your pay but also in your title.

It's true that the lower level employees probably make more than me at a cursory glance. But, if we add some context to this discussion - location, per diems, and hours - I probably have the edge.

Sure, but you need to remember that investment banks follow a hierarchical structure. Without business school, making it to the Associate level is basically going to be impossible unless you have some really killer experience. The only examples I've seen of this are actually folks who've left banking and are coming back...one guy I know of did 2 years GS, 2 years disney CPG (corporate strategy), and came back as an Associate.

I hate to break it to you but the "Career equity" means very little to most bankers: you haven't been working on deals. Even guys who do two years at McKinsey or Bain come to banking as an Analyst before b-school.

To be frank, your best bet at this point is b-school. There is unfortunately no way to bank the time you've put in and cash it out (by coming in as an associate) unless you've done something really extraordinary.

Jul 5, 2015

If you start in banking, you'll get paid exactly what all the other mbas do. There'll be guys with a lot better and more relevant experience than you too.

That being said, you could leverage your "equity" and perhaps get promoted to vp and beyond faster. but you're gonna get the package everyone else gets

Jul 5, 2015

You will almost definitely need to start at as a 1st year associate at the very highest. A 1st year associate in my group lateraled from McK corp fin as an analyst and while he is one of our best associates now, he told me he struggled hard to get up to speed with the rest of his class. B-school will definitely get you in the door as a 1st year associate, I'm not sure if they would make you start as an analyst, either. Another associate of mine did 2 years industry, 3 years consulting, b-school then came in as a first year associate.

Jul 5, 2015

Was he a business analyst at McK or associate/em?

Jul 5, 2015

There is no way you would go McK BA -> bschool -> IB analyst.

I know that laterals are possible but most people choose not to do it b/c it entails a lot of wasted time. For example if you do a 2 year BA stint then try to transfer to an IB, you would come in as an analyst and it sucks being someone's bitch AGAIN. If consultants ever want to make the switch you usually do it post-MBA.

Jul 5, 2015

i know someone who did the reverse - BB - b school - Mck corp fin. wonder which route entails more catching up to do..

Jul 5, 2015

I met someone who did this (McK->top BB as associate, no B-school) a few years ago.

Jul 5, 2015

Why create 2 threads? And why do you want to switch from MBB? You should have a decent shot considering MBB experience as well as 12 month M&A experience, but why?

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Jul 5, 2015
Neighbor:

And why do you want to switch from MBB? You should have a decent shot considering MBB experience as well as 12 month M&A experience, but why?

Different strokes for different folks bub.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

  • Schopenhauer
Jul 5, 2015

hate consulting - pay less, too much operational bullshit, too much travel and working with stupid mid level guys

Jul 5, 2015
Jul 5, 2015

You're guaranteed interviews during your masters, assuming it's at Oxbridge or LSE. Make sure you get on the recruiting train early because effectively the banking deadlines are shortly after the start of your masters program. PM me for details.

Jul 5, 2015

1-Click to Unlock All Comments - 100% FREE

Why do I need to be signed in?
WSO is a knowledge-sharing community that depends on everyone being able to pitch in when they know something.
+ Bonus: 6 Free Financial Modeling Lessons with 1-Click Signup ($199 value)
Jul 5, 2015

I'm grateful that I have two middle fingers, I only wish I had more.

Jul 5, 2015

I'm grateful that I have two middle fingers, I only wish I had more.