McKinsey & Company vs. Goldman Sachs

Had a few friends who were choosing between these two firms senior year. Two of them when to McKinsey, one went to Goldman. We had a lot of Consulting Vs. Banking back-and-forth, but I'd like to see what arguments this board has in support of either (and I realize that most are going to say Goldman, since this is a banking forum and most don't really know what McKinsey does, so I'll chime in now and then). Just to get the ball rolling here:

Goldman:

  • Fantastic pay
  • More layman's prestige
  • GREAT exit opps into PE, hedge funds, practically any finance position
  • More "hard skills" type work

McKinsey:

  • Good pay, GREAT benefits
  • More prestige in B-school, management circles
  • Very good exit opps into finance, unparalleled exit opps into practically any other industry/field
  • Fantastic B-school placement, pays for B-school in many cases
  • LOTS of responsibility at a very junior level (one of my friends met a CEO of F500 in his first study!)

Goldman Sachs Investment Banking vs. McKinsey Consulting

When making a choice between GS and McKinsey you are effectively choosing between two different starts to your career. We compare the pros and cons below:

Brand: In their respective worlds, both brands are top notch. You cannot go wrong either way. However, one user shared that when it comes to the top tier of consulting firms (McK, BCG, Bain) there is not much distinction between prestige levels - while GS is widely considered to be the most prestigious bank on the street.

That being said - to laymen outside the industry Goldman Sachs has the bigger brand name.

Business School: Our users shared that McKisney has the edge when it comes to business school recruiting as the consulting background is more attractive than banking for top bschool programs.

Banking vs. Consulting out of Undergrad

  • Consulting focuses more on problem solving
  • Consulting is more qualitatively focused
  • Consulting often involves a great deal of travel
  • Banking is more quantitatively oriented
  • Banking requires long hours and endurance
  • Banking involves modeling and creating pitch books with minimal problem solving

One user shared a useful quote:

All else equal, the guy who does 2 yrs consulting (at any of the top 3 firms) and then 2 yrs PE, is king. They will be viewed as the more "fundamental" candidate. But its obviously the more difficult transition to make.

Learn more about the difference between Wall Street and consulting in the video below.

Read more about McKinsey on the WSO Company Database.
Read more about Goldman Sachs on the WSO Company Database.

Read More About McKinsey and GS on WSO

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Comments (100)

Apr 18, 2007

Well I'm going into markets, so consulting has nothing for me, not even McKinsey.

Apr 18, 2007

Mckinsey is the biggest brand name anyone can get on his resume. A Mckinsey person gets so much respect anywhere and its the best place to learn and develop yourself for long term success. If somebody is 100% convinced about pursuing a career in banking/finance then Goldman is a better option but otherwise Mckinsey beats Goldman w/o any doubt. I have had experience working with ex Mckinsey and ex goldman analysts and mckinsey guys seem so much smarter, creative and social.
Just my 2 cents. I know this board is biased towards banking so ppl will flame me but if you go out in corporate world or talk to anyone at business school, Mckinsey name is way above Goldman.

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Apr 18, 2007
zardari:

Mckinsey is the biggest brand name anyone can get on his resume. A Mckinsey person gets so much respect anywhere and its the best place to learn and develop yourself for long term success. If somebody is 100% convinced about pursuing a career in banking/finance then Goldman is a better option but otherwise Mckinsey beats Goldman w/o any doubt. I have had experience working with ex Mckinsey and ex goldman analysts and mckinsey guys seem so much smarter, creative and social.
Just my 2 cents. I know this board is biased towards banking so ppl will flame me but if you go out in corporate world or talk to anyone at business school, Mckinsey name is way above Goldman.

"Mckinsey name is way above Goldman"?!?!?!?

Are you freaken serious man? That is completely untrue because the fact of the matter is that most of the guys at GS can get to McKinsey but that cannot be said the other way around. Question is, why would you want to take a 50% pay cut? Without question GS is better, but McKinsey people will argue pussy things like, "I want a better quality of life" aka I cannot cut it at GS.

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Apr 18, 2007

If you love banking choose GS

If you doubt whether you love banking choose McK

I spoke to many McKinsey people.. they all stated in this world there is only one firm that is more prestigious and is really the best and that is Goldman Sachs! However, McK has smarter people in general because at least at the office in my country they do care about GPA, sometimes GS hires people with a low GPA which might indicate that person might be less intelligent (but necessarily)

Given you love banking:

What would be better, all depending on your age, your personal situation:

GS analyst--> GS associate --> GS VP etc

McKinsey fellow--> B-school MBA 2yrs --> GS associate

Apr 18, 2007

I don't think you can say one is better than the other. Each is the best in its industry. McKinsey intake at undergrad level is a little smaller than Goldman FO though.

Best Response
Apr 18, 2007

This is like asking what's a better graduate school, Yale Law School or Harvard Med?

This is a throwaway thread.

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Apr 18, 2007

Hmmm, interesting question. Well, if it were my choice, I'd hands down say McKinsey. A couple of reasons...

If someone is straight out of undergrad and has the opportunity with either/or, I think McKisney would give the broadest experience, best prestige for graduate school and better long-term career potential.

If one were to do the McKinsey route post-undergrad for a few years and then pursue B-School, I think you may be a stronger candidate. Also, just a personal perspective but I believe entry into IB is better as an Associate vs. analyst. You skip a lot of scut level work.

Besides, perhaps some of your work as a consultant for McKinsey may very well expose you to the nature of work and the culture of different I-banks and this internal perspective is a competitive advantage to gauge whether IB is for you post-MBA.

Finally, I'm not sure how statistically true this statement might be, but there may be more executives of Fortune 500 that are McKinsey alumni vs. GS alumni.

Apr 18, 2007
aadpepsi:

Hmmm, interesting question. Well, if it were my choice, I'd hands down say McKinsey. A couple of reasons...

If someone is straight out of undergrad and has the opportunity with either/or, I think McKisney would give the broadest experience, best prestige for graduate school and better long-term career potential.

If one were to do the McKinsey route post-undergrad for a few years and then pursue B-School, I think you may be a stronger candidate. Also, just a personal perspective but I believe entry into IB is better as an Associate vs. analyst. You skip a lot of scut level work.

Besides, perhaps some of your work as a consultant for McKinsey may very well expose you to the nature of work and the culture of different I-banks and this internal perspective is a competitive advantage to gauge whether IB is for you post-MBA.

Finally, I'm not sure how statistically true this statement might be, but there may be more executives of Fortune 500 that are McKinsey alumni vs. GS alumni.

True but why not make $140k at 22 instead of waiting until you are at least 27 at McKinsey to make that?

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Apr 18, 2007
goldson:
aadpepsi:

Hmmm, interesting question. Well, if it were my choice, I'd hands down say McKinsey. A couple of reasons...

If someone is straight out of undergrad and has the opportunity with either/or, I think McKisney would give the broadest experience, best prestige for graduate school and better long-term career potential.

If one were to do the McKinsey route post-undergrad for a few years and then pursue B-School, I think you may be a stronger candidate. Also, just a personal perspective but I believe entry into IB is better as an Associate vs. analyst. You skip a lot of scut level work.

Besides, perhaps some of your work as a consultant for McKinsey may very well expose you to the nature of work and the culture of different I-banks and this internal perspective is a competitive advantage to gauge whether IB is for you post-MBA.

Finally, I'm not sure how statistically true this statement might be, but there may be more executives of Fortune 500 that are McKinsey alumni vs. GS alumni.

True but why not make $140k at 22 instead of waiting until you are at least 27 at McKinsey to make that?

Because you are doing different work. Not every person wants to do banking. Smart business oriented people often want to work with businesses.

Besides, I'm fairly certain McK is a bit more selective in the total number of front-office positions for undergrads.

Apr 18, 2007
goldson:

True but why not make $140k at 22 instead of waiting until you are at least 27 at McKinsey to make that?

Well, here's the notion nobody seems to get on this forum... contrary to popular belief, 2 years in IB as an analyst does not a lifetime career make. Everyone seems to think that they can put their 2 years in and that every step after that is going to be on a red carpet.

Whereas at least 2-3 years at McKinsey and that DOES give you plenty more options. At least I think so. It's also about reputation and how you're perceived. If you work at Goldman at such a young age, sure that's impressive. But if your first ever job is with McKinsey, that's MORE impressive.

Now why do you care what you make at 22? I've said this before but I'll say it again, careers are determined 10 years out. Net worth is not going to be determined from 22-24.

Apr 18, 2007
aadpepsi:

Finally, I'm not sure how statistically true this statement might be, but there may be more executives of Fortune 500 that are McKinsey alumni vs. GS alumni.

I dont know the statistics either, but my guess is that this is true.

It boils down to how much you KNOW you want to do finance. Id compare this to majoring in liberal arts vs finance. If you do liberal arts (McK), you can still do finance later (but its harder). If you major in finance, you are a bit more pigeonholed, but it will be easier to reach the upper levels of Finance.

Apr 18, 2007

The whole quality of life thing is crap. Travelling 5 days a week, sleeping in a different hotel every night. How is that better than banking?

And for the record, I chose a lower ranked BB over Bain Consulting

Apr 18, 2007

Consulting is for pussies.

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Apr 18, 2007

aadpepsi - I expect most gs first years would hope to be set up for life 10-14 years into their careers. Many would no doubt like to be retired by that age - or at least doing something a hell of a lot less stressful, something which gives them a bit more family time.

With McKinsey BA you tend to be committed to 5+ years of 'low' earnings before you can start to cash in. That means that it will take a lot longer to build up your bank balance.

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Apr 18, 2007
tallon123:

aadpepsi - I expect most gs first years would hope to be set up for life 10-14 years into their careers. Many would no doubt like to be retired by that age -

Optimism... vs. my healthy dose of cynicism.

Apr 18, 2007
tallon123:

aadpepsi - I expect most gs first years would hope to be set up for life 10-14 years into their careers. Many would no doubt like to be retired by that age - or at least doing something a hell of a lot less stressful, something which gives them a bit more family time.

With McKinsey BA you tend to be committed to 5+ years of 'low' earnings before you can start to cash in. That means that it will take a lot longer to build up your bank balance.

nychimp:

there are about 5,000 threads on compensation and work hours...i was just pointing you to one that asked the same question you did: "is it worth it?"

clearly, that depends. If you want to know what I have made:

1st Year ibanking (2002): $55k base, $28k bonus
2nd Year ibanking (2003): $55k base, $65k bonus
1st Year PE: $70k base, no bonus (switched firms)
2nd Year PE: $80k base, $75k bonus
3rd Year PE: $80k base, ? bonus

...but compensation depends on a lot of factors (firm, location, year, etc). For example, in 2002, a $28k bonus was considered decent (after 9/11), whereas if someone received that in 2006 it would probably be the lowest on the street.

plenty of info. on here, just use the Search funtion. thanks.

Ten years might be a bit too optimistic...

Apr 18, 2007

McKinsey BA is not more or less impressive than an analyst at GS IBD. And coming out of GS IBD you have opportunities in the corporate world, in addition to PE HF etc. And coming out of McKinsey BA you have opportunities to work in PE as well, so do whatever interests you. I for one know people that would be bored by consulting and people that would be bored by banking

Apr 18, 2007

If you're interested in finance (IBD, PE, HF) or nothing other than making money, do GS; if you're interested in anything else or getting in to HBS after putting in only two years, go with McKinsey. Can't just declare one better than the other.

Will say that GS is much more selective, contrary to what some people are saying, however. GS sees over 100,000 applications for analyst positions and only hires about 130 of those. Though this could just be due to the GS name, which as the OP said is more well known than McK among your average group of college students, and thus the quality of the overall applicant pool may be lower. Still, I have a few friends who have made the leap from average BBs to M/B/B, but none who were able to make the leap from consulting to GS or MS.

Apr 18, 2007
  1. nychimp started out during a pretty rough time
  2. pe comp is much higher today
  3. goldman bankers who leave tend to have a decent shot at the multi billion pe funds

to be honest when i was thinking 10 years i was thinking more of markets

Apr 18, 2007

Sweet name

"Todd paused and collected himself. aEUoeYeah, I mean, I just really wanted to be closer to the deals, you know. Get more exposure.aEU

aEUoeYes, of course. Very understandable,aEU replied Prescott, feigning belief and interest. He told himself he was above mocking his feeble conversation partner, but he could not resist. aEUoeSo, done any big mergers lately? I hear JoeaEU(tm)s Deli bought a liquor store in The Bronx.aEU Prescott snickered. "

Apr 18, 2007

You really can't say which one is BETTER because you are comparing two different career paths. If you're into banking, you can't beat GS. If you're into consulting, you can't beat McKinsey. However, certain things are facts: McKinsey (and other top consulting firms in general) takes fewer undergrads than Goldman does so you can say it's more selective. In general, I would say getting offers out of college from m/b/b/b are tougher than getting BBs offers.

And by the way, Goldman does not have "fantastic pay" relative to other BBs. I heard they actually pay below the Street.

Apr 18, 2007

I was just pointing out that comp isn't always going to be as high as it is today, especially if the economy slows down in the next couple years.

Apr 18, 2007

The McKinsey website (biased, naturally, but still...) provides an interesting account of consulting vs. i-banking and their respective merits.

To be very profound ... I think anyone considering between the two needs to really take a hard look at what the differences are and what they truly want. Ok, not very profound but seriously, search down deep and figure it out.

If your main purpose in life is to make more money then 99% of your classmates while you are 22-25, then you have a very simple decision.

If your main goal is to become an expert at financial modeling b/c you love finance and are beyond certain that you will do it your entire life or if you just really like it and want to give it your best shot regardless, then your decision is made.

There is no question, Goldman is for you.

If you want something broad, something where every day/week/project/study etc is different and you want to explore different things (though you do get the same hotel bed 3 nights a week), different businesses/roles/industries etc. and you are passionate about forming well-rounded business attributes & skills that you can hone later in life, then goldman isn't a bad option, but McKinsey is a better one. It would take far too long to list what you will encounter at McKinsey.

Also, quality of life is not nec. better, but different. In banking you'll be in your own bed every night, but in the office much, much more. In consulting you are traveling all the time, at least 9 out of every 10 weeks and the novelty wears off. You are also ALWAYS on call, similar to banking, but it is less strict.

Personally, I am biased toward McKinsey, but IMHO the reasons one ought/should choose Goldman are more concrete and clear-cut.

If you are able to get a job at Goldman or McKinsey, with some elbow grease in <10 years (an ancient 33?) you can most definitely be in the same place, doing the same thing, having attended the same b-school, etc.

Also, "laymen's prestige" will only take you so far. All you should worry about is this:

do the people that you "want to know" know what it is?

Don't be a diva. This reminds me of an earlier post about small liberal arts colleges that are completely neglected on this site despite being as selective as ivy's and more selective than any big state school. Having gone to one, I know that the people that I 'want to know', know what it is, even if some dude at the bar doesnt.

On a sidenote: the 'ole boy's club factor, while not pervasive, is certainly still a reality in all of banking, which is why sons, neighbors, and friends with 3.2 and below can get a job there. McKinsey follows a bit of a different philosophy and also takes a smaller class.

Be honest with yourself.

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Apr 18, 2007

I would say Booz is no where near the other three

Apr 18, 2007

Thought I might add, my impression of banking v consulting is that banking is a more defined skill set, while consulting is more versatile and ambiguous.

You can't really quite say who is smarter, a typical GS analyst or a typical McK BA, but if both were assigned a completely random task, i.e. run a project, solve a problem, etc, 8 times out of 10 the McK guy is gonna do better at it because of the wider and more diverse skill set developed in consulting.

Apr 18, 2007
xistguru:

8 times out of 10 the McK guy is gonna do better at it because of the wider and more diverse skill set developed in consulting.

I actually agree with this. The frameworks that McKinsey consultants learn/use, the way they approach issues and work thru them - this is going to be much more valuable long-term in any career vs. financial modeling skills at an IB. Modeling skills can be spoon fed, soft skills cannot.

Ofcourse, this is not to say that one wouldn't learn to think strategically etc. working for GS...

Also, the likelihood is that as a young consultant at McKinsey you are perhaps more likely to enter into some discussions and deeper level discussions with C-level management that you probably wouldn't get as an anlyst.

As an IB analyst are you really making an impact? Is it really a value added job? Can you honestly say the contribution you make creating a pitch book and modeling had a strategic impact on a company, an industry? Just more stuff to think about...

I admit I am biased toward McKinsey. This and the fact that I'm not so enamored with GS like everyone else seems to be. As someone posted a while back ago... along the lines... "why do you guys whack off to GS?"

Apr 18, 2007

It's really funny that to some people on here if you so much as imply that GS is not the greatest job anyone could ever have it's like you just called their mother the whore of Babylon.

Apr 18, 2007

Right :-)

And Earth doesn't rotate on its axis because GS exists!

There are SO many fabulous places to work...

Apr 18, 2007

i think lots of the posts really dwell on the airy fairy reputation/prestige/money. but at the end of the day it comes down to the job itself as well. if you like fin mkts/structuring deals/valuations etc ib is more like it, whereas consulting is more prob solving diff companies on the operations side, rather than the financing side.

but if you are indifferent then perhaps hte more $ the merrier and voila ~ Goldman..

work hours are long for both, although obviously much more so in ib, so i think one really should actually enjoy the work itself as the priority.

Apr 18, 2007

This whole thread is stupid, its more about consulting vs. ibanking than it is about McKinsey vs. Goldman.

Both McKinsey and Goldman are great places to start your career and where you go from there is entirely dependent on your capabilities. Neither opens doors that aren't available to the other. If you are smart and qualified, you'll do fine with having either on your resume.

Apr 18, 2007

I don't understand what people are arguing about here. I think Wizard hit the nail on the head with his comments.

If you want to end up in finance long-term, Goldman gives you better opportunities. If you want to end up in management, go with McKinsey.

Both give you opportunities to make a lot of money down the line (though GS might start you off at a higher salary/bonus and have higher potential). What's the problem here? To say that one is clearly better than the other is quite idiotic.

No matter what you try to do afterwards, if you are an alum of GS or McK, no one is going to slam the door in your face, although usual exit opportunities are different for the two firms.

Apr 18, 2007

If you are more into finance/excel -> GS hands down

If you are more into strategy/powerpoint -> McK hands down

Apr 18, 2007

I don't understand this thread. Both GS and McKinsey are very prestigious companies that open many doors for their employees.

I will say this.....

I know of the former worldwide Managing Director at McKinsey. While not knowing the family personally, they live in the area and their children go to the same school another family member of mine went to.

They live in a multimillion dollar waterfront mansion and have an affluent lifestyle ( kind of obvious thinking about the position of worldwide Managing Director)

Is it the same extravagance as Lloyd Blankfein or top Goldman traders? No....(this should settle the monetary differences)

However, with McKinsey you get the same recognition and a more rounded skill set that Fortune 500 companies tend to hold in higher value.

Don't get me wrong finance is valued at PE shops, Hedge Funds and Venture Capital firms, but consulting builds a different set of skills that are more valued by Fortune 500 companies for Corporate Officer positions.

I know that he was appointed to the Board of Directors at Goldman Sachs after serving as Worldwide Managing Director of McKinsey.

It is safe to say that Goldman recognizes the prestige of McKinsey and respects the work that McKinsey does. Hence a former worldwide Managing Director is a Board Member at Goldman.

Apr 18, 2007

The ex-CEOs of Sara Lee (the cheesecake company) and All-State (the car insurance company) are also on the board of directors at Goldman. Does that mean GS respects the entry-level work of a cook or insurance salesman? Consulting is for kids who didn't get into banking, period.

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Apr 19, 2007

No, but it does mean they respect the knowledge of the CEOs and the companies themselves.

Free cheesecake for all Goldman employees courtesy of Sara Lee and no car insurance needed for their Ferraris thanks to All State.

Apr 19, 2007

Someone give me an argument that explains how consulting isn't a bunch of useless fluff. Strategy classes = buzzwords and meaningless frameworks.

It doesn't make sense that consultants dont even specialize in the industry, yet claim to be able to help out the businesses who do.

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Apr 19, 2007
mika:

Someone give me an argument that explains how consulting isn't a bunch of useless fluff. Strategy classes = buzzwords and meaningless frameworks.

It doesn't make sense that consultants dont even specialize in the industry, yet claim to be able to help out the businesses who do.

Exactly. People who are willing to work hard and can work under high pressure, prefer finance and i-banking. People who want a more less challenging safer option go to places like McKinsey.

Apr 19, 2007
goldson:
mika:

Someone give me an argument that explains how consulting isn't a bunch of useless fluff. Strategy classes = buzzwords and meaningless frameworks.

It doesn't make sense that consultants dont even specialize in the industry, yet claim to be able to help out the businesses who do.

Exactly. People who are willing to work hard and can work under high pressure, prefer finance and i-banking. People who want a more less challenging safer option go to places like McKinsey.

People who are risk-averse and don't mind doing the same tasks over and over go into banking. People who are willing to take risks, work in ambigious situations, and tackle a variety of issues go into consulting.

Apr 19, 2007

Goldman would actually be the "safer" option, at least from a financial perspective (but I would argue also from a career development perspective, because of the "hard" vs "soft" skills)

Apr 19, 2007

Plenty of people turn down banking jobs (yes, even Goldman and MS) for consulting. I doubt there is anyone at MBB who could not have done banking if they had wanted to. But I think that somewhere in the mid-range BBs you will find a lot of people who wish they had gone into consulting.

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Apr 19, 2007

Bankers talk shit about consultants all the time... you are delusional or you do not work in banking.

Apr 19, 2007

I can't believe you're asking this question. They're both great firms and you probably won't go wrong with either.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Apr 19, 2007
Apr 19, 2007

McKinsey, hands down.

Let's presume that you are completely indifferent to both opportunities. Pay doesn't matter. Prestige doesn't matter. Etc.

There is something to be said about being able to get into McKinsey as a BA. Ask most down to earth Associates and they will tell you that without a doubt that the BA's are the smartest guys at the firm. The bar is very, very high at the BA level (relative to the Associate level).

On the other hand, ask most GS Associates about their Analysts, and they may or may not tell you if they are smart, but they will tell you that they take a big fat shit on those guys on a regular basis. It doesn't matter if you are the smartest guy in the room. Its banking, its Goldman. You are somebody's bitch, and you know that every day you get into work.

That being said, I don't think you can go wrong either way. FYI- There have been cases of McK guys going to a BB after their analyst stint.

  • from a banker
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Apr 19, 2007

Management consultances only have a good rep with investment banks and governments. Otherwise they are modern day witch doctors.

Apr 19, 2007
runtothehills:

Management consultances only have a good rep with investment banks and governments. Otherwise they are modern day witch doctors.

What the hell does this mean?

Apr 19, 2007

runtothehills,

Are you an Iron maiden fan?

Apr 19, 2007

I don't know where people get this. I got the McK offer and i dont have a 3.7. I was debating this same issue...couldnt decide between McK vs BB (not GS).

in the end i didn't know exactly what i wanted to do in life but wanted to learn as much as possible and develop some tangible skills in my first couple of work years. I didn't like the idea of consulting a big time CEO without any experience/knowledge...so i turned down McK with a heavy heart.

What do you guys think about 2/3 years of BB and then 2/3 years of consulting then Bschool?

livin large in miami

Apr 19, 2007
glee:

I don't know where people get this. I got the McK offer and i dont have a 3.7. I was debating this same issue...couldnt decide between McK vs BB (not GS).

in the end i didn't know exactly what i wanted to do in life but wanted to learn as much as possible and develop some tangible skills in my first couple of work years. I didn't like the idea of consulting a big time CEO without any experience/knowledge...so i turned down McK with a heavy heart.

What do you guys think about 2/3 years of BB and then 2/3 years of consulting then Bschool?

you are wasting your time. after 2-3 years of BB figure out what you want to do with your life

Apr 19, 2007

Honestly, your reason for turning down McK was pretty stupid.

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Apr 19, 2007

A few things-

1) As a McKinsey BA, you will not always be interfacing with the CEO of F500 firms. McKinsey does a LOT more operations and IT work than it would care to admit to; this is coming from friends of mine in McKinsey and my McKinsey interviewer. Nowadays no matter what entry-level position you take (GS Analyst, McK BA, Blackstone analyst, whatever) you are going to be shitted on by someone and there will be many times you will hate your job. That is inevitable; the picture of GS analysts being stuck in some room doing comps and a McKinsey BA sitting in Ford's boardroom talking with the board of directors is completely false.

2) There are more F500 CEOs who are from McKinsey than GS. Period. In industry, McKinsey is a trade school for CEOs (with Bain a distant second). A McKinsey EM's exit opps are usually around a senior VP at a F500 firm. A senior partner can usually hit the C-level. If for some reason you want to do HF/PE/VC, for HF and PE you will be better of going to GS but it is still VERY possible if you show some financial "aptitude" at McK (pursue appropriate projects, finance at B-school, etc). For VC the operational knowledge at McK is miles beyond any financial knowledge you may gain at GS. Let's be honest, you can learn basic accounting and finance over a weekend but the operational experience isn't something you can bullshit.

3) For B-school admissions, McK BA is MUCH better than GS analyst. The reason is that fairly or unfairly, McK BAs (and consultants in general) are seen as having much better soft skills (teamwork, leadership etc.) than analysts who model for 18 hours a day.

4) You only get your MBA paid for by McKinsey if you come back.

I would say that McK BA > GS analyst because of this. In consulting, post-undergrads are treated a lot better than in i-banking whereas in i-banking the associates are treated a lot better b/c they are being groomed as potential future partners. If you go McK BA -> HBS -> GS associate, that is a lot better in my mind that doing GS analyst-> associate b/c u get the broader experience and view from McKinsey, you have something to fall back on if shit gets rough and you skip all the analyst bullshit in GS. Those things are worth the 2 years it takes to go to b-school; besides everyone I've talked to always talks about how much they enjoyed business school.

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Apr 19, 2007
boozer:

2) There are more F500 CEOs who are from McKinsey than GS. Period.

This argument is frequently brought up as a "plus" for McKinsey, but if you ask any GS analyst what his/her ideal career path is, I guarantee that very few would say "CEO of a F500 company". GS analysts are much more likely to want to go into the buyside, or continue within banking. McKinsey BAs on the other hand, probably look at being an F500 CEO as the holy grail that everyone aspires to. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to compare the number of F500 CEOs from Goldman vs. McKinsey.

I'm sure many would also agree that it would be unfair to compare the number of top PE/HF partners from GS as opposed to McKinsey.

Also, in regards to McK BA => HBS => GS Associate, a couple of things:

1) As I mentioned above, a large portion of GS analysts do not want to continue on in banking (I'd say >70%). If they wanted to, the opportunity is definitely available to them, as GS has recently been encouraging analyst promotes (skipping b-school).

2) If one was to make the comparison of the easiest route to GS associate, the answer -- hands down -- would be as a GS analyst. Even if you were a McK BA, getting into HBS is not a guarantee. Heck, even after you get into HBS, you're still going to be facing a tremendous amount of competition, as a lot of people are going to be gunning for those GS spots. Life doesn't always work out like you have planned, so why put two obstacles in your path you have to cross (getting into HBS, and getting into GS after) when you can go straight in?

Anyway, to sum it up, if your goal is to work in banking, PE/HF, or the finance world in general, GS analysts have the most opportunities. While "getting a different viewpoint" and all that might be nice, it is a roundabout way of getting to your goal that may or may not work. Similarly, if your goal is top management at an F500, McK would open up the most doors.

Apr 20, 2007
StreetLuck:
boozer:

2) There are more F500 CEOs who are from McKinsey than GS. Period.

This argument is frequently brought up as a "plus" for McKinsey, but if you ask any GS analyst what his/her ideal career path is, I guarantee that very few would say "CEO of a F500 company". GS analysts are much more likely to want to go into the buyside, or continue within banking. McKinsey BAs on the other hand, probably look at being an F500 CEO as the holy grail that everyone aspires to.

I completely agree with you, however someone earlier tried to claim that there was no way there were more McK F500 CEOs than GS.

Apr 19, 2007

Why is this even being debated? Both are extremely hard to get offers at. How about everyone actually get a job at EITHER of the aforementioned firms and then come back and discuss it. This is retarded.

Apr 19, 2007

As I said Consultants = witch doctors.

I've never heard of or seen a "real" company use these guys to do something great. You americans are so into your terms!

Obviously some really good guys go into consulting, but consulting is for slow movers, bureaucracy loving types.

Companies get htem in say "We want to do this, what do you think???"

They will eventually wait until the consultant agrees with them that way they have the backing of a "strategy consultant"

Theroy vs Practice argument really.

As for witch doctor comment, its whats we call them.

Olden times you would go see a witch doctor for advice. They would make you lick a rock to get better. You did it because the witch doctor told you so. Same principle

Apr 20, 2007

Haha wow... You CLEARLY have no idea what you are talking about. I work for a top-tier consulting firm (not McKinsey) and I can tell you that you are wrong. As this is an annonymous message board, I hope you will realized I really don't have anything to gain professionally by "pushing" consulting.

Anyway truthfully, yes- a LOT of the work we do is complete bullshit. A lot of consulting is repackaging information and giving it back to the client or concurring with whatever decision has already been made. However there are a lot of engagements where the consulting firm adds significant value.

You say you have never heard or seen a "real" company use consultants? Ever heard of IBM, GE, Ford, Apple, Wal-mart, Kmart, GM, Motorolla, AT&T, or Pfizer? Since this is a finance board, how about Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi, UBS, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse? I hope you get the point.

Some examples of actual constructive work? Citi just hired MOW to help trim their workforce. Yes, not the most PR friendly assignment, but something that needs to be done and something obviously Citi feels it cannot do alone. Wal-mart uses consultants EXTENSIVELY to maintain their supply-chain advantage; you think they come up with every single thing in house? Carlos Ghosn extensively used consultants to fix up Nissan and turn it around within 3 years. Want me to continue?

This is not so much for runtothehills but for other prospective job-seekers out there trying to decide between consulting and i-banking. I for one am planning on switching to finance so don't think I'm some rah-rah consultant. However don't listen to people who say that management consulting is a complete crock of shit; it's only about half a crock.

Apr 20, 2007
boozer:

You say you have never heard or seen a "real" company use consultants? Ever heard of IBM, GE, Ford, Apple, Wal-mart, Kmart, GM, Motorolla, AT&T, or Pfizer? Since this is a finance board, how about Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi, UBS, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse? I hope you get the point.

I'm not sure you want to use Ford/GM/Kmart as examples.

McKinsey also advised Enron (Skilling was a former McKPartner, and most top-level management was made up of former McK employees), Worldcom, and like every single airline that is now bankrupt.

And with regards to AT&T, didn't McKinsey famously give them advice that cell phones were going to be a niche market?

Apr 19, 2007

It's definitely a personal preference, none is better than the other. An associate in my group is ex-McK, and he says he liked the people better at McK but the work better in banking.

Apr 20, 2007

Someone once told me that the money these companies spend on consultants could be used to try their 'theories' instead and fail, but at least they would have tried something and actually taken action.

However, this doesnt happen because of the CYA mentality of most firms, which is why consultants popped up in the first place.

I thought it was an interesting theory lol.

Apr 20, 2007

prescott: all those companies also used advisers from BB banks - whats your point?

Apr 20, 2007

His point is that banks' advice was regarding them buying new companies. Not HOW to run their failed companies. Consultants help you run a company and if it fails then it is the staregists' fault

Aug 6, 2008
Salam Shpekov:

His point is that banks' advice was regarding them buying new companies. Not HOW to run their failed companies. Consultants help you run a company and if it fails then it is the staregists' fault

So you're telling me that the banks' advice is less "witch doctor" like than consulting? I don't buy that. Your pitch books can make any company you want look like ann appropriate buy with the right assumptions in place.

Warren Buffett doesn't like consulting or ibankers. He doesn't look at pitch books....ever. Does that make one more viable than the other. Bankin helps companies "deworsify" and consulting tries to cut costs and right a corporation (sometimes by getting rid of the companies they bought at an inflated price....).

If we're going to be cynical, neither company may care much about how the companies do. You're getting paid to get a deal done. The consultants would seem to be more in the company's corner than an ibank. Ibanks don't care if the new shares interest seriously dilutes shareholder value or whether a company take over is really a good idea. They get paid if the company uses the bank to make the transaction. period. I don't think anyone should be hinting that ibanks "help" make companies better.

May 2, 2008

it's interesting that this is the #2 hit on google after searching McKinsey B.A.; quite an interesting thread

Aug 6, 2008

Total Geeks. There is more to life than this B.S.

Aug 6, 2008

Quite irrelevant to the discussion here, but does a trader have the same exit opps as a banker, i.e. 2 years analyst then HBS or HF/PE etc.? On another note, would McK necessarily beat GS for HBS as implied by this thread? I ask this because I was originally planning BB Analyst trader 2 years -> HBS -> PE/HF.

Aug 6, 2008

Just do both.

Aug 6, 2008

Both are sweet jobs, neither are that cool...the undergrad who gets hired by a boutique PE/HF shop straight out of undergrad, and executes on that offer, can probably make 200 G's by the time the time they are 2nd year out. I've met a 4th year out of Ugrad (through my role working for a PE client) that raked in half a million a year, and started at a boutique PE shop in Miami. 4th year's at Goldman likely make around 250-300K, at McKinsey around 150-175K.

Seriously...there is so much out there...limiting a discussion to just McKinsey and Goldman is just dumb...but yeah both are great places

Nov 12, 2011
big unit:

Both are sweet jobs, neither are that cool...the undergrad who gets hired by a boutique PE/HF shop straight out of undergrad, and executes on that offer, can probably make 200 G's by the time the time they are 2nd year out.

executing is MUCH harder than you would think. And risk is not comparable, which is why you are getting into "good trader" early career money

Aug 6, 2008

who cares which one is better!

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Mar 31, 2011

the CEO's thing is true... but what about if you change your criteria from "people who become CEOs" to"people who make more than 100mm in their careers".... i'd venture to guess that GS analysts have hundreds or thousands of people who make the BIG bucks (as loosely defined by 100m plus).... even the partners at GS make a shit-ton of money, let alone guys who started at GS and moved into PE or HF to form their own firm or join another already baller firm.

I agree that McK BA is AWESOME in a lot of ways... but if your end goal is to make a shit load of money and you don't care how you do that.... then starting at GS is superior.

Mar 31, 2011

Every day ppl are jelly of Goldman.

No one cares or talks about McKinsey.

Even UBS IBD has better exit ops into PE than McKinsey.

consulting is just bsing as best u can and hoping the company listens to u.

IBD is about actually doing something, such as combining Kraft and Cadbury.

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Apr 3, 2011

troll

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Nov 10, 2011

depends on what position you're in. apples and oranges here

Nov 12, 2011

there's not that many people who can succeed at both industries on a 5-7 year horizon
I think that interest in finance is criteria no. 1, desire to put in the hours is no. 2, and ability to be practical to the point of being an asshole is no. 3
Anyone who has those three things would probably go gs (assuming they could secure a top group) over a desirable mck office like nyc or dc
I know one guy who fit the criteria and went with consulting anyway because they knew they wanted to be in a strategy role in a specific industry in the medium term, and felt mckinsey would set them up for it better. They crushed it and are now doing strategic corporate development for a company that is on an acquisition binge

goals are different - very generally PE GP vs. F500 CEO

what was said about mck BA's being comparatively more talented is true, but its not always good to be smarter than your associate and potentially EM. At a bank, any talent differential matters less because of the rigid organizational structure and differentiated roles and learning curve.

one last thing that people underestimate is that consultants need to be able to dedicate themselves 100% to a project that sucks and pull it out of the weeds, since the proposal has already been accepted and the relationship is important to the senior guys. Bankers in this situation will (be told to or choose to) put minimal effort into shitty pitch or dog of a deal and prioritize the other 4 things they have going on that are more likely to get them paid

May 29, 2013

These are probably the two greatest companies in the world, and in terms of prestige I would say that this is highly influenced by your origins. So, in my country we don't have any GS offices, but there 8-10 people who join the local McK office each year straight from UG. There has never been anyone that went from ug to GS in my country, ever. Discussing prestige is therefore pointless. For me, getting a job at GS is much more of an accomplishment.

That being said, I think that McK offers great exit opps into Forbes 500 companies, much better than those you'd get working at GS.

Nonetheless, GS has something that no other company has: Exit opps into power (sorry for being so crude). Current GS alumni include:
The Presidents of the ECB and the Federal Reserve of NY, former president of the World Bank, former President of the European Commission, Governor of the bank of canada, former US treasury secretaries...we could go on for days

I think that it's pretty impressive that a company can showcase this type of alumni..

Bottom line, it's a question of where you think you'll fit in better...both companies are excellent, so you'll never be completely wrong. Anyone who has the chance to get offers from both should feel blessed..

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May 29, 2013
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