MBB vs Fundamental Investing Asset Manager: Learning, Pitfalls and Exit Ops

How do you view an MBB analyst program vs an investment analyst at an asset manager for a Pre-MBA candidate? Specifically, experience at a value investing shop managing close to $3Bn vs a vanilla MBB analyst gig.

On the face of it, MBB has the edge with brand and exit ops, while the AM offers a better payout and learning. I'm trying to think along the lines of Learning, Exit Ops and feeders to MBA programs.

Which is better and why?

Comments (12)

Apr 29, 2015

That is a very broad question.

You will learn a lot at both of those places but the question is what you would like to learn. MBB can teach you a lot of soft skills which you may or may not find useful depending on what you want to do. Also, what do you mean by "exit opps"? Exit opps to where? Industry? Private equity? Tech? The MBA question is easier to answer: MBB is probably the most beaten path to doing a good MBA. Not saying that you cannot do it from the other place, but MBB has a leg up there.

I know this is not very helpful but you need to be a lot more specific about what you want to accomplish to get a helpful answer (other than "O-M-G, McKinsey is the best brand you can get on your resume!!!!" type of answers).

Apr 30, 2015

Thanks a lot - I realize that this is too broad. My bad.

About myself: I graduate in a couple of months from an Asian Tier 1 school. As of now, I'm looking at 4 years of work, followed by an MBA, and ultimately want to end up in Private Equity. I'm trying to figure out what the next 4 years might look like to optimize that. I'm looking for a career that rewards hustle more than smarts - I don't pretend to be a genius, and find myself performing best around people. I have met folks in PE, and that seems like a strong fit for me.

About the opportunities: I have two job offers. Bain, Singapore is offering an Analyst role, while the other is an Asset Management fund based out of HK that does value investing in emerging economies. The role is that of an Investment Analyst. The pay is considerably better in the Asset Management fund, and there are analysts who are ex-consultants as well.

Pros for the Asset Management fund are the higher comp and the fact that ex-Mck/BCG/Bain folks joined the firm after an MBA. However, there's virtually no brand to speak of, and no one would recognize the name. Pros for Bain are the brand and a stronger leg up to an MBA program, but with lower comp.

I'm torn between the two - and it would help greatly to get the lowdown in this case. Any help would go a long way. Thanks.

Apr 30, 2015
LostInTheStreet:

Thanks a lot - I realize that this is too broad. My bad.

About myself: I graduate in a couple of months from an Asian Tier 1 school. As of now, I'm looking at 4 years of work, followed by an MBA, and ultimately want to end up in Private Equity. I'm trying to figure out what the next 4 years might look like to optimize that. I'm looking for a career that rewards hustle more than smarts - I don't pretend to be a genius, and find myself performing best around people. I have met folks in PE, and that seems like a strong fit for me.

About the opportunities: I have two job offers. Bain, Singapore is offering an Analyst role, while the other is an Asset Management fund based out of HK that does value investing in emerging economies. The role is that of an Investment Analyst. The pay is considerably better in the Asset Management fund, and there are analysts who are ex-consultants as well.

Pros for the Asset Management fund are the higher comp and the fact that ex-Mck/BCG/Bain folks joined the firm after an MBA. However, there's virtually no brand to speak of, and no one would recognize the name. Pros for Bain are the brand and a stronger leg up to an MBA program, but with lower comp.

I'm torn between the two - and it would help greatly to get the lowdown in this case. Any help would go a long way. Thanks.

Let me say that I'm not super experienced on everything you want to know about, but if you're gunning for a position at MBA programs in the United States, the Bain role would surely give you better chances than a different company that may not have name recognition in the US. As ming1992 mentioned, MBB->Reputable MBA is probably as sure a thing as you can get in MBA admissions.

MBB to PE is also a viable route (though not entirely a cakewalk, but still quite common), not sure how common Asset Management -> PE is.

The comp is certainly an important factor, make sure to think about 1) will the difference in comp make an appreciable difference in your lifestyle and 2) what path will each choice put you on for future compensation.

Given everything you've said I would tend towards Bain but I'll admit I know much less about Asset Management than consulting roles so wait for others to chime in as well.

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Apr 29, 2015

I agree with the poster above. Based on the information you provided in this thread I would go with Bain. At least in the US, Bain has very good placement into private equity (and into top US business schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton). Bain will also give you an opportunity to do some projects abroad and it is always helpful to have international work experience.

I would go with the value investing shop only if I was fairly confident that I wanted to do value investing in the long term. Doesn't sound like that is the case.

On the pay side: forget about it unless you have dependents who strongly rely on your income. If you only need to support yourself, your income a few years out of school is much less important than experience (and in your case, private equity placement and business school placement).

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Apr 30, 2015

Thanks a lot, @ming1992! I agree with you - Bain is a winner for B School, PE placements and wider work experience. While I'm based out of Asia, the situation here is reasonably similar to the US, the major difference being that consultants have better exit opps in Asia over IB analysts. I'm not even close to being confident about value investing in the long haul, so yes, I'll sidestep that. Not such dependants as of now and I only need to support myself. I'll take experience over a few early extra $ any day.

I think the biggest reason I was in a fix was because of the ex-consultants in the AM firm. The firm has lots of ex-McK/BCG/Bain people along with ex-BB folks, and it seemed like the AM firm was in itself an exit opp for MBB firms. It seemed like I was being given a shot at the exit opp straight out of college, and didn't want to pass on that step up. Does that make a difference to your recommendation?

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Apr 30, 2015

Could ex-consultants shed some light on their exit opps? Which roles were available, and how was the chasm between MBB and PE? Also, did the lesser comp compared to IB/Finance make much of a difference? It would help a ton.

Apr 30, 2015

As someone who interned in both a fundamental Asset Management shop and one of MBB, I would argue that the learning is better at MBB than in AM.

MBB places a huge emphasis on feedback, coaching, and skill development. I had regular (weekly) check-ins with my manager and (less frequently) with people above and below my manager during which we discussed strengths, weaknesses, and strategies for improvement in an easy to understand framework. At the end of my project I received a performance review of considerable depth with similar characteristics.

While the types of skills may not be as 1:1 applicable to making a decision about allocating capital, they will sure as hell make you a more effective communicator, teammate, and team leader. Personally, I think those are harder to learn; excel modeling can easily be picked up along the way

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Apr 30, 2015

That makes perfect sense, @SFlemming1 . Yes, I've been told multipe times that the MBB learning environment is far more mature. As I mentioned to ming1992 as well, the biggest reason I was confused was because of the ex-consultants in the AM firm. The firm has lots of ex-McK/BCG/Bain people and it seemed like the AM firm was in itself an exit opp for MBB firms. It seemed like I was being given a shot at the exit opp straight out of college, and didn't want to pass on that step up. Does that in any way change your thoughts?

Also, I'm curious as to how each internship helped you for full time recruiting, if you don't mind sharing?

Apr 30, 2015

If you have the opportunity, I would recommend asking some of the ex-consultants why they chose to switch industries.

As for FT recruiting, I don't have much to share; I signed my MBB offer the minute it was handed to me. When I was interviewing for internships the year before, people seemed to appreciate that my work with structured products and credit derivatives was quantitative and difficult but few had the in-depth knowledge to ask deep questions about the work itself. Instead, it fell into the "Meets Expectations" category and they kept looking for other differentiating characteristics to hone in on.

Of the handful of other undergrad interns I worked with, every single one took their offer. Of the MBA's, all but a small handful took their offers while the others went to another of MBB or law school. However, I still feel very confident saying that going into the FT job hunt with an MBB internship on your resume and an offer in your pocket is one of the most advantageous positions you can find yourself in. The way I see it, consulting has very little downside and a ton of great perks

Apr 30, 2015

I started my career at an MBB firm and then joined a PE fund as a Pre-MBA associate. That is a much more straightforward path than most people think, especially at Bain (though I'm not sure of the implications of being in an international office).

I would also point out that getting into PE post-MBA almost requires having done PE pre-MBA. The magnitude of this advantage is debated, but if you know that's where you want to end up, you may as well make it easy for yourself.

I have since gone from my PE job to a hedge fund and I have heard anecdotally that it is an easier move to make from PE to public equities than vice versa.

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Apr 30, 2015
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